Perhaps it was only a matter of time.

When the new The Ronald O. Perelman Center for Performing Arts at the World Trade Center in New York City went looking for an artistic director, they could hardly overlook the man who helped lead the Oregon Shakespeare Festival to national prominence by commissioning a 37-play cycle of American history plays, the man who directed Bryan Cranston in the Tony-winning production of one of those plays, "All the Way," on Broadway. Another of those plays won a Pulitzer for drama.

Not that Rauch was laboring in obscurity before those honors. He has directed seven world premiers at OSF. He co-founded Cornerstone Theater Company in Los Angeles, serving as its artistic director for 20 years.

New York's gain will be Ashland's loss, but the circumstances of Rauch's leaving will greatly ease the blow.

First, the festival is nationally recognized for its cutting-edge work more than ever before, thanks in large measure to Rauch's 12 years at the helm. Top-notch theater professionals will be sure to line up for the opportunity to come here.

Second, the Perelman Center is still a work in progress, so Rauch will be able to finish OSF's 2018 and 2019 seasons before moving east. That will allow him to work with his replacement during a transition period.

Rauch says it will be difficult to leave, but the new job is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Ashland is fortunate that he chose to spend 12 years of his lifetime at OSF.