Hartford Stage hires award-winning artistic director

BY Joe Cooper

Photo | Hartford Stage
Photo | Hartford Stage
Melia Bensussen will become the Hartford Stage's new artistic director in June.
Hartford Stage has tapped an award-winning director as its new artistic leader.

The Church Street-based performing arts theater on Tuesday named Melia Bensussen its sixth artistic director effective in June. She will succeed Darko Tresnjak, who served the role for eight years.

Bensussen has been directing numerous productions since 1984 at venues that include: New Haven's Long Wharf Theatre, Huntington Theatre Co., Sleeping Weazel, Shakespeare & Co., Actors' Shakespeare Project, La Jolla Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage and New York Shakespeare Festival, among others.

Bensussen has won several awards during her career, including the Obie Award in 1999 for her production of "The Turn of the Screw."

She currently serves on commissions and productions at Boston's Huntington Theatre Co. and ArtsEmerson. She is also working with several notable playwrights including Kirsten Greenidge, Melina Lopez, Jeffrey Hatcher, Masha Obolensky and others.

Bensussen chairs the arts advisory board for the Princess Grace Foundation and the performing-arts department at Emerson College. Bensussen is also on the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society's executive board.

Raised in Mexico City, she is fluent in Spanish and has translated and adapted several texts for productions.

Meantime, Hartford Stage is also in search of a managing director.

Outgoing Managing Director Michael Stotts, the theater's lead executive since 2006, in October announced he would step down Jan. 25 after accepting a similar position in his home state of New Jersey.