In the midst of celebrating its 90th anniversary, it seems Laguna Playhouse is suffering yet another loss: that of longtime artistic director Andrew Barnicle, who announced his resignation this week. Barnicle says he wanted to step down before planning for the new theatrical season got underway but will stick around to help find a successor and bridge the gap between his tenure and the future.
Barnicle's resignation, after 20 years, comes three years after the departure of Richard Stein as managing director, a post he had held for 17 years. The Stein-Barnicle duo was noted for a high level of theatrical and literary ambition and for bringing high-quality world premieres to the Playhouse, and generating impressive reviews and awards.
Stein's departure heralded a slump for the Playhouse, which, in 2009, was forced to abandon his longstanding ambition of building a second stage and to sell the office building it owned adjacent to the Moulton Theatre in order to shore up its finances.