Another week, another high-level departure at White Plains Performing Arts Center.
Last Friday, it was Executive Director Laurence Holzman and Literary Manager Felicia Needleman deciding to leave the venue that they had reimagined as a home for new works, two of them their own.
This Friday, it’s their longtime collaborator, Artistic Director Annette Jolles, who has left the theater in the City Center mall in downtown White Plains.
The one-year Holzman-Needleman-Jolles experiment in producing new works is officially over with today’s appointment of Jeremy Quinn as producing artistic director.
John J. Ioris, WPPAC’s board chairman, made today’s announcement: “The theatre is moving in a new direction which is more traditional and less focused on the production of new works, which is Ms. Jolles’ passion,” he said in a statement. “We are so very grateful to Annette for her extraordinary work at the theatre this season, and wish her well in her future endeavors. She, along with Laurence Holzman and Felicia Needleman, brought us an exciting season of new works which were critically acclaimed and of the highest quality.”
The press release announcing the change noted that Quinn, who has been running the theater’s youth theater (called the Conservatory Theatre), has “applied for the rights to produce well-known award winning Broadway productions which will appeal to a wide audience base. Added to that series will be the production of highly acclaimed contemporary shows which appeal to a young adult audience and fans of modern theatre.”
The announcement continued: “All productions will feature professional local talent to the greatest extent possible.”
That suggests a change in the Actors’ Equity contract under which this year’s mainstage season — the musicals “Wallenberg” and “That Time of the Year” (by Holzman and Needleman) and the plays “The Passion of the Hausfrau” and “Renovations” — were produced.
“Our objective is to provide greater opportunities to Westchester residents to showcase themselves within their own community,” Ioris said in his statement.
The announcement comes on the day when the venue ends its ambitious first season with a fill-in show. “Two on Tap,” tonight and tomorrow at 8 and Sunday at 2, replaces a mainstage production of a new musical setting of “Enchanted April,” which was scrapped when, Jolles said, “the collaboration fell apart.”