Circle Rep has made it official: Austin Pendleton and Lynne Thigpen will share the artistic reins of the company (Variety, Jan. 23-29). Pendleton takes over as artistic director, Thigpen as associate artistic director. The company, founded in 1969 by Lanford Wilson, Marshall W. Mason, exiting artistic director Tanya Berezin and the late Rob Thirkield, is struggling to rekindle its glory days as the fountainhead of “lyric realism,” the label attached to such Wilson plays as “Fifth of July” and “Talley’s Folly.”
This season, Circle Rep moved from its longtime home, a converted garage off Sheridan Square, to the larger Circle in the Square Downtown. Pendleton and Thigpen, along with executive director Milan Stitt, are committed to making the place a bastion of American playwriting, as it has always tried to be.
But the company has fallen on hard times financially and has a significant debt to pay off.
And it’s been somewhat adrift artistically, a situation the new leaders will have to address.