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Stephen Porter (1925-2013)


 Martha SwopePhoto: Martha SwopeA death notice for the theater director Stephen Porter appears in today's New York Times. Porter, who died on June 11 at the age of 87, won two Drama Desk Awards (for They Knew What They Wanted and Man and Superman) and was twice nominated for the Tony (for The School for Wives and Chemin de Fer).

Porter was associated for many years with the APA Phoenix and New Phoenix repertory companies, where he directed actors like Rachel Roberts, John McMartin, Brian Bedford, Tammy Grimes, John Glover, and Glenn Close in multiple productions. Helen Hayes was the star of Porter's earliest Broadway productions, including a 1970 revival of Harvey in which James Stewart reprised his film role. Later Porter became a regular director for Circle in the Square, where he staged eleven productions between 1976 and 1991. Along with revivals of Wilde and Molière, Porter directed a quintet of Shaw plays, all starring Philip Bosco: Man and Superman (1978), Major Barbara (1980), You Never Can Tell (1986), The Devil's Disciple (1988), and The Miser (1991).

In his autobiography Theodore Mann, the founder of Circle in the Square, described Porter as "a very solid director who knows his plays inside out and casts beautifully."

The photograph above, showing Porter at work directing You Never Can Tell , is part of the Circle in the Square's archives, which were donated to the New York Public Library in 2005. The Library is currently digitizing and clearing the rights to a large portion of the Circle's photographs and scenic designs, and will be adding much of this material to its new Digital Collections site in the near future.


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