Laguna Playhouse Names Director of Advancement and Community Relations Liaison

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Laguna Playhouse has added two new names to its organization. Michael G. Murphy will assume the newly created position of Director of Advancement, and Karyn Philippsen will be the new Community Relations Liaison for the Playhouse.

According to information from Laguna Playhouse, the addition of these two positions is part of the new course being charted for the Playhouse by Artistic Director David Ellenstein and Managing Director Bill Kerlin, who were both appointed to their positions last spring.

“We are so happy to have these two remarkable leaders in their fields bring their passion and expertise to the Laguna Playhouse. We look forward to collaborating with them on our many future plans, goals and initiatives we are implementing at the Playhouse, and feel so fortunate to have them as part of our team,” commented David Ellenstein.

Michael G. Murphy (Director of Advancement) was most recently President of Shea’s Performing Arts Center in his hometown area of Buffalo, NY. He previously served as Managing Director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego. Prior to the Globe, he was the Managing Director of Austin Lyric Opera in Austin, Texas; Director of Administration of San Diego Opera; and General Manager of San Diego Repertory Theatre. Before relocating to San Diego from New York City, he held similar positions at Theatre for a New Audience and the Joyce Theater Foundation’s American Theater Exchange. He also served as negotiating assistant for the League of Resident Theatres and sales representative for Columbia Artists Theatricals Corporation.

Karyn Philippsen (Community Relations Liaison) is a native Californian and long-time resident of Laguna Beach. Philippsen’s multi-faceted career encompasses over 40 years’ experience in the hospitality industry.  She was recognized by the Laguna Playhouse in 2019 when she received the “Legend Award” for dedication to the arts, and the Hospitality Industry “Visionary Award” in 2003 that resulted in major funding for the arts with the creation of the “Tourism Marketing District” (TMD) for Laguna Beach. As an influential and active community leader, she has served on several non-profit boards, and currently serves on the board of Laguna Beach Sister Cities, Friends of the Laguna Beach Library, and Visit Laguna Beach.  Karyn was part of the leadership Opening Team for the Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel and Montage, Laguna Beach.  She continues to weave her hospitality and marketing experience with her devotion to all things Laguna Beach including being honored with “Citizen of the Year” in next year’s Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade.

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