Jack Viertel, whose 34 years with Broadway’s Jujamcyn Theaters included stints as both the Creative Director and, more recently, Senior Vice President, announced his retirement today, effective as of the end of 2021.
In a statement, Viertel said, in part, “as the song says, the days grow short when you reach September, although I feel like I’m really only in mid-August. Still, it was time to move along, with gratitude for everything Jujamcyn has given me.” Viertel said he is working on a new book and will continue to serve as a freelance creative consultant on other projects.
See his full statement below.
Viertel joined Jujamcyn in 1987, launching his career there that would include involvement in numerous award-winning and acclaimed productions, including such era-defining stagings as Into The Woods, M. Butterfly, Angels in America, Jelly’s Last Jam and The Secret Garden. He’d also play an instrumental role in bringing to the stage six of August Wilson’s ten–play “Century Cycle”, beginning with the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson.
“The work that Jack has created,” said Jordan Roth, Jujamcyn’s owner and president, said in a statement, “the artists he has championed, the wisdom he has shared, the way he understands and articulates the inner workings of the form, the love he has for the theatre and everyone involved in making it – all of this, all of him, has had such a deep impact on me and I know on everyone at Jujamcyn, past and present. We are all forever grateful to him and cheering for him.”
Other productions on which Viertel worked include Jerry Zaks’s production of Guys and Dolls, Grand Hotel, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum starring Nathan Lane, Death of a Salesman starring Brian Dennehy, and Proof, among others.
Viertel produced the Patti LuPone revival of Gypsy in 2008 and a 2009 revival of Finian’s Rainbow, both at Jujamcyn’s St. James Theatre. He was a co-producer and conceiver of the longest running musical revue in Broadway history, Smokey Joe’s Cafe, conceived the critically acclaimed After Midnight, and served as the dramaturg for Hairspray. The musical and movie The Prom were developed from his original concept.
In more recent years his work at Jujamcyn included working as a creative consultant on such shows as Dear Evan Hansen and A Christmas Story, and he played a significant role in the restoration of Jujamcyn’s five Broadway theaters and in the renaming of the August Wilson Theatre (formerly the Virginia Theatre) in 2005.
From 2000 to 2020, Viertel also served as Artistic Director of the Encores! series at New York City Center, overseeing more than 60 productions including Hair, Follies, Lost in the Stars, Mack & Mabel, Juno, House of Flowers, Cole Porter’s The New Yorkers, Me and My Girl and 1776. His book The Secret Life of the American Musical was published in 2016.
Prior to his Jujamcyn career, Viertel was the dramaturg at the Mark Taper Forum, the theater critic at the Los Angeles Herald Examiner and began his professional career playing steel-bodied National guitar behind Bonnie Raitt, Son House and The Pointer Sisters.
Here is his retirement statement in full:
My career at Jujamcyn was a dream come true. Working first under Rocco Landesman and then under Jordan Roth, I had as much fun as anyone can have in the theater, got an education every day, and the company, I’m proud to say, has continued to innovate in every aspect of production and presentation. I am very glad to have been a part of it. But I have had several projects I’ve been working on independently; I’m writing a new book, and I’m eager to continue my life as a free-lance creative consultant on other projects. And, as the song says, the days grow short when you reach September, although I feel like I’m really only in mid-August. Still, it was time to move along, with gratitude for everything Jujamcyn has given me.
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