New Actors Theatre Artistic Director to Stage Two Plays Next Season

by Erin Keane on March 26, 2012

The new artistic director at Actors Theatre of Louisville is already making his mark. Les Waters—who was hired in November and moved to Louisville last month—says he had complete involvement in selecting the theater’s next season of plays. Actors Theatre announced their 2012-13 season last week.

Waters says he hopes the eclectic range of work, which runs the gamut from William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” to Sam Shepard’s dark comedy “True West,” will excite fans.

An award-winning director himself, Waters will stage two very different plays in the upcoming season, starting with Eugene O’Neill’s Pulitzer Prize-winning family and addiction drama “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” in October.

In January, he will direct “Girlfriend,” a musical inspired by and featuring the music of Matthew Sweet. Waters says he’s been “an enormous fan” of Sweet’s power pop since the Nineties, and he became a fan of the play Todd Almond wrote around Sweet’s iconic albums on his first read. Waters directed the world premiere of “Girlfriend” at Berkeley Repertory Theatre, where he was associate artistic director, in 2010.

“I thought it was a great love story, and it’s full of perfect pop songs. For anybody who’s falling in love with somebody or remembers falling in love, it’s a perfect little love letter,” says Waters.

While he acknowledges that directing two productions in his first season as artistic director might be a heavy load, Waters is enthusiastic about the challenges his new position brings.

“I was the associate artistic director at Berkeley Rep for eight years, so I have some inkling of what’s ahead of me. It’s to be learned how I’m going to balance the load. The administration is a side of the work that I embrace and I’m looking forward to doing it,” he says.

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