City Theatre Announces Leadership Transition

By: Press Release
Industry News
City Theatre Announces Leadership Transition

Susan Westfall - Photo credit: Morgan Sophia Photography

As City Theatre prepares for the 2022-23 season, the company announces its original founding company member, and current Interim Executive Director, Susan Westfall, is stepping down from her longtime leadership roles. The announcement follows the celebrated 25th Silver Anniversary Season of the SUMMER SHORTS FESTIVAL staged June-July 2022. City Theatre Artistic Director Margaret M. Ledford remains in her role overseeing City Theatre’s artistic vision and focus. Gladys Ramírez, who joined the staff in 2021 as General Manager, has been promoted to City Theatre Executive Director.

In announcing her departure Westfall says, “I was delighted this year when City Theatre finally celebrated its pandemic-delayed milestone 25th Anniversary of the SUMMER SHORTS FESTIVAL. It was fun to mount a program of wonderful new plays and worthy revivals, and our Festival Family Musical production of BOB MARLEY’S THREE LITTLE BIRDS.” Westfall added, “In addition to the art, SUMMER SHORTS showcased the teamwork of Margaret M. Ledford and Gladys Ramírez. It has been my pleasure to helm City Theatre in so many capacities for so many years. Now I’m grateful that with this transition, Margaret and Gladys and their team will take this unique and original cultural institution into exciting new directions.”

Ledford says, "I am grateful for her (Westfall) long, pioneering leadership and excellence of City Theatre, her mentorship, and that she will remain on the board. You cannot think of City Theatre without thinking of Susi. To honor her vast contributions to City Theatre, the Miami theatre community, and her championing of playwrights, City Theatre's National Short Playwriting Contest will now be known as the Susan J. Westfall Short Playwriting Contest."

Westfall co-founded City Theatre in 1996 with Elena Wohl and Stephanie Norman to produce SUMMER SHORTS, a theatre festival that showcased an emerging genre of “shorts”, complete plays of ten minutes or less. The Festival offered a lively array of different plays in two alternating programs that gave audiences a theatrical experience unlike any other at the time. Originally performed at the University of Miami Jerry Herman Ring Theater, SUMMER SHORTS was among a few cultural activities presented “off-season” leading to collaboration with the region’s outstanding talent that was otherwise rarely available. The first SUMMER SHORTS Festival in 1996 was a critical and audience hit and launched City Theatre’s ambition to grow.

A playwright herself, Westfall saw the opportunity for City Theatre to become a home to local, regional, and national playwrights whose works were presented in innovative programs that continue today. Westfall says, “as the only professional theatre company in the country dedicated to developing, commissioning, and producing the short play and musicals genre, I am proud of the well-known and emerging artists City Theatre has fostered. It’s a joy to help start and sustain careers for appreciative audiences.” In addition to SUMMER SHORTS, Westfall developed WINTER SHORTS, CITY SHORTS, SHORT CUTS, SHORTS ON SHIPS, City Reads, CityWrights, The City Theatre National Short Playwriting Contest, virtual City Theatre programming, and most recently, HOMEGROWN, a development program for emerging BIPOC playwrights in Miami. Westfall also recommends scripts for publication to literary publishers including City Theatre’s Anthology in 2015.

Gladys Ramirez - Photo credit: Morgan Sophia Photography

Continuing City Theatre’s history as a women-led organization, Gladys Ramírez now steps into the role of Executive Director, taking on the administrative management of the company including development, marketing, and strategic planning. Ramírez began her relationship with City Theatre as an actor, then director, before transitioning beyond the stage as an arts administrator, most recently as the Director of Audience Engagement at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach. Ramirez says of Westfall, "Her work in the community has paved the way for women in Miami, like me, to take positions of leadership in the arts and, in turn, create opportunities for the next generation of leaders. In her time with City Theatre, she has put Miami on the map as an incubator for emerging and established playwrights and a home for hundreds of theater artists throughout the last 28 seasons."

Margaret M. Ledford - Photo credit: Morgan Sophia Photography

In planning for her transition Westfall said, “The Pandemic gave me time and perspective to understand what building City Theatre has meant to me. In my early 40s, I was able to use my experience and contacts to help create an entirely new theatre company that is relevant and thriving today. I’ve enjoyed working alongside countless talented people as administrators and artists, sometimes in both roles, who now play leadership roles locally and nationally. I’m tickled the company takes its portable art form to venues and audiences around the region and has a Main Stage home on the Susan Westfall Playwrights Stage in the Carnival Studio Theater, at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts. The Pandemic was the most holistically challenging experience City Theatre has faced. I’m very grateful to Margaret, Gladys, our part-time staff, our loyal Board, our generous funders, and the artists, audiences, and colleagues who have seen us through. With exciting new projects in the works, and an appetite for new adventures, it’s my cue to exit.”

Westfall will continue to support City Theatre by joining its Board of Directors.

City Theatre’s 2022-23 Season begins with the Southeastern Premiere of Heidi Schreck’s multi-award-winning Broadway hit, WHAT THE CONSTITUTION MEANS TO ME, running December 1-18, 2022 as part of the Theater Up Close Series in the Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts in Downtown Miami. City Theatre returns in-person to Miami Dade County Public Schools with its popular and long-running SHORT CUTS Middle School Tour from November 2022 through May 2023 featuring a family-friendly public performance at Pinecrest Gardens on January 20, 2023. CITY READS, City Theatre’s play reading series at Books & Books in Coral Gables, features free readings of short plays presented over five nights from October 2022 through March 2023. HOMEGROWN, a playwright development program for BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) writers funded by the Jorge M. Pérez

Family Foundation at the Miami Foundation, nurtures new voices and original storytelling drawn from diverse cultures and experiences. The success of HOMEGROWN will be seen on City Theatre stages among others in the coming years that will enhance Miami’s robust community of playwrights.

About City Theatre

Entering its 28th season, City Theatre is an award-winning professional theater company founded in Miami. Dedicated to the development of new works, City Theatre has produced hundreds of short plays by well-known and emerging writers discovered through its National Award for Short Playwriting Contest. It commissions plays by South Florida-connected playwrights for its SHORT CUTS Middle School Tour. CITY READS, presented in partnership with Books & Books, invites the community to enjoy a selection of short plays and participate in a conversation about the works and issues presented. The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at the Miami Foundation recently funded HOMEGROWN, a program launched to nurture, elevate, and promote Miami’s BIPOC writers. This dedicated playwright initiative aims to develop new plays authentic to Miami’s multicultural voices and presents them as part of City Theatre’s 2022-2023 season. City Theatre has made its main stage home at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts Carnival Studio Theatre since 2007. The signature SUMMER SHORTS FESTIVAL enjoyed its milestone 25th Anniversary in 2022. City Theatre produces full-length plays as part of the Arsht Center’s Theatre Up Close Series, including JACOB MARLEY’S CHRISTMAS CAROL by Tom Mula in 2021 and Bekah Brunstetter’s THE CAKE in 2019. In 2016, City Theatre was honored by the Carbonell Committee with the prestigious Bill Von Maurer Award, in recognition of significant contributions to South Florida theater development for the company’s dedication to the short-form play format and fostering new play development. The company was recognized by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine-Cava in honor of “City Theatre 25th Anniversary Day” on June 9, 2021.

This season is presented with the support of the Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs and the Cultural Affairs Council, the Miami-Dade County Mayor, and the Board of County Commissioners. Sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Arts and Culture, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and the National Endowment for the Arts. CITY READS is presented in partnership with Books & Books and generously funded by the City of Coral Gables. City Theatre’s production of “What the Constitution Means to Me” by Heidi Schreck is made possible by Presenting Sponsor Stearns Weaver Miller Weissler Alhadeff & Sitterson, P.A.; Pocket Constitution Sponsor DLA Piper; and with additional funding from the Miami Downtown Development Authority. HOMEGROWN is made possible through the generous support of The Jorge M. Pérez Family Foundation at the Miami Foundation.

For more information, visit or find City Theatre on Instagram @citytheatremia.

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