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Richards Is New TCG President

Comings and goings in theatre leadership nationwide.

Lloyd Richards, artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre and of the O’Neill Theater Center’s National Playwrights Conference, has been elected president of the board of directors of Theatre Communications Group, beginning July 1. He succeeds the late Alan Schneider. Other new officers include playwright and director Emily Mann, who replaces playwright Richard Nelson as vice president; and scenic designer John Jensen, who succeeds Alison Harris—managing director of the McCarter Theatre Company—as secretary/treasurer.

In addition, seven new board members have been appointed, including Colleen Dewhurst, actor; John Dillon, artistic director, Milwaukee Repertory Theater; John Guare, playwright; David Hawkanson, managing director, Arizona Theatre Company; Fontaine Syer, artistic director, Theatre Project Company; Jennifer Tipton, lighting designer; and Robert Woodruff, director. These theatre professionals join continuing board members Spalding Gray, Alison Harris, James Earl Jones, Rosetta LeNoire, Romulus Linney, William Ludel, Mako, Des McAnuff, David Ofner, Harold Prince, Barbara Rosoft, Donald Schoenbaum, Stanley Silverman, Daniel Sullivan, Patrick Tovatt, Michael Weller and Peter Zeisler. Board members whose terms expired at the end of June are Peter Culman, Robert Falls, Edes Gilbert, Adrian Hall, Richard Nelson and M. Burke Walker.*

Richards, who served previously on the TCG board from 1975 to 1980 and was re-elected in 1983, commented on his new appointment: “The fact of TCG and the work of TCG have never been more important. The concept of resident professional theatre has now been firmly established, but the expanded potential for creative artistry by those theatres is still in its infancy. I look forward to working with a board consisting of vital working artists and theatre professionals to assist TCG in continuing as a catalytic force in American arts.”

TCG director Peter Zeisler welcomed the new board members, remarking, “The strength of TCG continues to come from having its roots in the profession and from mirroring the artistic and geographical diversity of the American theatre in the composition of its board. We rely on them to help us continually reevaluate the needs of the field and refocus our goals and proiects.”

Briefly Noted

Plans for the 1984-85 season at the American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass. include several distinguished visiting artists. Critic and author Susan Sontag, who has worked as both a stage and film director abroad, will make her American directorial debut with a play to be chosen by her in conjunction with the company; JoAnne Akalaitis, a member of New York’s Mabou Mines, will direct a new interpretation of Beckett’s Endgame; and a collaboration between Sam Shepard and Joseph Chaikin—which began last season when the two were in residence at ART—will culminate in a new new work called War in Heaven.

The second Edwin Booth Award for contributions to the New York City theatre was recently presented to Ellen Stewart, founder and artistic director of LaMama E.T.C. Given by the students of the Ph.D. program in theatre at the City University of New York, the award is aimed at individuals or organizations whose activities have had a continuing impact on the vitality of New York theatre. Over the years, Stewart’s international work has facilitated the flow of various theatrical forms and companies across national, racial and aesthetic boundaries on four continents.

James Stewart was recently honored by the University of Pennsylvania with its Award of Merit for his outstanding artistic achievements and dedication to humanitarian and cIvic causes. The engraved Steuben star crystal—which in the past has gone to Princess Grace of Monaco and Harold Prince—was presented to Stewart at ceremonies in Philadelphia’s Annenberg Center, following a dinner celebrating the 25th anniversary of the university’s Annenberg School of Communications.

David S. Levenson, managing director of the Asolo State Theater in Sarasota, Fla. since 1980, has just left to assume the post of executive director of the New Orleans Philharmonic Orchestra. Asolo executive director Richard G. Fallon will serve as interim managing director while a search for a new administrator is conducted.

After 18 years, Stephen E. Hays has resigned as producing director of Stage West in Springfield, Mass. “All arts institutions need occasional infusions of fresh ideas and leadership,” commented Hays. “I’m looking forward to some new directions in my career.”

Theatre West Virginia recently named JR Wears to the post of general director, marking a change in objectives and procedures for the company which was hard-hit by state funding cutbacks last year. Says Wears, “My first task is to find a creative balance between developing artistic quality while broadening a stable financial base.” This includes the possibility of broadening the repertory to a year-round schedule.

Raymond Bonnard succeeds Michael P. Pitek, III as managing director of Buffalo’s Studio Arena Theatre. Bonnard most recently served in the same position at the Delaware Theatre Company in Wil-mington… Nick Rabkin leaves his post as general manager of the Organic Theater Company in Chicago to become the city’s deputy director of cultural affairs. Carol Thompson, having served as the Organic’s marketing director for the past three years, succeeds him.

Jon Cranny, producing director of the Children’s Theatre Company of Minneapolis, has been appointed acting artistic director, following the resignation of John Clark Donahue, who was recently arrested on charges of sexual abuse of three boys enrolled at the school. An advisory council formed to assess the future of the institution includes board presidents of five area arts organizations including the Guthrie Theater and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Donovan Marley, the recently appointed artistic director of the Denver Center Theatre Company, has appointed Richard L. Hay associate artistic director for design. Hay, who will head the design programs of both the theatre company and the newly created National Theatre Conservatory, comes to Denver from the Oregon Shakespearean Festival where he was resident scenic designer since 1969.

Robert Moss, former artistic director of New York’s Playwright’s Horizons and a leader of the Theatre Row redevelopment, returned to West 42nd Street to direct Philip Magdalany‘s comedy Rich Girls at the Manhattan Punch Line. Moss is currently a resident director at New Dramatists… Jill Clayburgh, Raul Julia and Frank Langella head the cast of Noel Coward’s Design for Living currently running at New York’s Circle in the Square. George C. Scott directs… The Roundabout Theatre Company is presenting a revival of William Inge’s Come Back Little Sheba, with a cast that includes Philip Bosco, Shirley Knight and Mia Dillon. The production is the first major outing of the work since its 1950 premiere, and is directed by former Hartford Stage artistic director Paul Weidner.

Ann Farris Darling resigned her post as director of the Opera-Musical Theatre Program at the National Endowment for the Arts last May, in order to assume the position of producer for the World Festival to be held in conjunction with the 1986 World’s Fair. She will be responsible for all performing events at the festival, which will take place in Vancouver, B.C. Darling is a former executive director of Opera America.

Margaret V.B. Wurtele is the new managing director and Duane C.

Scribner the program director of the Dayton Hudson Foundation… Director Amy Saltz and actor Michele Shay have been named to TCG’s Plays in Process selection committee, joining continuing members David Henry Hwang, playwright; Robert Marx, whose forthcoming book on playwrights and opera will be published by Performing Arts Journal Publications; and James Leverett, TCG’s director of Literary Services.

*Inadvertently omitted from this list of TCG board members are Barbara Rosoff, artistic director of Maine’s Portland Stage Company; Donald Schoenbaum, managing director of the Guthrie Theater; and composer Stanley Silverman.

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