If artwork is the beating coronary heart of a profitable theater firm, then enterprise is its lifeblood. The 2 working collectively in concord is essential to the survival of any endeavor, and maybe nobody is aware of this higher than Paula Tomei.

Since 1979, the Laguna Seashore resident has tended to the administration and well-being of Costa Mesa’s South Coast Repertory, studying the group from practically each seat within the workplace, from subscriptions assistant to basic supervisor to managing director.

And now, after 44 years working behind the scenes — together with 30 years in her present position — she is prepared for a curtain name. The corporate’s Board of Trustees introduced this week Tomei will probably be stepping down from the place when the season concludes on Aug. 31, 2024.

“South Coast Repertory, Orange County and the American theater group have benefited immeasurably from Paula’s devoted service and exemplary management over the many years,” Board President Talya Nevo-Hacochen mentioned in a press release Tuesday.

Paula Tomei, center, with SCR Artistic/Audience Engagement Associate H. Adam Harris and Board Member Bruce Wagner.

SCR Managing Director Paula Tomei, middle, with Inventive/Viewers Engagement Affiliate H. Adam Harris and Board of Trustees member Bruce Wagner at a 2022 annual gala.

(Courtesy of South Coast Repertory)

“She is going to depart us with a legacy of dedication to the artwork and artists, sound fiscal administration and the betterment of our total group.”

Though information of her departure is latest, Tomei, 66, mentioned Wednesday she’d been excited about it and discussing a transition with the board in latest months.

“For me, it wanted to be the precise time for SCR,” she mentioned. “That is my house in so some ways, it’s necessary for me that the group is wholesome and steady and prepared — and I feel it’s.

A self-professed “drama geek” with a head for enterprise, Tomei realized from Estancia Excessive Faculty theater trainer and legend Barbara Van Holt a profession in theater didn’t should happen within the highlight. As she later attended UC Irvine, she studied lighting design and stage administration whereas pursuing an economics diploma.

By the point she graduated in 1979, Tomei had already set her sights on a job at South Coast Repertory, which had simply moved into its present location within the Segerstrom Heart for the Arts. She repeatedly referred to as about openings till, 5 weeks in, she obtained a chunk.

“The enterprise supervisor referred to as me a few subscriptions assistant job — that was the start,” she recalled. “ I realized the whole lot right here from the bottom up, from individuals who gave me alternatives alongside the way in which.”

South Coast Repertory's David Ivers, from left, Martin Benson, Paula Tomei and David Emmes at a Oct. 14 annual gala.

South Coast Repertory’s David Ivers, from left, Martin Benson, Paula Tomei and David Emmes at a Oct. 14 annual gala.

(Courtesy of South Coast Repertory)

As Tomei moved up the ranks, turning into basic supervisor in 1986 and managing director in 1994, she oversaw numerous developments on the theater firm.

She helped launch the Pacific Playwrights Pageant in 1998 and supported the Theatre for Younger Audiences and Households and a Theatre Entry program, which provided free programming to 1000’s of faculty teams in addition to highschool and school college students.

Tomei additionally oversaw a capital marketing campaign that funded the addition of the 336-seat Julianne Argyros Stage and, in 2013, helped set up a Founders Endowment honoring SCR founding inventive administrators David Emmes and Martin Benson.

Immediately, the corporate employs 60 full-time workers in addition to lots of of part-time and seasonal staff, working a $12.6-million price range and sustaining $74.7 million in property.

“[Paula’s] confirmed file of stewardship and her large respect for South Coast Repertory has anchored the theater with the imaginative and prescient and sources it requires to remain related into the long run,” SCR Inventive Director David Ivers mentioned in Tuesday’s launch. “She will probably be missed dearly, however her inspiring legacy will little doubt stay part of our future trajectory.”

Though she is trying ahead to touring, volunteering and seeing the place her subsequent chapter takes her, Tomei mentioned she’s longing for what’s subsequent for the corporate.

“I simply suppose it’s the most effective job within the American theater. Regardless of the work is is so compelling and retains renewing you — you don’t need to go anyplace else,” she mentioned. “I’ve been extremely fortunate.”

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