A major change in direction for the Austin Circle of Theatres.
Little did I know when I was writing about the Performing Arts Facility Directory published by the Austin Circle of Theatres last week that there was another big story brewing at the arts umbrella. Turns out that ACoT executive director Russ Wiseman, the guy who took the wheel of the circle from Ann Ciccolella last year when she made the jump to the Zachary Scott Theatre Center, was serving his last week in that capacity. After 10 months in the post, Wiseman tendered his resignation, effective Friday, July 14. Wiseman's tenure at ACoT was short but sweet; he presided over the 25th anniversary celebration of the group's B. Iden Payne Awards, an overhaul of the logo and monthly newsletter, and the move of ACoT's office to roomier digs on Burnet Road, and he was perpetually urging local theatre artists to think about what they're doing: to think about how they can make the theatre they're doing better, to think about how they can contribute to a stronger, more unified theatre community in Austin, even to think about how valuable they are simply because they are artists. His smart, prodding, encouraging voice at the helm of ACoT will be missed. The good news, however, is that he won't be leaving the umbrella entirely. Like his predecessor, the wily Ms. Ciccolella, he has been tapped for the ACoT board. He is also not leaving the local arts scene. This new job that is taking him away from ACoT is site coordinator for the Dougherty Arts Center, the position previously held by Dock Jackson. Asked about the new job, Wiseman replied that it was "a better situation for me ... more up my alley" given his experience managing theatre facilities in Temple and Rochester, Minn. By the way, forget about seeing Wiseman off with a big farewell party at ACoT; by the time this column hits the streets, he will have already started work at the DAC. We wish him well.
Naturally, this means that the ACoT board is now on the hunt for someone to fill Wiseman's shoes. Board president Mary Alice Carnes has put out the call for "a service coordinator to a diverse local arts community, [someone who] demonstrates fiscal management, development, marketing, and public relations skills, and personnel management." Salary is in the upper 20K range. Applicants are asked to send cover letter, résumé, and three references to: Austin Circle of Theaters, 4402 Burnet , #1, Austin, TX 78756. Fax 454-9988 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hooked on Zach
If you've ever wandered out of one of those powerhouse Zach musicals and wondered when that theatre was gonna get it together and put out a recording of some of its dynamite showstopping work, here's an answer for you: this summer. At the theatre's annual summer preview of its upcoming season on Wednesday, July 12, artistic director Dave "Give Him an Inch and He'll Whip Up a Boogie Nights Production Number" Steakley unveiled a new CD called "Zach's Greatest Hits!" The nine-track disc features numbers from Soul Sisters, The Gospel at Colonus, The Taffetas, Forever Plaid, Rockin' Christmas Party, Blues in the Night, Love, Janis, The Who's Tommy, and even a cut from the current Tapestry: The Music of Carole King. At last, you can savor the work of Zach superstars Janis Stinson, Andra Mitrovich, Jacqui Cross, Rebecca Schoolar, et al. in your own home. Like the ad says, it's not available in any store; you have to support Zach. But hey, that's a small price to pay. For info, call 476-0541.