Edited and with an Introduction by Robert A. Schanke

Available March 2007 from Southern Illinois University Press

This is the first ever book focusing on theater philanthropy. Following an introduction that examines the history of angels in American theater, sixteen essays about theater patrons – individuals, foundations, and corporations – explore biographical and contextual information about donors – how they became angels, their motivations, the policies and restrictions they created, the kinds of projects they have supported, and their successes and failures.
List of Essays
  • Modern Cosmopolitanism: Otto Kahn and the American Stage - THERESA M. COLLINS
  • Alice and Irene Lewisohn: Copper Heiresses Take the Stage - MELANIE BLOOD
  • Wheedled, Bullied, or Cajoled: Banking on Eva Le Gallienne - ROBERT A. SCHANKE
  • Lucille Lortel: Queen of Off-Broadway - ALEXIS GREENE
  • Patronage and Playwrighting: Richard B. and Jeanne Donovan Fisher's Support of Charles Mee - JENNIFER SCHLUETER
  • Everyone's An Angel at the Castillo Theatre - DAN FRIEDMAN
  • Grant Goodman, an Alternative Theater Angel - DAVID A. CRESPY
  • David Geffen: Producer, Benefactor, and Playhouse Maker - JOHN R. POOLE
  • Peter Donnelly: The Art of Good Business - BARRY B. WITHAM
  • The Founding of Theatre Arts Philanthropy in America: W. McNeil Lowry and the Ford Foundation, 1957-1965 - SHEILA ANDERSON
  • Funding “Mama”: The MacArthur Foundation and Ellen Stewart - BRUCE KIRLE
  • A Community of Angels for Actors Theatre of Louisville - JEFFREY ULLOM
  • Raising the Curtain: Rockefeller Support for the American Theater - STEPHEN D. BERWIND
  • Funding the Theatrical Future: The Harold and Mimi Steinberg Charitable Trust - JEFFREY ERIC JENKINS
  • “Modern Medicis”: Disney on Broadway - KATHY L. PRIVATT
  • Static in the Signal: Clear Channel Communications and Theatre in the USA - ANTHONY J. VICKERY
Read the Reviews

The story of the American theatre, especially since 1900, can be told in large measure through its private patronage and support-financial and personal. Surprisingly, until this exciting collection of sixteen case studies, ranging from Otto Kahn's philanthropy at the turn of the 20th century to the powerful control of corporations like Clear Channel at the beginning of the 21st century, little has been written on the subject. Though not meant to be a comprehensive history, this collection nevertheless goes a great distance toward filling the gap and it does so by capturing the intrigue, egos, unselfishness, and even cliff-hanging moments of the theatre's past century's dependence on "angels" in their many manifestations. As Bob Schanke notes in his thoughtful introduction, "Throughout American history, the support for arts philanthropy has been unpredictable, fluctuating with the state of the economy, the sociopolitical atmosphere, and changes in federal tax laws." This superb book deals with these factors--and more--much of it personal and engaging.
- Don B. Wilmeth, coeditor, 3 vol. Cambridge History of American Theatre

These essays work together admirably to fill a gaping hole in the historical record. Angels in the American Theater has the salutary effect of making us all consider those individuals who inspire, guide, and shape what gets on stage but who rarely are acknowledged as collaborators in the artistic process. - Harley Erdman, author of Staging the Jew: The Performance of an American Ethnicity, 1860-1920

Angels in the American Theatre will encourage the reader to think about the nature of giving to the arts and the relationship of patron to artist in the modern theatre. The cumulative effect of these essays is to make one want to be generous to arts organizations and to interact more meaningfully with potential donors.
- Felicia Hardison Londré, author of Words at Play: Creative Writing and Dramaturgy

Angels in the American Theater should be required reading for administrators and students alike. The essays are informative and readable, and the introduction by editor Robert A. Schanke is especially useful as an overview of theatre funding over the last century. - Gil Lazier, Dean of Theatre Emeritus, Florida State University

Copyright © 2021, Robert A Schanke. All rights reserved.