Roger L. Stevens

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Roger Stevens

Roger Lacey Stevens (March 12, 1910 – February 2, 1998) was an American theatrical producer, arts administrator, and a real estate executive. He is the founding Chairman of both the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (1961), and National Endowment for the Arts (1965).

Born in Detroit, Michigan, Stevens was educated at The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) in Wallingford, Connecticut and at the University of Michigan. He produced more than 100 plays and musicals over his career, including West Side Story, Bus Stop, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In 1971, he received Special Tony Award for his body of work.

Stevens was the General Administrator of the Actors Studio as well as one of the producers of the Playwrights Company, a member of the board of the American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA), and one of the members of a Broadway producing company he founded in 1953 with Robert Whitehead, and Robert Dowling. In 1961, he was asked by President John F. Kennedy to help establish a Natural Cultural Center, and became Chairman of Board of Trustees of what was eventually named the Kennedy Center from 1961 to 1988.

In 1965, he received an appointment from President Lyndon Johnson as first Chairman of the National Council on the Arts later named the National Endowment for the Arts.

Stevens was married to Christine Gesell Stevens, founder of the Animal Welfare Institute in 1951. He served as the organization's treasurer until his death in 1998.

In 1986, Stevens was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame.[1]

On January 13, 1988, Stevens was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan. In 1988, he was also awarded the National Medal of Arts.

Stage productions


  • J.P. Shanley (21 July 1953). "New Drama Group Has Million Stock". The New York Times. p. 18. Retrieved 2008-05-24.[dead link]
  • National Endowment for the Arts (2000). The National Endowment for the Arts 1965-2000: A Brief Chronology of Federal Support for the Arts. Washington, DC: National Endowment for the Arts. OCLC 52401250. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  • Staff writers (2008). "Biography of Roger L. Stevens". Kennedy Center. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  • Eric Pace (4 February 1998). "Roger L. Stevens, Real Estate Magnate, Producer and Fund-Raiser, Is Dead at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-05-24.
  • The American Presidency Project
  • Lifetime Honors - National Medal of Arts
  1. ^ "9 Stage Veterans Enter Theater Hall of Fame". New York Times. April 22, 1986.

External links