CHICAGO — After 10 years as artistic director of the Cleveland Playhouse, Peter Hackett has called it quits.
The 88-year-old resident playhouse announced Monday that Hackett has accepted a job as a professor of theater at Dartmouth College.
Hackett, who replaced the late Josephine Abady at the helm of an org that bills itself as the oldest regional theater in America, came to Cleveland from an academic position in Wisconsin.
His tenure at the Playhouse garnered mixed local reviews. Abady (herself a controversial figure who was fired by a split board of directors) had steered the company toward edgy and provocative new works with an international flavor.
But due in part to tougher financial times and an ongoing deficit for a theater saddled with a huge physical plant to maintain, Hackett’s tastes were more mainstream — many of the works he selected were recent Gotham hits and revivals of popular comedies that often did not sit well with local critics.
Nonetheless, some of the shows he produced and shepherded did have decent afterlives — most notably Randy Myler’s “Love, Janis,” Michelle Lowe’s “The Smell of the Kill” and Eric Coble’s “Bright Ideas.” Hackett also developed a notable partnership for the theater with Cleveland’s Case Western Reserve U.
The Playhouse board of directors has announced a national search for Hackett’s replacement. He ends his Cleveland tenure after the opening night of the world premiere of Ken Ludwig’s “Leading Ladies” next fall.