Fifty Years at  Santa Monica Playhouse

Fifty years ago this month, Evelyn Rudie and Chris De Carlo (pictured left) assumed their posts as Co-Artistic Directors of Santa Monica Playhouse. Under their stewardship, the now sixty-three-year-old theatre, located at 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica, has become a treasured cultural institution in the beachside community.

Theatres have come and gone over the years in Los Angeles County, but the Santa Monica Playhouse continues to thrive under the direction of De Carlo and Rudie.

Evelyn and Chris, partners and spouses, are responsible for bringing some 650 productions to the Playhouse stage. In addition to being actors, writers and directors, they are also educators, using theatre as a platform to instruct and illuminate. Together they co-founded Actors Repertory Theatre, the Young Professionals Company, the Mobile Touring Project, the Schools Theatre Excursion Project, and the American Cultural Youth Ambassadors.

They are also behind the annual Binge Free Festival of Theatre, which each fall presents a month of free shows, so that plenty of theatre is available to all, regardless of their circumstances.

2023 looks to be as busy as ever for the Playhouse with shows planned including Don’t Get Sick and Die; Snowhite; Drunk Theatre; The Hebrew Hillbilly; WTF: Talkback; a World Premiere comedy by local favorite Jerry Mayer, Why Be an Uptight Anti-Semite? Jews R 2 Much Fun; and the 2023 edition of Binge Free Festival.

Fifty years at the helm of Santa Monica Playhouse, and Evelyn and Chris show no signs of slowing down. That’s great news for theatregoers.

Santa Monica Playhouse has been providing vital theatrical services for half a century, making an enormous impact on the local and global community, touching the lives of —

  • 3 million evening show audience members 
  • 1/4 of a million Family Theatre audience members 
  • 1/2 a million educational outreach students in the school system 
  • 1/4 of a million scholarship and underserved students 
  • 25,000 educators (“Inspirational personally as well as professionally.” Rosewood Park School) · 20,000 on-site students
  • 5000 performers, new playwrights, and theatre artists 
  • 500 Young Professionals’ Company graduates 
  • 500,000 audience members, artists and students through 50 cultural exchanges with eleven countries 

More about the Co-Artistic Directors:

Evelyn Rudie enjoyed an early successful career in television and film, earning an Emmy® nomination (for Playhouse 90) and receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her work in television (which included The Red Skelton Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Lawman, 77 Sunset Strip, Wagon Train, General Electric Theatre and seven appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar). She hailed from a show-business family, including grandfather Rudolf Bernauer, a librettist-lyricist-playwright-filmmaker; father Emery Bernauer, a composer-lyricist-playwright; and aunt Agnes Bernelle, a singer.

Chris De Carlo received a Bronze Star from the U.S. Army for his film work while in Vietnam. He originated 350 roles with over 10,000 performances on 3 continents, from New York to Tokyo.

Together, Rudie and De Carlo are renowned for their Shalom Aleichem Quintology, five shows based on the life and work of famed humorist, novelist and playwright Shalom Aleichem (1859-1916). The Quintology features music by Ben Weisman.

Santa Monica Playhouse is located at 1211 Fourth St., Santa Monica, CA 90401.

For more information about Santa Monica Playhouse (and Evelyn and Chris) visit

Pauline Adamek

Pauline Adamek is a Los Angeles-based arts enthusiast with twenty-five years' experience covering International Film Festivals and reviewing new Theatre, Film and Restaurants.


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