Long Wharf Theatre’s mission is to create theatre of the highest quality that inspires reflection and discourse about each of us and the world in which we live.
Long Wharf Theatre is
dedicated to producing plays at the highest artistic level that tell the human
story—stories that underscore and reinforce our commonality and reflect what it
is like to be alive today. We aim to integrate our work into the fabric of our
community, both locally and nationally, in order to stimulate dialogue, become
a springboard for discourse, and be an educational resource for students of all
ages. Long Wharf annually serves more than 54,000 patrons who come from
throughout Connecticut, across the United States, and around the world.
Long Wharf education programs facilitate lifelong learning and encourage individual expression for Greater New Haven residents of all ages. We use themes from our mainstage productions to explore literary, historical, political, and social perspectives of a script through in-school workshops with curricula tied to the Common Core, which culminates in students’ attendance at a Long Wharf play. Our Educators’ Laboratory is a professional development program for educators of all subjects and grade levels that enlivens any curricula through arts-based learning techniques and academic year-long, in-classroom mentorship by a teaching artist. Long Wharf also offers year-long internships and residencies to recent college graduates, as well as group and private acting lessons.
Over our 50 year history, Long Wharf has developed a legacy of sustained artistic achievement and a commitment to emerging and established playwrights and the production of their work. During Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein’s thirteen seasons alone, Long Wharf has produced more than thirty world, American, and regional premieres of new work, which keeps the Theatre competitive within the field and brings the best new plays and musicals to New Haven. One in seven Long Wharf productions has gone on to a future life in New York or at another regional theatre, and more than thirty productions have transferred to Broadway or Off-Broadway. Most recently, Long Wharf transferred its productions of SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF and MY NAME IS ASHER LEV to Off-Broadway commercial runs; ASHER LEV received the 2013 Outer Critics Circle Award for Outstanding Off-Broadway Play. SATCHMO received the 2014 Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Solo Performance.
Long Wharf elastically applies the themes of each production to conversations with its audiences and the community at large, which allow for meaningful interactions across a wide spectrum of the general public. Long Wharf also works closely with public schools and educators of all subjects and grade levels to create arts-based learning programs that encourage individual expression, facilitate life-long learning and inspiration, and establish the audiences and artists of tomorrow.
1. Annual Operating Support: General
operating contributions directly support all of Long Wharf’s activities,
including its mainstage productions, new play development, community engagement
initiatives, and educational programs.
2. Artist Development Initiatives: Continued identification of and investment in emerging and established playwrights. Artistic development funding supports commissions of plays and musicals, productions of world and regional premieres, and the education of Long Wharf audiences about the importance of new work.
3. Facility Improvements: While Long Wharf experienced a major renovation of its mainstage in 2012, more investment is needed in its aging facility. In particular, replacement of HVAC system is needed throughout entire facility to improve efficiency and maintenance costs.
4. Endowment: Contributions to Long Wharf’s endowment ensure the long-term financial health of the institution and the Theatre’s continued artistic excellence and investment in the Greater New Haven community.
Long Wharf Theatre was born fifty years ago because a handful of
young and idealistic theatre lovers believed that New Haven deserved a world
class theatre company. Over a half-century, Long Wharf has developed, nurtured,
and supported a professional theatre that enriches the cultural fabric of our
community. Our productions bring the finest actors, directors, designers, and
playwrights to the Elm City, and our world premiere plays have continued life on
and Off-Broadway and at regional theatres across the country, creating hometown
pride for our work.
In a time of diminishing investment in arts education, Long Wharf delivers thousands of students and educators with in-school and at-theatre programming. We provide youth with critical 21st century workplace skills that are sought after in every industry—creative problem solving, working collaboratively in a diverse team, and public speaking and presentation skills—and invest in the skillset of teachers. Furthermore, Long Wharf offers lifelong learning opportunities for community members of all ages, ranging from in-depth discussions of a play’s relevance to New Haven to playwriting classes for residents at an assisted living facility.
Your generous support helps to ensure another fifty years of vital and valuable theatre for New Haven. Thank you for your kind consideration of Long Wharf Theatre in your charitable giving plans.
Gordon Edelstein, Artistic Director
Established at the start of the regional theatre movement, Long Wharf is an important cultural asset to both Greater New Haven and the national theatre community. Our institution is led by the dynamic team of Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein and Managing Director Joshua Borenstein. Gordon has been as Artistic Director for 13 seasons, and has developed a critically acclaimed balance between a commitment to the living writer and a fresh approach to the theatrical cannon. In Josh, the Board has found someone who combines wisdom, strength, practical theatre knowhow with strategic savvy. Together, they engage multiple constituencies in our community, have led our theatre into fiscal stability, and ensure our organization remains an important cultural voice in the 21st century.
Long Wharf has historically invested its resources, time, and energy into work on stage and in the community without making comparable investments in its facility. To address this, in November 2012 we completed a $3.9 million investment in our main performance space. In addition to technical upgrades, the renovated The Claire Tow Stage in the C. Newton Schenck III Theatre features new seats with increased legroom; a comfortable temperature from a new (and quiet!) HVAC system; shorter lines for the restrooms; and an expanded lobby. With easy access to highways and abundant free parking, the entire Long Wharf experience is exciting and refreshed—and world-class theatre may now be enjoyed in equally outstanding comfort.
While artistic quality is paramount, Long Wharf recognizes that serving the community through the arts means more than attracting an audience to a show. We have increased our investment in education and community programs that allow for the greatest mission-based impact possible. During our 2012-13 season, we quadrupled in-school residencies and the number of students served has increased by 20%, a service level that we have sustained in the following seasons. These education programs are available to schools across the state, including those in the 20 town and city area that CFGNH serves. We are expanding the reach of theatre through our partnership with the New Haven Free Public Library and through increased productions for families with young children next season.
Long Wharf relies equally upon ticket sales and charitable giving from its audience members, corporations, foundations, government, and individual donors like you. In recognition of our service to the artistic field and the community, I hope you will make a tax-deductible donation in support of Long Wharf’s legacy and its annual season of work.
R. Sanford Stoddard
Chair, Board of Trustees
Long Wharf Theatre’s
51st season includes five dynamic plays by living writers and a
charming re-envisioning of a Shakespearian classic. Productions include the
world premiere of LEWISTON by Samuel D. Hunter, which follows an Idaho family’s
struggle with history, the cyclical nature of their past, and their ties to
land; Emily Mann’s HAVING OUR SAY, her
adaptation of Delany sisters’ oral history about being the daughters of a
former slave and becoming civil rights pioneers; THE LION, a coming-of-age
story told through original music and six guitars, written and performed by
Benjamin Scheuer; Ayad Akhtar’s DISGRACED, a compelling tale about the
consequences of denying one’s identity; and MY PARIS, a new musical by Charles Aznavour, Alfred Uhry, and Jason Robert Brown. Finally, Long Wharf will present the
Fiasco Theater’s production of MEASURE FOR MEASURE, which weaves live music and
moxie into one of Shakespeare’s darkest comedies.
Long Wharf’s 2015-16
productions are brought to life by the finest actors, directors, and designers
in the field. Its productions regularly garner feature stories and rave reviews
in local and national press, including The New York Times, The Wall Street
Journal, National Public Radio, The New Haven Register, and Hartford Courant,
among other publications.
Wharf Theatre dedicates itself to producing plays at the highest artistic level
that tell the human story, stories that underscore and reinforce our
commonality and stories that tell us what it’s like to be alive today. Our 51st
season includes six productions that tell diverse and compelling stories that
inform our 21st century existence and allows us to integrate the
performing arts into the community by using its productions as a springboard
for discourse for its patrons and Greater New Haven residents.
Wharf utilizes a number of criteria to determine the success of each of its
seasons. First and foremost, the Theatre looks to ensure that the creative
artists found the development and production process to be nurturing and
supportive of their artistry. Second, informal responses are gathered from
audience reactions during the production and patron feedback during post-show
conversations with Long Wharf staff and through e-mail surveys. Third, the
Theatre evaluates the quantity and quality of critical response for each production.
Fourth, Long Wharf reviews the number of subscription and single tickets sold
and compares it to its own sales goals as well as sales at peer institutions as
a quantitative measure of success. Finally, an in-house, post-production review
of the entire production process allows staff members to discuss and learn from
the accomplishments of, and obstacles in, each play of the season.
During its 2014-15 season, Long Wharf's
production of BAD JEWS extended beyond its original run and became the highest
grossing play on Stage II since it opened in the 1977-78 season. Long Wharf’s
2013-14 production of SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF transferred to The Wilma Theatre
in Philadelphia and then to a commercial Off-Broadway production, which
garnered performer John Douglas Thompson a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding
Solo Performance. Long Wharf Theatre productions have received four years of
consecutive funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, the federal
agency that supports artistic excellence.
Long Wharf serves as
a laboratory for playwrights to craft and refine new work, and fosters the kind
of collaboration among writers, directors, dramaturgs, designers, and actors
that results in well-developed, thoughtful, and highly engaging productions. Our
new play program is intended to develop a writer’s talent through the
development of a new work. Long Wharf also produces plays and musicals that
have recently premiered, which allows writers to continue exploring and
refining their scripts. As part of our 50th anniversary, Long Wharf
established The Lord/Kubler Fund for New Work. Named for two of Long Wharf’s
most ardent founding trustees, the Fund will support the development of new
work and endow the annual Arvin Brown Commission, which named in honor of Long
Wharf’s longest serving artistic director. In spring 2015, we established the
Contemporary American Voices Festival staged readings by emerging and
established writers over a weekend, which will be an annual event.
Recent new plays that
were developed and/or produced by Long Wharf include JANUARY JOINER by Laura
Jacqmin (World Premiere, 2012-13); RIDE THE TIGER by William Mastrosimone (2nd
production, 2012-13); THE CONSULTANT by Heidi Schreck (World Premiere,
2013-14); THE SHADOW OF THE HUMMINGBIRD by Athol Fugard (World Premiere,
2013-14); FOREVER by Dael Orlandersmith (World Premiere, 2014-15); BROWNSVILLE
SONG (B-SIDE FOR TRAY) by Kimber Lee (2nd production, 2014-15); THE
SECOND MRS. WILSON (World Premiere, 2014-15; November 2015 production at George
Street Playhouse, NJ); SERIAL BLACK FACE by Janine Nabers (Workshop/Reading,
2014-15); and AUBERGINE by Julia Cho (Workshop/Reading, 2014-15). Long Wharf is
also directly supporting TABLE, a new musical by composer David Shire (BIG,
BABY, CLOSER THAN EVER; original music for SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER) and librettist
Adam Gopnik, essayist and writer for The New Yorker, which we plan to produce
in a future season.
Wharf has an established commitment to developing and producing work by living
writers, which is supported by a highly sophisticated audience proficient in
attending premiere productions. During Artistic Director Gordon Edelstein’s thirteen
seasons alone, Long Wharf has produced more than thirty world, American, and
regional premieres of new work by emerging and established writers including
Julia Cho, Noah Haidle, Laura Jacqmin, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Gabriel Kahane,
James Lapine, Craig Lucas, Charles L. Mee, Dael Orlandersmith, Anna Deavere
Smith, Paula Vogel, and Tracey Scott Wilson, among others. Prior to full
production, Long Wharf first supported many of these new plays with
developmental workshops and readings.
Wharf looks to ensure that it provides a supportive, nurturing environment for
each artist’s creative process, supporting them through each stage of a play’s
development—from commission to workshop to full production.
One in seven Long Wharf productions has gone on to a future life
in New York or at another regional theatre, many of which were world premiere
or productions of new work. This has led to a national reputation from artists
and peer theatres alike for quality development and production of premiere
plays, establishing the careers of emerging writers and furthering the careers
of established playwrights.
Recent examples include the 2012-13 production SATCHMO AT THE WALDORF, which immediately transferred to The Wilma Theatre in Pennsylvania following its close at Long Wharf Theatre and 2014 Off-Broadway run (Winner, Best Solo Show, Outer Critics Circle and Drama Desk Awards); FEBRUARY HOUSE, a 2011-12 co-world premiere with New York’s The Public Theater that allowed the musical to have two back-to-back productions in the same season; and 2014-15 world premiere of Dael Orlandersmith’s FOREVER, which went on to production at New York Theatre Workshop.
Arts education is critical for the development
of 21st century workplace skills, especially in the areas of
creative problem solving, working collaboratively in a diverse team, public
speaking, and presentation skills. Long Wharf has developed a suite of
school-based education programs that invest in both teachers and students and
augment learning opportunities during times of budgetary stagnation. Programs
include the Student Theatre Series, which incorporates age-appropriate
productions into the curricula of middle and high school students through
printed and video study guides, a three-day residency by a Long Wharf teaching
artist, and attendance at a Long Wharf production; Educators’ Laboratory,
experiential seminars that provide teachers with exposure to a wide variety of
artistic perspectives that may be translated into any course of study; and In-School
Residencies by teaching artists that serve as a supplement to or, in some
cases, are the sole drama education in these schools.
Wharf’s school-based education programs help fill the gap left by budgetary
constraints of local school districts while providing unique and engaging
opportunities for learning to Greater New Haven students and educators. In
recognition of its historical success with school-based programming, Long Wharf
received an award from the Werth Family Foundation, which allowed the Theatre
to significantly expand its investment in both teacher professional development
and in-school residencies. Beginning in the 2012-13 season, teachers who sign
up for all three Educators’ Laboratory sessions receive year-long, in-school
mentorship by a Long Wharf teaching artist to help them make the leap between
theory and practice. The Theatre’s capacity to provide in-school residencies
has also increased, helping to meet the demand for programming by school
administrators and teachers alike.
Long Wharf’s education programs are available to schools and educators
statewide, the majority of participants come from the Greater New Haven area. During
the 2013-14 season, 100% (21) of Educators’ Laboratory teachers and 65% (2,007)
of Student Theatre Series students came from the twenty town/city area that The
Community Foundation for Greater New Haven serves.
Over its nine years, Educators’ Laboratory has served ninety-seven teachers in forty-three Connecticut schools. These educators teach English, Reading, History, Social Studies, English as a Second Language (ESL), Science, Career Development, Drama, and Music and have exponentially reached more than 19,000 students. In-school residencies, which may last a week, a month, or an entire academic year, have been held for all grade levels at multiple sites and have fulfilled the programmatic needs of individual schools.
academic year, Long Wharf’s Education Department meets with teachers of
participating classes to ensure that the Theatre’s school-based education
programs meets their goals and enhances already existing curricula. Participating
educators also complete surveys that assess the effectiveness of the elements
of each program. If appropriate, students complete evaluations, which
helps Long Wharf gauge the experience from multiple perspectives. Feedback
is considered as our education program curricula is crafted for each season.
During the 2012-13
season, Long Wharf’s number of in-school residencies has quadrupled and the
total number of students served has increased by 20%. Long Wharf Theatre
sustained this level of service to students during 2013-14 and 2014-15 seasons.
engage the community in its artistic life, Long Wharf elastically applies the
themes of each production to conversations with its audiences and the
community, which allows for meaningful interactions with Greater New Haven
residents. Post-show discussions are hosted by Long Wharf artistic staff after
nearly every performance. The Theatre extends this dialogue beyond the stage
through strategic partnerships with local institutions, such as the New Haven
Free Public Library (NHFPL). Long Wharf’s Elder Play Project engages the senior
citizen community in the creation of memoir-based drama. Finally, Long Wharf’s
Theatre for Young Audience productions engage residents of all ages.
The 2014-15 Elder
Play Program is engaging twelve residents at Tower One/Tower East; the dramatic
retelling of their oral histories will be presented there and at Long Wharf in August
2015. In collaboration with The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, in
April 2015 Long Wharf produced “Violence in Our Community: In Search of
Understanding and Empathy,” a convening of public health officials, government
representatives, community activists, and concerned residents. Inspired by Long
Wharf’s production of BROWNSVILLE SONG (B-SIDE FOR TRAY), these groups came
together to discuss urban violence, in particular gun violence, in New Haven
and ways that we can combat an issue that deeply affects our city.
artistic quality is paramount, Long Wharf recognizes that serving the community
through the arts means more than attracting an audience to a show. As a result,
Long Wharf continues to increase its investment in strategic community programs
that allow for the greatest mission-based impact possible. A significant
portion of Long Wharf’s audience is comprised of lifelong learners—those whose
lives are enriched by the continual pursuit of education through culture.
Through engaging post-show conversations about the productions on stage,
community-wide conversations through the Theatre’s partnership with the New
Haven Free Public Library, and the Elder Play Project at Tower One/Tower East,
Long Wharf creates meaningful arts-based interactions that celebrate and
demonstrate the relevance of the performing arts to our daily lives.
success is monitored by the number of individuals participating in each program
and their level of engagement in each conversation or program. Long Wharf also
monitors changes in the demographic composition and the geographic footprint of
its audiences as a measurement of its effective reach in the community. For its
collaboration with the New Haven Free Public Library, Long Wharf will review
the quantity of materials borrowed from its micro-lending site, the use of
borrowed tickets from the NHFPL’s five branches, and the attendance levels at
the community-wide conversations.
of their longevity and upstanding service to the community, the collaboration
between Long Wharf and NHFPL was established through a highly competitive award
from Co-Creating Effective and Inclusive Organizations, a New Haven institution
that seeks to effect change through community-serving organizations.
Long Wharf is one of the few regional theatres in the country with a lifelong learning program for senior citizens; the Elder Play Project has provided participants with greater social engagement and an engaging retelling of their oral histories. Because of its success, this Long Wharf program will be featured in a case study commissioned by Theatre Communications Group, the national organization for the American theatre, about best practices for audience engagement.
Joshua Borenstein is
in his fifth season as Long Wharf Theatre's Managing Director. In this
capacity, Borenstein co-produces the season with Artistic Director Gordon
Edelstein by leading the theatre’s administrative and financial operations. During
his tenure, Long Wharf celebrated its 50th anniversary season; led
an Off-Broadway transfer of Satchmo at
the Waldorf to New York; completed
a $4 million, award-winning renovation of the Claire Tow Stage at the C. Newton
Schenck III Theatre; and doubled the size of its education department. Borenstein
also worked at Long Wharf from 2003 to 2007 in various general management
capacities. Prior to Long Wharf, Borenstein served in various roles at AMS
Planning & Research, Yale Repertory Theatre, and Trinity Repertory Company.
Borenstein was also at the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston through Theatre
Communication Group's "New Generations" program.
Borenstein has been a guest lecturer at Yale University, Southern Connecticut State University, and Boston University. He has served as a grant panelist for the NEA, the Greater Hartford Arts Council, and the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven. Borenstein currently serves on the boards of National Corporate Theatre Fund, Connecticut Arts Alliance, and New Haven’s Arts Industry Coalition. He was recognized in Connecticut Magazine’s “40 Under 40: Class of 2014.” Borenstein is a graduate of Wesleyan University and the Yale School of Drama.
Gordon Edelstein is
in his thirteenth season as Long Wharf Theatre’s Artistic Director. In addition to
his recent work on the world premiere of Athol Fugard’s Have You Seen
Us? and his own adaptation of A Doll’s House, Edelstein
directed Coming Home at Berkeley Rep and Long Wharf’s
production of The Glass Menagerie starring Judith Ivey at
the Roundabout Theatre. As a director, he has garnered three
Connecticut Critics Circle Awards and, during his Long Wharf tenure, the
Theatre has produced world premieres by Athol Fugard, Paula Vogel, Craig Lucas,
Julia Cho, Noah Haidle, Dael Orlandersmith, and Anna Deavere Smith. Over the
course of his career, Edelstein has also directed and/or produced premieres by
Philip Glass, Arthur Miller, Donald Margulies, James Lapine, Charles Mee, Mac
Wellman, and Martin McDonagh, among many others, and has directed an extremely
diverse body of work from Sophocles to Pinter, from Shakespeare to Beckett.
Under Edelstein’s artistic leadership, Long Wharf has received fourteen additional Connecticut Critics Circle Awards, including six best actor or actress awards in plays that he directed. He was also given the organization’s Tom Killen Award, awarded annually to an individual who has made an indelible impact on the Connecticut theatrical landscape. Edelstein has directed countless plays and workshops for Long Wharf including the world premieres of BFE (transfer to Playwrights Horizons), The Day the Bronx Died (transfer to New York and London), A Dance Lesson, and The Times, as well as We Won’t Pay! We Won’t Pay!, A New War, A Moon for the Misbegotten, Anna Christie, The Front Page, and Mourning Becomes Electra, starring Jane Alexander. Prior to assuming artistic leadership of Long Wharf Theatre, Edelstein helmed Seattle’s ACT Theatre for five years. He received a B.A. with honors in History and Religious Studies from Grinnell College in 1976 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Grinnell College in 2003.
Through its strategic education and community programs, Long Wharf
has a myriad of Greater New Haven partners who help the Theatre achieve the
greatest mission-based impact possible. This includes Connecticut elementary,
middle, and high schools who participate in the Student Theatre Series,
Educators’ Laboratory, in-school residencies, and the Theatre for Young
Audiences program; Long Wharf’s collaboration with the New Haven Free Public
Library; and New Haven’s Tower One/Tower East where the Elder Play Project is
currently in residence.
To maximize its fundraising potential, Long Wharf collaborates with the Community Foundation for Greater New Haven on planned giving and participates in CFGNH’s “GiveGreater” initiative. Long Wharf is a member of Theatre Forward (formerly National Corporate Theatre Fund), which collectively raises national corporate support for ten major nonprofit theatres across the country.
Indirect Public Support HelpIndirect public support represents revenue received through solicitation campaigns. This includes funding United Way and other federated fundraising organizations, but does not include donor designated contributions.
Earned Revenue HelpEarned revenue represents income generated in direct exchange for a product or service.Earned income includes income from government contracts.
Long Wharf Theatre recently completed a financial restructuring that eliminated all outstanding debt service as well as its accumulated deficit incurred from the FY2009 financial crisis.
Joshua Borenstein, Managing Director
This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Financial information is inputted by Foundation staff directly from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved by the nonprofit’s board. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. The Community Foundation is continuing to receive information submitted by the organization and may periodically update the organization’s profile to reflect the most current financial and other information available. The organization has completed the fields required by The Community Foundation and updated their profile in the last year. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Greater New Haven is home to a thriving arts community that includes theatre, music, dance and the visual arts. It is invested in its museums, historic preservation and the celebration of its members’ ethnic and cultural diversity.
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