Magic Theatre Announces Artistic Director Loretta Greco Will Depart The Organization At The End Of The 2019-2020 Season
Loretta Greco, Artistic Director of Magic Theatre, has announced that she will depart the organization after twelve years as its artistic leader. Greco will leave at the end of the 2019-2020 season. "It has been a spectacular honor to lead the storied Magic Theatre," said Greco. "I am proud of the extraordinary array of groundbreaking writers Magic has launched and supported over time, who have bravely led our cultural conversation forward-and the way those voices and the work we have premiered have elevated the field as a whole.Oskar Eustis, Artistic Director of The Public Theater shares, "I find Loretta's work at the Magic absolutely extraordinary. I used to run the Eureka Theatre, which was a sister theatre to the Magic and is now a distant memory because it's so hard to keep those alternative counter-cultural theatres alive over decades. She took the Magic through its 50th year and it's now in its 53rd year of producing cutting-edge work of real significance and importance. The statistic that I find stunning is of the last 20 world premieres that Loretta has done at the Magic, 25 of them have gone on to further productions ranging from two to 52 new productions following the Magic Theatre's production. That's an extraordinary rate of fertility, of seeding the field. What she does at the Magic is what the rest of us are trying to catch up to. Luis Alfaro's Oedipus el Rey which premiered at the Magic in 2010 - we did two seasons ago at The Public in its 11th production; Sharr White's Annapurna has had 40 productions; and particularly relevant, Taylor Mac's brilliant play Hir, which premiered at the Magic, has had 52 productions across the country. Just extraordinary."
Greco adds, "I am also extremely proud of Magic's record of fostering the next generation of artists and artistic leaders through our national apprenticeship program, our decade-long collaboration with Oakland's Laney College, and our latest work with students and young adults inside the Tenderloin. It is time, after dedicating 100 percent of my expertise, passion and rigorous work ethic since arriving in 2008 to the small but mighty Magic, for me to step back and mindfully consider what should be the focus of the next chapter of my artistic life."
Playwright Mfoniso Udofia says, "Towards the beginning of my playwriting career, I was invited to participate in the Virgin New Play Festival at Magic with my play, Sojourners. Since 2014 I have had a home for my cycle plays. Magic Theatre, under the brilliant leadership of Loretta Greco, has been one of the most committed and staunchest supporters of my work. No play is too hard. No idea too grand. They have afforded me a space to dream unfettered. Loretta is a breathtaking director; a rigorous, demanding artist with a decidedly human touch. Whether I am in San Francisco or elsewhere in the world, Magic Theatre is with me."
Greco assumed the Artistic Director position in 2008. At Magic, she produced Taylor Mac's The Lily's Revenge and the World Premiere of Hir, and associate produced the West Coast Premiere of A 24-Decade History of Popular Music. Through a generous commission from the Hewlett Foundation, Magic will also produce Mac's upcoming play, Calamity Joy, in 2021, which Greco will direct. She has produced three plays from Mfoniso Udofia's Nigerian Ufot Cycle: Sojourners, and the World Premieres of runboyrun and In Old Age, in addition to developing and premiering three plays from Luis Alfaro: This Golden State: Delano, Bruja, and Oedipus el Rey. Additional productions during her tenure have included the premieres of Victor Lodato and Polly Pen's Arlington, Lloyd Suh's American Hwangap, Octavio Solis' Se Llama Cristina, and notable productions of Tarell Alvin McCraney's Brother's Size, Theresa Rebeck's Mauritius, Mark O'Rowe's Terminus, Liz Duffy Adam's Or, and Linda McLean's Any Given Day. Additionally, Greco collaborated closely with the late Sam Shepard, over a five-year celebration of his seminal work as the theatre approached its 50th season.
Sean San José, Campo Santo member, says, "People can write about and NEED to list the legion of great art Loretta has shepherded and championed - but what needs to be KNOWN is how she created Home. I am speaking too, very specifically about People of Color, Queer folx, outsiders, those who let their "freak flags fly" - like San Francisco does fly-er than anywhere - She has made this community bigger, more welcome, for creating beautiful work, and for more to come."
John Kolvenbach, playwright and director, adds, "Being championed and produced four times at Magic over the last decade (Goldfish, Mrs. Whitney, Sister Play, and Reel to Reel) has been the greatest pleasure of my artistic life. Loretta is a ferocious advocate for writers, for the theatre, for the Magic, and for the audience. She is indefatigable, inspired, impossibly stubborn in pursuit of the truth. She's a warrior."
Greco's directing work includes runboyrun and A Park in Our House (New York Theatre Workshop); The Story, Lackawanna Blues, Two Sisters and a Piano (Public Theater/NYSF); Sweat, The Realistic Joneses, Speed the Plow, Blackbird (American Conservatory Theatre), premieres of The Eva Trilogy, Gangster of Love, Grandeur, Goldfish, Annapurna, Every Five Minutes, Se Llama Cristina, Bruja, and Oedipus el Rey (Magic Theatre); Life is a Dream (Cal Shakes), Romeo and Juliet, Stop Kiss (Oregon Shakespeare Festival), and productions at McCarter, South Coast Repertory, La Jolla Playhouse, Long Wharf, and Johannesburg's Market Theatre. Greco is a NYTW usual suspect, the recipient of Bay Area Critic Association Awards, Drama League Fellowships, a Princess Grace Award, a Sundance/Luma Directors fellowship, and the 2018 Zelda Fichandler Award.
John Marx, Magic Theatre Board Chair, shares, "In 1983, Magic was perhaps approaching the peak of its golden era. Shepard had just premiered Fool for Love. At the time, it would be hard to believe there could be a second golden era, but in 2008, Loretta Greco ushered in a new and yet powerfully different golden era. She has been fearless and uncompromising in creating art that speaks profoundly to the human condition...as it digs deeply into your soul and touches your heart. Loretta has been critical in making Magic an intensely fertile ground for theater and writing, this coming at a time when we need exceptional theater more than ever."
"None of our ground-breaking work could happen," notes Greco, "without our incredible community of artists and the generous support of Magic's staff and Board of Trustees, who have worked tirelessly in partnership with visionary institutional funders and individual donors in San Francisco and across the country who believe in a robust cultural landscape that supports the new. I am beyond grateful to these individuals and institutions; Magic could not exist without their support of our mission and vision. One of our core beliefs at Magic is how powerful a leap of faith is to playwrights in order to embolden their finest writing. It could be said that the Board and our community of stakeholders have demonstrated a similar leap of faith in me over my tenure, which in turn has emboldened me to take the risks I believe are essential to being an arts leader. I am deeply grateful to our subscribers and audiences who continue to embrace the new, socially-relevant and thought-provoking work to which Magic has remained committed."
Greco's production of Mfoniso Udofia's runboyrun (Magic 2016 premiere) is running at New York Theatre Workshop through October 13. Her final season at Magic begins with Lloyd Suh's The Chinese Lady, now in previews, which opens October 16. She will return to Magic to develop and direct the world premiere of Taylor Mac's upcoming Calamity Joy in fall of 2021.
Magic Theatre's 2019-2020 season commences with the currently-playing The Chinese Lady by (Now - November 2, 2019), followed by NASSIM (November 12 - November 17, 2019), the 2019 Martha Heasley Cox Virgin Play Festival (December 2019), Don't Eat The Mangos by Ricardo Pérez Gonzalez (February 26 - March 22, 2020), and Caryl Churchill's Escaped Alone (April 14 - May 10, 2020). Subscriptions and additional information are available at magictheatre.org.