Theatrical agent George Lane has joined Creative Artists Agency after becoming what the New York Times described as "the most powerful agent on Broadway" while at the William Morris Agency. The move also will give CAA greater presence in New York City, where Lane will continue to work. CAA historically has little interest in legitimate theater dating back to the Michael Ovitz days. Thus the hiring of Lane is a major change of direction for the agency.
CAA does not have a full-time office in New York. "It does represent a change of strategy for us," CAA's Bryan Lourd told the New York Times. "We really believe, existing in a climate where comic books and franchises are the order of the day, that new material and writers need to be fostered more than ever. And in the theater and in television, the idea of original writing holds real value."
"We have a lot of younger actors who view the theater not only as a breeding ground but a permanent home," added Lourd. "It's not a successful year for Ethan Hawke or Ralph Fiennes or Billy Crud unless they do a movie and a play."
While CAA has confirmed that Lane has joined the agency and will remain in New York, CAA has not confirmed any clients who will make the move with him. Playwright Jon Robin Baitz told the New York Times that he would follow Lane to CAA. "The most interesting aspect for me is that CAA is deciding to invest in New York and in plays," he said. "It harks back to an older understanding of the theater."
Some of Lane's other clients are playwrights Edward Albee, Richard Greenberg, Suzan-Lori Parks and Warren Leight and directors Daniel Sullivan and Robert Falls.
The CAA hiring of Lane seems to have taken William Morris by surprise. William Morris senior vice president Chris Petrikin told the Times that Lane's departure would offer them an opportunity to restructure the department and add staff. "We are staunchly committed to the theater," he said. The Times speculated that two William Morris agents, David Kolodner and Susan Weaving, both with impressive client lists, are candidates to head the theatrical department.