Totem Pole Playhouse Announces New Producing Artistic Director


FAYETTEVILLE – Totem Pole Playhouse, America’s summer theatre, located in
Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, PA, has announced a new Producing
Artistic Director.

David Hemsley Caldwell, who has been Totem Pole’s Artistic Director since 2020 and the fifth person to
hold that title in the theatre’s 73 years is stepping back. Together he and Totem Pole’s Board have
selected his successor. Joining the playhouse as Producing Artistic Director is Ryan B. Gibbs. Gibbs will
assume the role immediately for The Central Pennsylvania Summer Theatre’s 74th season. The two
Producers have worked hard this spring to ensure a smooth transition. Gibbs shared “David will continue with us as a consultant and guest artist. He will always be an important part of the Totem Pole Family.”

In a recent note to patrons and donors Caldwell shared:
“It has been my privilege to work with Totem Pole Playhouse for over 25 years. I arrived in Caledonia
State Park to direct and perform for the first time in 1997. Totem Pole captured my heart the moment I
stepped on the property.

When the pandemic struck and I was asked to assist, I didn’t hesitate to join the team to navigate the
theatre through the dark days of Covid. It has been my honor to serve as Artistic Director since 2020. We have survived a very challenging time and are seeing regrowth and recovery each year.

In February, when my contract was up, I made the difficult decision to move on due to health concerns
and to hand the stewardship of the theater over to a new generation of artists. The board has accepted my resignation with regret and has requested my assistance in identifying new leadership. I am happy to share that together we have found an accomplished new Artistic Director for the playhouse.

The Board of Directors and I have been working together to ensure a smooth transition with the new
leadership to make the 2024 season as well as Totem Pole’s 75th Season both memorable and exciting.”
Succeeding David is Ryan B. Gibbs serving as Totem Pole’s new Producing Artistic Director. He is
originally from Central PA and has a relationship with Totem Pole that goes back more than a decade as a director and in various aspects of production.

Ryan is a respected Director, Producer, Designer and Stage Manager who has a 25-year theatrical career
of working on shows from Broadway to school plays (and almost every step in between.) Broadway and
National Tour credits include: Rent, Wicked, Avenue Q, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Drowsy
Chaperone, School of Rock, Chicago: The Musical and Mary Poppins (to name a few). As well and
Production Supervising the Austrian and Japanese Companies of Mary Poppins. Ryan has worked
directly “in the room” for such creatives and producers as The Disney Theatrical Group, Jason Moore,
Casey Nicholaw, John Tiffany, Cameron Mackintosh and Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Locally Ryan has worked for the Fulton Theatre, The Dutch Apple Dinner Theatre, Franklin and Marshall College, Sight and Sound Theatres, Totem Pole Playhouse and many others. Ryan served as the Artistic Director of the Allenberry Playhouse for three seasons and was a founding member of the Lancaster based theatre company The Reverie Acting Company. For four years Ryan was a Producer for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS where he produced work for such Broadway Legends as Jerry Mitchell, Chita Rivera and Bernadette Peters.

He is honored to have been asked to join Totem Pole by David to shape creative leadership and
thoughtfully curate programing for our wonderful Central Pennsylvania community. Ryan lives in
Lancaster with his wife (Amy) his sons (Anderson and Benjamin) and his cat (Gumbo).

The season opens May 31st with Pumpboys and the Dinettes, a playhouse perennial and fan favorite.
Following that, the playhouse will produce Clue: On Stage, Tuesdays with Morrie and Jersey Boys. The
season will close on September 1st with presenting a series of concerts entitles Music in the Pines.
Tickets and subscriptions are on sale now by calling the Totem Pole Playhouse Box Office Monday
through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at (717) 352-2164

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