Abby Marcus Named New Managing Director

Abby Marcus Headshot

We are thrilled to introduce you to Abby Marcus — the new Managing Director for the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park! She will succeed Buzz Ward, who will retire in June after 29 years in leadership at the Playhouse.

Currently, Marcus is managing director of The Orchard Project, a multidisciplinary artist residency program in Saratoga Springs, NY. She has also served as managing director of CalArts Center for New Performance in Los Angeles and as finance director at St. Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, NY, where she helped oversee their $32 million capital expansion project.

“Abby is the next generation of arts leadership – creative, innovative and inclusive,” says Artistic Director Blake Robison. “Her financial acumen and strategic thinking will help lead us into a new era as we emerge from the pandemic and expand our work with all parts of the greater Cincinnati community. I am excited to welcome Abby and look forward to partnering with her.”


In addition to her finance and management background, Marcus serves as a creative producer of Vampire Cowboys, an OBIE Award-winning theatre company in New York City. She has held previous leadership positions at NYC's Baryshnikov Arts Center, the Dramatists Guild of America and the Playwrights' Center in Minneapolis.

Marcus arrives at a transformational moment in Playhouse history, as the company begins construction on its $49.5 million theatre complex. The new 539-seat mainstage, The Rouse Theatre, includes new rehearsal rooms, costume shop and backstage areas. It will expand what can be done on stage with state-of-the art theatre technology and joins the previously renovated Rosenthal Shelterhouse Theatre to create a fully modernized Playhouse for generations to come.

View of the Mainstage Theatre Complex from the parking lot.

Rendering of Moe and Jack’s Place – The Rouse Theatre by BHDP.


“Abby’s proven experience in financial and theatre management, combined with past success in building and operating a new theatrical facility, make her the ideal fit for the Playhouse at this pivotal time,” says Board President Ellen van der Horst. “We are delighted to welcome Abby to the Playhouse family.”

Marcus is scheduled to step into the role beginning in July 2021. She will work with Ward on the leadership transition until he retires on June 30 and becomes Managing Director Emeritus.

"I am thrilled to join the Playhouse and to support Blake, the Board, and the staff of this nationally regarded institution as we bring live performances back to the community and create a beautiful new home for the future,” says Marcus. “It is not every day that one has the opportunity to engage with an organization that has been so well-managed for so many years. Together, we will build on the Playhouse's many successes and continue to grow in the years to come."


In the News

The Cincinnati Enquirer

“I’m super fortunate to be walking in the door of an organization that has been so well run for so long."

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Cincinnati Business Courier

“I’m really excited about engaging into bringing staff and audiences back into the Playhouse. That’s going to be the first line of business for all of us this spring, that transition as the world gets vaccinated and as things get more open.”

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Cincinnati CityBeat

"Together, we will build on the Playhouse's many successes and continue to grow in the years to come."

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American Theatre Magazine

Rob Weinert-Kendt shares a Q&A with incoming Playhouse Managing Director Abby Marcus.

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