Playwrights Richard & Don Werbacher Pass Away at 58
Twin bothers and New York Playwrights/Broadway Promoters Richard & Don Werbacher, 58, died in early March, three days apart, after brief illnesses.
Best known for writing the award-winning WHAT WOULD ESTHER WILLIAMS DO IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS, and FERRY TALES, the brothers were very well known to anyone who frequented TKTS. For almost 30 years, they ran a tremendously successful Broadway marketing and promotions business and were frequently found on 47th Street and Broadway recommending shows, giving directions to tourists and laughing with passersby.
Natives of Staten Island they graduated from New Dorp High School then attended Wagner College to play football but while there, discovered their love of comedy writing. While taking creative writing courses at Gotham Writer's Workshop, a teacher's encouragements lead them to submit their work to television shows like KATE AND ALLIE, SOUL MAN, NIGHT COURT and SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE (among others) where producers' positive feedback only ignited their passion.
This encouragement led to networking with other writers as well as with directors and producers in the New York theatre scene. Suddenly they found themselves writing for the theatre, where for several years they served as resident playwrights for several theatre companies.
It was during that time that they wrote their two best-known works: The comedy FERRY TALES at the Alvina Krause Theatre and their award winning musical WHAT WOULD ESTHER WILLIAMS DO IN A SITUATION LIKE THIS? at the Village Theater. Their last play, GATHERING NUTS AND MAY recently received a reading at The Snapple Theater Center. Along with their collaborating partner Ovi Vargas, they created the sitcom THE GOOD FELLA, the screenplay KING OF THE MAYPOLE, the animated feature THE CHRISTMAS TREE and a brand new version of WHAT WOULD ESTHER WILLIAMS DO?
They will be missed by a large circle of loving friends, colleagues and fans. They are survived by their mother Blanche Werbacher and their brother Ken Werbacher.
A memorial service is being planned.