Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival unveils new season, new artistic director

Rehearsal for HVSF’s upcoming production of Othello (photo by Travis Magee)

Rehearsal for HVSF’s upcoming production of Othello (photo by Travis Magee)

After 27 years of helming the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival (HVSF), which delights audiences from near and far with its opulent, highly professional outdoor productions at Boscobel in Garrison each summer, Terry O’Brien has stepped down. But the show must go on; and in the hands of newly appointed artistic director Davis McCallum, go on it will, with Othello and The Two Gentlemen of Verona, along with David Ives’s adaptation of Corneille’s The Liar, scheduled to play in repertory this summer.

Davis McCallum

Davis McCallum

HVSF Board president Robin Arditi described McCallum – chosen from a field of 110 candidates – as “ideally suited to lead us forward in the next phase of the company’s growth,” citing his “track record of creating theater of great imagination and excitement” and “real passion for both Shakespeare and the core principles of HVSF’s mission.” Said O’Brien, “Davis’ aesthetic and genuine love of Shakespeare resonates completely with what I have always tried to achieve at the Festival…. I look for great things in coming years.”

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Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater, which puts on New York City’s famous Shakespeare in the Park series, called McCallum “one of the most accomplished and luminescent directors of his generation, as innovative as he is grounded, as collegial as he is fierce. He will make the summers bright in the Hudson Valley.”

The Atlanta-born, Princeton- and Oxford-trained Rhodes scholar McCallum can boast an impressive stage track record. He has directed at some of the leading regional theaters in the country, including the Old Globe, the Humana Festival at the Actors’ Theater of Louisville, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf, the Williamstown Theater Festival, the Chautauqua Theater Company, the Alliance, the O’Neill, the Two River Theater Company and six summers in the Hudson Valley, at New York Stage & Film’s Powerhouse series in Poughkeepsie. He is currently represented in New York by the critically acclaimed revival of John van Druten’s London Wall at the Mint Theater Company, which was nominated for a 2014 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Revival.

Last season, McCallum directed Sam Hunter’s The Whale at Playwrights’ Horizons, which won the 2013 Lucille Lortel Award for Best Play, followed by Quiara Hudes’s Water by the Spoonful, which had won the 2012 Pulitzer Prize for Drama, at Second Stage. Other notable New York credits include Queens Boulevard: The Musical for the Signature Theater Company; A Bright New Boise for Partial Comfort Productions, which nabbed Drama Desk nominations for Best Play and Best Director; and Elliot: A Soldier’s Fugue for P73, which was a Pulitzer Prize finalist.

He also has plenty of experience with Shakespeare and other classics, recently directing Henry IV, Part One for the Pearl Theater Company. For the Acting Company, the country’s preeminent classical touring theater, he directed adaptations of The Turn of the Screw and Jane Eyre, as well as The Tempest and Henry V, the last of which was the subject of a feature-length documentary film, Still on the Road, which frequently airs on PBS.

All three 2014 summer productions will run at Boscobel from June 10 through August  31. HVSF associate artistic director Chris Edwards will be directing Othello, and guest directors Eric Tucker and Russell Treyz will helm The Two Gentlemen of Verona and The Liar respectively. To see the full season schedule and order tickets, with prices ranging from $27 to $68, visit https://hvshakespeare.org.

Shakespeare’s Othello & The Two Gentlemen of Verona & Corneille’s The Liar, June 10-August 31, $27-$68, Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival, Boscobel House & Gardens, 1601 Route 9D, Garrison; (845) 265-9575, https://hvshakespeare.org.

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