CTG current artistic director Davidson will continue to plan and present the 2004-2005 seasons with artistic director designate Ritchie, who will commute between coasts while completing his final season with WTF. In 2005, Davidson will assume the role of Founding Artistic Director and serve as a consultant to CTG for three years.
Center Theatre Group Board President Richard Kagan stated in a release, "We are convinced that Michael Ritchie will build upon Gordon Davidson’s legacy while creating his own blueprint which, along with the vision of the board and staff, will carry Center Theatre Group into the future."
Ritchie said, "I’m extremely honored that the Center Theatre Group board of directors has selected me to fill the large role Gordon Davidson has played for the past 37 years in influencing the shape of theatre, not only in Los Angeles, but across the country as well."
Davidson commented, "I’m thrilled at the prospect of Michael Ritchie succeeding me as Artistic Director of Center Theatre Group. I’ve known Michael for some time and watched him grow from a stage manager (coincidentally, this is also how I started in theatre) to his role as producer for one of America’s leading summer theatres with a great tradition of high class production work. I think this is a wonderful next step for him."
Worcester, Massachusetts, native Ritchie started out in theatre in 1980 as a stage manager in New York, handling more than 50 shows in 15 years on and Off-Broadway at Lincoln Center Theater, Circle in the Square, Circle Rep, the New York Shakespeare Festival, Playwrights Horizons, City Center and the National Actors’ Theatre. He worked on such notable productions as Our Town (starring Spalding Gray and Eric Stoltz), Candida (with Joanne Woodward), You Never Can Tell (with Uta Hagen), Arms and the Man (Kevin Kline and Raul Julia), A Streetcar Named Desire (with Blythe Danner and Aidan Quinn as well as the Jessica Lange and Alec Baldwin) and Present Laughter (with his wife Kate Burton and Nathan Lane). He was appointed producer of the Williamstown Theatre Festival in 1996. Under his guidance, WTF has developed and presented new works including David Rabe's Corners, A.R. Gurney's Far East, Paul Rudnick's The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told, John Guare's Chaucer in Rome, Warren Leight's The Glimmer Brothers and Kenneth Lonergan's The Waverly Gallery.
Recent Broadway productions that began at WTF include Hedda Gabler, One Mo’ Time, The Price, The Rainmaker and The Man Who Had All the Luck. The Williamstown Theatre Festival also won the 2002 Regional Theatre Tony Award.