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Christopher Ashley Named Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse

Christopher Ashley Named Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse
Photo by: Bruce Glikas
Christopher Ashley
Veteran director Christopher Ashley has accepted the position as Artistic Director of California's La Jolla Playhouse, replacing Des McAnuff, who assumes a newly created position as Playhouse Director Emeritus. In June 2006, McAnuff announced he would become one of three Artistic Directors at Canada's Stratford Festival, effective 2008. Ashley will be considered the Artistic Director-designate until September 30, 2007, and will begin full time at the Playhouse in October 2007.

Ashley is currently working on the new Broadway musical version of Xanadu, which is set to open at the Helen Hayes Theatre on June 26. His most recent Broadway directing credit was All Shook Up, and he received a 2001 Tony Award nomination for The Rocky Horror Show. Ashley has enjoyed long-time collaborations with playwrights such as Douglas Carter Beane The Country Club, The Big Time, Mondo Drama and the upcoming Xanadu, Claudia Shear Blown Sideways Through Life, Doug Wright Watbanaland, and most significantly, Paul Rudnick Regrets Only, Valhalla, The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told and Jeffrey, for which he received a Drama Desk Award nomination and the OBIE and Lucille Lortel Awards for Outstanding Director; he also directed the screen version of Jeffrey. Other recent credits include Sweeney Todd and Merrily We Roll Along at the Kennedy Center's Sondheim Celebration and the national tour of Seussical. Since graduating from Yale in 1984, Ashley has directed a total of more than 60 productions.

La Jolla began searching for a new artistic director last June. In a statement, board president Ralph Bryan said, "Throughout the rigorous search process, Chris impressed the search committee with his bold and fully realized vision of a unique theatre that truly speaks to the public, both locally and across the nation. We are sure that the synergy of his vision and the Playhouse's youthful spirit and eclectic, artist-driven approach will elevate this institution to new heights."

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