Charles Morey, Artistic Director Who Grew Pioneer Theatre, Will Exit in 2012

News   Charles Morey, Artistic Director Who Grew Pioneer Theatre, Will Exit in 2012 Charles Morey, artistic director of Salt Lake City's Pioneer Theatre Company since 1984, announced on Dec. 16 that he will retire at the conclusion of the 2011-12 season.

Charles Morey
Charles Morey

At his retirement, Morey will have led the resident Equity theatre for 28 years, more than half of the theatre's 50-year history. He will be the longest-tenured sitting artistic director in any major American regional theatre, PTC noted.

Morey, a respected director and playwright, made the announcement 18 months in advance of his exit to give the theatre's board of trustees and the University of Utah "enough time to implement an orderly succession plan," he said.

He will step down as artistic director on June 30, 2012, and plans to continue working as a freelance director and playwright. "I love directing, and there are several ideas for plays I want to develop," Morey said, "and I look forward to the opportunity to focus on those projects. But I've had absolutely the greatest job in the world over the past 26 years. I genuinely believe we have the finest production staff in the country; they routinely make miracles happen seven times a year. I am keenly aware that they have made me look good, maybe better than I am, for 26 years. I have also been very fortunate in working for the past twenty years with a managing director, Chris Lino, who has shared my vision for the primacy of artistic quality."

Since his appointment as artistic director in 1984, Morey led the drive to fully professionalize the theatre by signing the theatre to its first LORT (League of Resident Theatres) contract with Actors' Equity, the national stage actors' union. He has produced almost 200 productions for PTC, commissioned over a half dozen new plays and produced 14 world premieres and the Utah premieres of dozens more. During his tenure, he directed over 80 productions for PTC, ranging from new plays such as Touch(ed) to the regional premieres of Les Misérables and The Vertical Hour.

He has written nine plays, all of which premiered at Pioneer Theatre Company and most of which have gone on to productions at major professional theatres across the country such as Denver Center Theatre Company, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Geva Theatre Center, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Shakespeare and Company, Meadow Brook Theatre, Arvada Center, Creede Repertory Theatre, Peterborough Players, Elm Shakespeare Company, PCPA Theaterfest, Sierra Repertory Theatre and others. His adaptation of Bram Stoker's Dracula recently played simultaneously at Pioneer Theatre Company and the Denver Theatre Company and will be produced next May by LA Theatreworks. His other plays include adaptations of The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo, A Tale of Two Cities, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and The Ladies Man. His original plays include Dumas' Camille, The Yellow Leaf and Laughing Stock, nominated for the American Theatre Critics Association Steinberg award and winner of the New Hampshire Theatre Critics' Best New Play and Sarasota Herald Tribune's Reader's Choice awards. He has recently been commissioned to write a new adaptation of Beaumarchais' The Marriage of Figaro for The Pearl Theatre Company in New York City. During Morey's tenure, the theatre has grown its operating budget from $1.2 million to $4.9 million while eliminating its long-term debt. It has achieved balanced operating budgets in eighteen of the past 20 years and built its endowments to $3.8 million. The theatre also undertook a $5.5 million renovation and expansion of the Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, completed in 2000, and is currently completing a $2.6 million project to build and own its own guest artist housing; that project will be completed in the summer of 2011.

The Pioneer Theatre Company New Play Initiative is now in its third year and has featured a series of readings of new plays by important young playwrights, two commissions and the full production last season of the world premiere of Bess Wohl's Touch(ed), which has been optioned for Broadway; and the upcoming world premiere of Wohl's In.

"It's tough to step down after spending over half my professional life here," Morey said in a statement, "but it's a good time to do so. The theatre has never been stronger, both artistically and financially. I'm pleased and grateful that I'll be able to hand it on to my successor in such good shape."

Pioneer Theatre Company, Utah's only fully professional theatre, performs at Roy W. and Elizabeth E. Simmons Pioneer Memorial Theatre, located on the University of Utah campus at 300 South and 1400 East in Salt Lake City, UT.

Visit www.pioneertheatre.org.

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