Director, Producer, Writer
( b. Jul 24, 1925 Ogdensburg, New York, USA - d. Jun 11, 2013 New York, New York, USA ) Male
From the 1950s to the 1990s, Stephen Porter directed more than 125 plays, at least 30 on Broadway. He contributed to the growing regional theater movement in the 1960s and '70s, directing productions in Cincinnati, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Princeton, N.J., and Providence, R.I. He directed at major Shakespeare festivals throughout North America.
Mr. Porter was particularly praised for successfully reviving tried and true works for repertory theaters, including most of Shakespeare, much of George Bernard Shaw and a 1970 Broadway revival of Harvey, Mary Chase's whimsical play about a mild-mannered man, Elwood P. Dowd, who insists that his best friend is an invisible six-foot-tall rabbit.
Mr. Porter said he strove to avoid "extreme stylization" and "eccentric interpretations," explaining in an interview with The Times in 1977 that classic plays demanded "a kind of orthodoxy." At the same time, he said, his goal was to make them realistic to modern audiences.
Stephen Porter grew up in Philadelphia and New Haven. After earning a bachelor's degree from Yale, he worked briefly as a copy boy at The New York Herald Tribune and the newspaper PM.
He returned to Yale to earn a master's in theater. He then spent seven years as an assistant professor of English at McGill University in Montreal while directing plays for the Montreal Repertory Theater.
In 1956 he made his Off Broadway debut directing Richard Wilbur's translation of The Misanthrope. Ellis Rabb won a Clarence Derwent Award for his performance in that production, and Sada Thompson and Arthur Malet won Vernon Rice Memorial Awards for theirs.
His first Broadway production was Luigi Pirandello's Right You Are if You Think You Are in 1966, which drew mixed reviews and had a short run. His third, The Show Off with Helen Hayes, a revival of a 1924 comedy, was a big hit in 1967.
Source: The New York Times obituary
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