A Plum Job for Bloom
Michael Bloom plucked to head the country's oldest regional theatre
Austin's loss is Cleveland's gain. Michael Bloom, the well-respected stage director who's spent the past eight years heading the directing program at the UT Department of Theatre & Dance, has been named the new artistic director for the Cleveland Play House, the 89-year-old institution that lays claim to being the oldest regional theatre in the country. During his time in Austin, Bloom not only taught and directed UT productions such as The Vampires and The Brothers Karamazov (for which he received an Austin Critics Table Award), he also directed Wit for the State Theater Company; helped found the Actors Repertory of Texas, the joint venture between UT and Charles Duggan that was launched with the world premiere of the early Tennessee Williams play Spring Storm, directed by Bloom; and penned the book Thinking Like a Director. Bloom will start on his new assignment in September, and he'll have his hands full, not just running a $7 million operation but dealing with a $3.5 million debt and an elitist perception of the theatre. But in an interview with The Plain Dealer, he said, "Cleveland can have and deserves to have a top-echelon theater. I don't think it's going to be easy, but I think it can be done. First, we'll have to make the theater an essential community resource and not just an amenity."