With former artistic director Douglas Hughes in Chicago directing Steppenwolf's Hedda Gabler, the Long Wharf Theatre has announced a temporary replacement - director of artistic programming Greg Leaming. He and and managing director Michael Ross will produce the 2001-02 season.
Right now, that season looks poised for some changes. Hughes had been set to direct three pieces in 2001-02: Harry Kondoleon's Play Yourself, Hugh Leonard's Da in a co-production with the Guthrie Theater, and The Miser, which Hughes would have also adapted. Because the split between Hughes and the Long Wharf was apparently not amicable (Daily Variety quoted Hughes' blame of the company's board for his resignation, saying "I needed the board's help to solve [the problem with board leadership], but I received none, so I had no alternative but to resign."), Da will not transfer from the Guthrie, nor will Hughes direct Play Yourself or The Miser. His father, actor Barnard Hughes, has also dropped out of the high-profile Kathleen Chalfant vehicle, The Cherry Orchard, set to open the Long Wharf season Sept. 19.
Leaming joined the Long Wharf the same year Hughes did, 1997. He recently directed the world premieres of The Third Army, Syncopation and Abstract Expression. In 2001-02, he's slated to helm the world premiere of David Schulner's An Infinite Ache, running Oct. 17-Nov. 18, 2001. Before coming to the Long Wharf, Leaming was producing director at Hartford Stage for a year and artistic director of Portland Stage Company from 1992-1996.
Other shows planned for the Long Wharf season, expected to be uneffected by the staff changes, are Sinan Unel's Off-Broadway hit Pera Palas (Jan. 16-Feb. 17, 2002) and the world premiere of Dael Orlandersmith's Yellowman.
— By Christine Ehren