Des McAnuff documentary screens at San Diego Film Festival


By Diana Saenger


Des McAnuff, the Artistic Director of the La Jolla Playhouse from 1983 to 1994, is the subject of the Bravo documentary “Des McAnuff: A Life in Stages,” playing this weekend at the San Diego Film Festival.

Under his helm, the Playhouse won more than 200 awards and included productions of “Jersey Boys,” “The Who’s Tommy,” Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays,” “Macbeth,” “Twelfth Night” and many more. Several of these went on to Broadway and won Tony awards.

The documentary goes beyond what La Jollans know about McAnuff’s theatrical and musical brilliance. It’s a revealing journey from his birth to his present helm at Stratford Theatre Festival and spotlights his worldwide directions of hundreds of productions. It’s also a restorative journey about his father, who died before McAnuff was born.

Along with comments from many notable, including Pete Townshend, Billy Crystal and Christopher Plummer, McAnuff reveals much about his early ambitions, music abilities, love of the theatere and joie de vivre. Those who have seen his work first hand and any theater buff, will enjoy seeing this film and realizing McAnuff’s prolific creativity and artistry that he has brought to the entertainment world is pure genius.


  • What: “Des McAnuff: A Life in Stages”
  • When: 5:30 p.m. Oct. 2.
  • Where: San Diego Film Festival, Sept. 29–Oct. 3, Gaslamp Theatre, 701 5th Ave., San Diego