Abigail “Abby” Buell, who has spent the past 16 years in the theater and performing arts in New York City as a marketer and producer, has joined the San Diego Repertory Theater as the new CEO.
Buell joined the representative’s team three weeks ago. She replaces Larry Alldredge, who resigned last month after serving for 13 years as the theater’s general manager.
Prior to joining the representative, Buell was Head of Marketing at RWS Entertainment Group, which provides live entertainment programs for theme parks, cruise lines and other North American businesses. Prior to that, she led marketing campaigns for Broadway producer Scott Rudin, including productions of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, “King Lear” and the upcoming “The Music Man” with Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster.
Prior to that, she held executive positions for the Joyce Theater and the Schimmel Center for the Arts. She has produced thousands of individual shows for many artists including Patti LuPone, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Twyla Tharp, Joffrey Ballet and many more. She also led audience efforts for over seven years for the TV show “Inside the Actors Studio”. She is a graduate of the Commercial Theater Institute, Drake University and the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University.
Buell said she and her fiance, Michael, have always talked about living on the West Coast and that the pandemic has caused them to rethink their future priorities. She believes that the work being done in regional theaters like San Diego Rep will be more and more important in the years to come and she wanted to be a part of it.
“For the past two years and also during COVID, I have watched the pulse of the theater in the United States and also in New York. I believe we come to a time when everything is going to change. The regional theater will have its time now, more than before. I think the San Diego rep, in particular, is positioned for greatness.
“San Diego Rep is an organization that exudes its mission far more than is typical,” she said. “I thought there was such amazing work coming out of this organization that has long been dedicated to the city, and I think the rest of the country and the world should be able to access it as well. So my model is one of growth and opportunity and of making the voices that we put on stage here in the rest of the country heard. “
One of Buell’s ideas is to expand the opportunities for the virtual broadcast of Rep shows to other markets, including New York. She is also committed to implementing the company’s strategic action plan for equity, diversity and inclusion by expanding staff training and developing community partnerships to share representative stages with local arts groups that do not have a movie theater.
Buell, her fiancé and their dog, Lucy, moved this fall to the community of Civita Park in Mission Valley. She said the city’s cultural scene was a big factor in their decision to settle here.
“I’m a town planning nerd and a geek city lover,” she said. “I am fascinated by cities and the way the cultural and artistic landscape weaves there. San Diego’s arts and culture scene has been on the mind for a long time, and I see it growing more and more. ”