Actors Theatre of Louisville will welcome Pittsburgh director and cultural leader Marc Masterson as the new artistic director of the lauded Kentucky nonprofit by the end of the year, it was announced Aug. 9.
Masterson, producing director of City Theatre in Pittsburgh 1981-2000, takes the post vacated by 31-year ATL vet Jon Jory, who is moving to Seattle this fall to take a teaching and directing job at the University of Washington School of Drama.
At City Theatre, Masterson directed many world premieres and produced 130 regional premieres of contemporary plays. The Off-Off Broadway and Broadway performance-piece, Squonk, had its origins at City Theatre. ATL's mission includes the annual Humana Festival of New American Plays, a spring ritual that has sent scores of world-premiere scripts -- from one-acts to full-length pieces -- to theatres around the world.
Masterson, a Houston native, will consult with Actors Theatre in the coming months, and will be in residence in Louisville by the end of the year. The new 2000-2001 season was picked by Jory and his staff. Masterson's wife, Patricia Melvin, a hospital executive, joins Masterson with their daughters Laura and Alexandra.
The search by an 11-member committee took seven months during which 100 candidates were reviewed. At City Theatre, Masterson provided strategic direction to a 40 member board, had fiscal oversight of a $1.9 million budget and supervised marketing and development. In the past three years, City Theatre's audience grew by 80 percent, and the company is completing a $4.2 million expansion which will double the space and build an endowment.
Among his directing jobs at City Theatre, Masterson helmed Jeffrey Hatcher's Compleat Female Stage Beauty, a production that helped win the script an American Theatre Critics Award. He has directed works by playwrights as diverse as Beckett, Shakespeare, Mamet and Terrence McNally.
ATL is the 37-year-old Tony Award-honored regional theatre that operates three spaces in its facility on Main Street in downtown Louisville, a few blocks from the muddy Ohio River. The Bingham is the arena theatre, the Pamela Brown is the proscenium house (with a vague thrust) and the Victor Jory is the intimate house with the audience in a three-quarter configuration.
-- By Kenneth Jones