Howard Shangraw Named New Artistic Director of Hi-Desert Playhouse

by Naomi Crews
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The Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s prestigious Hi-Desert Playhouse theater division has named celebrated actor, director, educator, and playwright/composer Howard Shangraw as its new Artistic Director.Howard Shangraw, new artistic director of the theatre division at Hi-Desert Playhouse has more than 30 years’ experience and has directed numerous productions at Idyllwild Arts Academy, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Pacific Resident Theatre, Matrix Theatre, the Idyllwild Actors Theatre and more. 

Hi-Desert Playhouse Names Shangraw As New Artistic Director

JOSHUA TREE, CA – The Hi-Desert Cultural Center’s prestigious Hi-Desert Playhouse theater division has named celebrated actor, director, educator, and playwright/composer Howard Shangraw as its new artistic director.  As the region’s largest and oldest performing and visual arts non-profit organization, and as the most-awarded theater in the region this most recent season, the upcoming 2015-2016 theatrical season will see much expansion with exceptional new and rewarding opportunities for directors, actors, playwrights, and enthusiasts that are not available elsewhere.

With more than thirty years’ experience, Howard Shangraw has directed numerous productions at Idyllwild Arts Academy, American Academy of Dramatic Arts, Pacific Resident Theatre, Matrix Theatre, and the Idyllwild Actors Theatre; to name a select few. For many years he was a resident actor with South Coast Repertory Theatre, and he has acted with the Mark Taper Forum, Pacific Resident Theatre, Laguna Playhouse, Grove Shakespeare Theatre, Odyssey Theatre, Bank Street Playhouse, the Manhattan Theater Club in New York, and more.  Shangraw garnered a first-place Best Director award from the AACT Festival in Barcelona, Spain and is a multi-award recipient of the Dramalogue Critics Award for direction and acting.  He has been active in film and television appearing in films such as Raging Angels, The Fantastic Four, and What I Did For Love and in television series such as Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Cagney and Lacey, Frasier, Hill Street Blues, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Wings, and The Judge.  He is a graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and is currently the Director of Theatre and Musical Theatre for ARTS-Ed Plus.  He was the theatre chair for Idyllwild Arts Academy from 2004-2014, and core faculty/director at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts from 1992-2004.  In January of this year he joined the Hi-Desert Arts Academy, a first-rate arts educational program developed by the Hi-Desert Cultural Center and Hope Academy Charter, as its Theater Chair and he will be leading the Summer Youth Theater program that culminates in a full-scale production of Disney’s The Lion King Jr.  

“I'm thrilled to be joining the Hi-Desert Cultural Center and am hugely excited by the ambitious re-imagining the Playhouse promises to deliver to audiences, staff and artistic collaborators, as well as the community,” states new Hi-Desert Playhouse Artistic Director Howard Shangraw.  “There are great opportunities ahead and I share in the passion the president and the board has expressed to produce great and inspiring theatre, and I look forward to working with the community and with the board members, artists and artisans in leading the Hi-Desert Playhouse on the next exciting leg of its journey.”