Director of Development- Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena Playhouse

Pasadena, CA 91101




Apr 27, 2021

Who is Pasadena Playhouse?
The Pasadena Playhouse was founded in 1917 by theater impresario Gilmor Brown. Galvanizing a community largely made up of wealthy easterners, Brown raised money from over 1,000 citizens in Pasadena to purchase land at 39 S. El Molino and in 1925 the current landmarked theater opened its doors with national fanfare. In 1937 the California state legislature unanimously voted the Pasadena Playhouse the official state theater of California.

“This is your Playhouse, a Pasadena institution. Give it your interest and thought and enthusiasm at all times. Make it more and more worthy of the beautiful building in which you have housed it. Help it to grow in artistic appreciation and the encouragement of beauty. Bring to it always the comradeship and neighborliness on which it is founded.”
Gilmor Brown, Founder

In 2016, the Pasadena Playhouse board appointed Danny Feldman to the newly created role of Producing Artistic Director (a combination of traditional artistic director and managing director responsibilities) to lead a renaissance for the organization. Since joining the Playhouse, Feldman has staged critically acclaimed mainstage productions and led significant growth in board, staff and community investment.

The Playhouse is one of the most prolific drama-producing organizations in the history of American theater, having commissioned over 550 new works, produced upwards of 1,200 shows, spearheaded over 500 world premieres, developed several shows that went on to Broadway, and welcomed millions of audience members. In its history, arts education and access have been at the core of the institution with more than 30,000 students served in the last three years alone. Today, the Pasadena Playhouse State Theater of California is a $7M League of Resident Theaters (LORT) B theater located in beautiful Pasadena, California.

“Plays are the heart of the Playhouse, and great plays are those that inspire and move us.”
Jane Kaczmarek, Board member

The Playhouse is in the midst of a renaissance which includes new staff and board leadership and a reimagined vision for the future. Moving from a place where the community goes for entertainment, to a destination they seek out for enlightenment is a core purpose. New pillars of groundbreaking theatrical experiences, authentic community engagement and life-long dramatic learning, are set against a business model based on current drivers.

Who is in Leadership?
Danny Feldman (he/him/his) began his tenure at the Pasadena Playhouse as Producing Artistic Director in September 2016. Prior to his appointment, Danny Feldman was the Managing Director/Executive Director at the Labyrinth Theater, an Off-Broadway theater company in New York City founded by John Ortiz and Philip Seymour Hoffman. In 2010, he led the theater to its first Broadway production, the Tony-nominated The Motherf**ker With The Hat. He led a strategic effort to cultivate relationships with and engage top artists in the theater and ushered in an expanded play development program. Feldman instituted an audience development plan that resulted in more than doubling the audiences while maintaining one of the youngest and most diverse audiences in New York. He also led an effort to increase contributed income and resolve the organization’s long-standing debt. Prior to that, Feldman joined Reprise Theatre Company in 2002 as the company’s General Manager before becoming its Managing Director in 2007. While there, he increased artistic programming, created a city-wide festival, launched a concert series featuring lesser-known Broadway musicals, and created an education program, giving at-risk high school students an introduction to classic American musicals for which he received the California Theater Education Teachers Association Award. Mr. Feldman received his B.A. in Music from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Dennis Cornell (he/him/his) is the current president of the board of the Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theatre of California. He has applied his strengths in executive leadership, strategic fundraising, institutional positioning and creative inspiration to some of Los Angeles’ leading institutions in entertainment and higher education. He has the keen ability to balance the creative and strategic goals of an organization with a deft financial approach to ensure strength and longevity. It is this combination of qualities that has led to Cornell’s many leadership roles. Mr. Cornell started his career as a production stage manager at Kenley Players in Ohio, the largest private summer stock circuit in America. After graduate school in theatre directing he briefly served as a stage manager at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles. He left there to become a casting director for Cheers, and subsequently for Norman Lear at Embassy TV. At Embassy, he was the casting director on Who’s the Boss, Silver Spoons and a host of pilots and other programming. He eventually became vice president for casting and talent development at Embassy, Columbia TV and SONY Pictures TV. In 1991, he accepted a year-long visiting professorship in producing at the USC School of Dramatic Arts and stayed for 27 years! During that time, he was promoted: first, to managing director of the school, followed by senior administrative appointments by three university presidents. He conceived USC’s Visions and Voices, the most successful arts initiative in higher education, with headliners including YoYo Ma and Dave Brubeck to the Alvin Ailey Dance Theater and Elton John. In 2010, he became the USC Chief of Staff, serving two USC presidents, and also held the role of Associate Secretary of the USC Board of Trustees. Mr. Cornell’s focus throughout his career has been about relationships and relationship building; whether that be with a board, the philanthropic community, the community or with staff. He was inducted into the BizBash Hall of Fame – a national recognition for exceptional event producers; as well as being honored in Council Chambers by the City of Los Angeles with Dennis Cornell Day.

What will you do?
Reporting to Producing Artistic Director Danny Feldman, the DOD will join senior staff team members including the Director of Marketing and Communications, Director of Finance and Administration, and Associate Producer and will play a strategic role in shaping the development and membership program designed to leverage the international brand of the Playhouse including:

mainstage productions
digital theatrical programming
education programming
community access programming
high profile community events
future programs

The DOD will work closely with Danny Feldman, the board and staff to plan and execute a strategic fundraising program that encompasses membership integrated into annual giving, leadership giving, foundation grants, corporate sponsorships, capital campaigns, planned giving, special events and blended campaigns.

The DOD is a vital senior staff member who plays a key role in strategic and management planning. The DOD is responsible for board administration as well as the guidance and support of board committees involved with generating memberships and contributed income. The DOD leads a team of three including a Major Gifts Officer, Institutional Giving Manager, Development Associate, as well as contractors and consultants, with a goal of expanding the team as our fundraising develops.

Areas of Accountability
- Raises $4 million in combined membership, annual fund and campaign efforts with expectations of building the development program resulting in significant growth each year
-Sets expectations and accountability metrics for development staff
-Plans and directs bold fundraising policies and development initiatives for the higher-level theater and institutional donors
-Develops fundraising strategies including the multi-million dollar capital campaign
-Researches new methods of fundraising and determines the feasibility of new fundraising programs
-Performs as a hands-on fundraiser who develops and nurtures donor relationships including a portfolio of 50 donors and prospects
-Participates as a key member of the Playhouse’s leadership team
-Works closely with volunteer and board committees regarding fund development programs
-Develops and maintains relationships with community decision makers and donor organizations
-Mentors, directs, develops, and evaluates development staff
-Primary staff administrator and liaison to the board of directors
-Collaborates closely with Producing Artistic Director, Director of Marketing and -Communications, Associate Producer, Director of Finance; Administration and volunteer leaders
-Supervises the development and maintenance of donor recognition, records, acknowledgement and gift administration.

How much are we paying and what are the perks?

Salary: $150,000

Benefits Package: Health and dental insurance. Generous paid time off. Pasadena Playhouse is in the process of establishing a 4013(b) plan.


Who are we looking for?

The DOD role is ideal for a candidate with a demonstrated record of accomplishment in creating and implementing metrics-based and sustained growth strategies, in fund development in a nonprofit or corporate environment. The new DOD will be energized by the idea of transforming the Pasadena Playhouse into a leading American theater.

The DOD will have experience working in fundraising in mid-level or leadership positions within a nonprofit or educational organization. Candidates with individual giving experience are strongly encouraged to apply. The successful candidate must be personable, a self-starter, a true collaborator and possess the ability to work in a team environment. The candidate must demonstrate ability for raising major gifts and should be experienced with special campaigns, planned giving and capital fundraising.

Essential Skills
-Background and experience in theater or performing arts fundraising is a plus
-Strong interest in innovation, experimentation and creating unprecedented plans and programs in US theater
-Proven record of financial, fundraising, people and program management over time.
-Desire and passion for turning challenges into actionable solutions
-Demonstrated ability to work and collaborate with a board using inclusive style and consensus orientation
-Highest level of character and integrity
-Imagination and charisma to excite and motivate all constituents and members
-Gutsy, intellect and toughness to lead an unprecedented growth opportunity
-Knowledge or relationships with regional and national corporations and foundation a plus
-Excellent oral, written and listening communication skills, including strong presentation skills
-Represent the Playhouse in a positive and professional manner
-Other duties as assigned by the Producing Artistic Director
-Knowledge of donor databases (Tessitura and WealthEngine are a plus)
-Familiarity with Word, Powerpoint, Excel, Slack, Google Suite