Riverside Theatre has announced that its recently appointed artistic director, Sam Osheroff, is stepping down after a single season. Sean Lewis will take his place, serving as interim artistic director.
Sam Osheroff took over as Artistic Director last summer when founders Ron Clark and Jody Hovland stepped down from active leadership roles. His wife, actor Kris Danford, has also been acting for Riverside (she plays the title role in this summer’s Fair Maid of the West). However, the family is moving out of state, so Riverside needs a new artistic leader.
Sean Lewis, actor, director and founder of Working Group Theatre, will fill that role for the time being. Lewis is no stranger to Riverside’s stage; he has appeared in many productions over the years, including Death of a Salesman and True West. His own work as a playwright has been produced by Riverside as well, most recently Manning Up. His work with Working Group Theatre has given him a lot of experience producing shows that are community-based; the company typically produces original works employing local actors. According to Riverside’s press release, he plans to continue that relationship with the community and provide opportunities for local theatre artists.
Speaking to his aesthetic vision, he said in the release that he wants to “bring forward what I think theater can do best: provoke thought, provide wonder, inspire hope and broker understanding.” He also dropped hints at titles that may be added to the season under his watch: “[Riverside is considering producing] one of the best African American dramas of the past fifteen years, an American Classic, and an international hit about the lengths we’re willing to go to for our most self-destructive loved ones.”
Riverside has been a community staple since Ron Clark, Jody Hovland and Bruce Wheaton built the organization from scratch beginning in 1981. Since then they have brought a broad array of theatrical works to the area, and given local artists a place to challenge themselves and hone their craft. Given his track record, Sean Lewis seems to be the perfect fit to carry on that tradition.