Douglas Hughes was named new artistic director of Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven, CT. He will succeed Arvin Brown, who will step down in June from the post he has held for 30 years.
Hughes comes off a stint as director of artistic planning at the Guthrie, a position he assumed in April after 11 years as associate artistic director (under Daniel Sullivan) at Seattle Repertory (1984-1996). The winner of a 1996 Obie for his direction of The Grey Zone at NY's Manhattan Class Company, Hughes is currently directing the new David Rabe play, A Question Of Mercy, at New York Theatre Workshop. That show goes up in March, after which Hughes will begin his transition into the new position.
Of Hughes' plans for Long Wharf, theatre spokesperson Kimberly Sewright told Playbill On-Line, "It's premature to say what he'll do, but he has spoken passionately about re-opening the 199-seat second stage theatre. It would be an ideal place for new works, workshops and readings. He doesn't even call it a 'second stage'; he simply speaks of the `stages of Long Wharf.'"
Brown, 56, who celebrated his 30th year in the post in 1996, appears to be departing on amicable terms, reportedly to pursue a career as director of TV and films. Long Wharf spokesperson Robert B. Friend said Brown will continue as an artistic associate of the theatre, directing one show each season.
In accepting Brown's resignation in June 1996, Long Wharf Board Chairman Fred E. Walker wrote that he was "heartened" Brown would continue as "director/consultant -- to serve on our search committee for your successor, to assist in the transition, to direct at least one play a season, and to give us the sustaining benefit of your discernment and guidance." Under Brown, Long Wharf produced more than 200 plays, some 70 of which were staged by Brown himself. Many Long Wharf productions transferred to Broadway, most recently Chinese Coffee in 1992. Two productions directed by Brown won Tony Awards as Outstanding Revival: All My Sons in 1987 and Joe Egg in 1985. Brown himself was nominated twice for Tony Awards as Outstanding Director, including Ah! Wilderness in 1976.
His specialty has been realistic American plays of the mid 20th century, often in revival. Notable Brown-directed productions include works by Arthur Miller (The Crucible, A View From the Bridge), Eugene O'Neill (A Touch of the Poet), David Mamet (American Buffalo), Rod Serling (Requiem for a Heavyweight).
Brown also has carved out a career as a director of operas, including Porgy and Bess at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Friend said Brown, who directed episodes of TV's "Picket Fences" and "Chicago Hope." Brown reportedly wants to direct films as well.
-- By Robert Viagas