We had the good fortune of connecting with David Ellenstein and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi David, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
Attention to the consistency of quality has always been a commitment of mine. as an actor or a director I never “phone it in”, but always strive to do my absolute best with each project, even when it isn’t the easiest road to take. i believe I brought that ethic to North Coast Rep when I arrived in 2003. I pushed hard for the organization to become more professional both in our artistic product and in our business model. I challenge and empower our artists and staff to strive to do their best each time. To go beyond what is comfortable. I think that has paid off with the high quality productions we present as well as the loyalty we have developed with our patrons. They know we will always be striving to be better.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I don’t know. I always knew this would be my path. There was never a doubt. I went about living my life with the goal of being in the profession of creating great theatre. It is hard work and filled with disappointment and rejection. Always chasing opportunities. Having the gumption to overcome setbacks is essential, and I was usually pretty good at shaking off the negative and continuing on. Daring to dream of doing it; a part, or a production or running an organization; you must believe in your talent and ability to do it, for so many will try to throw cold water on that dream. You can’t give up and you must fight for what you believe – a choice in a character, the choice of a play to produce, or the direction a theatre should take. Being bold and trusting in your talent and commitment to see it through. For me, the theatre has always been about making the world a better place, and that is worth fighting for.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
So many great restaurants in our area. The Market in Del Mar. Jeune et Jolie in Carlsbad. Papagayo in Luecadia is always fun and good. But I always love visiting New York, where it’s tough to get a bad meal. I like to try the new places there that my friends say are great. Then see a play or two, preferably off Broadway. Depending on the time of year, maybe head up to Maine and have a lobster at Jay’s on the water. Then again, The Pacific Northwest is always a favorite for me as well, with it’s seafood (theres a pattern here), artsy neighborhoods, greenery and water and topped off with dessert at Papa Hayden’s in Portland NW. But I live in Carlsbad – and really it doesn’t get much better than that anywhere.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My father. Robert Ellenstein. He was a well known film, stage and television actor. He was also a director, artistic director and teacher. He lived with panache and joy and few inhibitions. He also stayed married to my mother and raised three kids while making a career in show business, which is no mean feat. Growing up, I accompanied him to rehearsals, TV sound stages and to theatre, opera and dance performances. He allowed me to see how heightened life could be when viewed through the special optic of the stage. I saw that you could make a career in the theatre and have a family both , and have a great ride while doing it. We worked. together many times. He was my teacher; he directed me in plays; we acted together; and I directed him in plays. He passed the craft of acting and his extensive knowledge of the theatre on to me.. I am ever grateful he was my Dad.