News Column

GM Burgreen leaving Gloucester Stage

September 21, 2013

YellowBrix

Sept. 21--After four seasons at Gloucester Stage Company, General Manager Andrew Burgreen will be leaving to pursue other paths in the theater world.

His departure coincides with this weekend's closing of the theater's final show for the season -- the Pulitzer Prize-winning work "Driving Miss Daisy," and it is just this kind of production of which Burgreen is most proud.

"The highlights of my time here have been the productions," he said. "I am so proud of the work we do. The theater has had such amazing works here like 'Master Harold,' 'Nine Circles' and 'Miss Daisy.' They are incredibly moving and brilliant productions."

Another highlight for Burgreen was the musical "Most Happy Fella," as well as working with the cast of the Ayckbourn trilogy.

"It was a tremendous opportunity to work with the cast for three years in a row. It was such a delight that has been very rewarding," he said.

The trilogy was titled "The Norman Conquests," written by an award-winning British playwright, Alan Ayckbourn.

During Burgreen's tenure, and paired with the theater's artistic director, Eric C. Engel, the theater has received both Elliot Norton and Independent Reviewers of New England (IRNE) nominations for a number of its productions, and also brought home several awards.

"It's bittersweet to leave," he said. "This is truly the most beautiful place we've settled into for a while. We enjoy being here very much. The people are very open and inviting, and that part will be hard to replace."

Burgreen said he plans to stay around for a couple of weeks to help the new general manager transition into the job. When Burgreen arrived in 2010, he moved into the post that had been unfilled for two seasons.

Bea Waring, president of the Gloucester Stage board of directors, said the search committee has been busy interviewing candidates. Of the roughly 20 applicants, the committee narrowed it down to five finalists, who toured the area and also took in an evening of "Driving Miss Daisy," featuring one-time Academy Award nominee Lindsay Crouse, to get a flavor of the theater and the community.

"Miss Daisy," which also features Gloucester Stage award-winning veterans Johnny Lee Davenport and Robert Pemberton, closes with a matinee Sunday at 4.

"We're sorry to lose him," Waring said of Burgreen. "He's done a fantastic job of straightening out the office and working behind the scenes as far as the theater is concerned, and we are so appreciative of all his work."

A veteran theater administrator, Burgreen has performed, directed and produced on countless stages, from the high seas aboard Celebrity and Norwegian cruise lines to co-founding a nonprofit performing arts organization in Hannibal, Mo. -- all intertwined with many years of work in New York City.

Burgreen said he is considering a few options in the theatre world and is looking for something in a more creative capacity. He may relocate to the New York City area. He also plans to continue writing a musical comedy, which has a working title of "Hannibilly."

When he moved to Missouri in 2004, he pursued his dream of starting a non-profit arts organization and co-founded the Hannibal Performing Arts Center. While there, he produced, co-wrote and directed three original productions: "Vaudeville Again!," "Mark Twain: A Musical Retrospective" and the 2006 "Summer Music Mix."

His Broadway credits include "You Can't Take It With You" starring Jason Robards and Coleen Dewhurst, "A Few Good Men" and "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat." His Off-Broadway credits include: "A Mom's Life," "Forever Plaid" and "Tennessee Williams Remembered" starring Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000, x3445, or at gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com.

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(c)2013 the Gloucester Daily Times (Gloucester, Mass.)

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