For former members of New Haven’s theatrical community, there’s no place like home.

Next season, the Long Wharf Theatre will have a new artistic director. Two weeks ago, a press release announced that Gordon Edelstein will fill the position for the 2002-3 season. Long Wharf officials first contacted Edelstein in the fall of 2001 and he was named the theater’s new director on January 30.

Edelstein worked periodically at the Long Wharf between 1988 and 1997. During his tenure, he served as associate artistic director for 18 months.

Michael Ross, managing director of the Long Wharf, described his relationship with Edelstein.

“He’s the artist; I do the financial side of theater,” Ross said.

Ross first met Edelstein at the Long Wharf five years ago before a production of “Voir Doire”. Edelstein was the artistic director of the show. Ross said the two met just as Edelstein was about to run onstage to make the curtain announcement.

“I’ve known him for the last five years, and have seen him often,” Ross said. “We’ve gotten to be good friends.”

Edelstein spent the last four-and-a-half years as artistic director of A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle. Edelstein said his time at the ACT was valuable and helped him to grow as a director.

“I learned a great deal about leadership and running a theatrical institution,” Edelstein said.

He added that he also learned the importance of a “healthy and happy staff and an engaged audience.”

Though Edelstein does not officially start as Long Wharf artistic director until July 1 of this year, he has returned to New Haven and has already started planning next year’s productions. Edelstein expressed his enthusiasm about the upcoming season and said he looks forward to staging exciting new works, as well as reinterpreted classics.

The 2002-3 season at the Long Wharf will consist of eight productions, including Eugene O’Neill’s “Morning Becomes Electra,” starring Jane Alexander. Edelstein will direct the production.

Another featured production will be the world premier of “Two Days,” a play by 2000 Pulitzer Prize-winner Donald Margulies, a Yale English professor.

Last summer, former Long Wharf Artistic Director Doug Hughes resigned over disagreements with board member Barbara Pearce. As a result, Greg Leaming was appointed Acting Artistic Director for the 2001-2 season. This season, Leaming directed “Arms and the Man” and “An Infinite Ache.”