La Jolla Playhouse artistic director Des McAnuff announced his departure today. The two-time Tony Award-winning McAnuff will not be renewing his contract at the Playhouse, which is scheduled to expire in April 2007.

McAnuff served as artistic director of La Jolla Playhouse from 1983 to 1994 and is credited for reviving the theatre and restoring its cultural significance in San Diego. Key productions include “Big River” in 1985, winning seven Tony Awards, and later “The Who’s Tommy,” awarded five Tonys.

McAnuff returned to the Playhouse in 2001 and directed the much-praised “Jersey Boys,” which went on to Broadway, where it was critically acclaimed. “Jersey Boys” won four of the illustrious Tony Awards earlier this month.

When his contract is up in April, McAnuff will step down from the artistic director position and will assume a newly created title of director emeritus.

“It is my intention to continue to direct plays, raise funds for the Playhouse and serve as an ambassador for the institution far into the future. There is no doubt in my mind that La Jolla Playhouse is absolutely at the forefront of the American resident theatre movement and we expect to attract exceptionally strong leadership after a rigorous search,” said McAnuff in a press release.

Further information on McAnuff’s artistic plans will be announced in the near future. San Diego Opera has already announced his direction of the Alban Berg opera, “Wozzeck,” during the 2007 season.

MOLLY BETTIGA

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