Michael Price Named To Theater Hall of Fame

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Michael Price, longtime executive director of Goodspeed Musical, has been named to the Theater Hall of Fame, along with seven other leading theater figures.

The others include actors André De Shields, Donna McKechnie, Ann Reinking, designer Natasha Katz, director Marshall Mason, and critic Michael Feingold, and librettist Thomas Meehan.

The 2019 Theater Hall of Fame ceremony will be held on Nov. 18 at the Gershwin Theatre, by invite only.

Founded in 1971 by James M. Nederlander, Earl Blackwell and Gerard Oestriecher, the Theater Hall of Fame's primary mission is to annually honor lifetime achievement in the American theatre. To be considered for the ballot, the theatre professional must have 25 years on Broadway and five major production credits or be an Off-Broadway or regional theatre founder or pioneer. The voters are United States theatre critics and drama editors.

A Yale School of Drama grad, Price, 81, was there for Goodspeed's first season when the renovated 1876, six-story, wooden Victorian-era building on the banks of the Connecticut River reopened as a theater in 1963. He was dismissed after a year by the theater's first executive director Albert Selden ("Everybody thought it would be best that I left," he says now) and exited East Haddam for gigs on Broadway and beyond.

But the theater struggled in its first years and he returned in 1968 when it was on the brink of closing, and he has been in charge ever since.

As its artistic and business leader, he has shaped the theater's programming, grew its endowment (propelled by its mega-=hot “Annie” that went to Broadway) , extended its performance weeks from eight to 35, increased its subscription basetop by 16,000, and built the sprawling theater campus in two towns that includes rehearsal hall, scenic and costume shops, a library, artist housing, a winter theater festival, a grand waterfront restaurant and a second theater — now celebrating its 35th anniversary.

Price was succeeded at Goodspeed in 2014 by Michael Gennaro, now 69.

Info: theaterhalloffame.org