NEW HAVEN, CONN.: Long Wharf Theatre‘s artistic director Gordon Edelstein has been fired following allegations of sexual misconduct reported in The New York Times. Edelstein had led the institution since 2002. In the Times article, four women detailed incidents in which the former artistic director harassed or assaulted them.
In a statement, board chair Laura Pappano said: “The board and management of Long Wharf Theater take seriously the need to ensure a fair, equitable, open, and supportive theatre workplace. We must do more to create the kind of working environment that our talented and committed staff deserve.”
In the interim, Long Wharf managing director Joshua Bernstein will occupy both artistic and management roles at the theatre. The theatre will also employ a third party to conduct a review of its harassment and reporting policies.
“We must ensure that nothing like this happens again,” said Pappano said. “This is a time that demands sober self-reflection and openness.”
Edelstein had been slated to direct Satchmo at the Waldorf at the Alley Theatre in Houston (another institution roiled by accusations of harassment). He has since been fired from that production in light of the revelations. Satchmo playwright Terry Teachout, also the theatre critic at the Wall Street Journal, will take over as director.
Teachout spoke about this turn of events in the latest episode of Three on the Aisle podcast, produced by American Theatre, which was recorded this morning and will be released on Jan. 25. Teachout admits that he had never witnessed any sexual misconduct when he was working with Edelstein on the original production of Satchmo at Long Wharf in 2012. But he also concedes that the creative team of Satchmo was mostly male*. “I was staggered when the Times’ story was published,” he says. “It’s become dramatically clear to me in the at least few days that, at least in the past, if men are engaging in inappropriate behavior, it was probably quite a bit less likely that women would volunteer this information to men. And that was the situation I found myself in.”
*An earlier version of this story erroneously stated the entire creative team was male. There was one woman: costume designer Ilona Somogyi.