Theater News

Jack Viertel to Step Down as Encores! Artistic Director

Viertel will exit at the end of the 2020 season following 20 seasons as the head of the program.

Jack Viertel will step down as Artistic Director of Encores!
Jack Viertel will step down as artistic director of Encores!
(© David Gordon)

Jack Viertel will step down as artistic director of New York City Center's Encores! at the end of the 2020 series, after 20 seasons as the head of the Tony-honored musical-theater program.

Viertel began his relationship with the venerable series as a member of the founding advisory committee. He was appointed artistic director of Encores! in 2000 along with music directors Rob Fisher, Paul Gemignani, and for the last 12 seasons, Rob Berman. Viertel has overseen more than 60 productions (including gala presentations and Encores! Summer Stars). He will continue to play an active role at City Center in the new position of consulting producer for musical theater.

Highlights of Viertel's tenure include Follies, Gentleman Prefer Blondes, It's a Bird…It's a Plane…It's Superman, and Juno. Viertel also conceived the Encores! revues Stairway to Paradise; Cotton Club Parade, which transferred to Broadway as After Midnight; and Hey, Look Me Over! Encores! productions of The Apple Tree (2005) and Finian's Rainbow (2009) also transferred to Broadway. Viertel was also one of the principal forces behind the creation of the Encores! Off-Center series, which debuted in 2013.

In recognition of Viertel's service to New York City Center and the art form, City Center board co-chair Stacey Mindich will establish the Jack Viertel Award for Outstanding Artistic Achievement, to be awarded annually to an artist or creative team member who has contributed to a musical-theater production at City Center during the past year and who exemplifies excellence in their craft. The recipient will be recognized with an award of $10,000.

City Center plans to announce a successor before the end of 2019 so that they might work alongside the Encores! team throughout the 2020 season.