John Doyle, the creative director of Classic Stage Company since 2016, introduced on Monday that he would step down from the Off Broadway theater subsequent summer season.
“I feel like it’s somebody else’s turn,” Doyle, 68, mentioned in a video interview from Britain. “It’s as simple as that. I think art is better with a kind of turnover.”
Classic Stage Company on Monday additionally revealed its 2021-22 season, Doyle’s final with the corporate. The productions embrace: Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s “Assassins”; Marcus Gardley’s “black odyssey”; Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig’s “Snow in Midsummer”; and Lynn Ahrens, Stephen Flaherty and Terrence McNally’s “A Man of No Importance.”
Doyle, a Tony Award-winner in 2006 for his revival of “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street,” will direct the musicals “Assassins” and “A Man of No Importance.”
“Assassins,” which might be Classic Stage Company’s first in-person manufacturing because the begin of the pandemic, a return to in-person efficiency for the theater, was in rehearsals final yr when New York theaters have been closed to gradual the coronavirus’s unfold.
Given the occasions of the previous yr and a half, Doyle mentioned, storytellers “must be addressing the stories they tell.”
“How they tell those stories, why they tell those stories, who are they for?” he mentioned. “We have to pick up that responsibility very strongly.”
Doyle has additionally requested of Classic Stage Company: What does it imply for a chunk of theater to be a “classic” as we speak?
“It need no longer mean plays by dead, white, European men,” Doyle mentioned. “Which is inevitably what most classical theater has been.”
Two of the approaching season’s works — “black odyssey,” directed by Stevie Walker-Webb, and “Snow in Midsummer,” directed by Zi Alikhan, each deliberate for the primary half of 2022 — are by dwelling artists of shade. Both reimagine traditional tales: Homer’s “The Odyssey” and Guan Hanqing’s “The Injustice to Dou Yi That Moved Heaven and Earth.”
Those performs, Doyle mentioned, are “trying to take the worldwide stories and make those available to the modern audience, in the hope and intention of bringing in new audiences into the theater.”
“A Man of No Importance” resonates with Doyle. It’s a musical a couple of Celtic man (Doyle is Scottish) making theater for his area people (which Doyle as soon as did).
“It celebrates what theater can do, and it celebrates how theater can make change,” Doyle mentioned. “And I’m hoping that my leaving will help to make more change. And I’m hoping that my doing a piece about how spiritual, in a way, the theater can be, in terms of how it touches our souls, is a nice way to leave.”
Reflecting on his tenure, Doyle mentioned he was particularly proud of reconfiguring the bodily house of the theater itself. “It really feels like a New York space to me now, not just a black box,” he mentioned. “Plays come and go, but the space stays. And it is a truly remarkable space.”
His departure is just not a retirement. Doyle mentioned that the pandemic made him understand the significance of household, self and quiet time, however that theater stays as necessary to him as ever. And though he would love to spend extra time in the Scottish Highlands together with his husband, he has no plans to go away New York any time quickly.
“I’m really hopeful that I could do another Broadway show or two, before I pop my clogs, as we say in Britain,” Doyle mentioned. “I would love that.”