WESTPORT, CONN., and BALTIMORE: Michael Ross will step down from his post as managing director of Westport Country Playhouse in June 2016 and assume the same role at Center Stage in Baltimore in July 2016. Ross previously served as managing director of Center Stage from 2002 to 2008. He will succeed Stephen Richard, who is retiring. Ross will help the Westport Country Playhouse in the search for a new managing director and will return to Center Stage to embark on the theatre’s $32 million capital campaign.
“While I physically moved to Connecticut seven years ago, a big piece of my heart remained in Baltimore and with Center Stage,” Ross said in a statement. “It’s an honor and a complete joy to once again have the opportunity to work with Center Stage’s extraordinary staff and board, and this time to do so with [artistic director] Kwame [Kwei-Armah], a man I so passionately admire both personally and professionally.”
Ross has served as the managing director of the Westport Country Playhouse since 2009. Before his tenure at Center Stage, Ross was the managing director of Long Wharf Theatre, where he served on the producing team for the commercial transfer of Margaret Edson’s Wit. Prior to that, he was a general manager, business manager, and box office manager at Hartford Stage in Connecticut. He has also served as program officer and project director at National Arts Stabilization and worked with Baltimore Opera Company and the Alley Theatre in Houston. In addition to working as a consultant in fundraising, board development, and strategic planning for theatres across the country, he was an adjunct professor for the Yale University School of Drama theatre management program.
Before joining Center Stage, Richard served as the executive director of Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., where he planned and managed the theatre’s capital campaign for the Mead Center for American Theater. He has taught arts management at Georgetown University and George Mason University, among other institutions. He has also served on the boards and committees of the National Endowment for the Arts, American Arts Alliance, the League of Resident Theatres, and Theatre Communications Group. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Maryland Citizens for the Arts.
“Stephen has been a wonderful partner to me and a great servant of Center Stage—we have achieved much together,” said Kwei-Armah in a statement. “His retiring, although a great thing for him, is a sad day for me. But my sadness is coupled with the great happiness in knowing that Michael Ross will rejoin his beloved Center Stage.”