After establishing himself as a heavy hitter in the theater world as executive director of New York City’s Second Stage Theater—where he won a Tony Award for best musical producer for 2017’s Dear Evan Hansen—Casey Reitz has traded the Big Apple for a slice of Orange County paradise. Here we chat with the new president of Segerstrom Center for the Arts about his next act.
Take us back to the beginning—what are your earliest memories of the theater?
I started out in theater aspiring to be an actor. My earliest memories are performing in our annual high school musical in Marietta, Ga. My claim to fame was playing Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady. It was such a fun and scary experience that set me on a path for a life in theater. There is nothing like the energy in a theater when the artists and the audience are connecting.
What shows are you ready to get your hands on?
I’m very excited to work on Of Love and Rage with American Ballet Theatre. My history at Manhattan Theatre Club, The Public Theater and Second Stage was primarily about creating new work, and I love the opportunity to bring new ballet to Orange County, which will then be seen in New York City and elsewhere. There are some great shows on Broadway now, like Moulin Rouge and the upcoming The Music Man, that I think Orange County audiences would love.
How are you settling into life in O.C.?
In addition to all the wonderful aspects about the Center, I’m a new father. I have twins—a boy and a girl named Miles and Severine who just turned 1. My wife, Naomi, and I are so thrilled to raise them in this beautiful, warm and welcoming community.
What excites you most about the next chapter in your professional life?
What Henry Segerstrom made happen with his unique and exceptional vision is breathtaking. Having the honor to build upon that legacy is a great challenge and responsibility. I’m excited to make Segerstrom a home of extremely high-quality work that reaches and inspires the entirety of Orange County and beyond. I take it all extremely seriously, but it’s also thrilling and great fun. The arts are why we are alive. scfta.org
Photography by: Ashley Barrett