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Damaso Rodriguez to head Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland

Arts and CultureRichard ChamberlainWilliam HurtGeorge Bernard Shaw

Dámaso Rodriguez -- a familiar presence in the Southern California theater scene for his work at the Pasadena Playhouse and the Furious Theatre Company -- has been named the new artistic director of the Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Ore. His appointment begins in January, the company said.

Rodriguez, 38, will step down from his current position as co-artistic director of the Furious and will move to the hipster capital for the new job.

Rodriguez called the job "a good fit for me" because Artists Repertory does the kind of adventurous new work he put on at the Furious.

Earlier this year, Rodriguez directed a revival of "The Heiress" at the Pasadena Playhouse. He previously worked as the company's  associate artistic director from 2007 to 2010, when the playhouse temporarily shut down due to financial difficulties.

He said the time he spent as associate artistic director at the playhouse "opened my mind to the direction of possibly running a regional theater someday."

He co-founded the Furious in 2001. The company was in residence at Pasadena Playhouse until last year.

Rodriguez has directed productions at theaters around L.A., including a recent production of George Bernard Shaw's "The Doctor's Dilemma" at A Noise Within. At Artists Rep, he will direct "Ten Chimneys" by Jeffrey Hatcher as his company directorial debut in April.

Artists Rep has been headed for the last 25 years by artistic director Allen Nause, who is retiring, according to the company. The company produces a mix of new plays and musicals, as well as revivals of classics. In 2010, it hosted the Sydney Theatre Co.'s production of "Long Day's Journey Into Night," starring William Hurt and directed by Andrew Upton.

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