As the person responsible for the day-to-day operations of one of the country's largest theater companies, Rada completes a triumvirate of Occidental alumni at the Los Angeles Music Center, which includes Stephen Rountree '71, Music Center president and CEO, and William H. Ahmanson '85, president of CTG's board of directors.
Rada was the chief financial officer of CTG for 12 years, from 1996 to 2008, and is currently president of the Music Center Foundation. He began his new position July 1.
"I am thrilled," Rada said. "I have been involved in Los Angeles theater for most of my life and regard the managing director job as a dream come true...Center Theatre Group is an incredible organization and an important force in the cultural landscape of Los Angeles and the American theater."
Following a nationwide search, Rada was asked by CTG Artistic Director and CEO Michael Ritchie to play a major role in the future of CTG. He will work closely with Ritchie to ensure the effective and efficient operation of all aspects of the institution. He will supervise all management, financial, marketing, development, technology and human resources of the company.
"I am confident that I have found a valuable new partner in Ed," Ritchie said. "He is passionate and knowledgeable about theater, knows Los Angeles well, and understands the turbulent financial times we are all living in. He knows the right financial moves to make but he also understands that good theater is about pushing boundaries and taking chances. I know he will help me maximize both the artistic standards and the economic results of all of our work at CTG."
"We are all looking forward to working with Ed," said Ahmanson. "His knowledge of the inner workings of Center Theatre Group coupled with his financial acumen will help make us a stronger organization from both a strategic as well as an operational perspective."
"My whole career is rooted in the fact that going to Oxy, I was able to be an economics major and spend time in the theater department," says Rada, a Pasadena native. "I was able to develop skills in one area, and develop a passion in another area. That's the whole point of liberal arts education." He says that Oxy's summer theater program, which he participated in for three years, played "a huge role" in his life. "Because the theater department was fairly small and so welcoming, it provided access and experiences that I just would not have had at a larger university," Rada says, including parts in "The Pajama Game" "Hollybush Hall" and "Yeoman of the Guard."
But, Rada says, "I didn't have talent [in theater]. Econ was where I had skill. I had talent in economics," so that is what he pursued as a career-while keeping his love of theater in his back pocket.
During Rada's three years at the Music Center Foundation, a non-profit corporation that holds and invests the endowment and reserve funds for the Music Center and its resident companies (including CTG), he has supervised a broadly diversified investment portfolio and has implemented decisions made by the foundation's investment committee, among other duties. Prior to his years at CTG, he was the director of finance for The Old Globe in San Diego and a principal of Rada & Associates, an accounting firm that specialized in entertainment-related nonprofit organizations and theatrical productions.
He currently serves on the board of trustees for the pension, health and welfare, and 401(k) plans of the I.A.T.S.E. Local 33 Stagehands Union, on the board of directors of Theatre@Boston Court, and on the board of United Support for Artists for Africa/USA for Africa, among other affiliations.
Center Theatre Group is Los Angeles' leading non-profit theater company, programming seasons at the 739-seat Mark Taper Forum and the 2,000-seat Ahmanson Theatre at the Music Center of Los Angeles, and the 317-seat Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City. In addition, CTG supports a significant number of arts education and play development initiatives.