Jack Viertel Will Leave New York City Center Encores! After 20 Years as Artistic Director
Jack Viertel, who has run New York City Center's Encores! series for the past twenty years, has just announced that he will resign from his position as Artistic Director at the end of the 2020 season.
A producer, dramaturg, librettist, and the senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters, Jack Viertel has been called "a sort of human encyclopedia of musical theater" (WNYC). He was present at the first meeting of the Encores! Advisory Committee in 1993 and has been in charge of Encores! since 2000, overseeing more than 50 productions. "Almost no one else in the world can do what we do at City Center," says Viertel. "With time and love and scholarship, we can put a lost show back into the world. It's almost like magic." Viertel was the architect of City Center's historic 2007 revival of Gypsy, which starred Patti LuPone and transferred to Broadway. He conceived the Encores! revues Stairway to Paradise; and Cotton Club Parade, which moved to Broadway under the title After Midnight; and Hey, Look Me Over!.
Viertel just released the following statement:
It's hard to believe, but 2020 will be my 20th season as Artistic Director of Encores! It has been a dream job for me, a job greater than anything I could have imagined for myself growing up, when I was thrilled to sit in the last row of a theater and watch anything and everything.
I've gotten to present the shows that I only ever dreamed about, from the famous (The Most Happy Fella) to the cult favorites (It's a Bird...It's a Plane...It's Superman) to the downright obscure (Juno and The New Yorkers). I've been grateful for every cheering audience-and to every artist who has stepped on our stage or worked behind the curtain. Their talent and commitment humble me every time. But after 20 seasons, I think it's someone else's turn to live that dream.
Having inherited the already thriving Encores! program built by my predecessors Walter Bobbie and Kathleen Marshall, I've been strongly supported by City Center's leaders-first Judith Daykin and currently Arlene Shuler. We've made some unusual and risky choices, and I've been lucky to be dazzled by the productions that resulted. You have gone with us on unknown journeys with a loyalty that is truly astonishing. A lot of the credit for that goes to the inimitably great Encores! Orchestra, first under the direction of Rob Fisher, then Paul Gemignani, then, for the last 12 seasons Rob Berman, my closest collaborator.
But as musical theater itself evolves, I've been equally impressed by a whole new group of artists working on and off Broadway and across the country. I've wanted them to come join us at City Center too. It seems to me that the best and most satisfying way to achieve that goal is to hand the baton to that next generation of creative artists and have them lead Encores! to its next exciting chapter. I'll be leaving the Artistic Directorship at the end of the 2020 season and graduating to a new position at City Center as Consulting Producer for Musical Theater. I look forward to many more years in this great building, helping to celebrate its commitment to excellence in the performing arts and, especially for me, musical theater of all kinds.
I look forward to seeing you throughout the upcoming season!
Artistic Director, Encores!
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