Theatre founder dies in Baltimore

T Edward Hambleton, a founder of off-Broadway’s influential Phoenix Theatre, has died at age 94.

Hambleton died on Saturday at the Greater Baltimore medical centre of complications from an esophageal tumour, his son-in-law, Ken Buhler, said on Monday.

For three decades, the Phoenix, born in 1953 in a Yiddish theatre in the East Village, showcased some of theatre’s finest artists, including Jessica Tandy, Hume Cronyn, Uta Hagen, Helen Hayes, Rosemary Harris and John Houseman.

The theatre, which Hambleton founded with Norris Houghton, produced not only classics such as Chekhov’s The Seagull, but new works too, including such musicals as The Golden Apple, with Kaye Ballard; Once Upon a Mattress, starring a then unknown Carol Burnett; and Arthur Kopit’s comedy Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma’s Hung You in the Closet and I’m Feeling So Sad.

Houghton left the theatre in 1962, but Hambleton continued as its MD, later working with the Association of Producing Artists.

In its later years, the Phoenix, after moving to the Upper East Side, began developing new works by young playwrights, including Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women and Others and Marsha Norman’s Getting Out.

Hambleton received a Tony Award for lifetime achievement in 2000.—Sapa-AP

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