The board met for 100 minutes over pizza in a rehearsal hall at the theater; Ms. Pappano said there was no debate, but that “people needed to air the emotion and their reaction to all that they are reading and seeing and hearing for the first time.” She said that the theater had hired an expert in workplace culture to speak with the staff, starting with rank-and-file employees.
In the short-term, she said, the theater’s managing director, Joshua Borenstein, will assume both the artistic and the administrative responsibilities of the theater on an interim basis, while the board determines how to select a new artistic director. Ms. Pappano said the theater would go forward with the opening Wednesday night of a play, “Office Hour,” and is well on its way to pulling together its next season.
“We want to be a fair, open and equitable workplace, where people feel comfortable coming forward, and we have to do the right thing,” she said. “Long Wharf is a theater with a national profile, and a lot of people are watching us, and we have to do this right.”
In a written statement, Ms. Pappano added, “We must ensure that nothing like this happens again,” and said “this is a time that demands sober self-reflection and openness.”
Multiple former staffers have said Mr. Edelstein’s behavior was known to administrators and board members at the theater, but Ms. Pappano has called such an assertion “misleading.”
Long Wharf has acknowledged that its board knew about three complaints against Mr. Edelstein — Kim Rubinstein, a former associate artistic director, said he harassed her over a long period with behavior that included masturbating in her office; Jackie Farrelly, a former props supervisor, said he used the word “skanky” to describe an actress; and at least two employees said (and theater officials confirmed) that he recently joked about having sex with the nuns at a Catholic college that gave him an honorary degree last year.
As news of those allegations and others became public, The Seattle Times reported that an actress said she was groped by Mr. Edelstein in 2002, as he was wrapping up his tenure as artistic director of A Contemporary Theatre (ACT) there.
And in Houston, the Alley Theater said it had removed Mr. Edelstein as director of a coming production of “Satchmo at the Waldorf,” a one-man play about Louis Armstrong by the Wall Street Journal drama critic Terry Teachout. Mr. Teachout will now direct the production, which begins next month.
Mr. Edelstein, 63, has not responded to several requests for comment, including on Tuesday evening. He has been the artistic director at Long Wharf since 2002 and has directed three plays on Broadway, including, most recently, “The Road to Mecca” in 2012. He also has directed at Long Wharf and other theaters.