Fifty years ago this month, Evelyn Rudie and Chris De Carlo assumed their posts as Co-Artistic Directors of Santa Monica Playhouse. Under their stewardship, the 63-year-old theatre has become a treasured cultural institution in the beachside community. Theatres have come and gone over the years in Los Angeles County, but the Santa Monica Playhouse continues to thrive under the direction of Evelyn and Chris.
Evelyn enjoyed an early successful career in television and film, earning an Emmy® nomination (for Playhouse 90) and receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in television (which included The Red Skelton Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Lawman, 77 Sunset Strip, Wagon Train, General Electric Theatre, and seven appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar). She came from a show-business family, including grandfather Rudolf Bernauer, a librettist-lyricist-playwright-filmmaker; father Emery Bernauer, a composer-lyricist-playwright; and aunt Agnes Bernelle, a singer.
Chris De Carlo received a Bronze Star from the U.S. Army for his film work while in Vietnam. He originated 350 roles with over 10,000 performances on three continents, from New York to Tokyo.
Together, Evelyn and Chris are renowned for their Shalom Aleichem Quintology, five shows based on the life and work of famed humorist, novelist, and playwright Shalom Aleichem (1859-1916). The Quintology features music
by Ben Weisman.
Evelyn and Chris, partners and spouses, are responsible for bringing some 650 productions to the Playhouse stage. In addition to being actors, writers, and directors, they are also educators, using theatre as a platform to instruct and illuminate. Together they co-founded Actors Repertory Theatre, the Young Professionals Company, the Mobile Touring Project, the Schools Theatre Excursion Project, and the American Cultural Youth Ambassadors.
They are also behind the annual Binge Free Festival of Theatre, which each fall presents a month of free shows, so that plenty of theatre is available to all, regardless of their circumstances.
The new year of 2023 looks to be as busy as ever for the Playhouse with shows planned including Don’t Get Sick and Die; Snowhite; Drunk Theatre; The Hebrew Hillbilly; WTF: Talkback; and the 2023 edition of Binge Free Festival.
Fifty years at the helm of Santa Monica Playhouse, and Evelyn and Chris show no signs of slowing down. That’s great news for local theatergoers.
The Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth St., just south of Wilshire Blvd. For more information about Santa Monica Playhouse (and Evelyn and Chris) visit santamonicaplayhouse.org.