Boehlke founded and has led the
Although he will retire as artistic director next June, he is not heading for his rocking chair.
"It feels perfect, like I'm riding a surfboard onto the beach and now I'm going out to catch the next wave," said Boehlke, whom many still remember for his decades-ago role as the stepmother in "Cinderella" at
He hinted at several possible futures and did not shut out the possibility of starting yet another theater company.
Boehlke will become emeritus artistic director at the Jungle and direct one or two shows a year.
His departure from the day-to-day operation of the Jungle (managing director
"The Jungle's contributions have long supported healthy community development along
The Jungle is frequently mentioned in national assessments of
The Jungle mixes theater classics with contemporary work -- a good example being recent productions of the edgy 2010 comic drama "Detroit" and the 1948 parlor drama "The Heiress."
Boehlke, eccentric and voluble, is a true theatrical auteur -- creating his own set designs and implementing comprehensive visions for his productions. His modern-day "Hamlet" used video technology and iPads. "Shirley Valentine" featured a set reminiscent of cartoon drawings. In "Speed-the-Plow" and "Who's Afraid of
"Everybody had said, 'He'll drive you crazy,' " said
As an actor at the Jungle, Boehlke has played the lead in "
"I'm on top of my game, and I feel really good leaving when the theater is so successful," Boehlke said. "We always talk about the whole notion of succession, and we felt the 25-year mark was a good time to move on.
"The neighborhood is thriving; we just renewed the lobby, put in new seats, and we'll put up a new marquee by the end of summer. We need a bigger parking lot, but that will be someone else's job."
In addition to stage work, Boehlke produced the 1982 documentary "Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Memories and Perspectives," and in 1996 he played a small, memorable role in the movie "
This November, Boehlke will star with Lehr, his collaborator of more than 50 years, in the Jungle's production of "On
"I've never been good at that," he said. "Memory is not my long suit. But as you age, you have so much more experience to bring to a performance."
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