SAN DIEGO–The Old Globe and CEO/Executive Producer Lou Spisto announced today that Spisto is leaving The Old Globe to work independently as a producer. Spisto was appointed Executive Director in October of 2002 and assumed the position of Executive Producer in January of 2008.
Board Chair Harold W. Fuson, Jr. stated, “We are saddened by Lou’s decision to leave after nine years of tremendous leadership and service. During Lou’s nine years The Old Globe grew to new heights, both financially and artistically. He produced nearly 150 plays and musicals, bringing San Diego audiences some of the most successful shows in Globe history.”
Fuson continued, “When Lou started nine years ago The Globe’s budget was $12 million and the institution had serious financial difficulties. Since 2003 we’ve had balanced budgets every year as he built the budget to $20 million annually. Countering the trend in the theatre industry, both the audience and donor base at The Globe have grown dramatically during his tenure.”
Spisto said, “The staff, board and all of the artists we have brought to the Globe are second to none, and I have loved every minute of the past nine years with them. I think we’ve accomplished everything we set out to do and then some. I’m proud to leave the Globe in the most stable financial condition in its 75-year-plus history and with a season schedule every bit as strong as the best in our history. I am especially proud of all the new work we have developed and premiered, the tremendous amount of new work this season and going forward and the artistic milestones achieved. Now is the time to work on my other passions. Over the past three years there have been significant projects that were offered, apart from the Globe, that I would now like to pursue. I remain a part of the Globe family and offer to be of service throughout all my days.”
As both the Chief Executive Officer and Executive Producer, Spisto was responsible for both the artistic and administrative activities of The Old Globe. During his tenure, the Globe produced 27 world premieres, launched a new play development program, oversaw the return of the Shakespeare Repertory Season and brought aboard Adrian Noble who is now in his third season, and produced several new musicals, including the critically-acclaimed A Catered Affair, Robin and the 7 Hoods, the launch of the national tour of the Tony Award-winning Avenue Q and the Broadway transfers of Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life and the Twyla Tharp/Bob Dylan musical, The Times They are A-Changin’.
Spisto has also been responsible for developing and nurturing relationships with some of the most talented artists in the field, including artists Sam Gold, Pam MacKinnon, John Doyle, Casey Nicholaw and Duncan Sheik and emerging writers Matthew Lopez and Jonathan Caren, whose world premieres of Somewhere (Lopez) and The Recommendation (Caren) are both part of the current 2011/2012 season.
A strong advocate of arts education, Spisto initiated several new programs including an innovative cross-border project and a new play development program and several new initiatives in Southeastern San Diego. He also launched a free matinee series that brings thousands of students to the Globe’s productions annually.
Spisto shepherded the institution’s recently completed $75 million capital campaign resulting in a major campus renovation that included the new Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, Karen and Donald Cohn Education Center and Hattox Hall, which are all part of the Conrad Prebys Theatre Center.
The organization has appointed Michael G. Murphy as Interim Managing Director.
Murphy has been General Manager of The Old Globe since April 2003. Among his prior work in the arts, he previously served as Managing Director of Austin Lyric Opera, Director of Administration of San Diego Opera and General Manager of San Diego Repertory Theatre.
The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theaters and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for 75 years. The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, which are both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival. More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theater’s education and community programs.