Helmer Jack O’Brien is ankling his longtime post as a.d. of San Diego’s Old Globe at the end of the year, becoming artistic director emeritus as of Jan. 1.
Top leadership of the theater will be juggled in the wake of O’Brien’s position change, with Jerry Patch, the org’s resident artistic director, and Darko Tresnjak, a.d. of the theater’s annual Shakespeare fest, serving as co-artistic directors. Current exec director Louis G. Spisto will become CEO-exec producer.
O’Brien has been a.d. of the Old Globe for 26 years. During that time, he also has cultivated a diverse career on Broadway as an in-demand helmer of legit offerings including Tom Stoppard plays (“The Coast of Utopia,” “The Invention of Love”), Shakespeare revivals (“Henry IV”) and frothy tuners (“Hairspray,” “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “The Full Monty”). He won a Tony, his third, for “Coast of Utopia” last season.
The Old Globe has regularly incubated Broadway fare, including “A Catered Affair,” which recently wrapped a tryout there ahead of a spring Gotham berth, and “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” an annual Old Globe offering now playing its second stint on the Rialto.
O’Brien will continue his affiliation with the theater in his emeritus post while continuing work as a freelancer. He’s attached to the developing tuner version of “Catch Me If You Can,” with songs by “Hairspray” duo Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman and book by Terrence McNally. A Gotham reading of the musical is planned for early next year.