Asolo Repertory Theatre Announces Peter Rothstein as New Producing Artistic Director
Rothstein will succeed Michael Donald Edwards starting July 1, 2023
(SARASOTA, FLA) — After an extensive international search, Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Board of Directors has selected Peter Rothstein as the new incoming producing artistic director. Rothstein has accepted a five-year contract and will assume the role on July 1, 2023, following the planned departure of Michael Donald Edwards on June 30, 2023.
“We were overwhelmed by the number of well-qualified candidates that applied for the position,” noted Asolo Rep Board President Randell Johnson. “The nine-month process and the search committee’s hard work paid off. The final four candidates visited Asolo Rep, met with board members and spent quality time with the staff. The overwhelming consensus was that Peter Rothstein is the perfect person to be Asolo Rep’s next producing artistic director.”
Johnson continued, “Peter is a visionary theatre artist, a seasoned director and an experienced and humble leader who can bring a new generation of musicals and plays to Asolo Rep. I think he offers a new perspective and energy for the Sarasota community and will continue our theme ‘Broadway Begins Here.’”
Rothstein is the founding artistic director of Theater Latté Da, a Minneapolis-based company dedicated to adventurous music-theatre, and an accomplished director of theatre, musical theatre, opera and new work development. Rothstein has directed 82 main-stage productions, including 13 world premieres, for Theater Latté Da since its inception in 1998. In addition to Theater Latté Da, Rothstein has directed for Asolo Rep (Sweeney Todd and Ragtime), Guthrie Theater, Children’s Theatre Company, The 5th Avenue Theatre, Minnesota Opera, Florida Grand Opera and an upcoming world premiere for Chicago Opera Theater. Before assuming his new role, Rothstein will return to Asolo Rep to direct Man of La Mancha, May 13-June 11, 2023.
“From my first collaboration with Asolo Rep in 2018, I felt a true simpatico,” said Rothstein. “It was so clearly a place that prioritized artists and the creative process. Throughout the course of my interviews, I was able to engage with many of the organization’s stakeholders and was inspired by their profound investment in the company. They are rightly proud of what Asolo Rep has accomplished over its robust history, but equally unafraid to dream about what it may become. I am honored to be a part of its next chapter.”
Rothstein has a deep commitment to artistic excellence and the creation of new work, supporting playwrights, composers and lyricists. He has received grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Theater Communications Group, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation. Additionally, he has been a panelist and evaluator for the Playwrights’ Center, the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals.
“Asolo Rep’s 2022-23 season will always be remembered as the ‘Season of Change’ because of the change in artistic leadership,” said Johnson. “After 18 years of visionary leadership, Michael Donald Edwards has elevated Asolo Repertory Theatre onto the national stage through his excellence in programming, production design, and his direction of new and classic musicals and plays. Michael’s impact on Asolo Rep and the Sarasota community has been groundbreaking. Musicals became central to Asolo Rep’s artistic vision. World premieres have become a regular occurrence, with two making their way to Broadway. New work has been given a voice in our seasonal lineup. A tireless advocate for the artistic process, Michael expanded production and scenic studios and has added housing for visiting artists. The most recent addition to Asolo Rep’s portfolio is the Robert and Beverly Koski Center and its state-of-the-art Coville Rehearsal Hall. Michael’s vision has elevated what’s possible.”
Over the next several months of the leadership transition, Rothstein will collaborate extensively with current Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards. This collaboration will include selection of shows, as well as artistic team and casting choices for the 2023-24 season, to be announced this spring.
Asolo Rep Managing Director Linda DiGabriele also announced her planned departure when her contract expires in June 2023. That search is in its final stages, with Rothstein participating in the selection process.
Peter Rothstein - Biography
Peter Rothstein works extensively as a director of theatre, musical theatre, opera and new work development. He is the Founding Artistic Director of Theater Latté Da, a Minneapolis-based company dedicated to adventurous music-theatre. Since the company’s inception in 1998, Rothstein has directed 82 main-stage productions, including 13 world premieres. In 2012 the company launched NEXT, a major new works initiative for the development of new music-theatre. Over the past decade Theater Latté Da has supported playwrights, composers, and lyricists in the creation of 35 new musicals, operas and plays with music.
Directing highlights include Sweeney Todd and Ragtime for Asolo Repertory Theatre; Other Desert Cities, Choir Boy, M. Butterfly and Private Lives for the Guthrie Theater; record-breaking productions of Annie, The Wizard of Oz, and the world premiere of Disney’s High School Musical for the Children’s Theatre Company; Romeo and Juliet, Doubt, and Once on This Island for Ten Thousand Things; Ragtime, Guys and Dolls and Oklahoma! for The 5th Avenue Theatre; and award-winning productions of Merrily We Roll Along, Assassins, Chicago, and Twelve Angry Men: A New Musical for Theater Latté Da. Opera credits include Fellow Travelers, Diana’s Garden, and Cosi fan tutte for the Minnesota Opera, as well as productions for Boston Lyric Opera, Florida Grand Opera, and the upcoming world premiere of The Life and Death(s) of Alan Turing with Chicago Opera Theater.
Rothstein is the creator of All Is Calm: The Christmas Truce of 1914, which premiered in a live broadcast on Minnesota Public Radio in 2007 and has now been seen around the globe airing on PBS. All Is Calm had its off-Broadway debut in 2018, receiving the Drama Desk Award for Unique Theatrical Experience. He is also the co-creator of Steerage Song, along with musician and storyteller Dan Chouinard. Steerage Song is a docu-musical about the European American immigrant experience between 1845 and 1924 seen through the lens of the current immigration debate.
Rothstein was named the Minnesota Artist of the Year by the Star Tribune, Theater Artist of the Year by Lavender Magazine, and Best Director of the Year by City Pages. In 2017, Rothstein was named the Social Entrepreneur of the Year by the College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. He has been awarded grants and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Theater Communications Group, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the McKnight Foundation.
Rothstein has served on the board of directors for the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, Alive and Kickin’ and the Twin Cities’ Ivey Awards. He also served on the steering committee for the creation of the Minnesota Theater Alliance. He has been a panelist and evaluator for the Playwrights’ Center, the McKnight Foundation, the Minnesota State Arts Board and the National Alliance for Musical Theatre’s Festival of New Musicals.
Rothstein has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music and Theater from St. John’s University and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Directing from University of Wisconsin–Madison.
ABOUT ASOLO REP
Now in its 64th season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season, including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations. Visit asolorep.org to learn more.