It’s a sad day for Broadway folk, who lost one of their own today — Theodore Mann. The marquees of Broadway theaters in New York will be dimmed in his memory for one minute tonight, Feb. 24, at exactly 8pm NYC time.
Mann was co-founder, with Jose Quintero, of Circle in the Square Theatre in 1951. The Broadway League reports that their revival in 1952 of Tennessee Williams’ “Summer and Smoke” with Geraldine Page is recognized as the birth of Off-Broadway theater.
Mann received the 1957 Tony Award® for best play for “Long Day’s Journey into Night” and a 1976 Special Tony Award acknowledging 25 continuous years of quality production at Circle in the Square — which is currently home to a hit revival of “Godspell.”
His 2007 memoir, titled “Journeys in the Night: Creating a New American Theatre with Circle In The Square,” recounts Mann’s partnership with Quintero and Circle in the Square’s rise from Off Broadway to Broadway.
Circle in the Square moved from Greenwich Village to its new home on Broadway in 1972. Circle in the Square Theatre School, the only accredited training conservatory associated with a Broadway theater, was founded in 1963.
Circle in the Square Theatre School offers two-year professional workshops, and seven-week summer workshops, in both acting and musical theatre. Their primary objective is “to train actors and singers for work in professional theatre, film and television with traditional and experimental approaches to dramatic presentation.”
“Theodore Mann has been a major driving force behind Circle in the Square Theatre since its inception,” reflects Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League. “His contributions to Broadway and Off-Broadway are immeasurable both in the productions he created, and in the talent that he nurtured.”
Actors appearing at the Circle on the Square Theatre have included Matthew Broderick, Dustin Hoffman, James Earl Jones, Kevin Kline, Laura Linney, John Lithgow, Rita Moreno, Al Pacino, Estelle Parsons and Vanessa Redgrave.
Directors at the Circle have included Theodore Mann — as well as Josephine Abady, Alan Arkin, William Ball, Michael Cacoyannis, Liviu, Robert Falls, Mike Nichols, Stephen Porter, Jose Quintero, David Saint, Susan Shulman and David Warren.
Mann has produced and/or directed more than 250 productions. He was married to the late Patricia Brooks, a leading lyric coloratura at New York City Opera. Mann has two sons, Andrew and Jonathan, and five grandchildren.
“He will be missed by many in our community,” says St. Martin, “and our hearts go out to his friends, family, and students.”
Note: Click here to learn more about Theodore Mann
Coming up: Preview of Tony Awards night (June 10)