Center Stage names New York free-lancer as acting artistic director

February 05, 1991|By J. Wynn Rousuck

Irene Lewis -- a free-lance director whose long-standing association with Center Stage ranges from "Watch on the Rhine" a decade ago to last season's world premiere of "Miss Evers' Boys" -- has been named acting artistic director for the 1991-1992 season.

The artistic director's position will become vacant in July when Stan Wojewodski Jr. assumes the dual roles of dean of the Yale School of Drama and artistic director of the Yale Repertory Theatre.

Reached at home in New York, the 48-year-old Ms. Lewis described her yearlong appointment as "the best of both worlds. It's an interim position, and I have very strong feelings about Center Stage. . . . It's a very positive place."

"We're blessed to have someone of her quality to follow in Stan's footsteps," said Peter W. Culman, managing director, adding that Ms. Lewis will "obviously be considered" for the permanent position by the Center Stage's seven-member search committee. However, he explained, "the reason we went with an acting artistic director is to give the search committee time to have a thorough search."

Ms. Lewis, who plans to take an apartment in Baltimore and commute each week from New York, said she's not sure she's interested in the job on a permanent basis. "I've always prided myself on being a free-lancer," she said.

A graduate of the Yale School of Drama and Hofstra University, Ms. Lewis was an associate artist at Center Stage from 1983-1988. She is currently preparing to direct her 10th production there, Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night," which will run from April 5 to May 12. She expects to direct at least two productions next season.

Ms. Lewis previously served as artistic director of the PhiladelphiaDrama Guild, and prior to that, as associate director of the Hartford (Conn.) Stage Company. Besides directing throughout the United States, she has also directed at the National Theatre of Macedonia in Skopje, Yugoslavia. In addition, she has been a guest faculty member at several universities and was the recipient of a 1976 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship to study theater in England.

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