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An L.A. tribute to Harold Clurman, a transition for N.Y.’s Nathan Leventhal, and other updates.

A Clurman Tribute

“Harold Clurman was more than a friend—he was an inspiration and a conscience for all who try to make theatre truly reflect our life and times,” said Gordon Davidson, artistic director of the Mark Taper Forum.

The occasion was a March 14 tribute to the late director, teacher and critic, hosted in Los Angeles by the Taper and attended by an array of Clurman’s friends, notable among them Jane Fonda, Sidney Poitier, Roy Scheider, Meryl Streep and Stella Adler.

The evening began with a benefit performance of three new one-act plays by Samuel Beckett (two of which are currently running at the Harold Clurman theatre in New York). An opening night dinner following the performance was climaxed by the presentation of the newly created Harold Clurman Theatre Awards for Lifelong Achievement to both Davidson and producer Roger L. Stevens of the Kennedy Center. The evening also marked the establishment of a Clurman Lecture and Workshop Series in Los Angeles and New York, designed to give talented young theatre students the opportunity to work with internationally known actors, writers and directors.

“The force of Clurman’s personality, his commitment to quality and his generosity with talent remain a beacon for all of us to follow,” Davidson declared during the tribute.

Problem Solver

“I will miss him,” admitted New York’s Mayor Koch upon resignation of deputy mayor Nathan Leventhal, who left to assume the presidency of the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. In his city post since 1979, Leventhal has earned a reputation as an acerbic, tough-minded negotiator, attributes which may well come in handy as the highly publicized dispute between the boards of Lincoln Center and the Vivian Beaumont Theatre continues.

In spite of Leventhal’s lack of professional experience within the arts world, New York’s cultural leaders are optimistic about his appointment, expressing that his wide experience in government will be one of his strongest assets in the position. He replaces Glenn Ferguson, who announced his resignation last December after only nine months on the job.


The title of David Rabe‘s new play has until press time been a closely guarded secret, but the roster of artists involved is an open book—and impressive. Mike Nichols directs the work, which is premiering at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Included in the cast are William Hurt, Judith Ivey, Harvey Keitel, Cynthia Nixon, Jerry Stiller, Christopher Walken and Sigourney Weaver.

Tom Celli replaces Jeffrey Rosenstock as artistic director of Theatre by the Sea in Portsmouth, N.H. Celli has been associated with TBS for 16 years as an actor, director, teacher and associate artistic director …. Robert Kalfin takes over artistic directorship of the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, with the resignation of Michael Murray. Kalfin was founder and producing director of the Chelsea Theater Center for its 16-year existence.

Gregory Poggi has been named producing director of the Philadelphia Drama Guild, after two-and-a-half years as both artistic and managing director. Poggi has been at the Guild since 1979, when he came
from Canada’s Manitoba Theatre Centre …. Two key staff positions were recently filled at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago: Barbara Janowitz is the newly appointed director of development, after serving in a variety of positions there including general manager; Maggie Hrouda joins the Goodman as director of marketing/public relations, after five years as creative director of a Chicago-based consulting firm.

Gerald Schoenfeld, chairman of the powerful Shubert Organization, makes his debut in front of the camera in an ironic turn as a talent agent. The film is Woody Allen‘s Broadway Danny Rose, and both Schoenfeld and Allen have garnered positive notices.

End of the World with Symposium to Follow is the autobiographical story of a playwright’s attempt to dramatize the nuclear aims controversy. Arthur Kopit‘s newest play opens on Broadway this month directed by Harold Prince and featuring Linda Hunt, Barnard Hughes and John Shea …. At Manhattan Theatre Club, Israel HorovitzPark Your Car in Harvard Yard features Ellen Burstyn and Burgess Meredith. The play, which tells the story of a crusty Gloucester yankee and his irrepressible companion, closes April 1.

Barry Manilow is one of an eclectic list of artists who have accepted an invitation by the New York Shakespeare Festival to create a 10-minute miniature musical. Eight of these mini-works will be adapted into a single production under the direction of Wilford Leach next season. Other talents commissioned include Jimmy Webb, Randy Newman, Paul Simon, Peter Gordon, Micki Grant and Luther Henderson, as well as novelist Toni Morrison, playwrights Terrence McNally, Paul Zindel, Christopher Durang, John Guare and Michael Weller, and composer Charles Strouse. The project aims to bring the full spectrum of contemporary music—pop, rock, jazz, country, classical and opera—to the stage. Berkeley Repertory Theatre’s second season of Lives in the Theatre, a Monday night speaker series, features Stratford Festival artistic director John Hirsch, Gilda Radner, Athol Fugard, Mike Nichols and John Huston. The series began in February and continues through the spring, with tickets available individually or by subscription. ❑

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