Thompson Exits Westport Country Playhouse; Woodward Steps In

News   Thompson Exits Westport Country Playhouse; Woodward Steps In The Westport Country Playhouse has announced the departure of Tazewell Thompson, who has served as artistic director of the Playhouse since 2005.

Citing artistic and professional differences, Thompson ended his run at the Playhouse on Jan. 2. Under his guidance, the theatre company had presented acclaimed productions of Constant Star, Jam and Spice, Sedition, and the now annual A Christmas Carol.

According to a statement from Westport board president Elisabeth Morton, the differences between Thompson and the playhouse administration came down to "how best to fulfill the mission of the Playhouse while serving our community and how to address the challenges of transitioning to a year-round venue while achieving our goal of becoming a nationally recognized theatre."

Oscar-winning actress Joanne Woodward and Anne Keefe return as interim co-artistic directors for the Westport Country Playhouse. Woodward, who served as Westport artistic director from 2000-2005, has maintained a role in the playhouse's planning as artistic director emeritus. Woodward states she is looking forward to resuming her duties as artistic director and that she intends to work with the Westport board to search for a new artistic director for the 2009 season.

Currently slated for the 2008 season at Westport are Morris Panych's Vigil (Feb. 26-Mar.15); Jon Marans' A Strange and Separate People (April 1-19); Craig Wright's The Pavilion (May 13-31); Hot 'n Cole: A Cole Porter Celebration! (June 10-28); David Wiltse's Scramble! (July 8-26); and Tony Award winner Phylicia Rashad in Tennessee Williams' Sweet Bird of Youth (Aug. 5-23).

In its 78-season history, the Westport Country Playhouse — located in Westport, CT — has produced more than 700 plays, 35 of which have transferred to Broadway. For further information on the Westport season, visit www.westportplayhouse.org.

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