Long Wharf Theatre began in the unlikeliest of places in the unlikeliest of ways. Located in a food terminal facing the New Haven Harbor, the theatre’s original founders, Jon Jory and Harlan Kleiman, shared the dream of starting a resident professional theatre company in New Haven.
Assisted by an avid group of community leaders and patrons of the arts, they made that dream a reality in 1965 when Arthur Miller’s The Crucible opened for a two-week engagement.
Named for the Long Wharf port along New Haven Harbor, the theatre was built in a vacant warehouse space in a busy food terminal, with its Mainstage originally stocked with seats borrowed from a retired movie house. The first year’s budget was $294,000, and the theatre played to more than 30,000 patrons. Long Wharf Theatre is an organization of international renown producing an annual season of six plays on its two stages, along with children’s programming, new play workshops and a variety of special events for an annual audience exceeding 100,000.
Under the watch of Arvin Brown and Edgar Rosenblum for over 30 years, Long Wharf Theatre established itself as an important force in the regional theatre movement. Following Brown’s leadership, Doug Hughes served as artistic director for four seasons. Under the current leadership of Managing Director Joshua Borenstein, Long Wharf Theatre continues to be a leader in American theatre, revitalizing classic and modern plays for a contemporary audience, discovering new resonance in neglected works and premiering new plays by new voices that both investigate and celebrate the unique circumstances of our time.
Throughout its history, Long Wharf Theatre has created a unique home in New Haven for theatre artists from around the world, resulting in the transfer of more than 30 Long Wharf productions to Broadway or Off-Broadway, some of which include Wit (Pulitzer Prize), The Shadow Box (Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award/Best Play), Hughie, American Buffalo, Requiem for a Heavyweight, Quartermaine’s Terms (Obie Award/Best Play), The Gin Game (Pulitzer Prize), The Changing Room, The Contractor and Streamers.
Long Wharf Theatre has received New York Drama Critics Awards, Obie Awards, the Margo Jefferson Award for Production of New Works, a Special Citation from the Outer Critics Circle and the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1978.