Des McAnuff is the highly celebrated, Tony award-winning director of such hit Broadway musicals as Big River and The Who's Tommy." He had also produced Tony award-winning revivals of Broadway classics like Guys and Dolls, The Music Man, Into the Woods, 42nd Street, The King and I, and many others.
McAnuff was born on June 19th, 1952 in Princeton, Illinois.
An American citizen raised in Toronto, McAnuff co-founded New York's Dodger Theatre Company in 1978, where he also directed their first production, entitled Gimme Shelter. He has directed for the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard and Yale Rep, and is a former faculty member of the Julliard School.
He is Director-in-Residence of the La Jolla Playhouse, where he was Artistic Director from its 1983 revival until 1994, during which time the theatre won more than 200 awards. For the Playhouse, he directed Romeo and Juliet, A Mad World, My Masters, Big River, As You Like It, The Sea Gull, The Matchmaker, A Walk in the Woods, Two Rooms, 80 Days, Macbeth, A Funny Thing Happened...Forum, Twelfth Night, Three Sisters, Elmer Gantry, Much Ado About Nothing, The Who's Tommy and How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.
Des McAnuff is married to actress Susan Berman and they are the parents of Julia Violet, born in 1990. They were married in 1984 and the ceremony took place directly on the La Jolla Playhouse's stage.
McAnuff has also directed two motion pictures, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle and Cousin Bette, but both of these film were critical and box-office failures. However, his animated version of "The Iron Giant" earned awards around the world.
In response to a comment regarding the problems with the emergence of technology and the lack of interest for the arts in schools, McAnuff had this to say:
"We've discouraged ideas onstage and replaced questions either with simplistic ideological statements or simply images, pictures, laughs. We need to turn it around. We need to be discussing issues onstage. We need to be asking questions, encouraging people to think, to accept the fact that they don't have to sit there and like it necessarily, they can make up their own minds. There needs to be content in what we do. The times in which we live demand it." (Don Shewey)
Pump Boys and Dinettes (1982)
Big River (1985)
A Walk in the Woods (1988)
The Gospel at Colonus (1988)
Dangerous Games (1989)
The Grapes of Wrath (1990)
Prelude to a Kiss (1990)
The Secret Garden (1991)
Guys and Dolls (1992)
The Who's Tommy (1993)
How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (1995)
The King and I (1996)
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1996)
Once Upon a Mattress (1996)
High Society (1998)
Wrong Mountain (2000)
The Music Man (2000)
42nd Street (2001)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (2002)
The Mystery of Charles Dickens (2002)
Into the Woods (2002)
I Am My Own Wife (2003)
Dracula, the Musical (2004)
700 Sundays (2004)
Good Vibrations (2005)
Jersey Boys (2005)