Theatre Matters

Contemplations on the dramatic arts from a national perspective

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Steven Oxman has contributed to such publications as the Los Angeles Times, American Theatre, Stagebill, and, most frequently, Variety, for which he has written over 300 television and theatre reviews.

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Raised Elsewhere

The Public Theatre is set to announce that Oskar Eustis will replace George Wolfe as the institution's next artistic director. Eustis is a much-admired figure in the regional theatre, having lead the development of "Angels in America" while he was at the Eureka in CA, and having successfully rescued Trinity Rep in Providence, RI after its painful mismatch with Anne Bogart.

I've noted earlier that our theatre nationally is at a point of transition, and new leaders are beginning to be identified. Gordon Davidson, the father of theatre in Los Angeles, is retiring, to be replaced by Williamstown's Michael Ritchie. James Bundy, formerly of the Great Lakes Theatre Festival, is now heading Yale School of Drama/Yale Rep. Doug Hughes, formerly of the Long Wharf in New Haven, was mentioned positively for the Public job and seems to have declined it due to a busy directing schedule.

What's my point? Notice that all those I've named are people who have grown up, artistically anyway, in the regional theatres outside New York. Sure, there are leaders in NY, too: James Nicola of New York Theatre Workshop and Moises Kaufman were also mentioned for the Public job, and there's Todd Haimes at the Roundabout and Lynn Meadows at Manhattan Theatre Club. But the regional theatres are the ones breeding the next generation of artistic manager/leaders.

Also note that this doesn't seem to bother New Yorkers a bit. I haven't seen a peep of provincialism in any news story yet. I'll keep an eye out for it.