Fountain Theatre co-founding artistic director Stephen Sachs announces retirement

Taken from the press release:

LOS ANGELES (February 20, 2024) —  After 34 years as artistic director, Fountain Theatre co-founder Stephen Sachs has announced his retirement at the end of 2024.

“The more than three decades spent launching, nurturing, developing and leading the growth of the Fountain Theatre have been the most joyous and meaningful years of my professional life.” Sachs wrote to the board of directors in a letter announcing his decision. “Thousands of artists have worked on our stage and in our arts education programs. Hundreds of thousands of patrons have walked through our door, sat in our seats, and been transported. Fountain plays are now produced around the world. We’ve been home to Pulitzer and Tony Award winners. Our artistic integrity is respected locally and across the country. We stand strong as an organization. My co-founder, beloved colleague and dear friend, Deborah Lawlor, passed away last May. This year, I turn 65. I look forward to many pleasant years traveling with my wife, relishing our two adult sons, perhaps writing a novel or two.

“Our extraordinary founding artistic director, Stephen Sachs, leaves the Fountain healthy and vibrant, with a board of directors eager to protect and nourish his inspiring living legacy of great theater, community engagement, and brilliant innovation,” stated Fountain board president Dorothy Wolpert. “We are committed to finding a worthy successor who will carry that legacy into the future.”

Under Sachs’ leadership, the Fountain also debuted new plays by such prominent playwrights as Robert Schenkkan, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Martyna Majok, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Dael Orlandersmith, and Branden Jacobs-Jenkins.

Sachs was instrumental in the formation and early development of Deaf West Theatre, giving the company’s founder, Ed Waterstreet, office space and a stage at the Fountain in 1991. Deaf West is now the foremost deaf theater company in the United States, honored with a Tony Award in 2004 for its innovative staging of the musical Big River.

In partnership with Los Angeles City Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, Sachs launched a new program that brought celebrity actors into Council Chambers for one-night readings of plays free to the public. All the President’s Men starred cast members from The West Wing, and a new spin on Mr. Smith Goes to Washington featured Sam Waterston. In 2019, O’Farrell hailed Sachs as “one of the great citizens and artists in our city.”

A national search is underway to identify the Fountain Theatre’s next artistic director.

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