Bush will be working with MTC's current artistic staff, including Paige Evans, director of artistic development; Mandy Greenfield, artistic associate; Nancy Piccione, director of casting; David Caparelliotis, casting director; Clifford Lee Johnson III, director of musical theatre; Dan Fields, artistic associate and Amy Gilkes, assistant to the artistic director.
Bush begins at MTC Feb. 17. Lynne Meadow is MTC artistic director; Barry Grove is executive producer.
Bush resigned as Charlotte Repertory Theatre's producing artistic director Nov. 10, 2003, leaving North Carolina's major resident theatre without a rudder in a time of financial difficulty.
Bush, who came to Charlotte Rep from New York with artistic ambitions, saw his hopes dashed on the rocks of an audience and board that didn't support what he thought was right for the community. "The artistic quality of Michael's product has been nothing short of superb," Mike McGuire, president of the Rep's board, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, during these challenging economic times, we failed to attract a sufficient audience to support the increased costs."
Bush, who came to the Rep in June 2002, said in a statement: "I've come to love Charlotte audiences and find them generous in their appreciation of the quality of the work. Unfortunately, I have come to the realization that there is just not enough support to do the work I was brought here to do."
Bush's last creative task there was directing the premiere of All of the People, All the Time, Nov. 15-Dec. 7, 2003, at Duke Power Theatre, Spirit Square.
"There is no question that Michael Bush took the Rep, in a very short period of time, in the direction we wanted to go artistically," McGuire said.
New works (Let Me Sing, All of the People, All of the Time), star-spiked shows (the pre-Broadway The Miracle Worker starring Hilary Swank, the recent 20th anniversary Pump Boys and Dinettes with Emily Skinner) and stagings of recent and classic plays were part of Bush's short tenure.
The trustees are currently evaluating options for the artistic leadership for the rest of the 2003-2004 Rep season.
There was hope that the Rep staging of The Miracle Worker starring Hilary Swank would move to Broadway with Barry and Fran Weissler producing, but the commercial players dropped their plan.
Michael Bush is a Charlotte native who spent the 22 years prior to his work at the Rep with the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) in New York City. For 11 years, Bush served as MTC's associate artistic director where he oversaw all ongoing artistic activity for the company's eight-play season devoted to new work.
MTC's Musical Theatre Program, which was designed by Bush in 1993 to develop work by emerging composers and lyricists, has produced such shows as A Class Act (2001 Tony Award nominee), The Wild Party, The Green Heart and Time and Again.