In January, Seattle Repertory artistic director Dan Sullivan announced his plan to end his 17-year tenure at the theatre in June 1996. His replacement will be Sharon Ott, current artistic director of Berkeley Rep.
Ott has resigned her California post, saying, "The great gift I received when I first arrived at Berkeley Rep was the wealth of talented artists who were in our circle of collaboration. It has been a circle of growth over the years...and it is a gift that will greet my successor in this enviable position."
"Sharon Ott has been a great artistic diector here for the past 13 years," noted Board of Trustees president A. George Battle. "She has brought this theatre to national rank, which will serve us well as we begin our national search for our next Artistic Director -- only the third artistic transition in the Rep's thirty seasons of production. We're optimistic about our future and the expansion plans we have in place, and we wish Sharon every success in Seattle."
Among the 20 plays Ott directed for Berkeley Rep (which grew to an annual budget of $5 million under her domain) were Dream Of A Common Language by Heather McDonald and Philip Kan Gotanda's Yankee Dawg You Die. Ott's final directing assignment at Berkeley Rep will be Heather McDonald's An Almost Holy Picture in April, 1997.
In 1990, Seattle Rep won the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre. Dan Sullivan, a three-time Tony-nominated director, is best known to theatregoers beyond Seattle as director of Wendy Wasserstein's The Sisters Rosensweig, his own Inspecting Carol, Herb Gardner's Conversations With My Father, and Jon Robin Baitz's The Substance of Fire and A Fair Country Off-Broadway. Citing the planned opening of Seattle Rep's second stage in Jan. 1997, Sullivan said (back in Jan. 1996), "I will do the very best to produce a grand farewell next season to celebrate this event. Then, it will be time for me to move on. I'm involved in many projects that provide me with opportunities for new professional growth. It would not be fair to the Rep for me to have a divided eye."
Here are the plans for Seattle Rep's season: Uncle Vanya, which opens Nov. 20 and stars Martha Plimpton and the show's director, Daniel Sullivan. A.R. Gurney's Sylvia, directed by David Saint (Dec. 28-Jan. 25, 1997). The Cider House Rules epic, adapted from John Irving by Peter Parnell, world premiering Jan. 3-Feb. 15, 1997. Philip Kan Gotanda's Ballad Of Yachio, which will be Sharon Ott's first directing assignment for the Rep (Feb. 5-March 1, 1997). Travels With My Aunt, the Off-Broadway hit directed by David Saint (Feb. 26-March 29, 1997). The world premiere of Charlayne Woodard's solo Neat (March 19-Apr. 12, 1997. A revival of Sam Shepard's True West, directed by David Saint (Apr. 9-May 11, 1997). And finally the long-awaited William Finn/Richard Greenberg musical adapting Kaufman & Ferber's The Royal Family -- which will not star Tommy Tune (Apr. 30-May 25, 1997).