Charlotte St. Martin, who’s led the Broadway League trade association since 2006, will step down on Feb. 16. The sudden departure occurs amid an industry changing of the guard as Broadway struggles to recover from the pandemic and respond to calls for greater diversity.
No reason was given for the exit of St. Martin, who was named League executive director in 2006 and president in 2015. In an email to League members under the subject line “some important personal news,” St. Martin wrote that she gave notice to chairwoman Kristin Caskey this past weekend, as it was time to “slow down.”
“I had hoped to hold off on retirement until the headwinds that just keep coming were basically gone, but that doesn’t seem to be happening soon,” she wrote. The League, which represents theater owners and producers, negotiates labor contracts with unions that work on Broadway and promotes commercial theater performances across the U.S.
A spokeswoman for St. Martin declined to elaborate or make the outgoing president or Caskey — an executive with Ambassador Theatre Group — available for interviews.
The League said that Jason Laks, its general counsel and executive Vice President in charge of labor relations, will be acting president while its board conducts a search for a permanent replacement.
Lincoln Center Theater, Roundabout Theatre Co. and Second Stage Theater — all major nonprofit companies that control Broadway houses — are searching for new leaders. In addition, Jujamcyn Theaters’ five venues have been taken over by ATG, which is controlled by the private equity giant Providence Equity Partners.
A former hotel industry executive, St. Martin has been an industry booster whose tenure coincided with an increase in box office grosses through 2018-19. During the pandemic, the League successfully lobbied for a generous federal grant program benefiting the hard-hit live entertainment industry as well as a New York State tax credit for commercial theater productions.
Otherwise, St. Martin was associated with few major initiatives and at least one high-profile gaffe. In a December 2021 interview with the Hollywood Reporter, she inexplicably slighted understudies, arguably the most versatile talents in the industry.
The press release announcing St. Martin’s departure appeared to have been prepared in haste. It said — incorrectly — that St. Martin has been president since 2006. And it said she was named to the hall of fame of Grain’s (sic) New York Business.