Van Kaplan Bio
Van Kaplan (Executive Producer)
Since 1946, Pittsburgh CLO has been a driving force behind the preservation, creation and promotion of live musical theater. As one of the largest regional musical theater organizations in the country, Pittsburgh CLO is fortunate for the yearly support of nearly 200,000 patrons. In addition to producing fresh new productions of Broadway classics, the not-for-profit’s mission is to develop new works and showcase new talent. The organization has been credited with launching the careers of numerous artists and counts among its many alumni Rob Marshall, Kathleen Marshall, Rob Ashford, Bernadette Peters, Shirley Jones and Susan Schulman. The organization’s dedication to musical theater extends beyond its six-show summer season at the Benedum Center to year-round programming at its 250-seat CLO Cabaret Theater that recently saw the world premiere of ‘S Wonderful: The New Gershwin Musical which is currently on national tour. Ongoing initiatives include the Pittsburgh CLO Academy of Musical Theater, CLO Mini Stars, the Construction Center for the Arts, The Richard Rodgers Award, and the acclaimed Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater, a 20 year-old program and the first of its kind in the country. Pittsburgh CLO is also a founder and co-producer of the National High School Musical Theater Awards. To further its mission to grow the art form, the organization has invested in and co-produced the Broadway musicals: The Addams Family, Come Fly Away, Catch Me If You Can, 9 to 5: The Musical, Legally Blonde The Musical, Curtains, Monty Python’s SPAMALOT, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Bombay Dreams, Oprah Winfrey’s The Color Purple, Flower Drum Song, Chita Rivera: The Dancer’s Life, Deaf West’s production of Big River and the upcoming Broadway production of Evita. Pittsburgh CLO is also a founding partner of
5 Cent Productions/Elephant Eye Theatricals, a producing consortium devoted to new musicals and whose projects are: The Addams Family currently on Broadway and Bruce Lee: Journey to the West. In 2007, Pittsburgh CLO assisted Disney Theatrical Productions in launching the National Tour of Disney’s High School Musical.
In addition to his work on Broadway, Mr. Kaplan has produced touring productions of Camelot, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Phantom, Singin’ in the Rain, Chess, Grand Hotel, City of Angels, Evita, Brigadoon and Nunsense II. His directorial credits include Guys and Dolls with Victoria Clark, She Loves Me, West Side Story, Kopit & Yeston’s Phantom, On the Town, Sweeney Todd with Candy Buckley, South Pacific with Cathy Rigby, Nunsense, Shear Madness, Ruthless, Guys and Dolls with Georgia Engel and the regional premiere of Andrew Bovell’s Speaking in Tongues at Pittsburgh’s Quantum Theater. He is the stage director each year for The Jimmy™ Awards at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre. Mr. Kaplan is a consultant for the National Endowment for the Arts, a former Theatre Panel chair for the Texas Commission on the Arts, and has served as adjunct professor for Carnegie Mellon’s Masters of Arts Management Program. He has been a Tony Awards® voter for 20 years, is on the Board of The Broadway League, serves on the Executive Committee of the Independent Presenters Network (IPN) and is past president of The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT), of which Pittsburgh CLO is a founding member. Mr. Kaplan is president of the NHS Musical Theater Awards-The Jimmy™ Awards. Fun fact: Pittsburgh CLO is the subject of a 2007 film starring Jeff Goldblum titled PITTSBURGH.