Although American Players Theatre producing artistic director David Frank is sticking around for three more seasons, the classical company announced today that he will retire at the end of 2014 and be replaced as artistic director by longtime company member Brenda DeVita.
Frank arrived in Spring Green in 1990 to take the artistic director position, and five years ago he added supervision of the business side of the theater to his duties, receiving the title of producing artistic director. The APT board anticipates splitting Frank's job when he retires and hiring a managing director to handle the business operations.
Brenda DeVita, who is married to popular APT actor and dramatist James DeVita, is an accomplished actor who took a hiatus from the stage in the '90s to tuck the couple's two children into bed every night. She joined the company's artistic staff in 1995 and was named associate artistic director in 2004.
The Iowa native's creative influence within the organization grew after Frank assumed his added responsibilities. DeVita has served as the APT's casting director, combing the country for actors capable of performing the classics at the company's extremely high level, and other assignments have included hiring directors and designers.
"Brenda has been fulfilling 90 percent of a typical artistic director's job for several years, and the results, including the recent lavish praise for APT's work from the regional and national press, speak for themselves," Frank said in a written statement.
Wall Street Journal theater critic Terry Teachout recently named the APT the theater company of the year, and he declared the troupe's summer production of "The Cure at Troy" "the best show of any kind I saw in 2011."
You can read my review of "The Cure at Troy" here.