Gerald Freedman

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Gerald Freedman
Born(1927-06-25)June 25, 1927
DiedMarch 17, 2020(2020-03-17) (aged 92)
MonumentsThe Gerald Freedman Theatre at UNCSA (2012)
TitleDean Emeritus, School of Drama, University of North Carolina School of the Arts
  • Barnie B. Freedman
  • Fannie (Sepsenwol) Freedman

Gerald Alan Freedman (June 25, 1927 – March 17, 2020) was an American theatre director, librettist, and lyricist, and a college dean.

Life and career[edit]

Freedman was born in Lorain, Ohio, the son of Fannie (Sepenswol), a history teacher, and Barnie B. Freedman, a dentist.[3][4] His parents were Russian Jewish immigrants.[5] He was educated at Northwestern University under Alvina Krause and others. He earned both BA and MA degrees there.[2][6] He began his career as assistant director of such projects as Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story, and Gypsy. His first credit as a Broadway director was the 1961 musical The Gay Life. Additional Broadway credits include the 1964 and 1980 revivals of West Side Story, The Incomparable Max (1971), Arthur Miller's The Creation of the World and Other Business (1972), the 1975 and 1976 productions of The Robber Bridegroom, both of which garnered him Drama Desk Award nominations as Outstanding Director of a Musical, The Grand Tour (1979) with Joel Grey, and The School for Scandal (1995) with Tony Randall. He was also the off-Broadway director of the rock musical Hair when it premiered at the Public Theater.[7]

Freedman was leading artistic director (1960–1967) and artistic director (1967–1971) of Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival, artistic director of the Great Lakes Theater Festival in Cleveland, Ohio (1985–1997), and co-artistic director of John Houseman’s The Acting Company (1974–1977). He taught at Yale School of Drama and the Juilliard School. He was Dean of the Drama School at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (1991–2012). He was the first American ever invited to direct at the Globe Theatre in London.[1] He was a member of the Kennedy Center New Play Committee and the College of Fellows of the American Theatre. He participated in the Oomoto Institute, Kameoka, Japan.[1] He died on March 17, 2020, at his home in Winston-Salem, North Carolina of kidney failure.[8][9]


  • Freedman, Gerald (1963). As you like it. LCCN 2009656639. (theater program)
  • Freedman, Gerald (1974). Au pair man. LCCN 2009656652. (theater program)
  • Freedman, Gerald (1970). Colette. LCCN 2009656970. (theater program)
  • Freedman, Gerald (1962). The gay life. LCCN 2009657393. (theater program)
  • Freedman, Gerald (1967). Hair. LCCN 2009657509. (theater program)
  • Freedman, Gerald (1974). Love's labour's lost. LCCN 2009658070. (theater program)
  • Freedman, Gerald (1976). Mrs. Warren's profession. LCCN 2009658334. (theater program)
  • Freedman, Gerald (1966). A time for singing. LCCN 2010368387. (theater program)
  • Herman, Jerry; Freedman, Gerald. Jerry Herman collection 1950–2003 (bulk 1960–1990). LCCN 2006560772. 20 linear ft. (10850 items)
  • Freedman, Gerald; Morris, John (c. 1966). Alexander H. Cohen presents A time for singing. arranged by Don Walker. Warner Bros. LCCN 94760475. HS 1639 Warner Bros. Music Sound Recording 33 1/3 12 inch LP
  • Shakespeare, William (1968). Love's labour's lost. With an essay on the direction of the play by Gerald Freedman. New York: Macmillan. LCCN 68020763.


  1. ^ a b c Whitaker, Lauren (November 19, 2012). "UNCSA Names Theatre for Gerald Freedman, Dean Emeritus of School of Drama". Winston-Salem, North Carolina: University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  2. ^ a b Freedman, Gerald (Summer 2008). "My Life in Art: A 21st Century Riff on Stanislavsky" (PDF). The Fellows Gazette. The Roger L. Stevens Address. Vol. 47. College of Fellows of the American Theatre. pp. 5–10. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-05. It started when I went to Northwestern University and fell under the guidance of Alvina Krause, a former girl's gym teacher and eurhythmics instructor who seemed to have discovered Stanislavski and his techniques by accident, by curiosity and by observing the actors of the Twenties and Thirties. I still use many of her teachings in my work both professionally and in mentoring at the North Carolina School of the Arts. They are still valid. Alvina Krause reinforced in Art what I had learned from my Jewish parents in Lorain, Ohio. An unalloyed irreducible/inflexible respect for integrity of execution in all things. I arrived at Northwestern loaded with potential in skills, a hunger to learn about everything and boundless curiosity and energy. Alvina Krause guided me through a maze of possibilities to a clearer vision of who I was meant to be.
  3. ^ Herbert, Ian (1981). Who's who in the Theatre: A Biographical Record of the Contemporary Stage. Pitman. ISBN 9780810302358.
  4. ^ "Gerald Freedman brought a lifetime of experience, from Broadway to Hollywood, to Cleveland's Great Lakes Theater". Cleveland. 22 March 2020.
  5. ^ "". Retrieved 20 November 2023.
  6. ^ "Introduction of Roger L. Stevens Speaker Gerald Freedman" (PDF). The Fellows Gazette. Vol. 47. College of Fellows of the American Theatre. Summer 2008. pp. 4–5. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2013-12-05. ...he is a protegé of Alvina Krause at Northwestern University during the golden age of that famous theatre school; he presided over the golden era of John Houseman's Acting Company at Juilliard; he was artistic director during the golden years of Joe Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival; he was instrumental in the creation of a dozen musicals during the golden age of Broadway; he was artistic director of the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford during that company's golden vintage; last year, he directed Beckett's Happy Days at an Istanbul on the Golden Horn of Turkey; and he recently staged a golden anniversary revival of West Side Story.
  7. ^ ISHERWOOD, CHARLES (September 16, 2007). "The Aging of Aquarius". New York Times. Retrieved 2013-12-05.
  8. ^ Genzlinger, Neil (2 April 2020). "Gerald Freedman, Prolific Stage Director, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved 30 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Great Lakes Theater Legend Gerald Freedman Dies at 92". 17 March 2020.

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