As they say in theater, the show must go on. Earlier this month, the Saratoga Shakespeare Company, Saratoga Springs’ resident troupe of Shakespearean specialists, announced that the company had named writer, actor and director Marcus Dean Fuller as its new executive and artistic director. A member of the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Fuller has two pairs of big shoes to fill as he will be taking over for Skidmore College drama professor and founding member of Saratoga Shakespeare Company Lary Opitz, who was producing artistic director, and his wife, Barbara, who acted as executive director.
“Over the past two years, Barbara and I worked closely with Marcus to develop a process for succession—we wanted to be sure that the company would continue to thrive once we moved on,” says Lary Opitz, who’s directed and acted in many of Saratoga Shakespeare Company’s productions. “It became clear that Marcus was the perfect choice for taking on this challenge. He is a talented and well-trained director and actor who maintains strong relationships with important institutions and individuals in the theater world.
Fuller made his directorial debut with the Saratoga Shakespeare Company this past summer season with a production of The Tempest, which was staged at the reflecting pool in Saratoga Spa State Park. Fuller’s acting and directing roots go much deeper though, with more than 25 years of experience on stage and in television/film (he made his directorial film debut with the 2016 supernatural drama One Fall), as well as an MFA from Yale School of Drama. He’s also taught drama at a number of area colleges, including Skidmore, Union College in Schenectady and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy.
“I’m deeply humbled by the opportunity to serve this organization and lead the Saratoga Shakespeare Company into its 20th season,” says Fuller. “I don’t see Shakespeare’s work as a ‘sacred’ text but as a roadmap for our lives. The performing of Shakespeare is nothing less than the celebration of the human condition engaging us not just as individuals but as a community.”
As for the Opitzes, they will continue to support the company by serving on its newly formed advisory board. And fans of Lary Opitz’s stage performances will be pleased to learn that he’ll still have a hand in Saratoga Shakespeare Company’s future productions too. “As a founding member of [the company], I’ve enjoyed performing or directing in most of our seasons since 2000,” he says. “When Marcus asked if I’d be willing to act in future productions, I responded with an enthusiastic, ‘Yes!'”