As anyone knows who has ever heard Studio Theatre’s Artistic Director Joy Zinoman speak , there is no more gracious or witty presenter – whether she be bringing glad news or sad. And Wed, Sept 16th, she delivered a bit of both.
Studio’s 3rd floor Atrium was packed with friends, supporters and a few media, all drawn by a cryptic blue invitation to hear ‘a major announcement’. Zinoman mounted a tiny stage, backed by tall windows overlooking the 14th Street neighborhood she helped save in the 70’s, in a dramatic space within the Studio complex designed “every inch” by her co-founder Russell Metheny. Acknowledging the applause, she took a deep breath and announced that on Sept 1, 2010, she will be retiring from the company she co-founded with Metheny 35 years ago.
Why? She had ten good reasons which she delivered with her signature style of candor and humor, looking over her reading glasses occasionally to punch up a point. They came down to the fact that she has spent nearly half her life creating Studio Theatre, and , at a few years shy of 70, longs for more personal freedom to do such things as travel with her husband “while we can still climb the mountains and ponder the mystery of the sphinxes.” And added, with a twinkle in her eye “Why not go out on top?”
There will be time, over the remaining 11 months, to celebrate her achievements, but for now there is work to be done. Zinoman, meeting with Studio leadership, has been planning for her succession for the past 4 years. Keith Alan Baker, Managing Director/Artistic Director of 2nd Stage, Serge Seiden, Asociate Producing Artistic Director, and Morey P. Epstein, Executive Director of Institutional Development will remain in place. A nationwide search for the top position begins today. Zinoman stresses that, while she won’t be part of the final selection committee, the new artistic director will be an artist, continuing Studio’s commitment to being ‘artist founded, artist driven.’ “And someone who can raise money.”
Ten days before the event, Zinoman called Peter Marks of the Washington Post. His article is here.