After 35 years with Los Angeles' Ahmanson and Mark Taper Forum theatres, artistic director Gordon Davidson has announced he will retire from the Center Theatre Group in the 2004 season. Davidson has led the company since its first season in 1967.
A director as well as an artistic director, Davidson won the 1975 Tony Award for his production of The Shadow Box and was nominated for 1979's Children of a Lesser God. He was inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame in 1999. Most recently, he directed Alan Alda in QED, which played Broadway's Vivian Beaumont in 2001 2002.
The Center Theatre Group has premiered many a Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning play, including Angels in America, The Kentucky Cycle, Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, Shadow Box, Children of a Lesser God and the American debut of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake. Recently the Ahmanson sent Into the Woods to Broadway; the Taper's revised Flower Drum Song is expected at the Virginia Theatre in the fall. The Taper's upcoming co-production of Big River with Deaf West Theatre has also been rumored as a possible Broadway move.
Davidson is expected to plan the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 seasons at the Taper and the Ahmanson, ending his tenure on Dec. 31, 2004. A new artistic director will then take over, planning the 2005-2006 season and beyond. Davidson will be kept on for three more years as a consultant and under the title founding artistic director.
After leaving the Center Theatre Group, Davidson will concentrate on directing opera and theatre in Los Angeles and New York, while completing his memoirs. He will also complete his terms as member of the National Council on the Arts and the Board of Directors of the Theatre Communications Group. — By Christine Ehren