Geffen taps Arney to top

Exec fills empty artistic director post

Randall Arney has been named artistic director of L.A.’s Geffen Playhouse, joining producing director Gilbert Cates and managing director Lou Moore atop the regional theater, which is currently in its fourth full season.

Arney served as a.d. at Chicago’s esteemed Steppenwolf Theater Co. from 1987-1995. There he directed such plays as “The Beauty Queen of Leenane,” “Death and the Maiden” and Steve Martin’s “Picasso at the Lapin Agile,” which he later directed at the Geffen, as well.

Under Arney, the Steppenwolf transferred several productions to Broadway, including “The Grapes of Wrath,” the 1990 Tony winner for best play.

Until now, the Geffen had been operating without an official artistic director, making it an anomaly among regional nonprofits. Topper Cates had chosen the more unusual title of producing director.

“I see myself as coming to reinforce the artistic vision,” Arney told Daily Variety. “It’s not going to be a turn on the dime for the Geffen. Gil Cates has done everything from the classics to world premieres. Those tastes run very closely to mine.”

In a statement, Cates said, “I welcome Randy as an artistic partner at the Geffen.” He added that “for some time, we’ve been looking for the right person to join us and Randy is the perfect match.”

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