Boston's Huntington Theatre Company will lose its founding producing director, Peter Altman, in spring 2000, the theatre announced Nov. 17.
His reasons for leaving the nonprofit after 16 years are both professional and personal but are not health related, Huntington publicist Martin Blanco told Playbill On-Line Nov. 25. Altman, 55, has not spoken to the media yet about his decision but did release a statement confirming that his current contract runs through the end of the 1998-99 season and, in an agreement with the theatre's board, he will plan part of the 1999-00 season and stay on for the first part of that "transitional" season, directing some works now in development.
"During that season I will gradually reduce my involvement, be available to advise...and be arranging my future activities," Altman said in a statement.
A formal search for his replacement will be sought, Blanco said.
In a joint statement, Altman and managing director Michael Maso, who have worked in tandem since the theatre's founding in 1982, praised each other's contributions, with Maso calling the first 16 years of the troupe part of "an important era" for Boston theatre. Altman has served for 20 years as a faculty member for the Theatre Arts Division of Boston University, the Huntington's major sponsor. The company performs five varied shows -- new works, Off-Broadway scripts, musicals and classics -- in the 890-seat Boston University Theatre. The space is shared with BU's theatre and opera programs.
Blanco said the company is not in a deficit situation and Altman is not leaving, as some artistic directors are forced to, because of red ink or artistically irresponsible choices. A recent survey suggests 82 percent of subscribers rated the programming "excellent." For 1998-99, subscriptions were at an all-time high.
The 1998-99 Huntington season includes August Wilson's Jitney, Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde, A Midsummer night's Dream, the Boston premiere of The Steward of Christendom by Sebastian Barry and The Mikado.
Under Altman's leadership, Huntington earned three Tony Award nominations for its participation in the development of The Piano Lesson, Two Trains Running and Seven Guitars. Altman was given the first Elliot Norton Award for outstanding contribution to theatre.
For Huntington information, call (617) 266-0800.
-- By Kenneth Jones