SAN FRANCISCO: Magic Theatre has announced Sean San José as the company’s next artistic director. San José will succeed Loretta Greco, who left the post in May 2020 after 12 years with the company, beginning on a part-time basis in June before transitioning to full-time leadership in August.
“We are delighted to welcome Sean San José as our new artistic director,” said board chair Kathryn Kersey in a statement. “We were impressed with his track record and commitment to directing and producing bold new plays consistently over a decades-long career. His work is diverse and inclusive and Sean represents a voice that is modern, relevant, and refreshing. What we also value in Sean is his ability to build local community, which is foundational for theatre. We are confident that Sean will shepherd us into a new era of theatre and continue the Magic Theatre mission locally, nationally, and internationally.”
Moving forward, San José will continue his work as program director for Campo Santo, producing and developing new works alongside Campo Santo producing director Joan Osato. Additionally, Campo Santo will begin a residency at Magic as the organization works to open up its theatre to more artists, communities, companies, and disciplines.
“Magic was the first theatre where I saw a play—changing my life, feeling the power of what theatre could possess,” said San José in a statement. “It was the theatre where I got my Actors’ Equity card as a performer, cast by the late Barbie Stein, giving me a profession and union; it was where I studied, as part of an unofficial company, performing for five seasons; it was where I gained inspirations and ambitions to reach beyond expectations and the scope of productions, where I was affirmed of long-term commitments, in the way I was able to witness and be part of watching Loretta Greco artistically produce. It will be a true honor to be able to extend this trajectory, and more so, to deepen the amazing impact and inspiration Magic Theatre has made.”
Added Greco in a statement: “I don’t believe there is anyone so naturally suited to lead Magic, a theatre so richly defined by the spirit of San Francisco, than the absolutely sublime Sean San José. I am thrilled for my dear friend (and for Magic!) and look forward to experiencing how Sean’s incomparable vision, artistry and love of this community meets this particular moment in time—to manifest a brand new, impactful, and exhilarating chapter for Magic!”
Sean San José is a Bay Area theatremaker, performer, director, and producer who has been making change and amplifying theatrical innovation for the last 25 years. His long history with Magic is fundamentally tied to his history with theatre writ large. San José got his Actors Equity card at the Magic in Erin Cressida Wilson’s Soiled Eyes of a Ghost in 1990. Over the years, Sean has had the honor of working at Magic under Mame Hunt’s leadership and more recently under Loretta Greco’s direction in new works by Luis Alfaro, Jessica Hagedorn, Octavio Solis, and many more.
Along with Margo Hall, the late Luis Saguar, and Michael Torres, San José helped co-found Campo Santo in 1996. As program director of Campo Santo, San José has helped develop, produce, and premiere nearly 100 new works for and by people of color since 1996. One of these works, Nogales, by Richard Montoya was a co-production and collaboration with Magic Theatre, launching Magic’s 50th anniversary season in 2016.
Sean San José sat on the Theatre Communications Group board of directors, was a member of the Zellerbach Family Foundation review panel, and currently teaches as a guest lecturer and guest director at University of California Berkeley. He is a recipient of multiple MAP fund awards, and was commissioned in the inaugural round of writers for Oregon Shakespeare Festival’s Play On! to create a translation of William Shakespeare’s Coriolanus.
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