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San Diego Rep Managing Director Larry Alldredge Retires After 13 Years

Say it isn’t so. Managing Director Larry Alldredge at the San Diego Repertory Theatre has announced his intention to retire from his position soon, but not until his replacement arrives

Lyceum Theatre
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For that to happen, San Diego Rep has hired an executive search firm to nationally look for a new managing director. Since Alldredge is unique in his background and purpose as related to the theater world, he will be tough to match. Experience informs us, however, that there are other unusual candidates out there who will bring a fresh approach to the job. Nevertheless, it’s very hard to imagine anyone as motivated and more qualified than Alldredge, the perfect person at the absolutely most crucial time in the Rep’s history, and that’s saying something, because the Rep has had many close calls over the years.

Alldredge is very well regarded in the theater world. While his lifelong love of theater was fostered by community theater in Terre Haute, Indiana, Alldredge’s professional career was in satellite communications at Qualcomm, where he retired as Vice President of Technology. Along the way, he and his wife, Dawn Moore, became ardent fans and patrons of the Rep. Alldredge served on the Board of Trustees. Moore, who also worked at Qualcomm, eventually became president of the Rep’s Board.

Larry Alldredge and Dawn Moore
Larry Alldredge and Dawn Moore

What, in particular, in addition to his and Moore’s passion for theater in general, drew him to this theater? He says, “The Rep’s work appealed to my own progressive political and social values. It is the only theater in the country to include the words ‘progresive, political, and social values’ in its mission… We consider progressiveness in the purest sense of the word, continually striving to improve the world we live in. We consider creating theater not only an act of artistic virtuosity, but also an act of citizenship. We love using our art, not only to entertain, but also to provoke conversations on important social issues.” 

Six Women with Brain Death or Expiring Minds Want to Know
Six Women with Brain Death or Expiring Minds Want to Know

Alldredge assumed the role of the Rep’s managing director at the time of the 2008 financial crisis and is leaving as the COVID-19 pandemic is still raging in the world. During his tenure, from 2008 until 2020, San Diego Rep’s annual revenue grew by 175 percent, which included a contributed income increase of 115 percent. Keep in mind all of this occurred in the midst of myriad construction and renovation projects in and around the Lyceum Theatres and Horton Plaza. The Lyceum Theatres has two venues in which San Diego Rep performs. Landlord for the Lyceum Theatre is the Horton Plaza Theatre Foundation, originally created as a subsidiary of Centre City Development Corporation. Created in 1975, CCDC was terminated by the City of San Diego in 2012 and the Horton Plaza Theatre Foundation was assigned to a different entity, but remains landlord.

Sam Woodhouse and Doug Jacobs
Sam Woodhouse and Doug Jacobs

Sam Woodhouse, Douglas Jacobs, and Willa Mann officially founded San Diego Rep in 1976 with the idea of creating a cultural town hall in mind. The Rep was launched with a summer season of plays at San Diego City College in 1976 with the San Diego Summer Comedy Festival. That was followed by a half dozen other fairly progressive shows. In 1977, the company moved into a former funeral home named St. Cecilia’s. A team of volunteers renovated the building, restored the church pews, and produced the second Annual Comedy Festival at what was then named the Sixth Avenue Playhouse. The Rep had a home and some excellent work was done there. A wide array of plays was performed at that venue. A young Whoopi Goldberg was featured. Comedies, innovative, challenging, and tragic plays were performed.

Whoopi Goldberg in Mother Courage

But 1985 was a major turning point when Horton Plaza was built and the Horton Plaza Theatre Foundation was formed. San Diego Rep secured a permanent home and HPTF was designated as landlord of the Lyceum. Two years later, focus on diversity and Latino and African American writers began to be a major focus of the Rep. Founder of the Lipinsky Family San Diego Jewish Arts Festival, Todd Salovey, insured the representation of the International Jewish diaspora through theater, music, and dance. The third decade saw work directed, written, and performed by William Virchis, Richard Montoya, Ric Salinas, and Herbert Siguenza. When Alldredge assumed the position of managing director in the fourth decade, he was already very familiar with the Rep. In the ensuing years under his management, such diverse and ambitious productions as A Hammer, a Bell and a Song; The Dybbuk for Hannah and Sam’s Wedding; Water & Power (Culture Clash); the ambitious The Threepenny Opera; the Federal Jazz Project; In the Time of the Butterflies, and Vietgone came to life on the Lyceum stage. During the COVID-19 pandemic, many outstanding theatrical productions have been virtually performed. The Rep’s long history of championing diversity in all aspects of theater had laid a foundation for meeting increased racial and cultural challenges in the USA. Meanwhile, Hershey Felder has continued to produce and perform in biographical treatments of great composers on stage to live audiences as well as virtually. Felder has a huge following and is very fond of the Rep.

Vietgone

During his time as managing director, Alldredge has doubled the operating budget, guided the company forward, built a solid staff, and has been a champion of the Rep’s Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Strategic Action Plan goals. The Great Recession of 2008 had just begun when Alldredge stepped up, and since that time he has accepted no salary. In addition, he and Moore have donated millions of dollars to the theater. He has been a partner with Sam Woodhouse, and a smart decision maker as well as a peacemaker. Larry Alldredge is an incredibly capable man, but, even more than that, he is a superbly decent human being. sdrep.org

Larry Lyceum outside of the Lyceum Theatre at the beginning of pandemic
Image Credits Larry Lyceum Pandemic: Photo by Peggy Ryan, Vietgone: Photo by Daren Scott

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