Arlene Shuler, President of New York City Center, has announced that she will step down from the role on January 15th, 2019. Ms. Shuler said that she will be ready for a break after working on numerous causes for the last two decades. Ms. Shuler led the center, one of the world’s preeminent venues for live musical theater, from its establishment in 1961 to the year 2000, during which it became a part of the acclaimed Lincoln Center Festival. Under her leadership, as well as that of legendary artistic director George C. Wolfe, who stepped down last year, the center oversaw the addition of four new venues in the past decade: the Underland Theater, the Sheldon Theater, the Jacobs Theater, and a third stage that is under construction at the 1 Penn Plaza Arts Center. New York City Center proudly presents more than 150 productions a year and celebrates its 150th anniversary in 2020.
Arlene Shuler was appointed President of the New York City Center in 1999, having served as Assistant General Manager for the New York City Center since 1988. During her time there, she had worked closely with the company’s founders and professional staff, and was instrumental in steering New York City Center into the 21st century. In her new role as a patron and supporter of the arts, Ms. Shuler will direct her attention towards advocacy for those organizations and institutions that serve our community — those who play such a vital role in our cultural heritage.
Ms. Shuler said, “I have been fortunate to have had the best years of my professional life at New York City Center, but it is time for me to move on. Our facility has continued to have new ideas and exciting new programming, and I am proud to be part of its legacy, but now I am excited to take on new challenges as a patron and supporter of the arts.”
“She is a powerhouse. That’s the truth. She’s built a machine out of the things that she did,” Andrew Sarris once said of Ms. Shuler. ‘The success of New York City Center had to be to her credit.’ Ms. Shuler’s commitment to putting New York City Center first, and ensuring that Broadway’s champions would have access to one of the greatest facilities in the world, have guided the growth of the center and the city’s cultural landscape. In his 2008 New York Times obituary of Mr. Wolfe, Charles Isherwood wrote, “Ms. Shuler has been one of the center’s chief promoters.”
Ms. Shuler joined New York City Center in 1988 as an Assistant GM. She was promoted to General Manager in 1989, and eventually became VP of Marketing in 1998.
Today, Ms. Shuler continues to help New York City Center and its artists and audiences thrive. She has served on its board of trustees for many years, and she still has the keys to the city, housed in her home in the Meatpacking District.
“Arlene has set a standard of excellence as a producer, administrator, director, and advocate for the arts throughout her career,” stated Laura Benanti, Ms. Shuler’s former associate producer at City Center. “It has been an honor to be associated with her for so many years.”
On behalf of the New York City Center Board of Trustees, President Geoffrey Kent commented, “Arlene’s dedication to our facility and its mission has been extraordinary. From its opening in 1960 to its transition into a cultural powerhouse 20 years later, she inspired generations of artists, helped grow the capacity of New York City Center to perform throughout the city, and will continue to serve as an artistic ambassador to communities throughout the world.”
In her time at New York City Center, Ms. Shuler has remained committed to a passionate brand of theatrical expression that is authentic, intimate, moving, and cohesive. Ms. Shuler noted, “I am most proud of the ‘New York City Center of Today’. New York City Center is modern, yet original. Its programming is varied and innovative, and it is rooted in the history of both the City Center and its annual Festival. That is a unique and special achievement, and I am glad to have been a part of it.”
Ms. Shuler is an active leader in the theatrical community and society in New York City, most recently serving as chair of Broadway’s Historic Theatre Initiative. In addition, she is a trustee of the historic Tappan Zee Bridge and received the Support of Community Award from the Alliance for NYC Arts in 2015.
For more information on Ms. Shuler, please visit http://nyscenter.org/.