It was always in the cards that someone with Michael Wilson's extraordinary talent, vision, energy, engaging personality and connections in the theater world would move on. It was just a question of when.
Mr. Wilson, artistic director of Hartford Stage and one of this community's cultural dynamos, answered that question Wednesday: He will leave at the end of the Tony Award-winning theater's 2010-11 season.
He will depart after 13 seasons of giving Hartford Stage audiences some wof the best theater found anywhere, with a special emphasis on American playwrights old and new.
During that time, the 45-year-old North Carolinian has built and diversified the audience, raised the theater's profile and promoted Hartford as a cultural destination. He's opened the doors of the Church Street facility to Hartford schoolchildren to teach them the wonders of theater. He will leave just as the initial phase of Hartford Stage's first major renovation and expansion project draws to a close.
Luckily, the theater's capable and experienced managing director, Michael Stotts, is renewing his contract through the 2013-14 season, the company's 50th anniversary. A nationwide search for a new artistic director will begin soon, with the goal of naming Mr. Wilson's successor by early next year.
Wednesday, Mr. Wilson, who has been increasingly busy with work in New York, said he felt "the strong call toward projects that may not exclusively involve Hartford Stage." But, he said, he hoped to return often enough to make Hartford Stage his "artistic home."
We hope he does. The Hartford community will miss him and his partner, the talented set designer and artist Jeff Cowie. Hartford will be poorer for their going — but immensely richer still for their having been here.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at