Syracuse Stage/SU Drama begin plans for leadership changes
Syracuse Stage/SU Drama begin plans for leadership changesJune 27, 2006SU News ServicesSUnews@syr.edu
James A. Clark, Syracuse Stage producing director and chair of the Syracuse University Drama Department, and Robert Moss, Syracuse Stage artistic director, have announced their joint decision to step down from their leadership positions. Clark, 62, and Moss, 72, will stay on in their current positions until their successors are named, a process that could take a year or more, Stage officials say.
“Bob and I had been talking to each other about our future plans for some time now. We’re not getting any younger,” says Clark. “Over the course of those private conversations, we began to realize that we were thinking along the same timeline. Our decision is really an expression of the team we’ve been for the last 10 years and will continue to be through the coming season, until our successors are named.”
“Jim’s thinking absolutely dovetailed with mine,” says Moss. “I’ve been here for 10 years and in professional theater for nearly 50. Jim has been with Syracuse Stage for 30 years. We had a great time and we care deeply about Stage. We want the very best possible transition in place before we take our final bows on what has been a labor of love for us both.”
In separate meetings on June 26, Clark and Moss announced their decision to step down to the Syracuse Stage staff, board and guild.
“The Syracuse Stage Board deeply appreciates and applauds Jim and Bob for the vision and devotion they bring to their positions,” says Jim Smith, board of trustees chair. “Finding their successors will be a challenge. The saving grace is that Bob and Jim have positioned Syracuse Stage to grow as an even more vital arts organization.”
A search committee will be formed to identify candidates for the positions of producing artistic director/director of SU Drama, Syracuse Stage managing director and chair of the SU Drama Department.
“We’re looking to restructure the leadership team to effectively address the current and future growth of Syracuse Stage,” says Smith. “The producing artistic director/director of SU Drama will focus on the product side of what Syracuse Stage does as well as oversee the artistic side of SU Drama and the valuable nexus between them. The managing director will focus on the day-to-day business and operations of Syracuse Stage. The chair of the Drama Department will oversee the academic side of the SU Drama Department.”
Clark joined Syracuse Stage in 1976 as managing director and a faculty member in the Department of Drama. In 1992, he was appointed producing director and chair of the Drama Department when Arthur Storch resigned as Syracuse Stage’s first producing artistic director. When Clark first came to Syracuse Stage, the operating budget was $1.4 million. The current budget is $4.5 million.
“It’s been — and is — a wonderful journey,” Clark says. “Working with dedicated staff, talented artists, energetic students and smart, supportive, appreciative audiences over the years has been challenging, rewarding and just terrific. And there’s still work to be done. It’s that work I’ll continue and savor until the transition is complete.”
In 1996, after a national search, Moss, the former artistic director of The Hangar Theatre in Ithaca, and the founder of Playwrights Horizons in New York City, was appointed Syracuse Stage’s third artistic director. In his 10 seasons at Syracuse Stage, Moss has directed “The Real Thing,” “Lost in Yonkers,” “My Fair Lady,” “Visiting Mr. Green,” “Crimes of the Heart,” “Big River,” “The Wizard of Oz,” “Hamlet,” “M. Butterfly,” the world premiere of “Backsliding in the Promised Land,” “Brighton Beach Memoirs,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Born Yesterday,” “Inherit the Wind,” “You Never Can Tell,” “A Few Good Men” and “Angels in America,” among others.
“As artistic director and as a director, I’ve wanted to bring hope and optimism to the Syracuse Stage audience,” says Moss. “I think I’ve done that. And creating theater for the wonderfully smart, open-minded and receptive Syracuse Stage audience has been one of the great joys of my career.”
As a freelance director, Moss, the bright face and enthusiastic voice of Syracuse Stage, has directed plays at theaters across the country, including Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival; The Empty Space in Seattle; Berkeley Repertory Theatre in California; The Cricket Theatre in Minneapolis; Central Casting in Ithaca; Jean Cocteau Rep and The Hudson Guild in New York City; The Whole Theatre Company in Montclair, N.J.; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; The McCarter Theatre in Princeton, N.J.; The Old Globe Theatre in San Diego; and The Equity Library Theatre in New York City. He has also directed at The Studio Theatre in Washington, D.C., and The Emelin Theatre in Mamaroneck, N.Y.
Syracuse Stage began in 1974, when Storch, an acclaimed Broadway director, came to Syracuse as chair of the SU Drama Department and artistic director of the newly formed Syracuse Stage. Storch undertook the restructuring of the department and the development of a full professional theatre in Syracuse. During 1974-75 — its first full season — Syracuse Stage presented six plays in what was then called the Experimental Theatre in the Regent Theatre Complex located at the corner of East Genesee Street and Irving Avenue. By 1979, the increase in the number of subscribers necessitated the conversion of the old movie theater in the complex into the state-of-the-art, intimate and flexible 499-seat John D. Archbold Theatre.
In September 2006, Syracuse Stage will open its 34th season with “Around the World in 80 Days,” directed by Moss.