Broadway to Dim Lights August 14 in Memory of Shirley Herz
The Broadway community mourns the loss of celebrated theatrical publicist Shirley Herz, who passed away on Sunday at age 87. The marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in her memory on Wednesday, August 14th, at exactly 8:00 p.m. for one minute.
During her nearly 65 years of working in the world of theatre, Shirley Herz received numerous honors: In 2009, she was awarded Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre, given to "individuals that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theater but are not eligible in any of the established Tony categories." A year later, she received the Theatre Hall of Fame Founders Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Theatre. In 2008, the Manhattan Theatre Club named the lobby of its Broadway home (The Samuel J. Friedman Theatre on West 47th St.) the "Shirley Herz and Bob Ullman Lobby." Mr. Ullman is a longtime colleague.
"Shirley Herz was a legendary theatrical publicist who was honored by many including the Tony Awardsâ during her long and extraordinary career on Broadway," said Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of the Broadway League. "In addition to publicizing many of Broadway's most iconic shows for nearly 65 years, she was a fascinating person who lived a fascinating life; always passionate about her chosen profession. A well-respected mentor and leader, she will be greatly missed. Our thoughts go out to her family, friends and colleagues."
She worked on nearly 100 original Broadway plays, revivals, and musicals, including Do Re Me, 3 Penny Opera, Jerry's Girls, Perfectly Frank, Legs Diamond, La Cage aux Folles, Gypsy starring Tyne Daly, The Royal Family, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Singin' in the Rain, Fiddler on the Roof, On Golden Pond, Oh! Calcutta! and Dancing at Lughnasa.
Ms. Herz became Rosalind Russell's personal press representative after their long tour of Bell, Book and Candle, and a Broadway run of Wonderful Town (1953). As an apprentice to Broadway publicity legend Dorothy Ross, she worked on House of Flowers, a 1954 musical by Harold Arlen with book by Truman Capote, and a cast that included Pearl Bailey, and newcomers Diahann Carroll, Carmen de Lavallade, Geoffrey Holder and Alvin Ailey. Working with Bill Doll, another publicist, she represented the legendary performer Josephine Baker.
In 1971, she launched her own agency, Shirley Herz Associates. As a longtime member of the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers (ATPAM), she served on its Board of Governors for decades. She was a member of The Broadway League and also served on the board of the nonprofit Dorothy Strelsin Foundation.
Longtime clients include Angela Lansbury, Tyne Daly and producer Barry Brown. Other clients were Zoe Caldwell, Colleen Dewhurst, Arthur Laurents, June Havoc, Fritz Holt, RoseMary Harris, Ellis Rabb, Julie Harris, Eva Le Gallienne, Peter Allen, Tallulah Bankhead, and many more.
Among Off-Broadway companies, she represented The Irish Repertory Theatre, Abingdon Theatre Company, The Living Theatre and Theater Breaking Through Barriers; in 1984, she opened Charles Busch's Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, his first hit show.
Her vast resume contained a number of productions that performed all over the country: dance companies as varied as the Bolshoi Ballet Academy in Vail, CO., The Feld, San Francisco Ballet, among others, as well as numerous companies at The Joyce Theater. She publicized the first U.S. engagement of the Moscow Circus, as well as World's Fairs, films, television, books, nightclubs, restaurants and many other projects.
Ms. Herz served on the American Theatre Wing's Advisory Committee for more than 25 years. Through the decades, she donated her services for numerous AIDS benefits, including "Best of the Best" at the Metropolitan Opera House in 1985; "Angela Lansbury - A Celebration;" GMHC's "Mack and Mabel" concert; "Mr. Words - Ira Gershwin;" "Nothing Like a Dame;" and the historic reading of "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" starring Uta Hagen.
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