BURBANK, CALIF.: The Falcon Theatre, founded by the late director Garry Marshall, has a new name and new leadership. In honor of Marshall, who founded the Falcon in 1997 and died last year, the 130-seat Equity house will be renamed the Garry Marshall Theatre.
“Garry Marshall believed that gathering people together to share a live storytelling experience was one of the most important ways we process our lives,” said the theatre’s artistic director Dimitri Toscas in a statement. “We are proud to continue that philosophy into the modern space of American theatre and establish our stage as a community stomping ground for exploration and education.”
Marshall was best known for his film and television work, such as directing Pretty Woman and The Princess Diaries. But he also ran the Falcon for 20 years, alongside his daughter Kathleen Marshall LaGambina. According to director Matt Walker, in his tribute to Marshall last year for American Theatre, the Falcon was named after “Garry’s teenage athletic club in the Bronx, and augmented with a state-of-the-art projection system for screening Garry’s most recent day-job project.”
The new Garry Marshall Theatre will be run by artistic directors Toscas and artistic director Joseph Leo Bwarie. Both of them have longstanding relationships with the Falcon. Toscas directed numerous popular productions at the theatre. Bwarie was the director of children’s theatre development. As independent artists, Bwarie performed on Broadway in Jersey Boys for over 2,000 performances. Toscas wrote and directed two new contemporary productions of Verdi’s La Traviata and Mozart’s Cosi fan Tutte for the Skylight Music Theatre in Milwaukee.
The Garry Marshall’s first season will be announced in late July. It will contain a four-show subscription season, a family series, a new-play festival, and other year-round programs for audiences.
The other member of the leadership team is executive director Sherry Greczmiel. On the board of directors will be Marshall’s wife Barbara, his daughter Marshall LaGambina, as well as Heather Hall and Joan Boyett.
“We are excited about expanding our education focus and community building,” said Bwarie in a statement. “Garry was all about connecting people and encouraging new artists to find their voices. With our new model, we aim to make the theatre a more activated space not only for the surrounding Burbank and Toluca Lake areas, but for our peers in the LA theatre community and the new talent flooding into this city every day.”