Jack Viertel has retired as senior vice president of Jujamcyn Theaters, ending a more than 34–year career with the theatrical powerhouse. Announced January 11, Viertel's retirement went into effect with the close of 2021.
A producer, writer, and artistic director, Viertel has been one of the busiest and most prolific figures in the Broadway industry. His career at Jujamcyn—which owns and operates the St. James, August Wilson, Walter Kerr, Al Hirschfeld, and Eugene O'Neill theatres on Broadway—began in 1987, when Viertel joined as creative director. Among the many productions Viertel helped shepherd to Broadway are The Piano Lesson, Into the Woods, M. Butterfly, Angels in America, the Jerry Zaks-helmed revival of Guys and Dolls, The Secret Garden, Grand Hotel, City of Angels, Jelly's Last Jam, the Nathan Lane-led revival of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Proof, Gypsy starring Patti LuPone, and more. Viertel conceived and co-produced Smokey Joe's Cafe, and came up with the concept that later became the musical and film The Prom.
From 2000 to 2020, Viertel served as artistic director of City Center's Encores! series, which has presented such musical gems as Hair, Chicago, Follies, Lost in the Stars, Mack & Mabel, Juno, House of Flowers, The New Yorkers, Me and My Girl, and 1776.
Viertel published The Secret Life of the American Musical in 2016, a comprehensive deep dive into what makes musicals so beloved. The work was a New York Times bestseller.
“My career at Jujamcyn was a dream come true,” Viertel said in announcing his retirement. “Working first under Rocco Landesman and then under Jordan Roth, I had as much fun as anyone can have in the theatre, got an education every day, and the company, I’m proud to say, has continued to innovate in every aspect of production and presentation. I am very glad to have been a part of it. But I have had several projects I’ve been working on independently; I’m writing a new book, and I’m eager to continue my life as a freelance creative consultant on other projects. And, as the song says, the days grow short when you reach September, although I feel like I’m really only in mid-August. Still, it was time to move along, with gratitude for everything Jujamcyn has given me.”
"The work that Jack has created, the artists he has championed, the wisdom he has shared, the way he understands and articulates the inner workings of the form, the love he has for the theatre and everyone involved in making it—all of this, all of him, has had such a deep impact on me and I know on everyone at Jujamcyn, past and present," adds Jujamcyn owner and president Jordan Roth. "We are all forever grateful to him and cheering for him."