Long Wharf Theatre
Long Wharf Theatre is a nonprofit institution in New Haven, Connecticut, a pioneer in the not-for-profit regional theatre movement, the originator of several prominent plays, and a venue where many internationally known actors have appeared.
Founded in 1965, the theatre has received numerous awards over the years, including a Tony Award for Best Regional Theatre and Pulitzer Prizes for several of its original plays. The theatre, currently led by Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Managing Director Joshua Borenstein, is committed to the creation of new works and the reexamination of classic plays.
As of 2009, the theatre had recently staged world premieres by Craig Lucas, Paula Vogel, Athol Fugard and Anna Deavere Smith, among others. In addition, some of the nation’s leading actors, including Sam Waterston, Stacy Keach, Brian Dennehy, Judith Ivey and Anna Deavere Smith, have performed on the theatre’s stages.
Long Wharf Theatre was founded by Jon Jory and Harlan Kleiman in 1965 when Arthur Miller's The Crucible opened for a two-week engagement. Named after the Long Wharf in New Haven Harbor, the theatre was built in a vacant warehouse in a food terminal. The main stage seats were borrowed from a defunct movie house. The budget for the first year was $294,000, when more than 30,000 tickets were sold.
Arvin Brown and Edgar Rosenblum led the theater for the next three decades. Doug Hughes later succeeded Brown as artistic director for four seasons. Gordon Edelstein, previously the artistic director of ACT Theatre in Seattle for five years, became Long Wharf's artistic director on July 1, 2002. (From 1990 to 1997, he worked under Brown as Long Wharf's associate artistic director, except from 1991 to 1995, when budgetary constraints squeezed out the position and he remained as an associate director helping to develop new plays and directed several main stage shows.) Joan Channick became the managing director in September 2006 and left the job in February 2009 to take a newly created position as associate dean at the Yale School of Drama. Channick had overseen the theater’s financial, administrative and technical operations. Ray Cullom succeeded her as managing director and served for two seasons. Borenstein took over in November 2011.
More than 30 Long Wharf productions have been transferred to Broadway or Off-Broadway, including Durango, Wit, (winner of a Pulitzer Prize), The Shadow Box (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award/Best Play winner), Hughie, American Buffalo, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Quartermaine's Terms (Obie Award winner for best play), The Gin Game (Pulitzer Prize winner), The Changing Room, The Contractor and Streamers.
As of 2009, the theatre sold more than 100,000 tickets in a typical year, with an annual season of six plays on two stages, as well as programs for children new play workshops and various special events. Long Wharf continued to premiere new plays, including A Civil War Christmas by Paula Vogel and Coming Home by Athol Fugard.
Long Wharf Theatre has received awards from the New York Drama Critics Circle, Obie Awards, the Margo Jefferson Award for Production of New Works, a special citation from the Outer Critics Circle and, in 1978, the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre.
- Web page titled "Long Wharf Theatre: A History", at Long Wharf Theatre website, retrieved November 21, 2009
- Web page titled "The Long Wharf Theatre Staff", at Long Wharf Theatre website, retrieved November 21, 2009
- Doherty, Donna, arts editor, "Long Wharf’s Channick heading to Yale", article, The New Haven Register, December 12, 2008, retrieved December 14, 2008