After more than two decades as an exemplary leader in Orange County performing arts, Dr. Jerry Mandel, President of the Irvine Barclay Theatre, has announced he will step down from his role on Sunday, Dec. 31.

Mandel, a professional jazz musician, has been a stalwart in the world of performing arts in Orange County and is most recently credited for finding solutions for the Irvine-based community theater to withstand the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bob Romney, Irvine Barclay Chairman, had nothing but praise for the work that Mandel has done to support performing arts in Orange County.  

“Jerry dedicated his career to elevating performing arts and education throughout Orange County,” Romney said. “He changed the face of philanthropic support for the performing arts during his time leading Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and then as President of the Barclay.”

Now 83, Mandel will continue to support the Barclay in an advisory role as President Emeritus for the theater. Mandel also plans to serve as the Vice Chair of Barclay Board of Directors, Capital Campaigns. 

Before his 26 years working in the Orange County performing arts, Mandel built a stellar reputation over a 20-year career in higher education. Working locally at the University of California, Irvine, Mandel was a senior academic administrator and the Vice Chancellor for University Advancement at UC Irvine. 

In a statement regarding his change in leadership, Mandel was pleased to announce that he would be returning to a role in higher education at UC Irvine.  

“I have been blessed to have had a wonderful career,” Mandel said. “As former President of the now Segerstrom Center for The Arts, I had the joy of completing a world-class concert hall. As President of Barclay, I was fortunate to see the theater emerge and evolve into one of Orange County’s premier venues. Now, I am pleased to announce that I will be returning to my roots at UC Irvine where it all began.”

With Mandel’s change of tempo, Dr. Craig Springer, who has served as Executive Vice President of the Irvine Barclay Theatre since 2021, has agreed to take on the role of President beginning on Jan. 1, 2024.

Jerry Mandel

Dr. Craig Springer/Photo courtesy of Irvine Barclay Theatre

In his tenure as Executive Vice President, Springer has led programming and operational management along with marketing and Barclay fundraising events.

Before his role at the Barclay, Springer held roles in higher education, working as a professor at the University of Southern California, where he taught marketing and fundraising courses at USC’s School of Theater. 

While Mandel may shift into the background at the Barclay Theatre, he will be close to the music. Irvine locals will be happy to know that the jazz musician plans to maintain weekly performances around town, including at Bayside and Bistango, along with special appearances at Campus Jax, The Drake and Lugano Privé.

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