COLUMBUS, Ga. (WRBL) — The Springer Opera House’s producing artistic director, Paul Pierce, is passing the torch along after 35 seasons with Columbus’ historical state theater.

Pierce’s career spans forty six years with more than 500 productions. At 70 years old, he says it’s time for the younger crowd to lead the theater’s way.

“I’ve literally spent half of my time on Planet Earth at the Springer Opera House,” said Pierce. “Leading the Springer has been the greatest honor and joy of my life but it’s time for younger, smarter people to propel this amazing theatre into the future.”

Two familiar faces with the Springer Opera House will move up to fill Pierce’s role — Danielle Varner and Keith McCoy.

Varner, kindly referred to by Pierce as “America’s Best Managing Director,” will step into the role of executive producer.

“My time with the Springer has seen me in numerous roles that have spanned more than two decades,” said Varner.  “I hope in all of those incredible years, I have been able to enrich it as much as it has enriched me. It has truly been a privilege serving this wonderful theatre, our loyal patrons and this community as I am eagerly looking forward to continuing to do so for many years to come…”

McCoy, referred to as “one of the American stage’s most admired and sought-after artists,” will become the Springer’s artistic director.

“I am honored and humbled by this wonderful opportunity to lead the Springer Opera House into its next chapter,” said McCoy.  “I look forward to serving this incredible organization by building on the theatre’s legacy of success with passion, dedication and integrity.”

Varner and McCoy’s roles will begin on Oct. 1, 2023.

As for Pierce, he won’t be leaving the Springer entirely as he takes on his new role of Senior Advisor. The Springer says this role will focus on expanding the theatre’s artistic and financial capacity.