THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE
DES McANUFF (Director) is a two-time Tony Award-winner (Big River,
The Who's Tommy) who made his feature film directorial debut on
the 1998 Fox Searchlight black comedy, Cousin Bette, starring Jessica
Lange, Elisabeth Shue and Bob Hoskins.
A native of Toronto, Canada, McAnuff cut his teeth in the theatre as both a
playwright and director. He first garnered acclaim for his play, Leave It to
Beaver Is Dead, written while he was a student at Ryerson College. The
original work won the Factory Lab Theatre Award for best play by a university
student in 1973. Two years later, it received a full-blown theatrical staging at
Toronto's Theatre Second Floor before legendary producer Joseph Papp brought
it to New York. The new version, directed by McAnuff for Papp's N.Y.
Shakespeare Festival, collected the SoHo Arts Award for best off-Broadway play
for the 1978-79 season.
McAnuff relocated to New York City, where his career skyrocketed. He directed
the Obie Award-winning production of The Crazy Locomotive at the Chelsea
Theatre Center, where he became Associate Director and Literary Manager. In
1978, he co-founded the Dodger Theatre at the Brooklyn Academy of Music and
directed the company's first production, Gimme Shelter, for which he
won the SoHo Arts Award as Best Director. For the Dodger troupe, he also staged Holeville,
How It All Began and Mary Stuart, the latter two for Papp's
Continuing his affiliation with Papp, he directed Henry IV, Part One
in Central Park's Delacorte Theatre and was awarded a Rockefeller grant for
his original play, The Death of Von Richthofen As Witnessed from Earth,
which he staged at the Public and earned a SoHo Villager prize as Best Director.
In 1983, McAnuff moved west to become artistic director of the famed La Jolla
Playhouse, where he remained until 1994. During his tenure there, the company
won more than 200 awards for excellence including the 1993 Tony for Outstanding
Regional Theatre. Committed to both the classics and new plays and musicals,
McAnuff directed for the playhouse such projects as Romeo and Juliet,
A Mad World, My Masters, As You Like It, The Seagull,
Shout Up A Morning (also at the Kennedy Center), Gillette, The
Matchmaker, A Walk in the Woods (also on Broadway), Two Rooms,
80 Days, Down the Road, Macbeth, A Funny Thing Happened
on the Way to the Forum, Elmer Gantry, Twelfth Night, Three
Sisters, Fortinbras, and Much Ado About Nothing. He also
executive produced the Broadway-bound Barry Manilow-Bruce Sussman musical, Harmony,
which premiered at La Jolla in 1997.
At La Jolla, he developed the original musical Big River, and took the
Roger Miller show to Broadway, where it won seven Tony Awards, including Best
Musical and another for his direction. Working with composer Pete Townsend, he
also developed, co-wrote a new book and directed the acclaimed adaptation of The
Who's Tommy, also taking it to the Great White Way, where it won five
Tonys. For his work on the bold musical, McAnuff won his second Tony as well as
the Drama Desk and Outer Circle Critics Awards. He also staged the musical in
London, collecting an Olivier Award as Best Director, and in Toronto, where it
won five Dora Mavor Moore Awards, including Best Director. His most recent
Broadway triumph was the revival of How to Succeed in Business Without
Really trying, for which star Matthew Broderick won a Tony Award.
McAnuff has directed for the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard, Yale Rep
and the Stratford Festival of Canada. He continues as Director-in-Residence at
La Jolla and is a former faculty member of the Juilliard School and the
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