The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

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

Gilbert Parker

Gilbert Parker

Literary Agent

Interviewed on: Thursday, November 9, 2017
Location: at His Home
Interviewed by: Casey Childs
Interview #115
Photo Credit: Michael Huddleston
"If a play was a success Off-Broadway, the rights to do it were as much as the Broadway plays...I fought that fight and won it."
Gilbert Parker Highlights
Video Length: 6 Minutes, 31 Seconds
Gilbert Parker Interview
Video Length: 1 Hour, 56 Minutes

Gilbert Parker is a retired literary agent who represented many of America’s most influential playwrights over the span of nearly fifty years. His first job was as an assistant to Audrey Wood, the world-famous agent who represented Tennessee Williams and other important playwrights, at Liebling-Wood, Inc. He went on to work as an agent in MCA Artists (1956-1964), Saven  Parker APA (1964-1970), Curtis Brown, Ltd. (1970-1980), and the William Morris Agency (1980-1999). His clients included Robert Anderson, A.R. Gurney, Beth Henley, Claire Labine, Hugh Leonard, Terrence McNally, Richard Wilbur, and Paul Zindel. With his help, his clients went on to win 12 Tony Awards and three Pulitzer Prizes.

Gilbert Parker was born in Germantown, Pennsylvania. He was the first theatre major to graduate from Wesleyan University. During his time at Wesleyan, he served for a year and a half in the U.S. Navy. After spending a year as an actor at the Cleveland Playhouse, he moved to New York City and received a master’s degree from Fordham University. A longtime advocate for LBGT rights, he is a member of the Guardian Circle of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund. The Gilbert Parker Endowed Wesleyan Scholarship was established in his name in 2012. 

Mentioned in Interview

Edward Albee, Robert Anderson, Kay Brown Barrett, A. R. Gurney, Beth Henley, Ed Howard, William Inge, Hugh Leonard, Claire Labine, Samuel ‘Biff’ Liff, Carson McCullers, Terrence McNally, Arthur Miller, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Alan Schneider, Joe Sears, Richard Wilbur, Jason Williams, Tennessee Williams, Audrey Wood, Paul Zindel, Circle in the Square, Drama Book Shop, Theatre de Lys, ALL SUMMER LONG, CRIMES OF THE HEART, DA, EDWARD II, THE EFFECT OF GAMMA RAYS ON MAN-IN-THE-MOON MARIGOLDS, GREATER TUNA, IN THE HEIGHTS, LOVE LETTERS, TEA AND SYMPATHY