Stage Producer Sidney Lanier Dies at 90

According to The New York Times, Rev. Sidney Lanier, an experimental stage producer, passed away on Sept. 23 in Santa Barbara, Calif. He was 90.

Lanier and his congregation practiced on The Edge of the theatre district in New York City, where he eventually gutted the St. Clement's Episcopal Church in order for the American Place Theater to be erected in 1963, which he founded with his two partners, Wynn Handman and Michael Tolan.

He left behind priesthood in 1965, after producing THE OLD GLORY alongside Handman. That same year, the production won five Obie Awards. Lanier went on to star in the short-lived THE FREAKING OUT OF Stephanie Blake on Broadway with Jean Arthur.

Per American Place Theater's web site: "The Theatre is led by Artistic Director/Co-founder Wynn Handman, Executive Director David Kener, and Managing Director Jennifer Barnette in conjunction with an active Board of Trustees and a staff of five. The American Place Theatre was founded in 1963 by Wynn Handman, Sidney Lanier, and Michael Tolan at St. Clement's Church, far west on 46th Street in Manhattan and was incorporated as a not-for-profit theatre in that year. Tennessee Williams and Myrna Loy were two of the original Board members. The first full production was Robert Lowell's theatre trilogy masterpiece, The Old Glory, in November 1964.

In addition to poet Robert Lowell, The American Place Theatre has produced and developed the first plays of outstanding writers from other literary forms including Donald Barthelme, Robert Coover, Paul Goodman, H.L. Mencken, Joyce Carol Oates, S.J. Perelman, Sylvia Plath, Anne Sexton, May Swenson, and Robert Penn Warren."

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