Founders/Advisors

Advisors/Founders:

T. Edward Hambleton, Founder
T. EDWARD HAMBLETON founded the Phoenix Theatre with Norris Houghton in 1953, thereby becoming (The New York Times, Sept. 25, 1980) “one of the pioneers of the Off-Broadway movement.” After 29 consecutive New York seasons and 164 productions as Managing Director, T. Edward continues the Phoenix commitment, presenting challenging new productions of high artistic quality and assisting emerging playwrights. During its long and distinguished history, the Phoenix has presented new works by Robert Audrey, Frank Gilroy, Arthur Kopit, James Saunders, LaTouche and Moross while at the same time offering fresh productions of Shakespeare, Shaw, Pirandello, Brecht, O’Neill, Ionesco, Fry, O’Casey, Sherwood, Gorky, Marlowe, Kaufman and Hart, Sartre, Molière, Miller and Williams, under such directors as Tyrone Guthrie, John Houseman, Ellis Rabb, Gordon Davidson, Hal Prince and Gene Saks with actors the caliber of Helen Hayes, Irene Worth, Cynthia Harris, Meryl Streep, Eva Le Gallienne, Jimmy Stewart, Nancy Walker and Carol Burnett.After 1976, the Phoenix concentrated on new plays and the nurturing of new playwrights through its Commission Program.
The fruits of these labors include Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women and Others and Isn’t It Romantic; David Berry’s G. R. Point; Marsha Norman’s Getting Out; Ron Hutchinson’s Says I, Says He; Peter Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams; and Mustapha Matura’s Meetings. Mr. Hambleton serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Hambleton has also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the League of American Theatres and Producers. He received a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre in 2000. In 2001, he was added to the Theatre Hall of Fame.
Harold Prince, Founder and Mentor
HAROLD PRINCE directed the original productions of She Loves Me, It’s a Bird…Superman, Cabaret, Zorba,Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, On the Twentieth Century, Sweeney Todd, Evita,Merrily We Roll Along, The Phantom of the Opera, Kiss of the Spider Woman, Parade, and LoveMusik. He has also directed acclaimed revivals of Candide and Show Boat. Before becoming a director, Mr. Prince produced the original productions of The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, New Girl in Town, West Side Story, Fiorello!,Tenderloin, Flora the Red Menace, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and Fiddler on the Roof. Among the plays he has directed are Hollywood Arms, The Visit, The Great God Brown, End of the World, Play Memory, and his own play, Grandchild of Kings. His opera productions have been seen at Lyric Opera of Chicago, the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Houston Grand Opera, Dallas Opera, Vienna Staatsoper and the Theater Colon in Buenos Aires. In 2006, he prepared a new version of Phantom which ran in Las Vegas at the Venetian Hotel for six years. Prince of Broadway, a musical compendium of Mr. Prince’s entire career, opened in Tokyo in the fall of 2015.  Mr. Prince is a trustee for the New York Public Library and previously served on the National Council on the Arts for the NEA. Mr. Prince is an Officier in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, given to him by the French government in 2008. He is the recipient of 21 Tony Awards, a Kennedy Center Honor, the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center’s Monte Cristo Award, and a National Medal of the Arts from President Clinton for a career in which “he changed the nature of the American musical.” 
Geraldine Stutz, Founder
GERALDINE STUTZ, transformed Henri Bendel from a carriage trade retailer in decline into a chic emporium of designer brands in the 1960’s. Ms. Stutz is best known for her 29-year career as the president of Henri Bendel, with a legendary eye for discovering the newest designers and using them first, installing their collections in elaborately merchandised departments that heralded the introduction of a new generation of fashion stars – Stephen Burrows, Perry Ellis, Jean Muir, Sonia Rykiel, Carlos Falchi, Mary McFadden, Holly Harp and Ralph Lauren among them.Many longtime Bendel shoppers recall Ms. Stutz’s 1958 overhaul of the main floor at the store, at 10 West 57th Street, into a U-shaped “Street of Shops” widely acknowledged as a precursor to modern shop-in-shop merchandising displays. Based on her taste alone, Ms. Stutz divided merchandise into small vitrines of watches, handbags, stockings, and along one side, an inspiring “Gilded Cage,” a giant replica of a birdcage that housed the cosmetics department.”Geraldine had a vision of the kind of store she wanted to create,” said Jean Rosenberg, who was the vice president and merchandising director at Bendel’s from six months before Ms. Stutz’s arrival in 1957 to their joint departure in 1986, after the store was sold to The Limited. “It was for a particular kind of New York woman, where she could find a uniformity of taste and a certain amount of comfort in a smallish environment, where everything in one store was to her liking.”Ms. Stutz was born in Chicago on Aug. 5, 1924. She aspired to an acting career and studied drama at Mundelein College before changing her focus to journalism. She moved to New York to be closer to the theater and found work as a fashion editor for movie magazines, and in 1947 was hired as an associate fashion editor for Glamour magazine, where she covered shoes.
Colleagues described Ms. Stutz as an industrious learner who immersed herself in the subject matter. Grace Mirabella, the former editor of Mirabella magazine, recalled an introduction to Ms. Stutz in the early 1950’s, when Ms. Mirabella was working at Vogue. “She loved to talk about the business and what was going on behind the scenes, and she knew everything about shoes,” Ms. Mirabella said.Ms. Stutz put her knowledge to practical use when she went to work for several footwear manufacturers, including I. Miller, the company for which Andy Warhol designed advertisements, after it was sold to the conglomerate Genesco. Maxey Jarman, its president, recognized in Ms. Stutz an ability for merchandising and advertising, and named her to run the Henri Bendel store in 1957. “Jarman had talked to her at great length about her vision for the store,” Ms. Rosenberg said. “It was not going to be a store for everybody.”Bendel’s was known at various times as a hat shop and as the source of the Duke of Windsor’s wardrobe, but Ms. Stutz’s concept was narrowly focused on a young, sophisticated urban woman, and she rarely ordered clothes larger than size 10. In an article in New York magazine in 1987, Ms. Stutz described her taste for what she called “dog whistle” fashion: “clothes with a pitch so high and special that only the thinnest and most sophisticated women would hear their call.” She was also one of the first retailers to consider merchandising food and furniture alongside fashion, and she made way for the in-store designer boutique in the late 1960’s, as she did for Ms. Rykiel.”She recognized that fashion was more than just about clothing; it was about lifestyle and how one lives,” said Joan Kaner, the fashion director of Neiman Marcus, who worked under Ms. Stutz from 1967 to 1976. “She thought to put in perfumed candles and potpourri at the entrances so that when people walked in, they got this wonderful aroma. She was born with impeccable taste, and practically brought over every European designer who ever came to America.”
Ms. Stutz’s Street of Shops replaced what was formerly a dimly lit floor with merchandise randomly displayed along a 100-foot corridor. She installed marble floors and boutiques, small shops within the larger store that changed each season, stocked with exclusive merchandise culled from markets around the world – a flower shop, stationery, a tiny art gallery, tabletop items from Frank MacIntosh, Lee Bailey’s home displays, and a boutique called “Port of Call” with objects from Vietnam and Thailand.
Ms. Rosenberg recalled her instructions to travel to Paris to explore the new market for ready-to-wear in 1959, when Ms. Stutz told her, “Buy anything you want.””It was a store that was edited like a magazine,” Ms. Mirabella said. “It was everybody’s meeting place on Saturdays or at Christmastime.” Ms. Stutz took the in-store-shop concept further in the late 1960’s with boutiques dedicated to the collections of designers she felt could succeed with the store’s support. Stephen Burrows opened his boutique there in 1969, an experience he recalled as a defining moment of his career (one he replicated in 2002 at Bendel’s current site: 712 Fifth Avenue).
In 1980, Ms. Stutz assembled a team of investors and acquired the store from Genesco. Five years later she sold her interest, and worked as a publisher with Random House, overseeing books on Andy Warhol and Elsie de Wolfe. She also continued to consult with designers and retailers through a practice called GSG Group, which she founded in 1993, and served on several boards including Tiffany & Co. and Jones Group Inc. Besides fashion, Ms. Stutz loved theatre and her gardens.
Robert Rufino, the vice president of creative services at Tiffany & Co., is one of the many retail executives who found their start with Ms. Stutz. He designed windows for the company in the 1970’s, and recalled Ms. Stutz’s ability to intermingle her interests in art and film with fashion.”In those days, there was nothing else like Henri Bendel,” Mr. Rufino said. “It was like working for the best house in the world. To take this little town house and make it look like someone lived there, as you were going from room to room – it was just one woman’s vision on the world of fashion, and yet it did incredibly well.”
Edwin Wilson, Founder
EDWIN WILSON attended Vanderbilt University, the University of Edinburgh, and Yale University, where he received an MFA and the first Doctor of Fine Arts degree awarded by Yale. He has taught theatre at Vanderbilt, Yale, and, for over 30 years, at Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University. He is the author of two original plays, Waterfall and The Bettinger Prize, and the book and lyrics for a musical version of Great Expectations, which was produced at the Mill Mountain Theatre, in Roanoke, Virginia.Wilson has produced plays on and off Broadway and served one season as the resident director of the Barter Theatre in Abingdon, Virginia. On Broadway, he co-produced a comedy, Agatha Sue, I Love You, directed by George Abbott. He also produced a feature film, The Nashville Sound, available on DVD. He was the moderator of Spotlight, a television interview series on CUNY-TV and PBS, 1989-93. Ninety one half hour interviews with the outstanding actors, actresses, playwrights, directors and producers of the last half century, broadcast on 200 PBS stations in U.S.For twenty two years he was the theater critic of the Wall Street Journal. A long time member of the New York Drama Critics Circle, he was president of the Circle for several years. He is on the board of the John Golden Fund and the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. He served a term as President of the Theater Development Fund and was on the Board of TDF for 23 years. He has served a number of times on the Tony Nominating Committee and the Pulitzer Prize Drama Jury.He is the author or co-author of the three most widely used college theater textbooks in the U. S., all published by McGraw-Hill. The 13th edition of his pioneer book, The Theater Experience will be published in the Spring of 2014, and the 6th edition of his history book Living Theatre (which he co-authored) was published in January, 2011. The 8th edition of Theatre: the Lively Art (also co-authored) was published in January, 2012. He is also the editor of Shaw on Shakespeare, recently re-issued by Applause Books.
Victoria Bailey, Advisor
VICTORIA BAILEY  is executive director of Theatre Development Fund (TDF), the largest not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts in the country.  TDF advances live theatre and dance by building audiences for the theatre and increasing knowledge about theatre and dance.  Its tkts booths and its membership, education, subsidy, access and dance programs all further its core mission. One of Ms. Bailey’s most visible accomplishments has been the shepherding, along with the Times Square Alliance and the Coalition for Father Duffy, of the rehabilitation of Duffy Square which is dominated by the new tkts booth with it glowing red steps.Additionally, since her tenure at TDF began in 2001, the education programs (Open Doors, Residency Arts Project, and Stage Doors) have increased their reach and now serve more than 6,000 students annually; the TDF Accessibility Program (TAP) offer a range of services to make theatregoing more accessible to individuals with disabilities, providing programs for people who are low vision or blind, deaf or hard of hearing or have physical mobility challenges. Most recently, TDF sponsored the first ever Broadway performance for children on the autism spectrum and their families.  TDF has recently entered into a partnership with the CUNY system, offering programs on eight campuses and its New Audiences for New York program, serving community groups throughout the city, has just entered its third year.TDF was one of the recipients of the Mayor’s Awards for Arts and Culture in November 2011.Ms. Bailey was also instrumental in the execution of TDF’s Playwrights Project, a comprehensive study of the lives of American playwrights and the production of new American Plays. The Project culminated in Outrageous Fortune: The Life and Times of the New American Play written by Todd London with Ben Pesner and Zannie Giraud Voss, which was published in December 2009 and has stimulated national conversations about this critical issue.  Prior to her appointment at TDF, she had a nearly 20-year association with the Manhattan Theatre Club, first as business manager, then as general manager.  While at MTC, Ms. Bailey managed close to 200 plays, both on and Off Broadway, including the Tony Award-winning Love! Valor! Compassion! Ms. Bailey has served as a member of the Executive Board of the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers.  Ms. Bailey is an Adjunct Professor at the School of the Arts, Columbia University, and is a member of the boards of the Times Square Alliance and the Non Profit Coordinating Committee.  She is currently serving a second term on the Tony Awards Nominating Committee.  Ms. Bailey received a B.A. in history from Yale College.

Steven Chaikelson, Co-Director
STEVEN CHAIKELSON is a professor in the Columbia University School of the Arts, where since 2002 he has directed the MFA Theatre Management & Producing Program.  He is also on the faculty at Columbia Law School and in the Barnard/Columbia undergraduate theatre program.  Steven is the first graduate of Columbia University’s joint degree JD/MFA program in Law and Theatre Management and is a member of the New York State Bar, The Broadway League, The League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers, and the Association for Theatre in Higher Education.He is a co-author of Theatre Law: Cases and Materials, the first and only law school textbook specifically devoted to theatre law, and a regular contributor to the theatre volumes of Entertainment Industry Contracts, published by Matthew Bender & Company.  Through his company, Snug Harbor Productions, Steven general manages productions on and off Broadway, around the United States and internationally.  In addition, he has consulted for and worked with numerous not-for-profit arts institutions, including New York Stage & Film, the Apollo Theatre Foundation, Cambodian Living Arts, the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Peter Brook’s CICT. He currently serves as an advisor for Theatre Development Fund’s Autism Theatre Initiative.
Orin Wolf, Director
ORIN WOLF Broadway: Fiddler on the Roof (2016 – Tony Nominated), Beautiful — The Carole King Musical (Tony Nominated), Orphans (Tony Nominated), Hands on a Hardbody, Once (Broadway Tony Award Winner, London and National Tour), That Championship Season, A View From the Bridge (Tony Nominated). Off Broadway and on tour: Not By Bread Alone, Groundswell (The New Group); Judy Gold’s 25 Questions for a Jewish Mother; Robert Wuhl’s Assume the Position; History of the Word, I Love a Piano and more. Co-founder of OBB/Off Broadway Booking. He is a graduate of the Commercial Theater Institute and was awarded the T-Fellowship for Creative Producing at Columbia University in conjunction with Hal Prince and is now the Director. He is the President of NETworks Theatrical Presentations.
Laura Bennegadi, Assistant Director
LAURA BENNEGADI is the founder and CEO of ArtBound Initiative, a global internship program in the arts which connects students and recent graduates with artists and arts organizations in New York and Berlin.  

 

t_photoT. EDWARD HAMBLETON founded the Phoenix Theatre with Norris Houghton in 1953, thereby becoming (The New York Times, Sept. 25, 1980) “one of the pioneers of the Off-Broadway movement.” After 29 consecutive New York seasons and 164 productions as Managing Director, T. Edward continues the Phoenix commitment, presenting challenging new productions of high artistic quality and assisting emerging playwrights. During its long and distinguished history, the Phoenix has presented new works by Robert Audrey, Frank Gilroy, Arthur Kopit, James Saunders, LaTouche and Moross while at the same time offering fresh productions of Shakespeare, Shaw, Pirandello, Brecht, O’Neill, Ionesco, Fry, O’Casey, Sherwood, Gorky, Marlowe, Kaufman and Hart, Sartre, Molière, Miller and Williams, under such directors as Tyrone Guthrie, John Houseman, Ellis Rabb, Gordon Davidson, Hal Prince and Gene Saks with actors the caliber of Helen Hayes, Irene Worth, Cynthia Harris, Meryl Streep, Eva Le Gallienne, Jimmy Stewart, Nancy Walker and Carol Burnett.

 

tcaricAfter 1976, the Phoenix concentrated on new plays and the nurturing of new playwrights through its Commission Program. The fruits of these labors include Wendy Wasserstein’s Uncommon Women and Others and Isn’t It Romantic; David Berry’s G. R. Point; Marsha Norman’s Getting Out; Ron Hutchinson’s Says I, Says He; Peter Handke’s A Sorrow Beyond Dreams; and Mustapha Matura’s Meetings. Mr. Hambleton serves as a member of the Board of Directors of Center Stage in Baltimore, Maryland. Mr. Hambleton has also served as a member of the Board of Governors of the League of American Theatres and Producers. He received a Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre in 2000. In 2001, he was added to the Theatre Hall of Fame.