Palo Alto Players Announce New Artistic and Managing Directors

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Palo Alto Players Announce New Artistic and Managing Directors

Palo Alto Players' Board of Directors announces a change in management at Palo Alto Players, as Peter Bliznick steps down after 30 years as Executive Director, effective March 1, 2014. Patrick Klein has been promoted to the position of Artistic Director and Diana Wiley has been promoted to the position of Managing Director; Bliznick will remain associated with Palo Alto Players as Executive Director Emeritus.

In a touching ceremony hosted by the Board of Directors on March 2, full of loving toasts and songs, artists from the last 30 years came together to praise Peter Bliznick and his accomplishments at Palo Alto Players. Bliznick joined Palo Alto Players as its Executive Director in 1984, where he quickly established Palo Alto Players as a theatre whose shows fulfill three essential "E's": education, enlightenment, and enrichment. From reimagined classics to new works fresh from Broadway, Bliznick has never been afraid to push the envelope or to thrill audiences with a dazzling musical. In 1986, Palo Alto Players received the Fox Theater in Redwood City as a charitable donation, ushering in a new age of "Palo Alto Players-Peninsula Center Stage". Palo Alto Players continued to perform five productions a season at the Lucie Stern Theater, while Peninsula Center Stage hosted musical productions at the Fox. As Bliznick explains, "Fox Theater is located in a part of Redwood City that used to colloquially be called 'Deadwood City', because that's how the downtown felt after the county government offices closed each day. So we started performing musicals in the evenings, as part of a program called 'Broadway after Dark', and guess what? People came! And they came in droves." Peninsula Center Stage performances at the Fox Theater ran from 1986-1998, when Palo Alto Players sold the Fox Theater, choosing to focus on its productions at the Lucie Stern Theater.

As Palo Alto Players transitions to new leadership, patrons can expect to be entertained by programming of the same outstanding caliber that they've come to expect under Bliznick's stewardship. Patrick Klein leads the artistic vision of the Players in his new role as Artistic Director, and Diana Wiley has taken over as Managing Director. Bliznick is very confident about this transition, saying that, "Patrick [Klein] and Diana [Wiley] will handle the art and business of Palo Alto Players, respectively. These two balance each other nicely and will bring renewed vitality to Palo Alto Players through their innovation, energy, and resourcefulness."

Klein has been with Palo Alto Players since 2009, when he joined as Technical Director & Production Manager. "I've worked 'behind the scenes' of Palo Alto Players as the Production Manager for the last five seasons and have spent the last eight months as Associate Artistic Director, transitioning into this new role and learning as much from Peter [Bliznick] as possible before he leaves," says Klein. "After all that time, I have a firm grasp of where the Players excels, where we want to go artistically, and what we're capable of as an organization. I can't wait to use that experience to program our future seasons."

Wiley joined Palo Alto Players in 2013 as Box Office and Operations Manager, after over six years in non-profit theatre in the Bay Area. She has a lot of goals for the future of Palo Alto Players, but most important is to continue producing the high quality live theatre for which PAP is already recognized throughout the Bay Area. Wiley says, "I would like to see Palo Alto Players have a deeper impact in the community. We've always been an organization born of the community and for the community, and we have some really exciting opportunities to get local companies involved with PAP. Quality theatre is expensive to produce, and it's crucial that we continue to develop a strong foundation of community support."

Palo Alto Players was recently voted "Best Professional Theatre Company" by BroadwayWorld.com, which is exceptionally meaningful to Klein and Wiley. Wiley explains that, while "Palo Alto Players works really hard to produce great theatre, at the end of the day, we're truly a community theatre, run almost entirely by volunteers and with just a small office staff. It really means the world to us that our community appreciates that and views our productions in the same light as bigger-budget professional theatre companies." Bliznick agrees, "The future of Palo Alto Players looks especially bright with these two at the reins, and I am confident that I am leaving Palo Alto Players in sure hands."

About Palo Alto Players:

Founded in 1931, Palo Alto Players is the San Francisco Peninsula's first theatre company, making it both the Peninsula's oldest and longest running theatre. Based in the Lucie Stern Theater, built explicitly for the Players in 1933, Palo Alto Players produces a season of comedies, dramas, classics, and musicals from September to June. Audiences and participants come from all over the Bay Area to be a part of Palo Alto Players' productions. Palo Alto Players is committed to providing a meaningful theatre experience for both audience and production participants. Intrinsic in this is the belief that theatre benefits the community-at-large and enhances the quality of life of those who are touched by it through education, enlightenment, and enrichment. Palo Alto Players is a non-profit corporation established for public benefit.

For more information about Palo Alto Players and upcoming shows, visit www.paplayers.org or call the box office at 650.329.0891.

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