Wednesday, February 14, 2007
The changing of the guard continues
John Kimbell, Artistic Director of the North Shore Music Theatre, announced yesterday that he would be stepping down from his post as of January 2008; over the coming year, he will assist in a national search for his replacement. John La Rock, currently Associate Producer, will serve as Producer until the new artistic director is found. Kimbell has been with the North Shore since 1983, and under his aegis, the theatre has grown from essentially a big-budget summer stock house to a respected regional musical theatre with educational outreach and its own musical development program (the theatre has developed 41 new plays and musicals). I had a special affection for the North Shore, which seemed to me to strike an honorable balance between worthy new work and the feel-good fare that much of its audience wanted to see. I think the theatre will have to look far and wide to replace Kimbell. Furthermore, his departure marks the third thunderbolt to strike the Boston theatre scene this year (both the Huntington and the ART are also in the process of finding new Artistic Directors). It makes you wonder if there isn't some kind of artistic-director flu bug going around; or is there something in the water? At any rate, I've never heard of such a complete changing of the guard in any city's theatre community, anytime, anywhere. Meanwhile, as if in some kind of unintentionally ironic counterpoint, Terry Byrne has begun popping up in the Globe, and of course Ed Siegel can now be heard on WBUR. Why can't these critics take a cue from the people they cover?