Richard Israel has been a member of the Los Angeles theatre community for over 20 years and is the recipient of the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Milton Katselas Award for Career Achievement in Direction as well as the 2014 LA Stage Alliance Ovation Award for Best Direction of a Musical.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude from the University of Arizona with a BFA in Musical Theatre, Richard came to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. After appearing in films, television and theatre, he changed the focus of his activities from acting to theatre directing and producing. In 1995, Richard became the Managing Director of West Coast Ensemble Theatre, one of Los Angeles’ leading 99-seat theatre companies. In 2001 he was named the Associate Artistic Director, and in 2008 he became the Co-Artistic Director of West Coast Ensemble.
During the past 10 years, Richard has directed a wide array of plays, musicals and new works. Most recently, Richard served as the Theatrical Coordinator for the HBO series BIG LITTLE LIES, in which he directed several on-screen sequences from AVENUE Q. For the past three years, he has been involved in the development of the Jeff Marx/Fat Mike musical HOME STREET HOME (including workshop productions at the O'Neill Theatre Center and at San Francisco's Z-Space). Recent theatre projects include 25t ANNUAL ... SPELLING BEE for PVPA, WEST SIDE STORY and RENT for McCoy/Rigby Entertainment, OUR TOWN and THE BAKER'S WIFE for The Actor's Co-op, PROMISES, PROMISES and DO I HEAR A WALTZ for Musical Theatre Guild, FLOYD COLLINS (Ovation Awards for Best Direction of a Musical and for Best Musical in a Large Venue), 110 IN THE SHADE (Ovation Award for Best Musical in an Intimate Theater, Ovation Nomination for Best Direction of a Musical), SPRING AWAKENING for Cal State Fullerton, MEMPHIS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE and CHILDREN OF EDEN for AMDA, KISS ME KATE and ONCE UPON A MATTRESS for Cabrillo Music Theatre, BRONIES! THE MUSICAL, THE BURNT PART BOYS, THE FULL MONTY and FALSETTOS for Third Street Theatre, AVENUE Q for DOMA Theatre Company (6 Ovation Award Nominations including Best Musical), GLORIOUS!, DEAD MAN'S CELL PHONE and LEADING LADIES for International City Theatre, and the world premiere of HAVING IT ALL, first at the NoHo Arts Center and recently for the Laguna Playhouse (7 Ovation Award Nominations including Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Musical Ensemble and an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Direction). For Musical Theatre West, he has directed MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, and for the Norris Theatre he has directed A GRAND NIGHT FOR SINGING and the Mencken/Ahrens A CHRISTMAS CAROL. For The Colony Theatre, he has directed BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE, and for Interact Theatre Company he has directed DIRTY ROTTEN SCOUNDRELS. For the Musical Theatre Guild at the Alex Theatre, he has directed staged readings of WOMEN ON THE VERGE, PROMISES PROMISES, ROAD SHOW, HIGH FIDELITY, ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, HIGH SPIRITS and VIOLET. For the Festival of New Musicals, he has directed readings of THE FRONT, ROCKET SCIENCE and DANI GIRL, and for the Musical Theatre West Reiner Reading Series he has directed BRIGADOON and ANYONE CAN WHISTLE. For Hollywood’s Actor’s Co-Op he has directed MERRILY WE ROLL ALONG, BIG RIVER and 1776 (4 L.A. Weekly Award Nominations including Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Direction of a Musical).
During his tenure as Artistic Director of West Coast Ensemble Theatre, Richard directed a scaled-down version of GYPSY, (L.A. Weekly Award Nominations for Oustanding Musical and Outstanding Direction of a Musical) the west coast premiere of Brian Christopher Williams’ ANITA BRYANT DIED FOR YOUR SINS (GLAAD Award Nominee for Outstanding Los Angeles Theatre), the Los Angeles premiere of BIG - THE MUSICAL, ASSASSINS (4 L.A. Weekly Award Nominations including Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Direction of a Musical, and the LADCC Award for Outstanding Ensemble of a Musical), the Los Angeles premiere of FLOYD COLLINS (BackStage Garland Award for Direction), Douglas Carter Beane’s MUSIC FROM A SPARKLING PLANET, Kander & Ebb's THE WORLD GOES ROUND, the west coast premiere of David Lindsay Abaire’s WONDER OF THE WORLD, David Crane and Larry Coen’s EPIC PROPORTIONS, the recent adaptation of THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK and the world premiere of the Jonathan Larson Award winning VANISHING POINT.
Richard is currently on the musical theatre faculty of AMDA-LA and is a member of the board of the Foundation for New American Musicals.