Directors Wager and Levinstein to leave Sharon Playhouse

SHARON — After four years at the helm of The Sharon Playhouse, Artistic Director Alan M-L Wager and Managing Director Robert Levinstein have announced that they will leave the theater on Dec. 31.

“We had a wonderful run, it’s time to turn it over to another team,” they said in an interview on Nov. 26.

The charismatic pair successfully guided the theater through four years — two of which were made challenging by the COVID-19 pandemic — finding innovative ways to attract patrons to the Sharon venue with everything from cabaret nights to laser light shows, most of them on a custom-built stage in the parking lot.

In their short time in the Northwest Corner, the two theater professionals seemed to be everywhere and to have met (and befriended) everyone in the region.

“They’ve done wonderful work for us, we’re really, really sorry to see them leave,” said Emily Soell, president of the theater’s board of directors and an actress who has appeared in many Sharon Playhouse productions over the years.

Although Levinstein and Wager will oversee the final productions of this year, the Playhouse board will begin now to look for new leadership.

“We’ve had many different iterations of these two jobs, where we’ve had a managing director full time, an artistic director part time, we’ve tried many things.”

Soell said it’s possible the Playhouse will hire a management consultant specializing in the arts to help the venerable theater to move forward.

“We are going to try to be very careful and find the right fit and right person or people — even if it takes time.”

Michael Baldwin, who has run the education programs at the Playhouse since this summer, will remain.

“He has done an extraordinary job,” Soell said. “He expanded the educational program; now not only are there performances with children but also classes for children and adults.”

The 2022 season has also been set, Soell said.

Soell said it is likely there will be an interim director for the coming season — which could have challenges. Most theater directors want to be able to select the shows they will oversee, she said,

Of the departure of Levinstein and Wager, Soell said in a press release, “I am both terribly sad and extremely grateful.

“In their four years with us Robert and Alan have been instrumental in bringing the Playhouse to a new era of financial stability and respect in the community and beyond.

“They have helped us to deliver the exceptional and elevated level of entertainment, education and inclusion that the Playhouse now enjoys. Their energy, creativity, tireless work ethic and refusal to be discouraged by the daunting circumstances of the pandemic are beyond admirable.”

“They continue to give us their best,” she added.

“They will stay on the job through the rest of the year to shepherd our last three 2021 productions. We will miss them. But we are better for having had them lead our theater these past years.”

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