Playhouse names new managing director

Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park announced today the appointment of Abby Marcus as its new managing director.

Currently, Marcus is managing director of the Orchard Project, a multidisciplinary artist residency program in Saratoga Springs, NY. She has also served as managing director of CalArts Center for New Performance in Los Angeles and as finance director at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY, where she helped oversee their $32 million capital expansion project. She will replace Buzz Ward, who is retiring after 29 years in leadership at the Playhouse. 

Abby Marcus

“Abby is the next generation of arts leadership – creative, innovative and inclusive,” said Blake Robison, the Playhouse’s artistic director. “Her financial acumen and strategic thinking will help lead us into a new era as we emerge from the pandemic and expand our work with all parts of the greater Cincinnati community. I am excited to welcome Abby and look forward to partnering with her.”

In addition to her finance and management background, Marcus serves as a creative producer of Vampire Cowboys, an OBIE Award-winning theatre company in New York City. She has held previous leadership positions at NYC’s Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Dramatists Guild of America and the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis.

Marcus arrives at a transformational moment in Playhouse history, as the company begins construction on its $49.5 million theatre complex. The new 539-seat mainstage, Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre, includes new rehearsal rooms, costume shop and backstage areas. It will expand what can be done on stage with state-of-the art theater technology, and joins the previously renovated Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre to create a fully modernized Playhouse for generations to come.

“Abby’s proven experience in financial and theater management, combined with past success in building and operating a new theatrical facility, make her the ideal fit for the Playhouse at this pivotal time,” says Board President Ellen van der Horst. “We are delighted to welcome Abby to the Playhouse family.”

Marcus is scheduled to step into the role beginning in July 2021. She will work with Ward on the leadership transition until he retires on June 30 and becomes Managing Director Emeritus.

“I am thrilled to join the Playhouse and to support Blake, the board, and the staff of this nationally regarded institution as we bring live performances back to the community and create a beautiful new home for the future,” says Marcus. “It is not every day that one has the opportunity to engage with an organization that has been so well-managed for so many years. Together, we will build on the Playhouse’s many successes and continue to grow in the years to come.”

The Playhouse is supported by the generosity of almost 40,000 contributors to the ArtsWave Community campaign. The Ohio Arts Council helps fund the Playhouse with state tax dollars to encourage economic growth, educational excellence and cultural enrichment for all Ohioans. The Playhouse also receives funding from the Shubert Foundation.

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