My tribute to Ted Mann.

1When anyone that has an impact on our industry passes away, it has a pretty massive effect on me.

But when it’s someone that I’ve met, someone that I’ve worked with, and someone that inspired me to keep on doing this thing that we do, well . . . it’s . . . uh . . . hard.

Ted Mann, the founder of Circle in the Square, passed away last Friday at the all-too-early age of 87.  A lot of people credit Mr. Mann with founding Off-Broadway as we know it, when he took shows that Broadway couldn’t quite make work and reinvented them downtown.

He rose through the ranks quickly, but never forgot his roots, and he dedicated his life to training generation after generation of theater artists.  His fingerprints are on a lot of resumes of some of our industry’s finest actors and finest artists.

I first met Ted on my initial site visit of Circle in the Square, when Godspell in the round was just a concept.  There he was, to say hello, to shake my hand, and to welcome me to his house.

He used to call my office every so often, asking questions, giving me some great ideas, and sometimes, just to go out of his way to say how much he loved seeing Godspell in his theater.  It was hard to get the smile off my face after one of those calls, I can tell you that.

You can read all about Ted’s career here.

Or, you can read it in his own words here.

We’ll miss you, Ted.  I’ll miss you.  And all of us at Godspell will miss you, but we will remember you every single night.

If you’d like to honor him, go see an Off-Broadway show this week.  Off-Broadway is in a tricky state these days, and as Ted proved time and time again, without it (and without him) the modern day theater wouldn’t be as rich as it is today.


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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.