Artistic director lines up helming gigs

Longtime artistic director Michael Wilson will exit Hartford Stage at the end of the 2010-11 season, ending a 13-year tenure.

Wilson, 45, announced his departure to his staff Wednesday.

The a.d./helmer’s Gotham profile has remained high over the past few seasons, with Rialto transfers of Hartford prods “Dividing the Estate,” “Enchanted April” (which both received Tony noms) and “Old Acquaintance.” Wilson has overseen notable Off Broadway bows including the late Horton Foote’s three-part, nine-hour “The Orphans’ Home Cycle,” a co-prod with Signature Theater Company.

The Hartford a.d. commissioned, developed and helmed “Orphans,” which ended its sold-out run May 8 at Signature and is reportedly searching for a Broadway berth next spring.

For the immediate future, Wilson is booked: he’ll helm Tennessee Williams’ “The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore” for the Roundabout Theatre Company in January with Olympia Dukakis in the lead. Production is based on Wilson’s Hartford staging of the show (also with Dukakis) in 2008. Wilson may also direct Williams’ “Night of the Iguana” for commercial producer Jeffrey Richards.

Hartford Stage will start a national search for its next a.d. and hopes to name Wilson’s successor in early 2011.

Managing director Michael Stotts, who has been with the theater for three years, has reupped his contract through the 2013-14 season.

Wilson’s final helming as Hartford a.d. will be the premiere of “Divine Rivalry” in the spring.

The departure marks the second significant opening in regional theater artistic leadership this year: Irene Lewis will ankle her longtime post at Baltimore’s Center Stage this season as well.

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