Pioneer Theatre Company announced today that Karen Azenberg has been appointed Artistic Director of the theatre, effective today.
Ms. Azenberg will succeed Charles Morey, who stepped down as PTC's Artistic Director after twenty-eight years, on June 30, 2012.
Azenberg is a New York-based freelance director and choreographer who currently serves as the Executive Board President of the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). She has
directed and/or choreographed a number of shows at PTC, including most recently "Next to
Normal," "Rent," "Miss Saigon," and the musical staging for "Les Miserables." She is wellknown in National Theatre circles through her leadership of SDC, the national union for professional directors and choreographers, and as a Board member of the New York Musical Theatre Festival, a preeminent launching pad for new musicals.
She is also a voter for the Tony Awards, and has directed over 60 musicals and plays at theatres across the country.
PTC Board Chairman Paul M. Durham praised the selection of Azenberg and the work of the
Search Committee which forwarded her name to the Board. "We were fortunate that Chuck
Morey gave us eighteen months to find a suitable successor for him," Durham said. "The Search
Committee, under the leadership of Pete Meldrum, and with the assistance of a national search
firm, Management Consultants for the Arts, reviewed over eighty applications from all over the
country. After interviewing a number of highly qualified candidates, the Search Committee
unanimously recommended to the Board of Trustees that Karen was the best candidate to lead
the theatre. I am impressed with Karen as a director and a person. She has a wonderful vision for
the theatre. I couldn't be more delighted that she has accepted the position as the theatre's Artistic
The Search Committee made its recommendation to University Associate Vice President for the
Arts Raymond Tymas-Jones, who met with Azenberg during the interview process and approved her selection. "Pioneer Theatre Company is a vital artistic asset not only to the University of
Utah but for the entire state of Utah, and the position of Artistic Director is a critical one in
protecting and advancing the value of that asset. Karen's background, skills, experience and
national contacts make her uniquely qualified to lead PTC in the coming years."
Speaking of her appointment, Azenberg said, "Every time I come to PTC to direct or
choreograph a show, I have been so impressed with the way the theatre is run—the way it treats
its artists, the resources it puts on the stage, and the extraordinary quality of the staff. As a guest
artist, in over twenty years of free-lance directing, I've never been treated better or been more
proud of the work I put on stage than when I've worked here. And over five extended stays, I've
come to enjoy Salt Lake City and Utah. I'm a born-and-raised New York girl, but my family and
I are truly excited about becoming westerners and Utahns. It's a little daunting to follow Chuck
and all that he's achieved in a remarkable twenty-eight year career. I'll always be grateful that
I've had the benefit of observing his leadership of the theatre before accepting that responsibility
from him. I look forward to my new role as Artistic Director of Pioneer Theatre Company, one
of the great regional theatres in the United States."
The National Theatre community was effusive in its praise of the selection of Azenberg.
SDC Executive Director Laura Penn said, "Karen has a deep love of theatre and an exceptional
knowledge of what it takes to create it. When you combine her respect for producers,
administrators and audiences with her passion for artists and creative collaborators you have
what you need in a great Artistic Director. PTC clearly made a great choice. Her leadership at
SDC has taken us to a new level and I know she will do the same for PTC and the community of
Salt Lake City and beyond. "
Producer Jeffrey Seller ("Rent," "Avenue Q," "Into the Heights"), reached by phone, said,
"Karen Azenberg has Broadway in her blood. Through her friendships and collaborations, with
artists like Jonathan Larson for whom she directed one of his earliest compositions, Karen has
made herself a beloved member of the theatre community. PTC is lucky to have Karen