Theatre Director and Writer Gerald Freedman Dies at 91 | Playbill

Obituaries Theatre Director and Writer Gerald Freedman Dies at 91 The artist helmed several productions on Broadway, in addition to operas, Off-Broadway, and regional work.

Stage director Gerald Freedman died March 17, 2020, at the age of 91 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The cause, reports The New York Times, was kidney failure. Throughout his life, the artist helmed over a dozen productions on Broadway, including The School for Scandal, The Grand Tour, and The Robber Bridegroom.

Mr. Freedman was the artistic director of Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival from 1967 to 1971. While serving as leader in the ‘60s, he mounted the original Off-Broadway production of Hair at what is now the Papp-founded Public Theater.

Richard Libertini and Gerald Freedman in rehearsal for Love's Labour's Lost Martha Swope/The Billy Rose Theatre Division of The New York Public Library

The director got his start on Broadway in the ‘50s, working as an assistant to Jerome Robbins’ during the original productions of West Side Story, Gypsy, and Bells Are Ringing. Mr. Freedman eventually made his Main Stem directorial debut with The Gay Life at the Shubert Theatre in 1961.

In addition to his work on Broadway, Mr. Freedman directed productions with the Acting Company at Juilliard and New York City Opera throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. He ran the Great Lakes Theatre Festival from 1985 to 1997 and was one of the first American directors to mount a show at The Globe Theatre in London.

Born June 25, 1927, in Lorain, Ohio, Mr. Freedman grew up surrounded by music and art, inspiring him to pursue a career in theatre. He graduated from Northwestern University, studying under the tutelage of director Alvina Krause, with a bachelor’s degree in 1949 and a master’s the following year. Later in life, Mr. Freedman served as dean at School of Drama at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Mr. Freedman is not survived by any immediate family.


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