The former head of the Broadway League and a Broadway producer, Bernstein quits in order to get back to creative and producing activities, according to a memo Bernstein sent the Lincoln Center staff. Prior to joining Lincoln Center, Bernstein had produced Broadway shows including “Driving Miss Daisy,” and had also served as the impresario who got the Bucks County Playhouse back up and running.
“As I have considered my future, I have come to realize that the next step for me should be a return to direct engagement with what makes me happiest: creating and producing,” Bernstein said in the memo.
Given his background in for-profit showbusiness, Bernstein was a surprising choice for the lead role at Lincoln Center, the umbrella nonprofit uniting 11 arts organizations including the Metropolitan Opera and Lincoln Center Theater. Past presidents tended to be drawn from public service or city government sectors.
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Bernstein came aboard just as Lincoln Center was wrapping up its $1.2 billion renovation of the entire campus, but he leaves just in the final phases of fundraising begin on the renovation of what is now David Geffen Hall, the building for which Geffen ponied up $100 million. That renovation could reportedly cost $500 million.During Bernstein’s brief tenure, he launched a new series of cinemacasts, Lincoln Center at the Movies, inspired by the Metropolitan Opera’s successful Live in HD programming, and kicked off the initiation of a performing arts-focused hall of fame.
Bernstein officially exits next week, at which point Lincoln Center board chair Katherine Farley will oversee a transition team of Lincoln Center executives and launch a search for Bernstein’s replacement.