- by Jacob Coakley
Dámaso Rodriguez is the new artistic director for Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Ore. Rodriguez comes to Artists Rep from Furious Theatre Company in L.A., where he was co-artistic director and was recently one of three finalists for the 2012 Stage Directors & Choreographers Society’s Zelda Fichandler Award.
Dámaso Rodriguez Named New Artistic Director at Artists Repertory Theatre
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – December 6, 2012. Artists Repertory Theatre is pleased to announce that Dámaso Rodriguez has been selected as the next Artistic Director beginning in January 2013. Rodriguez takes the artistic reins of the 30-year-old Artists Rep from retiring Artistic Director Allen Nause, who has led the company for the past 25 years. Well known in Los Angeles for his daring, thrilling and visceral work as a multiple award-winning director, Rodriguez will direct the West Coast Premiere of Ten Chimneys, by Jeffery Hatcher, as his Artists Rep directorial debut in April.
To join Artists Rep in Portland, Rodriguez is leaving his position as Co-Artistic Director of Los Angeles’ Furious Theatre Company, known for its edgy, tightly-wound plays with a visceral aesthetic that he co-founded with an ensemble in 2001. From 2007-2010, Rodriguez served as Associate Artistic Director for Pasadena Playhouse when Artistic Director Sheldon Epps brought Rodriguez on as his protégé after working with him in his Artistic Director capacity with Furious, which began a residency at the Playhouse’s second stage in 2004.
Rodriguez was recently recognized as one of three finalists for the 2012 Stage Directors & Choreographers Society’s “Zelda Fichandler Award,” which is given each year to an “outstanding director who is transforming the regional arts landscape through theatre.” Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Artistic Director, Bill Rauch, won this year’s award.
The artistic leadership will transition over the next six months. Nause and Rodriguez will work together to select Artists Rep’s 2013/14 season and that time overlap will allow for both artistic and staff acclimation to the changeover.
Dámaso Rodriguez, incoming Artists Repertory Theatre Artistic Director offers this statement: “Artists Rep has been built from the humblest of beginnings into one of America’s great theatre companies by an exceptional group of artists, supporters and adventurous audiences. I am honored to follow Allen Nause in leading this extraordinary organization, and to partner with Managing Director Sarah Horton in building upon Allen’s inspiring legacy and Artists Rep's boundless promise. I believe the company’s exquisite facilities with their intimate, yet expansive, performance spaces are among the most exciting in the world for the kind of visceral, immediate, heart-pounding and audience-moving theatre experiences on which Artists Rep has built its reputation – and those are the kinds of bold new plays I intend to keep producing. It is my intention to continue Artists Rep’s commitment to daring and challenging new work and to build the company’s reputation as a generator of provocative new plays and musicals. I endeavor to create a home for the region’s most talented writers and build an environment and process for nurturing new work that inspires writers from around the world to premiere their work in Portland. Additionally, I intend to expand over the months and years ahead Artists Rep’s Resident Acting Company into a larger Ensemble of Artists that will include writers, directors and designers, as well as actors. I hold a sincere, passionate belief in collaboration and that the ensemble model is the best way to form a community of artists, production staff and administrators. I am grateful to the Board for this opportunity and look forward to becoming a part of Portland’s world-class arts landscape and settling with my wife, Sara Hennessy, and our two children into this beautiful city and exceptional community.”
Artists Rep Artistic Director Allen Nause, who is retiring after leading the regional theatre company for past 25 years, says, “I am thrilled that Dámaso Rodriguez will be the next Artistic Director at Artists Repertory Theatre! I am absolutely convinced that he is the ideal person to lead our theater into the future. Dámaso has an artistic aesthetic that resonates beautifully with Artists Rep’s mission. His leadership experience combined with his collaborative nature will allow him to craft, inspire and guide Artists Rep for years to come.”
Pasadena Playhouse Artistic Director Sheldon Epps, in an interview with Los Angeles Times writer Charlotte Stroudt (published January 13, 2008) when Rodriguez was named Associate Artistic Director at Pasadena Playhouse, said, “You only learn this kind of work through on-the-job training. I had a similar opportunity at the Old Globe under Jack O’Brien when he hired me as Associate Artistic Director. I wanted to offer Dámaso the same chance, wherever he ends up.” Epps also said, “I’ve been very impressed with the quality of Dámaso’s work,” he says. “I appreciate his predilection for material that’s different than my own. His aesthetic is slightly off-kilter. But he always works with honesty and deep emotion. And he has a consistent ability to make actors soar.”
Sarah Horton, Artists Rep’s Managing Director, says, “I think Dámaso will help us answer the question that any organization faces when a founding vision leader leaves: How do we evolve and assert our continued relevance without straying from the heart of what’s always made us special?” Horton continues, “His respect for ensemble-driven work and his adventurous aesthetic are classic Artists Rep values. Those qualities are teamed with a drive and curiosity that extend beyond the stage and into the place where the theater lives. I’m very much looking forward to partnering with him.”
Kris Olson, Board Chair and Chair of the Artistic Director Search Team, speaking for Artists Rep’s Board of Directors, says: "We have been at this process since August of 2011, crafting the job profile, casting the net, winnowing the superb candidates to the best of the best, and bringing the top three (of over 100) to Portland for rounds of interviews and receptions with community members. Dámaso will be an outstanding addition to Portland’s artistic community and beyond. He brings the vision, energy and collaborative spirit to Artists Rep’s helm that our audiences have come to expect. I’m sure that in the years ahead, he will attract new audience members with his innovative theatrical sensitivity. We will all be proud to have played a part in bringing this extraordinary talent to our city.”
Dámaso Rodriguez Biography Rodriguez is an award-winning director living in Los Angeles. He is a Co-Founder of Furious Theatre Company, an ensemble-driven theatre committed to daring, socially relevant new plays of visceral impact, where he served as Co-Artistic Director from 2001-2012. From 2007-2010 he served as Associate Artistic Director of the Pasadena Playhouse, where he directed main stage productions and oversaw programming for the Playhouse’s second stage, including its Hothouse New Play Development Program. His directing credits include work at the Pasadena Playhouse, Intiman Theatre, South Coast Repertory, Laguna Playhouse, A Noise Within, The Theatre@Boston Court, Odyssey Theatre, The Blank Theatre, The Road Theatre and Furious Theatre.
Dámaso is a recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award, the Back Stage Garland Award, the NAACP Theatre Award, and the Pasadena Arts Council’s Gold Crown Award. In 2010,
Furious Theatre (more) Company was named to LA Weekly’s list of “Best Theatres of the Decade.” In 2012, he was honored as a finalist for the Zelda Fichandler Award. He is a member of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society.
Recent productions: Ruth & Augustus Goetz' The Heiress (starring Richard Chamberlain), Lillian Hellman’s The Little Foxes (starring Kelly McGillis) and Austin Pendleton’s Orson’s Shadow (starring Sharon Lawrence) at the Pasadena Playhouse; the reading of Steven Drukman’s The Prince of Atlantis for the Pacific Playwrights Festival at South Coast Repertory, Clifford Odets’ Paradise Lost at Intiman Theatre; Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit, Tennessee Williams’ The Eccentricities of a Nightingale, Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under the Elms, Bernard Shaw’s The Doctor’s Dilemma at A Noise Within. Furious Theatre credits include the Los Angeles premieres of Craig Wright's Grace, Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s Boom and Hunter Gatherers, Bruce Norris’ The Pain and the Itch, Yussef El Guindi's Back of the Throat, Richard Bean’s The God Botherers,
Neil LaBute's The Shape of Things, and the world premieres of Alex Jones’ Canned Peaches in Syrup and Matt Pelfrey’s An Impending Rupture of the Belly and No Good Deed, among many others. His film directing credits include the darkly comic feature Pure Shock Value, which was selected as the Centerpiece Film of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, and episodes of the web series A G.A.N.G. by screenwriter Matt Pelfrey (MTV’s Skins). More information at: http://www.damaso-rodriguez.com
Artists Repertory Theatre
Portland’s longest-running theatre company, Artists Repertory Theatre celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. Over the past three decades Artists Rep has made a name for itself offering adventurous plays – comedies, dramas and musicals alike – that are supremely entertaining, thoughtful and provocative. Artists Rep feeds our community’s artistic soul with premieres, re-imagined classics, new play development and educational outreach. More information at www.artistsrep.org
The 2012/13 Artists Repertory Theatre season is presented by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. Premiere season sponsors are Ronni Lacroute/WillaKenzie Estate and The Oregonian. Season hotel sponsors are Mark Spencer Hotel and Hotel deLuxe. The 2012/13 radio sponsor is KINK.FM. Other support comes from Regional Arts Culture Council, Work for Art, Oregon Arts Commission, Harold and Arlene Schnitzer CARE Foundation, All Classical and Maletis Beverage.