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National theater figure named artistic director of The Old Globe

SAN DIEGO – Barry Edelstein has been named artistic director of The Old Globe.

A nationally-recognized director, producer, author and educator, Edelstein will work together with managing director Michael G. Murphy to lead San Diego’s flagship arts institution.

Currently the director of The Public Theater’s Shakespeare Initiative in New York City, Edelstein will join The Old Globe on Nov. 1 and will reside full time in San Diego in January.

“Barry Edelstein and Michael Murphy will give The Old Globe a world-class theatrical leadership team and open up a future for the Globe that's even brighter than its illustrious heritage,” said Harold W. Fuson Jr., board chair. “Barry will be a terrific asset to San Diego, helping secure the city’s cultural reputation in the same way our universities make San Diego the center of cutting-edge research. Everyone associated with the Globe owes a great debt of gratitude to Elaine Darwin and the Search Committee for bringing us a leader of Barry’s stature.”

Edelstein is widely recognized as one of the leading authorities on the works of William Shakespeare in the United States, having directed nearly half of the Bard’s works. He is the author of “Bardisms: Shakespeare For All Occasions” and “Thinking Shakespeare,” which New York magazine called “a must-read for actors” and is now considered the standard text on American Shakespearean acting.

As director of the Shakespeare Initiative at The Public Theater, he oversees all of the company’s Shakespearean productions, as well as The Public’s extensive educational, community outreach and artist-training programs. He was associate producer of The Public’s recent Broadway production of “The Merchant Of Venice” starring Al Pacino.

Prior to his work with The Public, Edelstein was the artistic director of the Classic Stage Company in New York City. There Edelstein produced and directed some of New York’s most memorable classical productions. Under his leadership, the Off Broadway theater doubled in size and was recognized with every major theater award, including six Obie Awards and the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Body of Work.

Edelstein’s Shakespearean directorial credits include productions of “The Winter’s Tale” with David Strathairn, “Timon of Athens” with Richard Thomas, “As You Like It” with Gwyneth Paltrow, “Julius Caesar” with Jeffrey Wright and “The Merchant Of Venice” featuring Ron Leibman’s Obie Award-winning performance as Shylock.

His additional credits include the Lucille Lortel Award-winning revival of Arthur Miller’s “All My Sons”; the world premiere of Steve Martin’s “The Underpants,” which he commissioned; Ben Jonson’s “The Alchemist;” and Molière’s “The Misanthrope,” starring Uma Thurman in her stage debut.

He is currently rehearsing the world premiere of “The Twenty-Seventh Man” by renowned fiction writer Nathan Englander, which he developed with the author and which will begin performances at The Public Theater on Nov. 7.

“Our staff and artists are elated that Barry is joining The Old Globe,” Murphy said. “His extraordinary background in contemporary plays, classics and Shakespeare, in addition to his commitment to the creation and development of new works, is a perfect match with the Globe’s history of theatrical tradition and artistic innovation. Barry’s energy and intense love of theater are infectious, and I look forward to welcoming him and his family to San Diego.”

“I am deeply honored and beyond thrilled to be appointed artistic director of one of this country’s greatest theaters,” Edelstein said.

“The Old Globe’s history is one of unparalleled excellence, and it will be my privilege to work alongside Michael Murphy to build on that history and guide the theater into a new period of excitement and achievement. I believe that a thriving theater is vital to the life of a vibrant city, and I am delighted that this opportunity will bring me and my family to one of the most spectacular cities in America. I am grateful to the board and Search Committee for selecting me, and I cannot wait to get to work,” he said.

The Tony Award-winning Old Globe is one of the country’s leading professional regional theaters and has stood as San Diego’s flagship arts institution for over 75 years. The Old Globe produces a year-round season of 15 productions of classic, contemporary and new works on its three Balboa Park stages: the Donald and Darlene Shiley Stage in the 600-seat Old Globe Theatre and the 250-seat Sheryl and Harvey White Theatre, both part of The Old Globe’s Conrad Prebys Theatre Center, and the 605-seat outdoor Lowell Davies Festival Theatre, home of its internationally renowned Shakespeare Festival.

More than 250,000 people attend Globe productions annually and participate in the theater's education and community programs. Numerous world premieres such as “The Full Monty,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “A Catered Affair” and the annual holiday musical, “Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!” have been developed at The Old Globe and have gone on to enjoy highly successful runs on Broadway and at regional theaters across the country.