Crediting Gordon Edelstein For Yale Rep's 'Good Faith'
One name that is missing in the program credits surrounding Yale Rep’s world premiere in February of “Good Faith: Four Chats About Race and the New Haven Fire Department” is that of Gordon Edelstein.
Edelstein, who was fired as artistic director of New Haven’s Long Wharf Theatre in January of 2018 because of allegations of sexual inappropriateness, was a key figure in nourishing the project at its very beginning.
It was at a dinner held about six years ago that Robert Post, former dean of the Yale Law School and Edelstein thought the 2009 Supreme Court case involving the city, firefighters and some constitutional issues could make compelling theater for the New Haven community and beyond.
Eventually James Bundy, artistic director of the Rep, and Edelstein discussed a collaboration on the project, with the Rep taking the lead. The long-term project would be supported by the resources of the Yale’s Binger Center for New Theatre.
Karen Hartman was chosen for the project and in 2014 she began her research and interviews. But more than helping give birth to the idea, Edelstein — who had shepherded many socially conscious and community-centric works at Long Wharf — became the project’s director.
Edelstein remained in that role until the end of 2017 when he directed a staged reading of the script in New York. At that point it was mutually decided that due to the themes of race in the play, a director of color would be best suited to continue with the work, according to several sources close to the production.
The following month Edelstein was fired; Tony Award-winner Kenny Leon became the play’s director; later that year and Edelstein’s name has hardly been mentioned since. Long Wharf Theatre is acknowledged in the program but not Edelstein. It’s as if he was never there.