A publicity shot forThe Maids X 2
A publicity shot forThe Maids X 2
The financially troubled Jean Cocteau Repertory has merged with EgoPo, a New Orleans-based company, to create a new company called EgoPo/Cocteau. The new company will begin performing this fall; its repertory will include classic plays as well as the Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka's Camwood on the Leaves.

Lane Savadove, EgoPo's artistic director, will now oversee the new company, which will perform in New York at Cocteau's home, the Bouwerie Lane Theater, and at EgoPo's current home, The Philadelphia Academy of Music. In addition, summer workshop productions will be held at the Catskill Mountain Foundation in upstate New York. The company will be made up of a permanent acting ensemble that will feature some existing members from Cocteau and EgoPo, as well as new performers to be chosen by Savadove.

Stephen A. Brown, the company manager of the Metropolitan Opera Association, has been installed as the new company's executive director, while Peter Finn, the CEO of public relations firm Ruder Finn and the chair and co-founder of the Catskill Mountain Foundation, has been named the new company's chairman of the board.

The Cocteau has cancelled the remainder of its season; instead the Bouwerie Lane will house Savadove's critically acclaimed production of The Maids X 2, based on the famed play by Jean Genet. It will begin performances on March 31, and will move to the Philadelphia Academy of Music following its run here.

The Cocteau, which was founded in 1971, has run into considerable difficulties in recent years. In 2004, a group of actors, including Craig Smith and Elise Stone, left the company to found the Phoenix Theater Company. In addition, the company's monthly rent has nearly doubled (to $12,500) and the subscription base has dwindled considerably over the past year. The company's current production of The Miser will close on March 15.

Ego/Po, which was founded in 1991, performed in New Orleans until it lost its home, the Jewel Theater, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Since then, it has been based at the Philadelphia Academy of Music. The Maids X 2 was previously seen at the Jewel, as well as part of the Philadelphia Live Arts Festival.