"WTF's board of trustees is thrilled to have Roger Rees lead the festival, confident that under his guidance WTF will continue to expand upon its rich theatrical legacy as a home for the best artists in breathtaking productions," stated Ira Lapidus, president of the board. Outgoing WTF Producer Michael Ritchie added, "I'm delighted that an artist of Roger's caliber will be succeeding me at WTF. He has been a friend of mine for years and will bring a tremendous wealth of experience and artistic sensibility to his new role as artistic director."
For the festival, Rees has directed Jon Robin Baitz's The Film Society, Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals, Simon Gray's The Late Middle Classes, and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew (in which he also played Petruchio opposite Bebe Neuwirth's Kate). He appeared in the 2004 WTF production of Cabaret & Main and took part in the festival's 50th anniversary celebration, As Dreams Are Made On, this past August. An Olivier and Tony Award-winning actor, Rees has performed extensively in New York and London. He was the associate artistic director of the Bristol Old Vic in 1985-86; he held the Hoffman Chair as professor of drama at Florida State University in 1988, and has lectured on acting at UCLA. Presently, he teaches at Fordham University. Rees has also contributed to a number of books on Shakespearean acting.
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