Before beginning his tenure as Long Wharf Theatre's Artistic Director on July 1, 2002, Gordon Edelstein had been the Artistic Director of ACT Theatre in Seattle since 1997. During his acclaimed five-year tenure, Edelstein revitalized the programming for ACT's four-theatre complex, maintained the FirstACT new play development program and the annual ACT/Hedgebrook Women's Playwright Festival, and raised the theatre's annual attendance and subscription rates to record-breaking levels.
Edelstein's directing credits at ACT include the American premiere of Martin McDonagh's A Skull in Connemara (later presented off-Broadway by the Roundabout Theatre Company), the world premiere of Lisette Lecat Ross's Scent of the Roses with Julie Harris, and the world premiere adaptation of God of Vengeance by Donald Margulies. His inaugural ACT production of Death of a Salesman was named "One of the Best Dramas of 1998" by the Seattle Times.
Under his artistic leadership, ACT produced several world premieres that received subsequent New York runs, including Alan Arkin and Elaine May's Power Plays, Pamela Gien's The Syringa Tree and Philip Glass's opera-theatre work In the Penal Colony. ACT also produced the world premieres of David Ives's Polish Joke and John Olive's The Summer Moon during Edelstein's regime.
From 1990 to 1997, Edelstein was the Associate Artistic Director of Long Wharf Theatre under former Artistic Director Arvin Brown. Although budgetary constraints forced the position to be expunged from 1991 to 1995, Edelstein remained on staff as an Associate Director who fostered the development of new plays and directed one Mainstage show per season.
His Long Wharf directing credits include the world premieres of Michael Henry Brown's The Day the Bronx Died, Joyce Carol Oates's How Do You Like Your Meat?, David Wiltse's A Dance Lesson, and the Joe Kennan/Brad Ross musical The Times; plus Joe Sutton's Voir Dire and Eugene O'Neill's Anna Christie. His productions of Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist and David Ives's All in the Timing both received awards from the Connecticut Critics Circle.
Edelstein has directed extensively across the country, including the Broadway production of The Homecoming, and many off-Broadway productions including The Day the Bronx Died, The Last Yankee and Tales of the Lost Formicans. Regional theatre directing credits include productions at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, Arena Stage, Westport County Playhouse and the Berkshire Theatre Festival, where he was the associate artistic director from 1988 to 1990.