Broadway Talks: What Professionals Think about Commercial Theater in America

By Arvid F. Sponberg | Go to book overview

16
Harriet Slaughter, Representing Theater Owners and Producers

"But there is the argument on the other side that the audiences today are more sophisticated, that they have seen shows at their regional theaters. So when they come to New York, they perhaps want to see a bit more spectacle. They want to be thrilled by what they see on stage. I don't know if you can blame the producers for that."

Harriet Slaughter is the director of labor relations for the League of American Theaters and Producers. She is a "postdepression" baby, born in Fort Worth, Texas. She is one of the few people interviewed for this book who comes from a theatrical family. Her father, Richard Slaughter, was a director with Hallie Flanagan's WPA theater and established the first drama curriculum at what is now the University of Texas at Arlington. Harriet Slaughter took her B.F.A from the University of Texas at Austin and apprenticed under Margo Jones.

During the sixties she worked as an actress and a dancer on Broadway and in stock, appearing frequently in productions of Fiddler and Man of La Mancha. A year of unemployment, however, set her to thinking about alternate careers. She enrolled in NYU's course in arts administration. The M.A. led to the post of program director for Town Hall, which she actually held while still serving a term on the council of Actors' Equity. Equity remedied the anomaly by making Slaughter assistant executive secretary, in which post she administered the flagship contract with the Broadway producers. In 1979, she joined management again in her current position: "I quite honestly did not like the politics of working for a union. I guess in my heart of hearts I am just management oriented. My overview tends to be on the side of the creative product, and it's creative on the management side. That's where my alliance is."

The fate of musical theater remains a vital concern for Slaughter. In these excerpts from a much longer interview, she discusses steps necessary to revitalizing America's original contribution to theatrical art.

-157-

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Broadway Talks: What Professionals Think about Commercial Theater in America
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Preface ix
  • Introduction xv
  • Notes xxx
  • PRODUCING 1
  • 1 - Richard Horner, Producer 3
  • 2 - Bernard Jacobs, Theater Owner 17
  • 3 - Gerald Schoenfeld, Theater Owner 27
  • 4 - Emanuel Azenberg, Producer 35
  • 5 - Paul Libin, Producer 51
  • 6 - Nelle Nugent, Producer 63
  • 7 - Gary Gunas, Associate General Manager 73
  • 8 - Rocco Landesman, Theater Owner 89
  • DESIGNING 95
  • 9 - Charles Strouse, Composer 97
  • 10 - Patricia Zipprodt, Costume Designer 105
  • 11 - David Jenkins, Scene Designer 115
  • 12 - Stephen Schwartz, Director/Lyricist 125
  • LABOR AND MANAGEMENT 133
  • 13 - Willard Swire, Representing Actors 135
  • 14 - Harvey Sabinson, Representing Theater Owners and Producers 139
  • 15 - John Glasel, Representing Musicians 147
  • 16 - Harriet Slaughter, Representing Theater Owners and Producers 157
  • 17 - Robert Mcdonald, Representing Stagehands 163
  • WRITING 173
  • 18 - Joseph Stein, Playwright 175
  • 19 - A.R. Gurney, Jr., Playwright 185
  • 20 - David Henry Hwang, Playwright 199
  • Bibliography 209
  • Index 215
  • About the Author 225
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