Having taken the helm from Joe Dowling last year, Joseph Haj has established in a very short time that he is firmly in command of the good ship Guthrie. His new management team is a who’s-who of nationally respected talent, and his first directing efforts—Pericles and South Pacific—were critically well received. It remains to be seen how Haj’s vision for the Guthrie will evolve, but his first full season of programming is an eclectic mix of populist fare, Shakespeare, modern drama, thoughtful issue plays, and the occasional dip into experimental strangeness—all good signs that Haj understands the competing dynamics between the Guthrie’s three stages. As a director, he’s not playing it safe, either. In February, Haj will direct Shakespeare’s King Lear, one of the most challenging plays in the repertoire.