Bill Rauch

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Bill Rauch.

Bill Rauch (born 1962) is an award-winning American theatre director. He was named the inaugural artistic director of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center at the World Trade Center in 2016.[1] Currently in development, the Perelman is the final piece of the plan to revitalize the World Trade Center site and will create work which inspires hope.[2]

Previously, Rauch served as the fifth artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF), from June 2007 through August 2019, where he commissioned several critically acclaimed, diverse plays that transferred to Broadway including Lynn Nottage’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Sweat, Paula Vogel’s Indecent, Robert Schenkkan’s Tony Award-winning All The Way, the Go Go’s musical Head Over Heels, and Robert Schenkkan’s All The Way sequel, The Great Society.

Bill Rauch is also the founder of the Cornerstone Theater Company, a traveling company that brought theater to rural communities across the United States before settling in Los Angeles to work with urban communities.


Bill Rauch (born 1962) graduated from Harvard College in 1984, where he was a recipient of the Louis Sudler Prize for outstanding graduating artist.

Cornerstone Theater and other directorial work[edit]

Bill Rauch co-founded the community-based, touring Cornerstone Theater Company in 1986 with Alison Carey, where he directed more than 40 productions, most of them collaborations with diverse rural and urban communities across the United States, and served as artistic director from 1986 to 2006.[3]

Bill Rauch has directed a number of world premieres, including Naomi Wallace’s Night is a Room at New York’s Signature Theatre;[4] The Body of an American at Portland Center Stage[5] which, along with All the Way, was co-winner of the inaugural Edward M. Kennedy Prize for Drama Inspired by American History;[6] The Clean House at Yale Repertory Theatre; and Living Out and For Here or To Go? at the Mark Taper Forum. He also directed the New York premiere of The Clean House at Lincoln Center Theater.[7] Work elsewhere includes productions at South Coast Repertory, Guthrie Theater, Arena Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Pasadena Playhouse, Great Lakes Theater and En Garde Arts.

He has taught at University of California, Los Angeles, University of Southern California, California State University, Los Angeles and the University of California, Irvine as a Professor of Directing and Community Based Theater.

Work at Oregon Shakespeare Festival[edit]

Bill Rauch became the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's fifth artistic director in 2007, after five seasons at the Festival as a guest director.[8] As visiting director at OSF, Rauch directed Handler (2002), Hedda Gabler (2003), The Comedy of Errors (2004), By the Waters of Babylon (2005) & The Two Gentlemen of Verona (2006).

During his 17 seasons at OSF, Rauch directed seven world premieres including, Mother Road, LA Comedia of Errors, Off the Rails, Roe, Fingersmith, The Great Society, All the Way, Equivocation and By the Waters of Babylon. He also directed 19 other plays at the Festival including; By Shakespeare: Othello, Richard II, Antony and Cleopatra, King Lear, Cymbeline, Measure for Measure, Hamlet, The Merchant of Venice, Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Comedy of Errors; Others: Oklahoma!, Medea/Macbeth/Cinderella, The Pirates of Penzance, The Music Man, The Clay Cart, Hedda Gabler, The Further Adventures of Hedda Gabler and Handler.

Bill Rauch directed several OSF plays at other theatres, including Equivocation, All the Way and The Great Society at Seattle Rep; The Pirates of Penzance at Portland Opera; Equivocation and Roe at Arena Stage; Roe at Berkeley Rep; and Othello, Fingersmith and All the Way at the American Repertory Theater for which he twice won the Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) award for Best Director. All the Way then moved to the Neil Simon Theatre on Broadway in 2014, where it won the Tony Award for Best Play and also earned Drama Desk[9] and Outer Critics Circle Award nominations for directing.[10] The Great Society moved to the Vivian Beaumont Theater on Broadway in 2019 and opened October 1, 2019.[11]

During his time at OSF, Rauch was known for his passionate dedication to diversifying the company and the audience.[12] A risk-taker, Rauch put together programming that combined Shakespeare, other classics, contemporary work, and plays commissioned for the company. His vision for OSF included classical musicals and important plays outside the Western Canon.[13]

Among his initiatives at OSF, Rauch commissioned 37 new plays as part of American Revolutions: the U.S. History Cycle, to dramatize moments of change in American history, inspired by Shakespeare’s history plays and funded in part by grants from the Andrew W. Mellon, Collins Family, and Paul G. Allen Family Foundations.[5] He also initiated the Black Swan Lab for New Work and a community-based format for the Green Show.[14]

On February 16, 2018, Rauch announced that his directorship would come to an end in August 2019.[15]

All the Way and The Great Society[edit]

In 2014, Rauch directed the Broadway production of All the Way by Robert Schenkkan, after originally commissioning and directing the play at OSF in 2012. This limited-engagement production opened on March 6, 2014 at the Neil Simon Theatre and concluded on June 29, 2014.[16] The production won two Tony Awards, the 2014 Tony Award for Best Play and the 2014 Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Play, which went to Bryan Cranston.[17] The play also won the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Play. Rauch was nominated for both a Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Award for his direction.

In 2019, Rauch again worked with Schenkkan on The Great Society, the sequel to All the Way, which ran for a twelve week limited-engagement on Broadway at The Vivian Beaumont Theater, beginning September 6, 2019.[18] The play starred Emmy-winner Brian Cox as President Lyndon B. Johnson.

Leading The Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center[edit]

In February 2016, Rauch was named the inaugural artistic director of the Ronald O. Perelman Performing Arts Center, a new, flexible midsize performance space at The World Trade Center that will produce theater, dance, music, and chamber opera.[19] Of his appointment Rauch said, “I'm humbled and be part of fostering a place for transformative art...[and] to bring this cutting edge performing arts facility to downtown Manhattan, modeling hope by making art that connects us across all types of communities."[20]

The Perelman, currently under construction, is located adjacent of the 9/11 Memorial north reflecting pool. It was conceived as the keystone in Daniel Libeskind’s 2003 master plan for the rebuilding of the 16-acre World Trade Center site.[21] A state-of-the-art venue and global hub for creation and rebirth, the Perelman’s flexible theaters can be reconfigured into dozens of different stage environments[22] to accommodate the creative vision of and collaboration amongst emerging, established, and non-traditional artists.

Awards and honors[edit]

In 2018 Rauch received the Ivy Bethune Award from Actors’ Equity Association for diversity and inclusion in hiring, casting and producing.[23] Other honors include the inaugural “Guiding Star” Award (2017),[24] two Independent Reviewers of New England Awards (2017, 2014),[25] a Falstaff Award (2013), the 2012 Zelda Fichandler Award, TCG’s Visionary Leadership Award (2010),[26] Connecticut Critics Circle, L.A. Weekly, and Helen Hayes Awards. He is also the only artist to have won the inaugural “Leadership for a Changing World” award (2001).

Bill Rauch is also the recipient of the 2009 Margo Jones Award, founded by Inherit the Wind authors Jerome Lawrence and Robert Edwin Lee and presented annually by Ohio State University. The award honors “that citizen-of-the theatre who has demonstrated a significant impact, understanding, and affirmation of the craft of playwriting, with a lifetime commitment to the encouragement of the living theatre everywhere.”[2][3]

In 2015 Rauch was named a Ford Foundation Art of Change Fellow in 2015[27] and was awarded a United States Artists Prudential Fellowship in 2008.[28]


  1. ^ Cooper, Michael (2018-02-16). "World Trade Center Arts Space Gets a Lease, and a Leader". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  2. ^ Coleman, Nancy (2019-07-11). "World Trade Center Arts Project Finds New President". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  3. ^ "Cornerstone Theater Company - Bill Rauch". Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  4. ^ Stasio, Marilyn; Stasio, Marilyn (2015-11-23). "Off Broadway Review: 'Night is a Room'". Variety. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  5. ^ "Review: Portland Center Stage's Body of an American". Portland Monthly. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  6. ^ Libraries, Columbia University (2013-02-22). "2013 Winners Announced". Edward M. Kennedy. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  7. ^ Isherwood, Charles (2006-10-31). "The Clean House - Theater - Review". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  8. ^ Jones, Kenneth (18 August 2006). "Busy Regional Director Is Named New Artistic Director of Oregon Shakespeare Fest". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew (25 April 2014). "2014 Annual Drama Desk Awards Nominations Announced; Gentleman's Guide Earns 12 Nominations". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  10. ^ Gans, Andrew (12 May 2014). "64th Annual Outer Critics Circle Award Winners Announced; Gentleman's Guide Wins Four Awards". Playbill. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  11. ^ McElroy, Steven (2019-09-11). "Theater This Season: A Show (or 10) for Every Mood". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  12. ^ Taylor, Kate (2009-08-14). "Taking Multicultural Stages to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  13. ^ "OSF". Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  14. ^ Tidings, John Darling For the (2019-05-07). "Parting is such sweet sorrow". Ashland Tidings. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  15. ^ Weinert-Kendt, Rob (2018-02-16). "Bill Rauch's Next Once-in-a-Lifetime Move". AMERICAN THEATRE. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  16. ^ "All the Way". Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  17. ^ Staff, Variety; Staff, Variety (2014-06-08). "Tony Award Winners 2014 — Full List". Variety. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  18. ^ Paulson, Michael (2019-07-18). "'The Great Society,' About L.B.J., Is Coming to Broadway". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  19. ^ "After revolutionizing West Coast theater, Bill Rauch takes his inclusive vision to New York". Los Angeles Times. 2018-09-07. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  20. ^ Cooper, Michael (2018-02-16). "World Trade Center Arts Space Gets a Lease, and a Leader". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  21. ^ Barron, James (2019-03-24). "At 374,000 Pounds, 'Big Boy' Plays Vital Supporting Role at Ground Zero". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  22. ^ "Staged Right". AIA New York. Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  23. ^ "Ivy Bethune Award · Actors' Equity Association". Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  24. ^ "Guiding Star Award Recipient Bill Rauch: Keynote Address - Cal Shakes". Retrieved 2019-10-03. External link in |website= (help)
  25. ^ "Bryan Cranston, Cherry Jones, Patina Miller, and More Win Boston's 2014 IRNE Awards | TheaterMania". Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  26. ^ Desk, BWW News. "TCG Announces 2010 TCG Award Recipients". Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  27. ^ Candid. "Ford Foundation Launches 'Art of Change' Fellowship Program". Philanthropy News Digest (PND). Retrieved 2019-10-03.
  28. ^ "Awards". United States Artists. Retrieved 2019-10-03.