Friday, April 19, 2024


Joanne Woodward Bows Out as Westport Playhouse Artistic Director

Joanne Woodward, saying she is the same age 75 ֖ as the Westport Country Playhouse, today announced she is resigning her artistic director post at the historic facility at the end of the year.

Joanne Woodward : “I’m the same age as the Playhouse.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed photo

Woodward, who has served in the role since 2001 and who oversaw the Playhouse’s $30 million renovation and expansion, will become “Playhouse artistic director emeritus.”

“I’m the same age as the Playhouse. It got a renovation, but there’s not much they can do for me,” Woodward said.

The Playhouse said a search for a new artistic director will be led by the Playhouse board of directors, coordinated by Management Consultants for the Arts of Cos Cob.

The firm has conducted more than 40 comparable searches for artistic leadership for many of the nation’s professional theatres, an announcement said. Woodward’s successor will begin on Jan. 1, 2006.

A longtime Westport resident, Woodward became the theaters artistic adviser in 2000, following the resignation of executive producer James B. McKenzie, who ran the theater for 41 years. In 2001, Woodward took on the role of artistic director, with Anne Keefe as associate artistic director.

As artistic director emeritus, Woodward will remain involved with the historic theatre as a member of the board of directors, with special interest in an area dear to her heart, strategic educational initiatives, the announcement said.

“I was happy to be there in the beginning, and I’m looking forward to passing the baton while continuing to play a role in this wonderful place,”
she said.

In addition to selecting the plays for six summer seasons at the Playhouse, Woodward directed Playhouse productions of “The Constant Wife” in 2000 and “Three Days of Rain” in 2001.

The new updated and winterized facility is expected to open in mid-June for a four-show summer season. The building, which now is capable of hosting productions year-round, also will feature a holiday show and two other productions for its first full year of operation.

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