David Ellenstein Named Artistic Director & Bill Kerlin Named Managing Director of Laguna Playhouse

They will continue as Artistic and Managing Directors of North Coast Repertory Theatre as well.

By: May. 18, 2023
David Ellenstein Named Artistic Director & Bill Kerlin Named Managing Director of Laguna Playhouse
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North Coast Repertory Theatre's Artistic Director David Ellenstein, and Managing Director Bill Kerlin, have been named Laguna Playhouse's new Artistic and Managing Directors respectively, effective immediately. They will continue as Artistic and Managing Directors of North Coast Repertory Theatre as well. The Laguna Playhouse Board of Directors comments, "The Board of Directors are thrilled that David and Bill have decided to bring their talents to Laguna Beach and lead our theatre. With their depth of experience and inspiring artistic vision we are confident in their ability to take our Playhouse to new heights." Marc Tayer, President of North Coast Rep's Board of Directors adds, "We are excited to expand our relationship with the Laguna Playhouse, a storied theatre in an adjacent market. David and Bill are a superb team, and will bring proven artistic and operational excellence to the Laguna area, while continuing to delight theatre audiences in San Diego."

ABOUT David Ellenstein

Born into a theatrical family, David Ellenstein has worked in theatres across the country. Since 2003, David has been the Artistic Director of North Coast Repertory Theatre in Solana Beach, CA. He is the former Artistic Director of Los Angeles Repertory Company and Arizona Jewish Theatre. A veteran of over 300 theatrical productions, he has worked at theatres across the country for nearly five decades, including Coconut Grove Playhouse, Paper Mill Playhouse, Alabama, Great Lakes, and California Shakespeare Festivals, Portland Stage, 59E59, The Meadowbrook Theatre, Colony Theatre, and Laguna Playhouse.

Among the more than 60 productions that David has directed at North Coast Rep, favorites include The Remarkable Mister Holmes, which he co-authored, An Iliad, Dr. Glas (Streaming), Becoming Cuba (World Premiere), The Father (West Coast Premiere), Travels with My Aunt, Words by Ira Gershwin (World Premiere), Freud's Last Session, Becoming Dr. Ruth and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum. At other venues memorable productions include The Glass Menagerie (Alabama Shakespeare), A Shayna Maidel (Gaslamp Quarter Theatre), The Chosen (Papermill Playhouse, The Coconut Grove Playhouse), Long Day's Journey Into Night (Renaissance Theatre), Conversations with My Father (Portland Repertory Theatre), Cyrano de Bergerac (Southwest Theatre Company), Chapatti, and Alexandros (Laguna Playhouse).

Favorite roles as an actor include Andrey Botvinnik in A Walk in the Woods, Max Prince in Laughter on the 23rd Floor and Matt in Talley's Folly at North Coast Rep, title roles in Hamlet at Los Angeles Theatre Center and Los Angeles Repertory Company; Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at Moonlight Stage, Richard III at California Shakespeare Festival; Einstein inPicasso at the Lapin Agile at Laguna Playhouse; Calisto in The Illusion and Harker in Dracula at the Arizona Theatre Company; Jonathan in Sight Unseen at North Coast Rep and Portland Repertory Theatre. David has appeared in more than two dozen roles in film and television, and has been guest faculty for several universities including California State Northridge and Cal Arts.


Originally from Valparaiso, Indiana, Mr. Kerlin brings over 30 years of finance, marketing, and sales experience to the Laguna Playhouse, including 12 years as Managing Director for North Coast Repertory Theatre and sixteen seasons as the Director of Administration at the legendary Coconut Grove Playhouse, in Miami. During the time that Bill served at Coconut Grove, it was the largest professional not-for-profit producing theatre in the State of Florida. Mr. Kerlin graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor's of Business Administration from the University of Miami in 1984. While he completed his Master of Science from Florida International University, he concurrently taught classes at Miami-Dade College. He was also the Chief Financial Officer for Professionals' Retirement Strategy, a national insurance and retirement planning service firm in Irvine, CA. He has also served as a Board Member for Camposition, a performing arts company whose mission was to push the boundary between contemporary performance and activism through live performance, interactive outreach programs, and professional development trainings.

Founded in 1920, the historic Laguna Playhouse is one of the oldest continuously-operating not-for-profit theatres on the West Coast and is proud to be an active participant in the celebrated Laguna Beach arts community. From classic plays and musical comedies to the current off-Broadway smash, cutting edge and traditional music exhibitions, dance festivals and stand-up comedy performances, Laguna Playhouse brings the magical experience of the performing arts direct to over 80,000 patrons each season.

Laguna Playhouse educational programming includes year-round classes, productions by and for children and teens (Youth Theatre) and is one of the few companies in the region that offer a curriculum-based professional theatre-touring program, TheatreReach, which aligns with the California State Standards for literature, history and performing arts curriculum.

Laguna Playhouse has been recognized in for the past five years as one of Orange County Register's "Best of OC" in the category of Live Theatre. The Laguna Playhouse has featured many talented performers on stage, including Ed Asner, Leslie Caron, Hershey Felder, Harrison Ford, Melanie Griffith, Val Kilmer, Gregory Harrison, Dan Lauria, Hal Linden, Wendie Malick, Rita Rudner, Charles Shaughnessy, French Stewart, Loretta Swit, and Bette Davis. Learn What's Going On at www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

North Coast Repertory Theatre

under the artistic leadership of David Ellenstein since 2003, is a professional Equity theatre currently celebrating its 41st Season. North Coast Rep has received critical acclaim from media and audiences alike and has evolved into one of the area's leading performing arts organizations. North Coast Rep prides itself on employing the majority of its actors from Actors' Equity Association for its high quality, award-winning productions, and staging works by established and emerging playwrights. Throughout its history, North Coast Rep has created a platform where artist and audience thrive through the intimacy of live theatre, recognizing the power of theatre to challenge complacency, revitalize the imagination, nurture the unexpected, and embrace the variety and diversity in our lives. www.northcoastrep.org.


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