Gordon Edelstein, artistic director of New Haven, Connecticut’s Long Wharf Theatre, has been placed on immediate administrative leave after multiple current and former employees came forward with allegations of sexual misconduct dating back to before his start at the company in 2002.
Four women, including former Associate Artistic Director Kim Rubinstein and playwright and performer Halley Feiffer, spoke with the New York Times about their experiences with Edelstein, who was reportedly prone to frequent and explicit language and behavior.
Rubinstein alleges years of misconduct, which began in 2003—two months into her time with the theatre. The two had had a brief, consensual encounter prior to her employment, but although she had immediately stopped his advances, he persisted on numerous occasions, including later in the night of the first instance.
Fieffer, whose plays include A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center of New York City and I’m Gonna Pray For You So Hard, thinks back to an opening night party for an Edelstein-helmed revival of Some Americans Abroad she appeared in Off-Broadway, during which Edelstein allegedly groped her.
“I have to be really careful around him, but he runs a theatre and I want to be a playwright and I want him to produce my plays one day,” Fieffer recalled thinking in the moment, “so that’s why I never said anything or did anything—I wanted to be in his good graces because he’s powerful.”
Rubinstein first reported Edelstein’s behavior to management in 2006, which led to mandatory counseling for the director, according to Laura Pappano, the chair of Long Wharf’s board of trustees. Pappano also alleges Rubinstein had admitted to management at the time that she had “initially encouraged” his advances.
“That is absolutely not true and makes me so mad and upset,” Rubinstein told the Times in response.
Edelstein is the latest artistic leader in the theatre community to face consequences as more people feel empowered to come forward in the wake of the strengthening movement against sexual assault and harassment.