Friday, June 26, 2009

Lucille Lortel Theatre, West Village

Lucille Lortel (December 16, 1900April 4, 1999) was an American actress and theater producer who is remembered as the namesake of an off-Broadway playhouse and theatrical award.

Born Lucille Wadler in New York City, Lucille Lortel was originally an actress during the 1920s (she once recollected comparing breast sizes with Helen Hayes). She went on to become an off-Broadway theater producer and impresario with the help of a wealthy husband, industrialist Louis Schweitzer, whom she married in 1931. Her age was a well-kept mystery until nearly the end of her life.

Lortel founded The White Barn Theatre at her estate in Norwalk, Connecticut in 1947.

The Lucille Lortel Theatre, on Christopher Street, in Greenwich Village, New York City, which hosts the Lucille Lortel Awards for achievement in off-Broadway productions, and the Lortel Archives, which provides the Internet Off-Broadway Database, are named in her honor and supported by her foundation.

She died of natural causes in New York at the age of 98 and is interred at the Westchester Hills Cemetery in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York.

29 comments:

Lily Hydrangea said...

wow! 98! & what an amazing legacy.

joy said...

Thank you for posting this bit of history.

I won't lie - I took one of those overpriced (but superduperfun) coach tours of film/TV sites here in town. And the only description for this theatre? It's the theatre that Joey Tribbiani performed at on Friends. Sigh.

But yay for the real scoop. Much appreciated!

altadenahiker said...

So who won?

Mo said...

A great life and her name is still up there in lights.

James said...

I'll have to look for this place next time i'm in the area.

Jarart said...

A great and long life story! Thanks for the history and picture of the place.

-K- said...

I guess there really are 8 million stories in the big city.

Jean Spitzer said...

Thanks for filling us in on the story. So much history on the streets of the Village.

Shaun said...

Agree with Joy about the look... lot of information to cross reference but I did it anyway since it was a real interesting post... nice one. Like the blurred people!

SP said...

These kinds of theatres always remind me of the awkward film scene in Taxi Driver... Such a great atmosphere. Nice shooting.

Laurie said...

THese stories are so fascinating. I love the color and movement in this shot. It's like you really froze time. Cool!

Jacob said...

I've never heard of Lucille...which means nothing at all...there were so many who made amazing strides in terms of theater over the years...evidently, she was one...

It's nice that this theatre bears her name!

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