This week, The Sag Harbor Express sat down with Scott Schwartz, the newly appointed artistic director for Bay Street Theatre.
By Ellen Frankman
How did you come to learn about this position at Bay Street?
What happened was a very good friend of mine — Jill Du Boff, who is a designer who works at Bay Street quite frequently — early this season was out there working on a show and she heard that they were looking for a new artistic director. Jill mentioned me to Gary Hygom, and Gary reached out to me and asked if it was something that I would be interested in talking about. I was immediately interested because I’ve known about the company for its entire history. I have seen works over the years there and I have been a big fan of Bay Street for a long time. So after a few meetings and some negotiations it finally felt like the right fit and the right move.
What does your experience bring to the table?
I’m a freelance theater director and I’ve directed productions all over the country and all over the world. I’ve done a couple of shows on Broadway, and a number of off Broadway shoes. I am also an Associate Artist at the Alley Theatre in Houston, Texas. One of the pieces I am known for as a director is “Golda’s Balcony,” William Gibson’s one woman show, that became the longest running one-woman show in Broadway history. I have been doing this for 20 years and I have come into contact with people from all around the country, certainly in New York City and certainly Los Angeles, and I feel that through my work as a freelance artist I have really built relationships which I am hoping to invite to come out to Sag Harbor.
What is your vision for the future of Bay Street?
We are a fully professional regional theater. I feel that there is so much promise in the future of Bay Street. I think Sag Harbor is a wonderful, smart, artistic and sophisticated community, and I think if we provide innovative work it is going to really be well received here. I also think that the company already has such a rich and wonderful history and I’m really looking forward to building on the work that the founder Sybil Christopher began 20 years ago. Bay Street has a legacy of attracting some terrific talent, and frankly who wouldn’t want to be in Sag Harbor in the summer? So I am looking to continue to bring the best and the brightest talent, amazing well known actors, brilliant directors, and brilliant writers to work at Bay Street.
How do you foresee Bay Street’s role in the community evolving under your direction?
I’m hoping to make Bay Street a center for the arts in Sag Harbor where members of the community can come together and start conversations about art and theater and music. I am also interested in finding more ways for Bay Street to reach out directly to serve the community. I am looking for ways to expand the educational programs that Bay Street offers, and I’m looking for ways to build programming around the actual productions we do. There are ways to create programs, events, and fun experiences that relate to the shows on stage, so that the audience has the opportunity to mingle and get to know the cast and those behind the production both before and after the shows. I’m also looking on ways to get the shows further out into the community, with the idea that maybe sometimes we could leave Bay Street to hold performances in other spaces around Sag Harbor. I’ve spent many years returning to Sag Harbor as a visitor and I couldn’t be happier to call it my home.