Circle in the Square Theatre Holds Theodore Mann Memorial Tribute Today, 5/1
A Memorial Tribute honoring Theodore Mann, Circle in the Square's Co-Founder, Artistic Director, and Co-Producer, who passed away on February 24 at the age of 87, will be held at Circle in the Square Theatre, 1633 Broadway, at 50th Street, today, May 1, at 1 p.m. Seating is open to the general public on a first come, first-served basis.
Theodore Mann was at the forefront of American theatre since 1951, when he co-founded Circle in the Square Theatre with Jose Quintero. Their 1952 production of Tennessee Williams' "Summer and Smoke" with Geraldine Page is recognized to have been the birth of Off-Broadway. This great success was surpassed by the revival of Eugene O'Neill's "The Iceman Cometh" and the American premiere of "Long Day's Journey Into Night" in 1956. The success of both productions led to several awards, a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for O'Neill and recognition as America's greatest playwright. During his career Mann presented nineteen O'Neill productions.
In 1963, Paul Libin joined the organization, beginning a partnership with Mann that lasted for 49 years. Circle in the Square Theatre, which moved in 1972 from its Greenwich Village origins to its current home on Broadway, created new audiences for classic and new American and European plays, with productions of plays by Moliere, Shaw, Shakespeare, Euripides, Genet, Chekhov, Arthur Miller, Horton Foote, Sam Shepard, Thornton Wilder, Terrence McNally, Noel Coward, Truman Capote, Jules Feiffer, Athol Fugard, and many more.
Theodore Mann was renowned for his casting ability, and he helped launch or further the careers of such actors as: Geraldine Page, Jason Robards, George C. Scott, Colleen Dewhurst, Dustin Hoffman, Irene Papas, James Earl Jones, Vanessa, Lynn and Corin Redgrave, Al Pacino, Nathan Lane, Kevin Kline, Philip Bosco, JoAnne Woodward, Annette Bening, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Raul Julia, Ruby Dee, and Frank Langella.
In 1963, Mann and Libin founded Circle in the Square Theatre School (CITSTS), training young actors for careers as professionals in theatre, television and film. Among the distinguished CITSTS alumni are Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kevin Bacon, Lady Gaga, Benicio del Toro, Idina Menzel, Felicity Huffman, Molly Shannon, and many other luminaries of the stage and screen.
Circle in the Square Theatre is currently the home of the acclaimed revival of Godspell.
Theodore Mann's contributions to the theatre have been recognized with many acknowledgments, including multiple Tony and Obie nominations and awards. In 2010 he was inducted into The Theatre Hall of Fame. One of his several directing achievements was his production of Tennessee Williams' "The Night of the Iguana," which started on Broadway and was then cast and performed at the Maly Theater Company in Moscow. His acclaimed production remained in the Maly's repertory for five years. In addition to producing and directing plays, he also directed opera. His memoir, Journeys in the Night: Creating A New American Theatre With Circle in the Square, was published in 2007 by Applause Theatre & Cinema Books.
Photo Credit: Walter McBride/Retna Ltd.