by Gregory Bernard on January 11, 2022

in Theater-New York

After 34 years serving as the Creative Director and then Senior Vice President of Jujamcyn TheatersJack Viertel has announced his retirement as of the end of 2021. Mr. Viertel came to the company in 1987 and was involved in the production of many award-winning plays and musicals, including six of August Wilson’s legendary ten–play “Century Cycle”, beginning with the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Piano Lesson.

His earliest shows for Jujamcyn were the original production of Into The  Woods and M. Butterfly. Early in his career he was instrumental in bringing many productions to Jujamcyn’s five Broadway theaters, including Angels in AmericaJerry Zaks’s legendary production of Guys and DollsThe Secret GardenGrand HotelCity of AngelsJelly’s Last JamNathan Lane in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, the Brian Dennehy production of Death of a Salesman, and Proof among others. He produced the Patti LuPone revival of Gypsy and the critically acclaimed 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, the conceiver of 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 several other shows including Dear Evan Hansen and A Christmas Story. He was also instrumental in the restoration of Jujamcyn’s five Broadway theaters and in the renaming of the August Wilson Theatre in 2005.

From 2000 to 2020 he also served as Artistic Director of the Tony-honored Encores! series at New York City Center, where he oversaw the presentation of over 60 productions including such shows as HairFolliesLost in the StarsMack & MabelJunoHouse of Flowers, Cole Porter’s The New YorkersMe and My Girl and 1776.

In 2016 he published the New York Times bestseller The Secret Life of the American Musical (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus & Giroux).

Jack Viertel.Jack Viertel

“My career at Jujamcyn was a dream come true,” Mr. Viertel said in announcing his retirement. “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.”

Jordan Roth, Jujamcyn’s owner and president said, “The work that Jack has created, 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.”

Prior to working at Jujamcyn, Mr. 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.

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