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Danny Newman: 1919-2007

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Ask the knowledgeable theatre maven who was responsible for the enormous spread, growth and sustainability of the American regional theatre from the mid-'60s to the mid-'70s, and he or she might cite the profound influence of Sir Tyrone Guthrie or Zelda Fichandler-but actually it was Danny. As the Ford Foundation's subscription expert, Danny might have been described as a successful Willy Loman. If you ran a regional and were deemed a comer, Danny showed up to explain how to fill your theatre to the brim with subscribers, and your troubles were over. He appeared at a time of dismay. All boards of directors had assumed that these theatres, sooner rather than later, would become self-supporting, and when that was unmasked as a desperate fallacy, a lot of folks got, well, fired. Danny magically appeared and filled the theatres with ticket-buyers, which calmed the boards down (even though we never broke even).

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