Diane Rodriguez, a mainstay in the Los Angeles theatre scene and an artistic leader off the stage as well, died April 10 after complications with cancer. She was 68.
Ms. Rodriguez worked with several West Coast regional theatres throughout her career, most notably with Center Theatre Group from 1995 to 2019 (including as associate artistic director). During her time at the company, she oversaw the development on new plays, supporting such works as Straight White Men, Venice Is Dead, The White Album, and How to Be a Rock Critic.
She began her career in 1973 with the Mexican-American theatre company El Teatro Campesino, regularly performing and touring for ten seasons. Recently, she’s been represented on the L.A. stage as a director with Las Mujeres del Mar at Playwrights’ Arena, Bordertown Now at Pasadena Playhouse, and Fighting Shadows at Inner City Arts, as well as a writer with Living Large at Teatro Luna and The Sweetheart Deal at Los Angeles Theatre Center.
Ms. Rodriguez also served as president of the Theatre Communications Group board from 2013 to 2016 (having joined the board in 2008); around that same time, she was also appointed to serve on the NEA’s advisory panel, the National Council on the Arts.
“Diane was unfailingly supportive of and kind to artists, and she somehow never developed any kind of gatekeeper vibe, but rather always felt like a close friend or relative,” Straight White Men playwright Young Jean Lee said. “I’m pretty sure she was one of the only female producers of color I ever worked with, and getting to collaborate with her was one of the highlights of my career.”
Ms. Rodriguez is survived by her husband Jose Delgado, mother Helen E. Rodriguez, brother-in-law Garry Fusco, niece Gabrielle E. Fusco, and nephew Mario J. Fusco.