Farewell To The Leader and Legend, Liz McCann (1931-2021)
What we forget about the theater, and especially Broadway, is that it’s not that old of an industry.
And the people who built it are still among us.
Sadly, we lost one of the pioneering leaders that made the theater a better place for audiences, artists, and for other people just like her.
Liz McCann, winner of 9 Tony Awards, and one of the first female Producers on the boards, passed away yesterday.
She was a producing giant. Starting her career as a production assistant and working her way into rooms where people told her she didn’t below. And then proving to them and to the world, that not only did she below, but she deserved to rule the room.
Her IBDB page reads like a menu at a diner . . . it goes on and on. From The Dresser to Indecent to A View From The Bridge and her many plays with Albee . . . she forever changed the theater with who and what she supported.
I never worked with her directly. And we weren’t close by any means. But that didn’t stop her from sending me an encouraging email now and then. Especially when things weren’t going well.
When we announced the premature closure of Gettin’ The Band Back Together, I got this:
It was as if she was saying, “Hey – you did good. It happens to all of us. Some shows will work. Some shows won’t. It has happened to me 100 times. Keep going.”
And I remember exactly where I was when I got that email. And it was like a steroid shot to my day . . . and was one of the many ways Liz and her incredible career has inspired me to, well, keep going.
I can only hope that one day I have 10% of the impact that Liz did on the theater.
Rest in Peace, dear Liz.
But something tells me you’re not resting at all . . . something tells me you’re ruling that room up there as well.
As you should.
To read more about Liz’s career, read her NY Times obituary here.
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Ken created one of the first Broadway podcasts, recording over 250 episodes over 7 years. It features interviews with A-listers in the theater about how they “made it”, including 2 Pulitzer Prize Winners, 7 Academy Award Winners and 76 Tony Award winners. Notable guests include Pasek & Paul, Kenny Leon, Lynn Ahrens and more.