Stage Raw: Lars Hansen dies
Arts Leader Lars Hansen Dead at 60
For over a decade (1988 to 1999), he was the Executive Director of Pasadena Playhouse, the
State Theatre of California. During his tenure, season subscriptions reached a high of 23,000 and annual attendance exceeded 200,000. He was directly responsible for the production of more than 150 plays and musicals, including several that were presented on Broadway: Mail, Accomplice, Solitary Confinement and The Twilight of the Golds. Additionally, the Playhouse production of Steel Magnolias toured nationally and Sisterella, co-produced by Michael Jackson, toured internationally. The Twilight of the Golds and Baby Dance, both of which had their world premieres at the Playhouse, were made into films. Other notable productions included the Los Angeles area premieres of Forever Plaid, Love Letters, Lend Me A Tenor and Other People's Money. Among many other artists, Hansen had a longtime collaboration with Tony Award-winning writer Rupert Holmes, producing the West Coast premiere of Drood as well as the world premieres of Accomplice and Solitary Confinement.
Lars Henry Hansen was born on July 11, 1949, in Long Beach, California where he attended Millikan High School. He began playing the accordion at a young age and also studied piano and bass. He played bass in his junior and senior high school bands and attended the Arrowbear Music Camp. He received a Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University, Long Beach and did graduate studies in Secondary Education Administration at CSULB and University of California, Irvine.
After graduation, he became chair of the music department at El Toro High School in Lake Forest. As its director, the El Toro Marching Band was highly regarded and was invited to perform for President Gerald Ford in 1975. Hansen also taught various music courses at Saddleback College in Mission Viejo.
From 1977-1982, Hansen served as Musical Director and later Executive Director of the Long Beach Civic Light Opera, which he shepherded from a community organization to a professional resident theatre under an agreement with Actors Equity Association. Other positions included Executive Director for California Music Theatre in Pasadena, Business Manager for Playwrights Horizons in New York City, and Administrative Director of American Music Theatre Festival in Philadelphia. He also taught theatre management courses at the University of Southern California.
Hansen was joined in matrimony with his partner, attorney Anthony John Amendola, in a state sanctioned ceremony on September 26, 2008, the 20th anniversary of their relationship. His parents (both deceased) were Louis and Alberta Hansen. His deceased brother was James Hansen, long associated with Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles. His surviving brother is retired law enforcement officer Ralph J. Hansen.
In addition to Anthony Amendola and Ralph Hansen, he is survived by his sister-in-law
Rebecca Robinson, his mother-in-law Anna Amendola, his sister-in-law Dominica Lawson, brother-in-law Richard Lawson and nephew Christopher Lawson.
Funeral services are pending and a memorial celebration will be held later in the Los Angeles area. In lieu of flowers, tax deductable donations may be made in the memory of Lars Hansen to The Palm Springs Rotary Foundation, P.O. Box 171, Palm Springs, CA 92263.