NEW YORK CITY: Margot Harley, producer of the classical touring group The Acting Company, will step down from the theatre she cofounded at the end of this year. She led the theatre for 43 years.
Harley cofounded the Acting Company with John Houseman in 1972 (Houseman was producing artistic director from 1972–86). The first company members included Kevin Kline, Patti LuPone, David Schramm, and David Ogden Stiers.
“Mel Gussow wrote in The New York Times that ‘Anyone worried about the future of theater in America should see The Acting Company in action,'” recalled Harley in a statement. “We kept that first group together for four years, some stayed for six and another for eight. The rest is history and it’s been wonderfully rewarding to develop young actors and introduce new audiences to Shakespeare and other classics. There have been so many milestones and awards but, I guess, the most meaningful was being honored with a Tony for ‘excellence in theater’. That’s been our goal all along, ‘excellence in theater.'”
As producer of The Acting Company, Harley has produced 43 national tours to 48 states and 10 foreign countries. In addition, she produced the Broadway productions of Alfred Uhry’s The Robber Bridegroom (1976) and The Curse of an Aching Heart (1982) starring Faye Dunaway. She also produced the company’s productions of Marc Blitzstein’s The Cradle Will Rock, directing by John Houseman, which played in New York and at the Old Vic Theatre in London.
Harley’s final production at The Acting Company will be the world premiere of Desire, where she commissioned adaptations of Tennessee Williams’s short stories from John Guare, Beth Henley, Rebecca Gilman, Elizabeth Egloff, David Grimm, and Marcus Gardley. It will play at 59E59 Theaters (Sept. 1–Oct. 11) under Michael Wilson’s direction.