Los Angeles' Center Theatre Group has a new artistic director: Snehal Desai, who is joining the company after a seven-year tenure as producing artistic director of East West Players. Desai will officially join beginning in August, working alongside Managing Director and CEO Meghan Pressman.
Desai succeeds Michael Ritchie, who retired at the end of 2021. The theatre company has been led by Pressman and an associate artistic director team of four—including Lindsay Allbaugh, Tyrone Davis, Neel Keller, and Kelley Kirkpatrick—in the interim.
"Center Theatre Group is a cultural force in the American theatre, and I am honored to be its next artistic director," says Desai in a statement. "CTG’s vibrant legacy has been built by being the home for the preeminent theatrical artists of our time and the next great American play. I am humbled by the opportunity to enrich that legacy by uplifting and centering the diverse and thriving communities that comprise the beating heart of Los Angeles. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that comes with the rarest of gifts for an Angeleno—an even shorter morning commute. I look forward to working with Center Theatre Group’s board, artists, staff, and patrons in ensuring that CTG is a vital, timely, and relevant cultural home for all of Los Angeles."
During his time at East West Players, Desai produced and directed three of the company's highest-grossing productions, including a post-Broadway run of Allegiance starring George Takei. Desai currently serves on the board of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, and is a former faculty member of USC's graduate-level Arts Leadership program.
"Words cannot truly express just how elated I am to have Snehal join me in leadership at Center Theatre Group," adds Pressman. "I first met Snehal in graduate school, and I have watched him in admiration navigate a career that established his reputation as being both an extraordinarily talented and passionate artist, as well as an innovative and fearless leader. As we embark on a new chapter, I look forward to no longer having to simply admire his work from afar, but to get to work alongside Snehal to carry on the great legacy of Center Theatre Group, while creating a theatre that is built not just for this moment, but also for the future."
The appointment follows a national search led by Arts Consulting Group and an internal committee made up of CTG board members.