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Every symphony you hear, every play you see, every dance you experience every painting and sculpture you see, and every book you read, begins its life with a person in a room with an idea and a passion. The Hermitage provides the room for accomplished creators in a spectacular, inspiring environment. Our artists bring their brilliant ideas. Together, with nature, we feed the passion, and we share it all with our community. This is the work of the Hermitage.


The Hermitage Artist Retreat is pleased to announce that its first annual Muse Luncheon, happening on Tuesday, January 17, 2017, will feature Oskar Eustis, the renowned Artistic Director of New York’s Public Theater where ground-breaking shows like A Chorus Line, Hair, and most recently, Fun Home and Hamilton, originated. The Muse Luncheon was conceived by Hermitage Board President Debbi Benedict to raise money for its Founders’ Fund endowment, while sharing inspiring arts leaders who act as muses to the creative artists whose great successes are being produced here and around the world. As a long-time friend of the Hermitage and admirer of what the organization provides for artists, Eustis seemed a natural choice to set the bar for the event. His career has been dedicated to the development of new plays, as a director, dramaturg, producer and artistic director. Some of America’s most provocative and important theater works have flourished under his guidance.

The Hermitage Muse Luncheon will take place at Michael’s on East, 1212 S. East Avenue, Sarasota. Arrival is at 11:00 am. Tickets to the event are $125 for individuals and $250 for patrons. Reservations can be made online at www.HermitageArtistRetreat.org or by calling Craig Badinger at 941-475-2098, ext. 2.

“I am beyond thrilled to have the phenomenal Oskar Eustis as our inaugural Muse speaker,” remarked Debbi Benedict “It will be fascinating to hear him share with us all the behind the scenes secrets of the theater world’s hottest ticket as well as other highlights of his illustrious career.”

Oskar Eustis has served as the Artistic Director of The Public Theater since 2005. Before that, he was Artistic Director at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, RI and Associate Artistic Director at Los Angeles’ Mark Taper Forum. He was also Resident Director and Dramaturg from 1981 to 1986 and Artistic Director from 1986 to1989 at the Eureka Theatre Company in San Francisco. In addition to his position at The Public Theater, Eustis is a Professor of Dramatic Writing and Arts and Public Policy at New York University, and has held professorships at UCLA, Middlebury College, and Brown University, where he founded and chaired the Trinity Rep/Brown University Consortium for professional theater training.

At The Public, Eustis directed the New York premieres of Rinne Groff’s Compulsion and The Ruby Sunrise, Larry Wright’s The Human Scale, and Hamlet at Shakespeare in the Park. At Trinity Rep, he directed the world premiere of Paula Vogel’s The Long Christmas Ride Home and Tony Kushner’s Homebody/Kabul, both recipients of the Elliot Norton Award for Outstanding Production. While at the Eureka Theatre, he commissioned Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, and directed its world premiere at the Mark Taper Forum. Eustis has also directed the world premieres of plays by Philip Kan Gotanda, David Henry Hwang, Emily Mann, Suzan-Lori Parks, Ellen McLaughlin, and Eduardo Machado, among many others.

“Oskar was first introduced to the Hermitage when he served on the first Greenfield Prize jury that selected Craig Lucas as its winner in drama in 2009,” remembers Executive Director Bruce E. Rodgers. “He later joined us as a keynote speaker for the Greenfield Prize dinner when we awarded the Prize to playwright John Guare. He has been a loyal friend and colleague ever since and we are honored that he would enthusiastically join us for this luncheon and share his stories of the theater, including the origins of Hamilton.”


We are proud to share our talented people with those in the region through our community programs. Check our calendar and blog for up-to-date information on Hermitage news and events. Interested in volunteering? Our Friends of the Hermitage organization offers many excellent opportunities.