After 17 years under the leadership of Chris Coleman, the city's largest theater company has a new artistic director: Portland Center Stage has hired Marissa Wolf, formerly associate artistic director at Kansas City Repertory Theatre. Her selection followed an eight-month search, and she begins her new role September 15.
Wolf worked for three seasons in Kansas City, where she launched a festival of new works called OriginKC. In 2016, she directed the world premiere of Rinne Groff's Fire in Dreamland, and went on to helm its Off-Broadway premiere at the Public Theater in June of this year. Prior to that, Wolf spent six seasons as artistic director of San Francisco's Crowded Fire Theater, known for producing new work and up-and-coming playwrights.
"I am honored to build on Chris Coleman's powerhouse legacy of adventurous theater in the breathtaking, historic Armory, and I am thrilled to lead this extraordinary company into the next chapter of growth and vitality," said Wolf in a statement. Added Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public: "Marissa Wolf is a rising star of the American theater. She has a dazzling spirit, spectacular taste, and a fierce vision which she imparts with grace and wit."
Under Coleman—who's now artistic director of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts Theater Company—PCS moved into its current Pearl District home in the 1891 Armory building, a near-$40 million renovation completed in 2006. Coleman was also known for putting a twist on classics (in 2011, he directed Oklahoma with an all-black cast, a move he's repeating in Denver next month), and for his recent adaptation of Peter Stark's history tome Astoria.