The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

P-T

Fred Papert

Fred Papert

Fred Papert

Advertising Executive, Preservationist, Founder of the 42nd Street Development Corporation

Interview #52

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"I was walking down the street, this garbage street…[Robert Moss] runs out of the office of [this building]...and says... ‘What are guys like you wearing a shirt and tie doing on a street like this?’ and I said ‘Well, we’re a group of people, we’d like to change all this."


Gail Merrifield Papp

Gail Merrifield Papp

Gail Merrifield Papp

Director of Plays and Musicals Development at the New York Shakespeare Festival/The Public Theater

Interview #55

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"This [was] a three-story building and Joe [Papp] was projecting five theaters to be created inside, all to do new American plays. Nobody else was thinking on this kind of scale."


Estelle Parsons

Estelle Parsons

Estelle Parsons

Actress, Director

Interview #72

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"“I was a very serious actress…for me it was a very huge and profound passion.”"


Robert Patrick

Robert Patrick

Robert Patrick

Playwright, Caffe Cino

Interview #45

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"When artists stopped having to pay rent in theaters is when Off-Off-Broadway happened. Places that made their living by other means: coffee houses, bars, churches, book stores."


Ralph B. Peña

Ralph B. Peña

Ralph B. Peña

Founding Member Ma-Yi Theatre Group, Director, Playwright, Actor

Interview #89

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"The key thing here is, I got to connect this idea of theatre as a social instrument, of engaging people in conversation and getting them to mobilize, getting them to act…we were out to shatter this audience-spectator relationship. It was never a passive thing…and we did it with no money."


Austin Pendleton

Austin Pendleton

Austin Pendleton

Actor, Director, Playwright

Interview #35

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"The flexibility of Off-Broadway has just been true from the moment I first became involved with it."


Larry Pine

Larry Pine

Larry Pine

Actor

Interview #42

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"We’re going to have to have support for the arts by the government again. I think if that happened we might have those companies again."


Albert Poland

Albert Poland

Albert Poland

General Manager, Producer, Actor, Press Agent, Book Editor

Interview #25

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"My favorite time of my life (sic) were all of my Off-Broadway years…whether we had a hit or a flop, the process was exhilarating and full of surprises."


Everett Quinton

Everett Quinton

Everett Quinton

Actor, Producer, Director, Ridiculous Theatrical Company

Interview #20

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"The rules of drama….if you play action, you have a million choices."


Rosalba Rolõn

Rosalba Rolõn

Rosalba Rolõn

Co-Founder Pregones Theater, Director, Actor

Interview #90

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"We exist in a multi-lingual environment so that any language is welcome…the sense of diversity is life practice…that is assumed…it is about all of us, our multicultural family."


David Rothenberg

David Rothenberg

David Rothenberg

Founder of The Fortune Society, Press Agent

Interview #21

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"I suddenly realized how easy it was to get into that world…all you had to do was do your work, laugh at the right time, and that the theatre was very democratic."


Donn Russell

Donn Russell

Donn Russell

Foundation Director, Author

Interview #60

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"I thought, well, if I’m going to do this thing, I’m going to really do it. Maybe it’s better if I don’t know anything about setting up a foundation. We can just do our own [thing]. And that’s how it all started. I just kept going to shows."


Richard Schechner

Richard Schechner

Richard Schechner

Founder of The Performance Group, Author, Director, Playwright, Professor

Interview #57

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"I feel that theatre, rather than wresting permanence from the remorseless rush of time, surfs across life to discover how the waves of time, space, and individual and social lives continuously reshape experiences and knowledge."


Julian Schlossberg

Julian Schlossberg

Julian Schlossberg

Producer

Interview #62

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"You don’t have to be on Broadway. You can do these shows much more inexpensively and make as much, and even more, Off-Broadway. -- You’re the camera in the theatre. You’re not the camera in the movie or television, the director is telling you what you are watching. But you watch what you want in the theatre."


Terry Schreiber

Terry Schreiber

Terry Schreiber

Director, Teacher, Founder of the T. Schreiber Studio

Interview #103

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"You’ve got to find the internal connections that you make to this role if you’re going to touch me sitting out there in the audience, and move me, and convince me that I’m watching a real person up there."


Lois Smith

Lois Smith

Lois Smith

Actress

Interview #66

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"It was very different in the 50’s. There was a lot of new live television. Lots of plays, Broadway plays, lots."


Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan

Black-Eyed Susan

Ridiculous Theatrical Company, Actress

Interview #58

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"[Charles Ludlam] came to watch me make up, and I had a black eye, it was self-induced … I was trying to erase the black eye and he said, ‘No! Put black on it, make it darker … I think we’re gonna call you Black-Eyed Susan’."


Rosemarie Tichler

Rosemarie Tichler

Rosemarie Tichler

Casting Director and Artistic Producer of NYSF/The Public

Interview #43

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"You have to have a cast that looks like New York."