Edit ModuleShow Tags

Jack's Next Stage


(page 1 of 3)

Almost from the moment in 1981 when Jack O’Brien became artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre, those aware of his reputation, ability and ambition began asking him when he was going to leave. Well, it’s 21 years later and, fortunately for San Diego and its ballooning theatrical reputation, he hasn’t left. Yet although he cherishes the city and his organization (now the Globe Theatres), his departure and its date could hinge on our civic leaders’ vision and capabilities.

O’Brien believes he’s developed the Globe about as far as he can, given present circumstances. But he has a grand dream for the next level that, if realized, will make the city a world mecca for theatergoers and a national leader in the arts.

“What I’d like to do,” he says during an animated interview in Chateau Brien, his charming Mission Hills home, “is turn this into a Glyndebourne [England’s world-renowned opera festival site], a place designed as a round table for major American theater people to make an investment.” The Globe, he envisions, would be “a destination camp of superior quality where, at any given time, at least four other major artists are sitting at the table with me making policy.”

O’Brien says he’s made this proposal to “everybody,” then lists names including producer Hal Prince, director Mike Nichols and choreographer Graciela Daniela: “In, say, 2004, would you come and join me for three years, or two years, at X amount of money, for which you would give me three pieces of work—the hot commercial property you’re now refining, and we’ll launch it here; one major classical piece; and one that we, your colleagues, think you should do or something you’ve always wanted to do and no one’s ever let you. And every one of them has said, ‘When do you want me?’

“There are directors in this country every bit as good as I am, but few that are better—and I’m the best host. I cook, and I’m comfortable with lots of egos. I love other people’s work, and I love other people to succeed. I’m completely secure.”

The cost, O’Brien knows, is daunting. “I’m talking about a lot of money. We have a $3 million endowment. We need between $30 and $50 million right now to even take this seriously, and the board has approved it and wants to go after it. They know what I want.

“Mike Nichols came out for a board meeting and stood with me and spoke eloquently of the necessity to do this—that there’s no place designated where American theater people can go and do their best work. And then we decide whether you all should come to San Diego to see the work. Or whether we’ll send it on the road. Or we’ll take it into a commercial engagement. Or take it to London and forget the rest of the country. Or shoot it for television. We’re all very conversant in these matters.

“Where else is this going to happen? It’s not going to happen in New York, because The New York Times wouldn’t allow it. It won’t happen in Los Angeles, because L.A. isn’t live theater, basically. San Francisco’s a closed shop.

“We could claim a territorial imperative that is ours by right, from 65 years of continuity, that would rival anyone’s in the world. And our proximity to Los Angeles and the talent base is there. I have an easier time casting people in San Diego from Los Angeles than they do for theater, because there, it represents nothing more than an audition for another film. But when they come here, they’re treated seriously and they’re taken seriously and they’re produced beautifully. They know that.

“People say, ‘But unfortunately, this is a bad time.’ Is it? I think this is exactly the time when somebody with fire in his belly should get up and say, ‘Let’s create something out on the water. Let’s show everybody that we have something more than a sports franchise and a zoo.’”
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

San Diego's Best New Restaurants 2015

From upscale modern Mexican to a hole-in-the-wall Thai spot, food critic Troy Johnson reveals his 10 favorite new eateries of 2015

The Beer Lover's (Ice) Bucket List

Need a New Year's resolution? Further your beer education by trying these 15 must-drink brews

Architecture: Modern Wonder

Inside Rob Quigley and Kathleen Hallahan’s award-winning East Village domicile
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Dear Chargers, It's Over
    A pre-emptive breakup letter to the team we love
  2. Healthcare Goes High-Tech
    Dr. Eric Topol is putting health care in the palms of our hands
  3. Be Seen This Fall in Rancho Mirage
    Enter To Win a 2 Night Stay Package at The Luxurious Westin Mission Hills Golf Resort & Spa
  4. Growing Up in San Diego
    26 memories of being a kid in America's Finest City
  5. Incoming: Liberty Public Market
    San Diego's big public market unveils three big new concepts
  6. FIRST LOOK: Duke's La Jolla
    For decades, Top of the Cove in La Jolla held one of the most iconic restaurant spots in San Diego. Now they've finally filled that space. Take an exclusive first look at Duke's La Jolla.
Edit ModuleShow Tags


October is Rideshare Month

Join the Rideshare 2015 Challenge and get there together

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags


Win Dinner for Two at Black&Blue Steakhouse

Win dinner for two at Black&Blue Steakhouse and $25 in Free Slot Play at Valley View Casino

MADE IN AMERICA — Craft Icons of the 50 States

MADE IN AMERICA is the last exhibition in Mingei International Museum’s American Icons series, celebrating 100 years of folk art, craft and design from coast to coast.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags