Peter Hall, Dead At 86. Connecticut Connections

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Peter Hall one of the titans of English theater in the second half of the 20th century -- and into the 21st -- died Monday in. London at the age of 86 of pneumonia.

In the New York Times obit, it noted that Hall "created the Royal Shakespeare Company at the age of 29, oversaw the National Theater’s move to the south bank of the Thames and exerted a commanding influence on theater in the English-speaking world for well over 50 years."

I first interviewed Hall in Bath, England in 2003 (where I took this picture) and again at the Algonquin over drinks with Lynn Redgrave several years after when he was directing her in a tour of "The Importance of Being Earnest."

From my Variety review of the touring production of "As You Like It" which played the Shubert Theatre in New Haven in 2003 which starred his daughter Rebecca Hall.

"Forget Dr. Phil. For entertainment full of perspective, humor and humanity, look to Rebecca Hall’s wise and wonderful Rosalind in Peter Hall’s Theater Royal, Bath, production of Shakespeare’s “As You Like It,” receiving its U.S. bow in Connecticut before continuing on to Boston and Columbus, Ohio. Audiences also will be smitten by a first-rate cast in a beautifully acted, traditionally conceived production that’s long on integrity, if short on production values. Although Shakespeare’s most sublime and big-hearted comedy ends in a quadruple marriage ceremony, getting to that rapturous moment is not always easy. Many a production has been foiled by a heavy hand or a superficial polish, or by a boring Rosalind or a bland Orlando. Hall and company play it by the book, combining immense respect for the spoken word with sincere depth of feeling."

He was a terrific interview but the time we had at the Algonquin with Ms. Redgrave -- and the stories they told! -- will be one of my favorite theater memories. Now if I could only find those two interviews....