New leadership at Park Playhouse

Ven Borromeo is out and Owen M. Smith is in as the new producing artistic director at the Park Playh

Ven Borromeo is out and Owen M. Smith is in as the new producing artistic director at the Park Playhouse in Albany, board President Anthony J. Marinello announced Friday.

“There were no specific issues with Ven, but he had been involved here for more than 20 years and we thought a fresh start would be beneficial to both of us,” said Marinello, who has been on the board for six years and was named president last month. “I would say it was a mutual decision between the board and Ven.”

Borromeo confirmed that he had thinking for a few months about leaving Park Playhouse, which produces free summer theater at Albany’s Washington Park.

“I hit the big 50 at the end of last season, and I just felt that it was the right time for me to move on,” said Borromeo. “I felt that I had mentored someone to really take over the reigns and move this company forward. New blood is always good, and I’m very supportive and proud of Owen.”

Borromeo has worked at Park Playhouse in a variety of positions as far back as 1988, and was named to replace Mimi Scott as producing artistic director in 1993. An East Greenbush resident, Borromeo isn’t sure exactly what the future holds.

“Right now, I’m enjoying some free time, and I’m going to think about what creative venues I want to go to” said Borromeo. “It could be directing again, producing, or maybe going back to where I started in this business, as a set and costume designer.”

Smith, 27, also has a long history with Park Playhouse, starting as a performer with the company’s youth program when he was 14. He has spent much of the last 10 years in the theater business, splitting his time between New York and Albany.

“It’s a daunting challenge, but I’m very excited and I consider it a privilege to return to Park Playhouse in a leadership role,” said Smith, a Bethlehem Central High School graduate with a theater degree from SUNY-New Paltz. “I’m grateful to so many people for the opportunity to run this program, and at the top of the list is Ven.”

Marinello said picking Smith was an easy decision for the board. “Once we decided that there was going to be a change we reached out to Owen,” said Marinello. “He was our first and only choice.”

The major production scheduled for the summer of 2010, the 22nd season, is “Annie Get Your Gun.”

Categories: Life and Arts

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