NY City Center Appoints Michael S. Rosenberg As New CEO & President

Photo: Photo by Justin McCallum

New York City Center’s Board of Directors, Chair Richard E. Witten today announced Michael S. Rosenberg as incoming President and CEO of the venerable institution. Beginning November 1, Rosenberg succeeds Arlene Shuler who is stepping down after more than 19 years at the helm of Manhattan’s first performing arts center. Rosenberg joins New York City Center with more than 25 years of experience in the nonprofit arts sector, including leadership positions at San Diego’s La Jolla Playhouse (2008 – 2018) and currently at Princeton’s McCarter Theatre Center. 

“After a national search including months of extensive interviews, a unanimous recommendation by our Board Search Committee, and approval by our Board, I am thrilled to announce Michael S. Rosenberg as New York City Center’s incoming President and CEO,” said New York City Center Board Chair Richard E. Witten. “A consummate leader in the arts, Michael has a proven track record when it comes to building, maintaining, and growing artistic communities with a dedication to diversity, equity, and inclusion. He has a profound commitment to City Center’s role as a home for artists and theater for all the people of New York and will build on the extraordinary achievements of our long-serving President and CEO Arlene Shuler, who is stepping down after more than 19 years of exemplary service.”      
“New York City Center holds a singular position in the arts world,” said Michael S. Rosenberg. “One of my earliest and most influential theatrical experiences was at City Center and I am honored to join this organization and help support artists who are consistently creating work that inspires so many people. Together with the staff and Board, I look forward to connecting this work to our growing community.”

As president and CEO, Rosenberg will work in tandem with the artistic and executive leadership team and staff to continue to fulfill City Center’s mission to make the best in the performing arts accessible to all audiences through celebrated dance and musical theater series like the Fall for Dance Festival and the Tony-honored Encores! series, art exhibitions, studio events, and education and community engagement programs.  

Michael S. Rosenberg has had a long and distinguished career leading for-profit and nonprofit institutions to successfully expand audiences and engage communities by supporting artists to create their best work. Beginning with Drama Dept., the Greenwich Village artists collective he co-founded with Douglas Carter Beane and Cynthia Nixon, and carrying through to today, Rosenberg has been a champion for artists. As Managing Director of La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego, he worked with Artistic Director Christopher Ashley to oversee the development and production of the smash-hit Come from Away, along with a host of other acclaimed productions, many of which transferred to Broadway, Off-Broadway, and the West End. During his tenure, the Playhouse was awarded multi-million-dollar grants from the NEA and the Wallace and Irvine Foundations to support initiatives focused on developing multi-ethnic projects, expanding opportunities for family engagement, and building community arts programs. Most recently as Managing Director of McCarter Theatre Center, Rosenberg was part of the evolution of the historic theater, expanding programming to include concerts, family-friendly performances, and multi-disciplinary events that reflect the needs of the community. His work in building diversity, equity, and inclusion encompasses audiences, artists, and administrators alike, prioritizing the recruitment and training of ethnically and racially diverse staff. Throughout his career he has worked with city, state, and federal governments to substantially increase arts funding. At each of the four companies he has run, Rosenberg created unique business models, partnerships, and funding initiatives to sustainably support the work that artists want to create.

NEW YORK CITY CENTER has played a defining role in the cultural life of the city since 1943. The distinctive Neo-Moorish building was founded by Mayor Fiorello La Guardia as Manhattan’s first performing arts center with the mission of making the best in theater, dance, and music accessible to all audiences. This commitment continues today through celebrated dance and musical theater series like the Fall for Dance Festival and the Tony-honored Encores! series, as well as new dance series Artists at the Center and the City Center Dance Festival. Dedicated to a culture built on the principles of diversity, equity, and inclusion, City Center welcomes more than 300,000 annual visitors to experience internationally acclaimed artists on the same stage where legends like George Balanchine, Leonard Bernstein, Barbara Cook, José Ferrer, Martha Graham, and Paul Robeson made their mark. Home to a roster of renowned national and international companies including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (City Center’s Principal Dance Company) and Manhattan Theatre Club, City Center’s dynamic programming, art exhibitions, and studio events are complemented by education and community engagement programs that bring the performing arts to thousands of New York City students, teachers, and families every year, in all five boroughs. NYCityCenter.org