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Memorial Celebration for Max Woodward to Take Place at the Kennedy Center This Month

The program will include performances by Earl Quentin Darrington, Judy Kuhn, Donna Migliaccio, Christiane Noll, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Hugh Panaro and Max von Essen.

Memorial Celebration for Max Woodward to Take Place at the Kennedy Center This Month

A salute to Max Woodward will take place at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. on Monday November 21, 2022 at 3:00PM. The program will include performances by Earl Quentin Darrington, Judy Kuhn, Donna Migliaccio, Christiane Noll, Tracy Lynn Olivera, Hugh Panaro and Max von Essen, accompanied by musical director James Moore, along with remembrances from Joan Marcus, Peter Marks and Steven Suskin and a welcome from Deborah F. Rutter, President of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

This performance is an external rental presented in coordination with the Kennedy Center Campus Rentals Office and is not produced by the Kennedy Center.

Max Woodward

(1946 - 2022)

Max A. Woodward, who went to work at Kennedy Center the week it opened and retired after forty-five years as Vice-President of Theater Programming, died on October 14, 2022 in Washington, D.C.

A native of Masontown (Pittsburgh), PA, Woodward was born on June 20, 1946. Upon graduation from Albert Gallatin High School in 1964, he moved to Washington for a clerical job at the F.B.I. He was drafted into the U.S. Army, serving as a sergeant stationed in Frankfurt from 1965 to 1967. He was always quick to point out that the first Broadway show he saw, enroute to Germany, was Funny Girl starring Barbra Streisand.

Returning to Washington after his discharge, his interest in theatre led to a part-time job as usher at The National Theatre. He started at John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts when it opened in 1971, remaining there until his retirement in 2016. From the ushering staff, he graduated to auditor, and worked closely with chairman Roger L. Stevens on numerous in-house theatrical productions. He became house manager of the Eisenhower Theater in 1978 and moved to the executive offices in 1991, eventually serving as General Manager of Theaters, Director of Theater and Building Operations, and Director of Theater Programming. He found it amusing to note that he was appointed Vice-President of the Kennedy Center without having ever attended college.

Among his activities was serving as producer of numerous Kennedy Center attractions, including the landmark Sondheim Celebration during the summer of 2002. This attracted an international audience for the mounting of six musicals simultaneously in rep, with the direct participation of the composer. He also worked with Sondheim on the musical Road Show (originally Wise Guys), which was originally commissioned in 1995 by Kennedy Center.

He produced the Center's four-play Tennessee Williams Festival, in 2004; "August Wilson's 20th Century," a month-long celebration presenting staged readings of Wilson's ten-play cycle, in 2008; and "Nights at the Opera," a three-play celebration of the work of Terrence McNally, in 2010. Other shows included the 2006 revival of Jerry Herman's Mame; Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens's Ragtime (which moved to Broadway in 2009) and The Little Dancer; and the 2011 production of Sondheim's Follies, which earned Woodward a Tony Award nomination.

His myriad Center programs included "Barbara Cook's Spotlight series," for which he and the iconic singer presented acclaimed cabaret seasons from 2007 through 2016. He was Director of the Fund for American Plays, an arm of Kennedy Center started by Stevens in 1985 which presented awards to playwrights and enhancement funds to produce their work. Among the numerous productions funded were eventual Pulitzer Prize-winners The Heidi Chronicles, The Kentucky Cycle, and Angels in America.

Max was one of the most unusual people in theater," said arts administrator Michael M. Kaiser, former long-time president of Kennedy Center. "He was amazingly accomplished but never sought the spotlight himself. In fact, it was his selflessness that attracted everyone to him-from the most demanding star to members of his stage crew. When the history of theater at the Kennedy Center is written, Max will be the star. And he would hate that."



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