Paul Kitagaki Jr. / Bee file, 2012

Stephanie Gularte, shown in the director's chair during Capital Stage's rehearsals for "Enron," will leave the company after its 2013-14 season. She will remain a member of its board.

Capital Stage's Gularte says she'll step down

Published: Saturday, Mar. 9, 2013 - 12:00 am | Page 3B

Capital Stage founding artistic director Stephanie Gularte announced Friday that she will leave the theater after its 2013-2014 season. Capital Stage board President Cliff McFarland said the professional nonprofit theater company will immediately begin a national search for her replacement.

Gularte co-founded the theater company with Peter Mohrmann and her husband, Jonathan Williams, in 2005 after spending five years as the artistic director of the Delta King Theatre. In 2011, Gularte led a major gifts campaign that culminated in the opening of the company's new midtown theater at 2215 J St.

Williams, Capital Stage's producing director, and Mohrmann, an associate artist, will continue their present roles and expect to help facilitate the transition of a new artistic director.

In an interview with The Bee, Gularte said, "I've produced over 60 plays in the last 13 years and I'm extremely proud of that. But I'm older now and things have changed in my life, particularly in the last year, and it's just time. I'm ready to discover new professional creative challenges."

Gularte's position is an executive director role that encompasses both artistic director and managing director responsibilities. She reports to the board on both programming and finances. Capital Stage has more than 1,200 subscribers and is currently operating on an annual budget of slightly less than $600,000.

Board President McFarland said the board was "sad but supportive" of Gularte's decision and was resolved to find the best possible candidate for the job.

"We have a search in front of us, but we've established a brand, we've established what our niche is in the theater community. I think we're looking for continuity," McFarland said.

Gularte will choose the 2013-14 slate of plays through the company's normal process. McFarland said there is no firm timeline for the transition, though he expected it would occur during the next season.

"It would be a tougher job if we were fishing around and didn't know who we were or what our mission was, we don't have that," McFarland said. "Peter, Jonathan and Stephanie have done a great job of establishing that."

Mohrmann credited Gularte's leadership in helping the company grow while taking creative risks. "Our success as a professional arts organization is due to Stephanie's determination, courage, and most of all her artistic vision that has changed and challenged Sacramento," he said.

Gularte will perform in Capital Stage's production of "Hedda Gabler" this spring and continue as a board member. The company's next play, "The Mountaintop," about Martin Luther King Jr. on the eve of his assassination, opens March 23.

Call The Bee's Marcus Crowder, (916) 321-1120. Follow him on Twitter @marcuscrowder.

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