The Team

Leadership

Christopher Ashley

The Rich Family Artistic Director of La Jolla Playhouse
Christopher Ashley

Tony Award-winner Christopher Ashley has served as La Jolla Playhouse’s Artistic Director since 2007. During his tenure, he directed the world premieres of Come From Away, Diana: The Musical, Memphis, Escape to Margaritaville, The Squirrels, A Dram of Drummhicit, Restoration and Chasing the Song, as well as His Girl Friday, Glengarry Glen Ross, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Freaky Friday and Xanadu. He also spearheaded the Playhouse’s Without Walls (WOW) initiative, the DNA New Work Series and the Resident Theatre program.

Mr. Ashley recently directed Come From Away for AppleTV+ and Diana: The Musical for Netflix. Other screen credits include the feature films Jeffrey and Lucky Stiff, and the American Playhouse production of Blown Sideways Through Life for PBS.

Mr. Ashley’s Broadway credits include Come From Away (Tony and Outer Critics Circle Awards), Diana: The Musical, Escape to Margaritaville, Memphis (Tony Award nomination), Xanadu, Leap of Faith (Drama Desk Award nomination), All Shook Up and The Rocky Horror Show (Tony, Drama Desk, Outer Critics Circle Award nominations). He also helmed productions of Come From Away in London (Olivier Award nomination), Toronto, Australia and on national tour. Other national tours include Escape to Margaritaville, Memphis, Xanadu, All Shook Up and Seussical: The Musical. Additional New York stage credits include Blown Sideways Through Life, Jeffrey (Lucille Lortel and Obie Awards), The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, Valhalla (Lucille Lortel Award nomination), Regrets Only, Wonder of the World, Communicating Doors, Bunny Bunny, The Night Hank Williams Died and Fires in the Mirror (Lucille Lortel Award), among others.

Mr. Ashley is the recipient of the Princess Grace Award, the Drama League Director Fellowship and an NEA/TCG Director Fellowship.

 

Debby Buchholz

Managing Director
Debby Buchholz

was appointed La Jolla Playhouse’s new Managing Director in 2018 and has served as General Manager of the Playhouse since 2002. She is a member of the Executive Committee of the League of Resident Theaters (LORT). In 2009, she received a San Diego Women Who Mean Business Award from San Diego Business Journal. Previously she served as Counsel to the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C. She was a faculty member of the Smithsonian Institution’s program on Legal Problems of Museum Administration. Prior to the Kennedy Center, she served as a corporate attorney in New York City and Washington, D.C. She is a graduate of UC San Diego and Harvard Law School. Ms. Buchholz and her husband, noted author and White House economic policy advisor Todd Buchholz, live in Solana Beach and are the proud parents of Victoria, Katherine and Alexia.

Senior Staff
Executive Producer
Eric Keen-Louie

Eric Keen-Louie (he/him/his) joined the Playhouse in September, 2018, after seven years at The Old Globe, where he started as Associate Producer and later became Associate Artistic Director. At the Globe, he helped guide nearly fifty productions, including the pre-Broadway productions of Bright Star, Allegiance and the Tony Award-winning A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. He co-created the theater’s new play development initiative The Powers New Voices Festival and helped launch the arts engagement programs Community Voices and Globe for All. Keen-Louie spent three years at The Public Theater as the Assistant to the Associate Producer and then Director of Special Projects, working on world premieres by Richard Nelson, Suzan-Lori Parks, and Stephen Sondheim, as well as the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Hair and the creation of The Mobile Unit. Independently, he produced Kingdom and the GLAAD Media Award-winning when last we flew. He also assisted Broadway producer Margo Lion on Hairspray and Caroline, or Change. He is a recipient of The Edward & Sally Van Lier Arts Fellowship for Producing and an alumnus of American Express’ Leadership Academy. He serves as Secretary for the National Alliance of Musical Theatre’s Board of Directors and chairs the organization’s Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility Committee and New Works Committee. He graduated with a B.A. in Dramatic Literature from New York University and an M.F.A. in Theatre Management and Producing from Columbia University, where he received a Dean’s fellowship. He shares his commute to La Jolla with his husband Anthony Keen-Louie, an administrator in student affairs at UC San Diego. He is a proud third-generation Chinese-American.

 

Director of Artistic Development
Gabriel Greene

Gabriel Greene joined La Jolla Playhouse’s artistic staff in 2007. In addition to curating and producing the annual DNA New Work Series, he has dramaturged over two dozen new plays and musicals for the Playhouse, including The Squirrels, Wild Goose Dreams, At the Old Place, Escape to Margaritaville, Miss You Like Hell, JUNK, The Last Tiger in Haiti, Blueprints to Freedom, Up Here, The Darrell Hammond Project, The Who & The What, Milk Like Sugar (also off-Broadway) and Memphis (also Broadway and London; four Tony Awards). With Alex Levy, he wrote Safe at Home, a site-specific show which was developed through the DNA Series and received its world premiere at Mixed Blood Theatre in 2017 (Ivey Award). Goosebumps Alive, his immersive adaptation of R.L. Stine’s best-selling novels (co-written and directed by Tom Salamon) received its world premiere at The Vaults (London) in 2016. He is a graduate of University of Michigan and Trinity College, Dublin.
 

Director of Arts Engagement/In-House Casting
Jacole Kitchen

Jacole Kitchen is the Director of Arts Engagement and In-House Casting at La Jolla Playhouse, spearheading numerous community-based programs. In addition, she teaches acting, improv and professional development for actors through UCSD Extension. Directing credits include the Playhouse’s Performance Outreach Program (POP) Tour production of Light Years Away, Cardboard Piano (Diversionary Theatre), An Iliad (New Village Arts), among others. She was recently named Executive Director of the San Diego Performing Arts League.
 

Director of Philanthropy
Julia B. Foster

A native New Yorker, Julia B. Foster has dedicated the majority of her career to the non-profit arts, in both performance and administration. After earning a B.A. in dance at Washington University in St. Louis, she pursued a professional career in modern dance, musical theater, singing and acting, including six years as a soloist with the Erick Hawkins Dance Company. Later transitioning to arts administration, Foster most recently worked at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa, California, as Vice President of Development, overseeing their successful annual fund campaign that raised a record $10.5 million goal in FY18, and leading the Center’s annual Candlelight Concert gala to its highest net profit finish in its 44 year history. While at the Center, she previously served as the Director of the Capital Campaign, where she oversaw the Center’s $73 million Next Act Capital Campaign, and planned and implemented successful campaign events, including the groundbreaking and opening celebrations for the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza. Past positions at Segerstrom Center include Director of Major Gifts and Director of the Annual Fund. She also co-chaired the Orange County Association of Fundraising Professionals’ National Philanthropy Day fundraiser luncheon. Prior to the Segerstrom Center, Foster held the post of Chief Development Officer at both Project Access and at Irvine Barclay Theatre and served as the Cultural Development Manager for the Vail Valley Foundation in Colorado.

 

Director of Communications
Mary Cook

Mary joined the Playhouse’s Communications team in 2007 after several years in the publishing industry marketing her first love – books. When a position at the Playhouse opened up, she jumped at the opportunity to work in the theatre which she attended as an enthusiastic patron. It turned out to be one of the best decisions of her life. She regularly pinches herself that she is able to work with brilliant storytellers, designers and performers on shows such as Come From Away, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Indecent and the Playhouse’s immersive Without Walls (WOW) Series. In her role she oversees the Marketing & Sales, Publicity and Patron Services functions of the Playhouse with the objective of creating meaningful pathways to bring audiences and artists together. She is a founding member of the Playhouse Leadership Council (PLC), an assembly of brilliant and dedicated arts advocates committed to making the Playhouse more inclusive and accessible. She attended the University of California, Irvine where she got good grades and read a lot of really good books. She and her husband are parents to a vivacious and sassy daughter, a smart and warm son and a simply gorgeous doodle.

 

Director of Public Relations
Becky Biegelsen

Becky joined the La Jolla Playhouse staff in 2009. During her tenure, she has garnered major national coverage in such publications as The New York Times, Time Magazine, American Theatre, LA Times, USA Today for the Playhouse’s world-premiere productions of Hands on a Hardbody, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, The Who & The What and the 2013 Without Walls Festival, among others. Prior to working at the Playhouse, she served as Associate Director of Alumni Communications at UC San Diego and as Director of Public Relations at The Old Globe. She has also held communications positions at Boston’s Citi Performing Arts Center and WNCN-FM classical radio station. Alongside her career in arts administration, Becky has performed professionally, with credits ranging from a European tour of Jesus Christ Superstar to regional productions of Into the Woods, Once Upon a Mattress and The Gift of the Magi, among others. She is a graduate of Carleton College and the American Musical & Dramatic Academy.

 

Director of Sales & Marketing
Mia Fiorella

Mia Fiorella joined the marketing team at Jolla Playhouse in 2011 and has worked on many hit shows like Come From Away, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, Blueprints to Freedom, Junk and Miss You Like Hell – and all Without Walls projects. Her passion is bringing audiences and artists together to share stories, culture and experiences. Mia previously worked as the Audience Development Manager at The Old Globe, and in Chicago as a Publicist with John Iltis & Cheryl Lewin Associates (a film and theatre PR firm) and as the Marketing & Publicity Director for The Noble Fool Theatre and Trinity Irish Dance Company. She is a proud graduate of the Theatre Management program at DePaul University in Chicago. Mia spent the last twenty years playing women’s ice hockey until recently, when she discovered rowing on Mission Bay. Before all of these many journeys, she danced for the Delia Stewart Dance company in Houston, TX (now the Houston Metropolitan Dance Center) and studied modern and jazz dance in New York City.

 

Director of Learning
Bridget Cavaiola

Bridget has been with La Jolla Playhouse since 2017, first as a Teaching Artist, and now as the Director of Learning. She is a San Diego based educator, improviser, and facilitator and has been performing and teaching improv theater and communication strategies to adults and children since 2005. She has been a Master Teaching Artist with Arts for Learning, San Diego, La Jolla Playhouse, and San Diego Junior Theatre and is a performer and teacher with Finest City Improv. She is the former Education Director for the Baltimore Improv Group as well as a former Teaching Artist for Young Audiences of Maryland. She was a Baltimore County Public Schools High School (MD) English and theater teacher for seven years. Bridget is a graduate of the Young Audience of Maryland Teaching Artist Institute and has extensive training in inclusion, professional development, and arts integration. She holds a masters degree in Communicating in Contemporary Cultures and teaches adjunct at the college level. She has performed improv in Baltimore, DC, New York, Chicago, Austin, Philadelphia, London, and San Diego.

 

General Manager
Ryan Meisheid

 

Director of Operations
Ned Collins

 

Director of Finance
Laura Killmer

 

Production Manager
Benjamin Seibert

Ben Seibert (he/him/his) joined the Production Management team at La Jolla Playhouse in 2014. During his time with the Playhouse, he has overseen production activities for dozens of Playhouse-born plays and musicals including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Darrel Hammond Project, Come From Away, JUNK, The Last Tiger in Haiti, Blueprints to Freedom, Escape to Margaritaville, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, Diana and Fly. He began his career as a technician in the Chicago area after graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Theatre Arts from Barat College in Lake Forest, IL. Ben has toured nationally as a technical director and technician and worked in theaters across the country of all sizes. He has worked prominently in the past with The Colorado Shakespeare Festival (Production Manager) and the University of San Diego (Production Manager/Technical Director).

Board of Trustees

Randall L. Clark
Chair

Sheri L. Jamieson
First Vice-Chair

Michael Flaster
Second Vice-Chair

Susan Tousi
Secretary

Scott M. Stanton
Treasurer

1947 Founders
Mel Ferrer
Dorothy McGuire
Gregory Peck

Trustees
Christopher Ashley
Michael Bartell
Denise Bevers
David Bialis
Andrew Boyd
Ralph Bryan*
Debby Buchholz
Robert Caplan
Hope Carlson
Doug Dawson
Edward A. Dennis, Ph.D.
Brian Dovey
Susan Dubé
Hal Dunning
Emily Einhorn
Annie Ellis
Teri Evons
Hanna Gleiberman
Lynn E. Gorguze
Luke Gulley
Kay Gurtin
Clark Guy
Dwight Hare
Osborn Hurston
Debby Jacobs
Joan Jacobs
Cynthia James-Price
Jeanne Jones
Pradeep K. Khosla, Ph.D.
Lynelle Lynch*
Margret McBride*
Lorne Polger
Karen A. Quiñones
Jeffrey Ressler*
David I. Reynoso
Becky Robbins
Don Rosenberg
Tim Scott
Shane Shelley
Karen Silberman
Delicia Turner Sonnenberg
Suzi Sterner
Steven M. Strauss*
Andy Thomas
Mary Walshok, Ph.D.

Honorary Trustees
Peter Cowhey, Ph.D.
Ivan Gayler
John Goodman
Joel Holliday*
Julie Potiker
Geri Ann Warnke*
Gary Wollberg*
Robert Wright, Esq.

Emeritus Trustees
David Copley (1952-2012)
Ted Cranston (1940-2012)
Milton Fredman (1920-2005)
Ewart W. Goodwin, Jr.* (1938-2019)
Hughes Potiker (1925-2005)
Roger Revelle (1909-1991)
Willard P. VanderLaan, M.D.* (1917-2012)
Arthur Wagner, Ph.D. (1923-2015)
Mandell Weiss (1891-1993)

Emerita Trustees
Rita Bronowski (1917-2010)
Marian Jones Longstreth (1906-1997)
Sheila Potiker (1930-2011)
Ellen Revelle (1910-2009)

*Past Chair of the Board

As of May 13, 2021

Staff by Department

Artistic

Executive Producer
Eric Keen-Louie

Director of Artistic Development
Gabriel Greene

Producing Associate
Amy Ashton

Executive Assistant to Christopher Ashley
Rick VanNoy

Director Emeritus
Des McAnuff

Artists Currently Under Commission
Todd Almond, Jeff Augustin, Daniel Beaty, Keith Bunin, Guillermo Calderón, Fernanda Coppel, Kara Lee Corthron, Steph Del Rosso, Kristoffer Diaz, Noah Diaz, Ava Geyer, Idris Goodwin, Kirsten Greenidge, Joe Iconis, Hansol Jung, Mike Lew, Rehana Lew Mirza, Martyna Majok, Mona Mansour, Gregory S. Moss, Lisa Peterson, Theresa Rebeck, Claudia Shear, Christopher Shinn, Mat Smart, Octavio Solis, Benjamin Velez, Keith Wallace, Cheryl L. West, Lauren Yee

Learning and Engagement

Director of Learning
Bridget Cavaiola

Director of Arts Engagement and In-House Casting
Jacole Kitchen

Learning and Engagement Coordinator
Hannah Reinert

Learning and Engagement Assistant
Luis Martinez

Teaching Artists
Andréa Agostino, Frankie Alicea-Ford, Julie Benitez, Leticia De Anda, Julia Cuppy, Kelly Derouin, Farah Dinga, Kristen Fogle, Melissa Glascow, Kirsten Giard, Samantha Ginn, Cory Hammond, Jeffrey Ingman, Levi Kaplan, Justin Lang, Bernardo Mazon, Wilfred Paloma, Michael Shantz, Arielle Siler, Bex Walker, Gary Ware, Sofia Zaragoza

Contact Learning and Engagement: [email protected]

Administration

General Manager
Ryan Meisheid

Assistant General Manager
Samantha De La Riva

 

COMPANY MANAGEMENT

Company Manager
Erica Martin

Company Manager Assistant
Jacob Daniel Sinclair

 

LEGAL COUNSEL

Corporate/Legal Counsel
Robert C. Wright, Wright & L’Estrange

Theatre/Legal Counsel
F. Richard Pappas, Esq.

Finance

Director of Finance
Laura Killmer

Controller
Jared Jackson

Accounts Payable Manager
Sharon Ratelle

Human Resources Manager
Jennifer Boaz

Philanthropy

Director of Philanthropy
Julia B. Foster

Senior Manager, Institutional Giving
Rebecca Pierce Goodman

Senior Manager, Individual Giving
Cristina Hernandez

Philanthropy Operations Manager
Tony Dixon

Corporate Relations Manager
Samantha Watkins

Special Events Manager
Sarah Huddleston

Philanthropy Coordinator
Melvina Bridges

Institutional Giving Coordinator
India Benedetto

Philanthropy Assistant
Anna Juarez

Grant Writing Consultant
Allison Bechill

Communications

Director of Communications
Mary Cook

Director of Public Relations
Becky Biegelsen

Director of Sales & Marketing
Mia Fiorella

Communications Manager
Grace Madamba

Senior Multimedia Designer
Nancy Showers

Multimedia Designer
Phyllis Sa

Marketing Specialist
Jacey Aldredge

Marketing Database Analyst
Dani Meister

Patron Services Sales Specialist
Paul Preston

Sales Concierge
William Guiney

 

PATRON SERVICES

Associate Director of Ticketing Services
Pearl Hang

Senior Patron Services Manager
Travis Guss

Patron Services Assistant Manager
Mike Brown

Senior Lead Patron Services Representative/Group Sales Specialist
Bill Washington

Lead Patron Services Representative
Devin O’Reilly

Operations

Director of Operations
Ned Collins

Operations Manager
Jen McClenahan

Network Systems Specialist
Daryl “Scooter” Davis

 

FRONT OF HOUSE

House Manager
John Craft

Production

Production Manager
Benjamin Seibert

Associate Production Manager
Becca Duhaime

Assistant Production Manager
Carrie Bates

Production Office Manager
Caren Heintzelman

 

SCENE SHOP

Technical Director
William Hartley

Associate Technical Director
Jonathan Gilmer

Assistant Technical Director
Michael Strickland

Shop Foreman
David Weiner

Production Carpenter
Zane Whitmore

Carpenters
Kyle Ahlquist, Michael Brodsky, Jacob Bruce, Matthew Clark, David Hanna, Eszter Julian, Scott Kinney, Brylan Ranscht, Tim Van Der Linde

Charge Artist
Melissa Nalbach

Scenic Artists
Dwaine Best, Jennifer Imbler

 

PROPERTIES SHOP

Prop Shop Supervisor
Deb Hatch

Lead Artisan
Zlatko Mitev

Artisan
Rai Feltmann

 

COSTUME SHOP

Costume Supervisor
Jennifer Ables

Resident Costume Design Assistant
Desiree Hatfield-Buckley

Draper
Alexander Zeek

First Hand
Rebecca Fabares

Stitchers
Stephanie Gift, Keira McGee

Craft Artisan
Tess Mattraw

Hair & Makeup Supervisor
Alberto Alvarado

Wardrobe Supervisor
Junior Bergman

 

ELECTRICS

Electrics Supervisor
Jeff Brewer

Master Electrician
Kristyn Kennedy

Electrician
Alex Cluff

 

SOUND/VIDEO

Sound/Video Supervisor
Timothy Riggs

Head of Sound Department
Daniel Silva

Sound Technicians
Amanda Cohen, Jonathan Fredette

This theatre operates under an agreement between the League of Resident Theatres and the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 122.

Photo credit: René Millán and the cast of American Night, The Ballad of Juan José; photo by Craig Schwartz.

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