Westport Country Playhouse Artistic Director Keefe on Paul Newman's Passing

By: Sep. 27, 2008
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Westport Country Playhouse's (Westport, CT) artistic director Anne Keefe issued the following statement in regards to the death of Paul Newman, who had been associated with the Playhouse since 2000, "The Westport Country Playhouse board of trustees and staff are deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Newman, a compassionate humanitarian. Our hearts go out to Joanne Woodward and her family, who have shown extraordinary strength and spirit during this difficult time".

Newman appeared in Westport Country Playhouse productions of "Love Letters" (2000), "Ancestral Voices" (2000 and 2002), "For the Children" (2001), "Trumbo" (2004), "Come Be My Love" (2007) and a revival of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town" (2002), which transferred to Broadway and was filmed for Showtime and PBS.  He participated in audience talkbacks following Playhouse screenings of "The Verdict," "Mr. and Mrs. Bridge" and "The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds."  He was a member of the Playhouse's advisory council to the board of trustees since 2000.

Paul Newman said of Westport Country Playhouse in a 2002 New York Times interview, "The sense of theatrical history here is breathtaking.  It surrounds you, it embraces you.  It asks a lot of you, too."

Newman's wife Joanne Woodward is currently artistic director of Westport Country Playhouse, following six previous seasons as artistic director from 2000 through 2005. For Westport Country Playhouse, she directed "The Member of the Wedding" (2005), "The Constant Wife" (2000) and "Three Days of Rain" (2001) and co-directed with Anne Keefe "David Copperfield" (2005). She appeared in Playhouse productions of "Love Letters" (2000), "Ancestral Voices" (2000 and 2002), "For the Children" (2001), "Come Be My Love" (2007) and a reading of "Arsenic and Old Lace" (2008). She is a member of the Playhouse board of trustees since 2000.

As philanthropists, the Newman's supported the Playhouse's Campaign for a New Era to renovate the historic theatre, and its annual fund.

The venerable Westport Country Playhouse (Joanne Woodward and Anne Keefe, artistic directors; Jodi Schoenbrun Carter, managing director) is in its 78th year of creating innovative new works and dynamic revivals. The Playhouse has produced more than 700 plays, 36 of which later transferred to Broadway. The list of actors, directors, and other theatre artists who have worked and continue to perform on the Playhouse's legendary stage reads like a "Who's Who" of the American theatre.  Following a multi-million dollar renovation completed in 2005, the Playhouse now produces year-round, welcoming 85,000 audience members annually. In addition to a full season of theatrical productions, the Playhouse presents educational programming and workshops; a children's theatre series; symposiums; music; films; and readings of short fiction, classical works and new plays.  Westport Country Playhouse serves as a treasured home for the theatrical arts, its audiences and its artists.  For the State of Connecticut, it is a true cultural landmark. The Playhouse is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization for more information visit,  www.westportplayhouse.org.

Photo Credit of John KanderEartha KittBen VereenJoanne WoodwardPaul Newman and Bebe Neuwirth by Kathleen O'Rourke





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