Our Artists

Encores! Music Director
An Emmy Award-winning conductor whose Broadway credits include Bright Star, Finian’s Rainbow, and Wonderful Town, Rob Berman started working under Rob Fisher in 2001 and became the music director of Encores! in 2008. He has conducted numerous productions at City Center, researching and interpreting the music of Jerome Kern, Richard Rodgers, Kurt Weill, Frank Loesser, Stephen Sondheim, and John Kander, among others. Berman also music directed the Encores!cast recordings of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Merrily We Roll Along, Pipe Dream, Paint Your Wagon, and others. “The number of world-class artists who come through the stage door of City Center every year is really impressive,” says Berman. “I'm proud to say being music director of Encores! is my dream job.”

Lear deBessonet

Encores! Resident Director
Lear deBessonet is an Obie Award‐winning director based in New York. At City Center, she has directed Big River (Encores!) and Pump Boys and Dinettes (Encores! Off‐Center). She is the Founder of Public Works and Resident Director at The Public Theatre, for which she has directed large‐scale, critically‐acclaimed musical adaptations of A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare in the Park), The Tempest, The Winter’s Tale, The Odyssey, and Hercules. Her production of The Foundry Theater’s Good Person of Szechwan, starring Taylor Mac and Lisa Kron, played an extended, sold‐out run at The Public, and earned her an Obie Award for Direction, a Lortel Award for Best Revival, a Drama Desk Nomination, and a Lilly Award. Additional credits include Suzan‐Lori Park’s Venus at Signature Theatre; Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Miss You Like Hell at La Jolla Playhouse and The Public; and Romeo and Juliet at The Public. Now in its seventh year, the Public Works model of community engagement and participatory theater has spread nationally and internationally to Dallas, Seattle, and most recently the National Theater in London.

Beginning with the 2020-2021 Season, deBessonet will succeed Jack Viertel as the next Encores! Artistic Director. Read more about the appointment in American Theatre and the New York Times.


Encores! Off-Center, Artistic Director
Anne Kauffman first joined City Center as director of the Off-Center production of Assassins. In addition to her role as artistic director of Encores! Off-Center, she is an artistic associate and founding member of The Civilians, and Resident Director with Roundabout, among other positions. Kauffman’s recent New York directing credits include Mary Jane and Hundred Days (NYTW); Marvin’s Room (Roundabout); A Life (Lortel and Drama Desk nominations); Marjorie Prime (Lucille Lortel and Drama League Award nominations); Detroit, Your Mother’s Copy of the Kama Sutra, and Maple and Vine (Playwrights Horizons); Sundown Yellow Moon (Ars Nova, WP); The Nether and Smokefall (MCC); and Buzzer (The Public).

STANFORD MAKISHI Vice President, Programming

Vice President, Programming
Stanford Makishi was appointed to his current position at City Center in 2015 after having been the associate producer of the Fall for Dance Festival since 2011. He danced with Trisha Brown from 1992 to 2006, was assistant director of her production of Winterreise, and has taught and restaged her work internationally. He also served as artistic advisor for the Ringling International Arts Festival in Sarasota, executive director of the Baryshnikov Arts Center, director of programs at the Asian Cultural Council, and director of creative services at Carnegie Hall. Makishi is a native of Honolulu and a graduate of Harvard.

Encores! Off-Center, Creative Advisor
The Tony Award-winning composer of Fun Home, Violet, and Caroline, or Change, Jeanine Tesori joined City Center in 2013 as the founding artistic director of Encores! Off-Center. Tesori led the series for four seasons, producing acclaimed concert revivals of The Cradle Will Rock, Violet, tick, tick…BOOM!, A New Brain, Little Shop of Horrors, and Runaways, among others. She returned to the position in 2018 as a co-artistic director with Anne Kauffman, and now is a creative advisor for the series. “I joined City Center not just to produce shows, but to try and create a space for artists,” Tesori says. “I really love the building. Everyone here is on the precipice of a particular discovery—whether it’s their first time directing in such a big house or their first time starring in a musical.” Tesori produced City Center’s gala presentation of Sunday in the Park with George in 2016, which transferred to Broadway the following year.

Encores! Artistic Director
A producer, dramaturg, librettist, and the senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters, Jack Viertel has been called “a sort of human encyclopedia of musical theater” (WNYC). He was present at the first meeting of the Encores! Advisory Committee in 1993 and has been in charge of Encores! since 2000, overseeing more than 50 productions. “Almost no one else in the world can do what we do at City Center,” says Viertel. “With time and love and scholarship, we can put a lost show back into the world. It’s almost like magic.” Viertel was the architect of City Center’s historic 2007 revival of Gypsy, which starred Patti LuPone and transferred to Broadway. He conceived the Encores! revues Stairway to Paradise; and Cotton Club Parade, which moved to Broadway under the title After Midnight; and Hey, Look Me Over!.