Playhouse finds new managing director

Six months after the abrupt resignation of Richard Stein as managing director of the Laguna Playhouse, the theater has filled the vacant position.

Karen Wood, previously managing director of the San Diego Repertory Theater for seven years, will fill the executive post as of Feb. 4.

Wood has a lengthy tenure in Southern California’s performing arts community. Prior to her stint with the San Diego theater, she served as managing director of the Music Center Education Division in Los Angeles, general manager of the John Anson Ford Theater through the County Arts Commission of Los Angeles and general manager of the Mark Taper Forum/Center Theater Group of Los Angeles.

“I am delighted to be joining in the leadership of the Laguna Playhouse," Wood stated in a press release. “I look forward to the process of exploring and creating a path for growth that will deepen our service to the local and regional community and continue our commitment to the enhancement of the field nationally."


Andrew Barnicle, who has served as artistic director of the playhouse for 16 years, stated in the release, “I am thrilled to partner with Karen as we enter an era of new growth at the Laguna Playhouse. Her experience and personality make her an ideal choice for this position.

“She has proven in all of her endeavors to be a distinguished administrator who also understands and loves artists and the art of theater," Barnicle added. “During the search process, the word most often used in connection with her was ‘integrity.’"

Wood was selected after an extensive, six-month, nationwide search. The announcement was made by Andrew Donchak, president of the playhouse’s board of directors.

“I am so pleased to have this opportunity to join the extraordinary team and the Laguna Playhouse and the lovely community of Laguna Beach," Wood stated. “Andy Barnicle’s depth of experience and strong creative spirit, coupled with the board of directors’ scope of knowledge and passion for the playhouse, are inspiring."


Wood is joining a theater organization that has been in continuous operation since its founding in 1920, evolving from a community theater group to a professional operation that is a member of the League of Resident Theaters and a constituent of the Theater Communications Group, the national organization of American professional theater.