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Adagio Teas
   Features  >  LATEST NEW YORK NEWS

JAY HARNICK 1928-2007

By Devid Lefkowitz

Jay Harnick, founder of Theatreworks/USA, brother of lyricist Sheldon Harnick and husband of actress Barbara Barrie, has died at age 78.

The Chicago-born Harnick and another producer, Charles Hull, co-founded Theatreworks/USA in 1961, after Harnick decided to bring his staging of The Young Abe Lincoln to local schools. During his nearly 40 years at Theatreworks' helm, Harnick oversaw productions of more than one hundred plays and musicals, with alumni that included Jerry Zaks, Lynn Ahrens and Steven Flaherty, Gabriel Barre, Judy Kuhn and F. Murray Abraham.

Currently headed by artistic director Barbara Pasternack and managing director Ken Arthur, Theatreworks/USA continues to create productions for young audiences, both in schools and at more traditional venues, including the current "Family Series" at off-Broadway's Lucille Lortel Theater (where their world premiere of Anne of Green Gables will run March 23-May 5). Hull and Harnick were awarded the Actors Fund Medal of Honor in 2000.

Harnick's own Broadway credits are relatively few and included a replacement stint in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, and two revues: John Murray Anderson's Almanac and Phoenix `55.

UPI reports that Harnick died in a nursing home, Feb. 27, after a long illness. His brother, Sheldon, co-wrote Fiorello, She Loves Me, The Apple Tree and Fiddler on the Roof with Jerry Bock. His wife, Barbara Barrie, is best known for playing Hal Linden's wife on TV's "Barney Miller." She also received a Tony nomination for playing Sarah in the original Company.

On its website, Theatreworks/USA posted this message: "The Board of Directors, Founders' Circle, staff as well as the thousands of theater artists nurtured by Theatreworks/USA mourn the passing of our Founding Artistic Director, Jay Harnick. We offer our most heartfelt condolences to Jay's family."


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