Michael Wilson (director)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Michael Wilson
Born 1964 (age 50–51)
United States
Occupation Director

Michael Wilson (born 1964) is an American stage director working extensively in regional theatre, Broadway, and Off-Broadway.[1]

He is devoted to American artists and recently completed a ten-year retrospective of the known and neglected works of Tennessee Williams at Hartford Stage, where he was the company's Artistic Director from 1998 to 2011. Wilson has also furthered new play development by nurturing and commissioning works by both renowned and emerging artists as a director and through Hartford Stage's Brand:NEW Festival of New Works and American Voices, a reading series spotlighting American artists of color.


In an interview in 2008, Wilson noted:

Like most directors, I want to show a variety of work. I've done Shakespeare, Chekhov, and O'Neill, as well as new work. Some people have defined my body of work as being dominated by female characters, and this play is no exception. I have collaborated many times with Elizabeth Ashley, who plays the matriarch in Dividing, I don't necessarily subscribe to the notion that I am "a woman's director." But I would say that I am drawn to plays that deal with family situations. In the plays I work on I want there to be a real moment of catharsis. I am always looking to let the audience have some kind of emotional connection. That's one of the reasons why I love Horton's [Foote] plays so much: they allow that connection.[2]

Hartford Stage[edit]

As Artistic Director from 1998 to 2011,[3] Wilson oversaw forty-five new productions for the theatre, as well as seven SummerStage programs. He directed seventeen productions for Hartford Stage, including the premiere of Enchanted April (which subsequently transferred to Broadway, garnering a 2003 Best Play Tony nomination, and 9 Outer Critics Circle nominations, including Best Director). He directed the premieres of Horton Foote’s The Carpetbagger’s Children (2002 Best Play, American Theater Critics Award) and Eve Ensler’s Necessary Targets; Williams’s The Glass Menagerie (which subsequently toured to Houston and Boston where it won the 2002 Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Visiting Production); O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night; and Shakespeare’s Macbeth.[4]

Under his leadership, in addition to the Tennessee Williams Marathon—the first national, multi-year retrospective of the American playwright—Hartford Stage focused on the development of new work, with ten world premieres, six Broadway or Off-Broadway transfers, and six Brand:NEW festivals.[4]

Wilson also forged new collaborations with Houston’s Alley Theatre,[5] Harvard’s American Repertory Theater, the Dallas Theater Center, the Guthrie Theater, The Shakespeare Theatre, and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre.


Off-Broadway (selected)[edit]

Source: IOBDB [10]

  • Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle, 2010 (Signature Theater)
  • Horton Foote's Dividing The Estate, 2007 (Primary Stages)
  • Horton Foote's The Day Emily Married, 2004 (Primary Stages)
  • Horton Foote’s The Carpetbagger’s Children, 2002 (Lincoln Center Theater)
  • Christopher Shinn’s What Didn’t Happen, 2002 (Playwrights Horizons)
  • Necessary Targets, by Eve Ensler, 2002 (Variety Arts)
  • Jane Anderson’s Defying Gravity, 1997 (Laura Pels Theatre)
  • Tennessee Williams’s The Red Devil Battery Sign, 1996 (WPA Theatre)




Wilson grew up in Winston-Salem, North Carolina[11] and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and was a Morehead scholar in 1987. He is a member of the Executive Board, Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC). [12]


  • 2001-2003, Connecticut Commission on the Arts
  • 2003 Citizen of the Year by the Greater Hartford Civitan Club

Honors and awards[edit]

Source for certain honors: American Theatre Wing[12]

  • 2010 Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards for his direction of Horton Foote's The Orphans' Home Cycle
  • Daryl Roth 2002 Creative Spirit Award, Lincoln Center Theater
  • Princess Grace Foundation, 2001 Statue Award and 1992 Theatre fellowship
  • Edward Albee Foundation 1992 fellowship
  • Connecticut Critics Circle (various), including the 2005 Tom Killen Award


  1. ^ Theatre New York Times, September 12, 2010
  2. ^ "Interview with Michael Wilson" lct.org, September 19, 2008
  3. ^ Wilmeth, Don B; Leonard Jacobs (2007). The Cambridge Guide to American Theatre. Cambridge University Press. p. 317. ISBN 0-521-83538-0. 
  4. ^ a b Rizzo, Frank. "Michael Wilson Looks Back At His 13-Year Run At Hartford Stage" The Hartford Courant, June 19, 2011
  5. ^ Hooks, Johnny (2005-11-15). "An artistic homecoming at theatre". Houstonvoice.com. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  6. ^ Murray, Matthew. "Review. 'The Best Man' " talkinbroadway.com, August 5, 2012
  7. ^ Hetrick, Adam. "Foote's 'Dividing the Estate' Closes On Broadway; Production is Hartford Bound" playbill.com, January 4, 2009
  8. ^ Hernandez, Ernio. " 'Old Acquaintance' Revival, with Harris and Colin, Ends on Broadway Aug. 19" playbill.com, August 19, 2007
  9. ^ Gans, Andrew. " 'Enchanted April' to Close on Broadway Aug. 31" playbill.com, July 28, 2003
  10. ^ "Wilson Listing" Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed June 7, 2013
  11. ^ Wilson, Michael. "Director Michael Wilson on Dinners With the Foote Family & Falling in Love With 'The Trip to Bountiful' " broadway.com, May 7, 2013
  12. ^ a b "Michael Wilson Bio" americantheatrewing.org, accessed June 7, 2013

External links[edit]