Los Angeles, CA
Snehal Desai will oversee three theatres under the Center Theatre Groups umbrella, the Mark Taper Forum, the Ahmanson Theater and the Kirk Douglas Theatre as aritistic director. One of the largest non-profit theatres in the country, Center Theatre Group, will be undergoing a major transition under the newly announced artistic director.
He will join the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles from the same position at the East West Players, the largest Asian American theatre group in the country which he was leading since 2016. “I am honored to be its next artistic director-as well as its first artistic director of color,” said Desai. “I am humbled by the opportunity to enrich that legacy by uplifting and centering the diverse and thriving communities that comprise the beating heart of Los Angeles. I truly can’t wait to get started in August.”
Desai will take over from Michael Ritchie who retired in December 2021 after 16 years as artistic director.
“Snehal is an ideal and invigorating leader for this inflection point in our history,” Gail Berman-Masters, Search Chair and Vice President of the Board of Directors, said in a statement. “He is bold and resourceful, and we know he will bring that same exuberance and energy to our stages.”
One of Desai’s many challenges will be helping the Center Theatre Group come out from the devastating effects of the pandemic`. Under his leadership, he says the East West Players eliminated its debt and he ‘brought it to a place of financial stability, contributing greatly to the theatre’s ability to get through the COVID pandemic lockdown.” So his experience should come very handy for Center Theater too.
He will leave East West in June and start at the Center Theatre Group in August.
“The connections made, especially with the community of artists, is something I don’t intend to leave behind amidst this transition,” he said. “With Center Theatre Group and East West Players just a few blocks away from each other, the door is thankfully never closed to any of the things I’ll miss.”