New York City's legendary Public Theater announced Thursday that its out producer, George C. Wolfe, would step down from that position during the 2004-2005 season. Wolfe, who has held the position since 1993, will remain on the board and continue directing at the Public, including a summer 2005 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream that will be part of the theater's 50th anniversary celebration. "I have had a long and wonderful relationship with the Public, starting in 1986 when Joseph Papp presented my play The Colored Museum," Wolfe said in a statement. "I've enjoyed every minute of my 11 years. The Public has been a way of life for me. I feel very emotional. I love this institution. I am sad about leaving as producer, but my pride in what we have accomplished is a salve to the sadness, and I am thrilled I will remain on the board and will keep directing at the Public." The board has announced that a subcommittee has been formed to find a successor.
In a statement, Kenneth B. Lerer, chairman of the board of the Public Theater, said, "George has been a brilliant leader of the Public. His tenure has been one of remarkable artistic achievement from Caroline, or Change; Topdog/Underdog; Bring in Da Noise/Bring in Da Funk; to Twilight: Los Angeles 1992. George has kept the Public at the forefront of contemporary theater, constantly tapping into new and exciting talent. Eleven productions developed by George have moved to Broadway, including Elaine Stritch at Liberty, The Tempest, and Take Me Out, which won three Tony awards. We couldn't ask for more. As the Public Theater prepares to celebrate its 50-year anniversary, George will be leaving the Public in excellent shape both artistically and financially."