Managing director of La Jolla Playhouse steps down


La Jolla Playhouse Board Chair Ralph Bryan announced today that Steven Libman, managing director, is stepping down to pursue an expanding consulting practice.

Libman was appointed managing director in June 2005. The organization will initiate a nationwide search for Libman’s successor immediately. Joan Cumming, Director of Communications, will serve as interim managing director. Playhouse Artistic Director Christopher Ashley will continue with his current responsibilities.

“During Steven’s three-and-a-half years with the playhouse, he helped the organization grow at a critical time in its history. Specifically, he worked with the organization to professionalize our financial underpinnings and fundraising systems. He was instrumental in securing a major gift from the Irvine Foundation for our Edge project, and he ensured a smooth transition in artistic leadership from Des McAnuff to the arrival of Artistic Director Christopher Ashley,” Bryan said.

“I am happy to leave the playhouse in strong stead for the future,” said Libman, “and I am especially proud of the many accomplishments made during my tenure. Our strategic planning process has been open to all staff and trustees, and we opened Jai, our new Wolfgang Puck restaurant. We also completely upgraded our entire employee benefits program. I am especially pleased with the great theatre we have produced, including our two recent Broadway transfers – “Cry Baby” and “The Farnsworth Invention.” All of these accomplishments would not have been possible without a very talented staff and a passionate and generous Board of Trustees. La Jolla Playhouse is very fortunate to have a board that sincerely embraces new and exciting theatre.”

Libman’s career in the performing arts spans more than 25 years of executive leadership in the theater, dance and presenting disciplines. From 1987 to 2004, he served first as development director, and for 14 years, as managing director of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. In 2004, he formed an arts consulting practice, The Libman Group.

Libman teaches in the Graduate Theatre Program for The University of California, San Diego and serves on the national advisory board for the Graduate Arts Management Program at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a BA in Performing Arts Management from Rhode Island College and currently serves as a trustee of La Jolla Country Day School, and sits on the advisory board for City National Bank.