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Entertainment & Arts

Segerstrom looks to New York for its new president: Casey Reitz of Second Stage

Casey Reitz named Segerstrom’s new president.
Casey Reitz has been named Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ new president. He will take up the role in December.
(Segerstrom Center for the Arts)

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa announced Saturday that its new president will be Casey Reitz, executive director of New York’s Second Stage Theater and part of the Tony-winning producing team for the 2017 best musical “Dear Evan Hansen.”

Reitz, who succeeds Terrence Dwyer, will begin in December.

Reitz led all administrative, marketing, fundraising and financial efforts for the nonprofit Second Stage, which serves 200,000 people annually. Reitz also led the acquisition, renovation and reopening of Broadway’s 107-year-old Helen Hayes Theater.

From 2006 to 2010, Reitz was director of development at the Public Theater in New York, responsible for generating 70% of the organization’s revenue.

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Reitz called the move from New York to Orange County — and from theater specifically to the broader performing arts — “extremely exciting.”

“It’s just a dream come true,” he said. “When you spend your life in the performing arts the way I have, the idea that one day you can lead and run an organization with the breadth and depth of Segerstrom is really amazing.”

Reitz was selected for the position after a six-month search. Segerstrom Board Chairman Mark C. Perry said in the announcement that Reitz’s “style of collaboration and enthusiasm will serve him tremendously as he works closely with our resident arts partners, devoted patrons and greater Orange County community.”

Segerstrom, Orange County’s largest nonprofit arts organization, has three resident companies: the Philharmonic Society of Orange County, Pacific Symphony and Pacific Chorale. The center also hosts major tours of music, theater and dance in 2,000- and 3,000-seat halls, plus public events on its expansive plaza.

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National Dance Day at Segerstrom
The 2018 National Dance Day celebration at the Segerstrom Center for the Arts.
(Joesan Diche)

Growing up in Marietta, Ga., Reitz participated in community arts programs from a young age and said he was particularly drawn to Segerstrom’s desire to “reach a broader and more diverse and youthful audience.”

Through Segerstrom’s free programming, he said, he hopes the community can “start discovering different kinds of art forms and different ways that they either want to participate as audience members or maybe as artists themselves in the future.”

Within the first year of his tenure, Reitz said the organization will begin a new strategic planning process “to really figure out how to take it to the next level and how to build and grow on what has already been built.”

Reitz said it was important to “find programs and artworks that provide an entry point for everybody so that everybody feels welcome.”

The Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ 14-acre campus includes not only its own performance spaces but also embraces the independent South Coast Repertory theaters. The Orange County Museum of Art also has broken ground on a new Thom Mayne-designed home on the Segerstrom campus and is expected to open in 2021.


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