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Though the “Jesus Christ Superstar” production onstage now at La Jolla Playhouse comes to us from Stratford, Ontario, Canada, the director’s somewhat of a hometown hero. Des McAnuff picked up the reins for the Playhouse as a young man and has been widely credited with its resurgence in the 1980s. With just a couple of weeks left for the glittery show before it heads to Broadway, we rustled up some numbers to put our finger on McAnuff’s impact.
• 30: How old McAnuff was when he took over at La Jolla Playhouse.
• 18 years: How long the Playhouse had been on hiatus before McAnuff took the helm.
• 2 stints as artistic director, with a break in the middle for work in the movie biz.
• 8: Shows he directed for the Playhouse that have gone to Broadway (not including “Jesus Christ Superstar”); 15 if you count shows that transferred under his leadership.
• 11 La Jolla Playhouse world premieres he directed.
• 2 prior Broadway revivals “Jesus Christ Superstar” has had.
• 3 months between when the play closes in La Jolla and opens on Broadway.
• 17 Tony Awards for Broadway productions McAnuff directed (2 for his direction: “Big River” and “The Who’s Tommy”).
Did you see the production? I’d love to hear what you thought of it. And share what memories you have from plays McAnuff directed, too, if you’ve got them. Leave us a comment below.
I’m Kelly Bennett, the arts editor for VOSD. You can reach me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 619.325.0531.
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