Patrick Klein, longtime artistic director of Palo Alto Players, has accepted a new position as production manager at Center Repertory Theatre in Walnut Creek.
Klein first joined PAP 14 years ago as the production manager/technical director, moving next to associate artistic director. He’s been the theater company’s artistic director for the past 10 years.
Although he plans to step down by the end of the month, Klein will serve in an advisory capacity for the next several months “to ensure a smooth transition,” says PAP board president Jessica Christie.
“The incredible shows he has overseen, designed and/or personally directed, the talented creatives he has mentored and trained, and his determination to keep entertaining audiences and engaging artists during the COVID shutdown are a few of Patrick’s lasting contributions,” Christie adds.
PAP’s managing director Elizabeth Santana says she’ll “greatly miss working side by side with my longtime friend and creative thought partner. But I know that PAP’s future is bright thanks in large part to Patrick’s artistic vision.”
Klein, who lives in San Jose with his actor-wife Izetta and 13-year-old twins, acknowledges he’ll have a longer commute to his new job. But what drew him to Center Rep, he says, is that he’ll become part of a completely new leadership team there.
In high school Klein’s focus was on sports rather than the stage. But while attending San Jose State University, he saw a few musicals and decided he’d like to get more involved. He wound up as a theater arts major and soon found himself working in the SJSU box office, helping with scenic design and doing some acting.
Christie credits Klein with helping to lead PAP “to an incredible 2022-2023 season that saw sold-out shows, stretched creative limits and made us all feel that live theater was really back.”
“The Play That Goes Wrong” was part of that season, and Klein says it was probably the biggest challenge of his tenure. PAP staged the comedy in the early part of the year, when a new strain of COVID was running rampant. “I really wanted to do that show, but my big concern was ‘Can we do it safely?’”
Other favorites include “School of Rock,” “Beauty and the Beast” and “Young Frankenstein.”
“Actually, there are so many, it’s hard to narrow down my choices,” he says.
For more personal reasons, actor Michael D. Reed also cites the Mel Brooks musical as a favorite and says Klein is like family. “He cast me in ‘Young Frankenstein,’ where I met my beautiful wife,” Reed says. “So, in many ways, the man changed my life.”
Janie Scott, who’s currently directing “Mathilda,” PAP’s first production of the 2023-24 season, says she’s had many opportunities to work with Klein over the years. “I’ve directed six productions with him at the helm. He’s a first-rate theater professional and will be greatly missed by me and so many others.”
Klein returns the praise of the PAP staff. “While it’s tremendously bittersweet to be departing from what has become my second home, I’m very thankful for the trusting and caring board of directors, our dedicated staff of true professionals, an immensely deep well of inspiring creative talent and my brilliant friend and passionate managing partner Elizabeth Santana,” he says.