Mike Nicols will received the ultimate honor on Broadway. New York City’s famed theater district will dim its storied lights on Friday Nov. 21, to salute his remarkable stage career as an actor and Tony Award winning director and producer.
Nichols died suddenly yesterday (Nov. 19) evening at the age of 83. Celebrity tributes have been pouring in on Twitter
“Funniest, smartest, most generous, wisest, kindest of all. Mike Nichols, a truly good man,” wrote actress Mia Farrow.
Whoopi Goldberg broke down and sobbed on “The View” today (Nov. 20), when Nichol’s death was mentioned. Nicols gave Goldberg her start in show business and directed her one-woman show on Broadway.
Theater was Nicols’ first love and he staged some of Broadway’s biggest hits, including Barefoot In The Park, Spamalot, The Odd Couple and Plaza Suite.
Mike Nichols’ Prolific Stage Career Barefoot in the Park (1963)
The Odd Couple (1965)
The Apple Tree (1966)
The Little Foxes (1967)
Plaza Suite (1968)
The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1971)
Uncle Vanya (1973)
Billy Bishop Goes to War (1980)
The Real Thing (1984)
Whoopi Goldberg (1984)
Social Security (1986)
Death and the Maiden (1992)
The Seagull (2001)
The Country Girl (2008)
Death of a Salesman (2012)
Nichols’ first experience with Broadway was as an actor. He and his comedy partner Elaine May, whom he met at the University of Chicago, appeared in the Broadway show An Evening With Mike Nichols and Elaine May.
Arthur Penn directed and Chicago pianist Marty Rubenstein accompanied them. The LP album based on the show won the Grammy for Best Comedy Album in 1962. The released three more comedy records together.
They broke up their act a year later and Nichols turned his attention to stage direction. He moved to Vancouver in Canada to direct The Importance of Being Earnest and acted in a revival of George Bernard Shaw’s St. Joan.
In 1963, Neil Simon tapped him to direct Barefoot In The Park and the experience convinced him that directing would be his career focus. Nichols won his first Tony Award for directing and the show ran for more than 1,500 performances.
His next stage opportunity came a year later when he directed Luv, a Murray Schisgal play, Off-Broadway. He won his second Tony and directed another Simon play The Odd Couple in 1965, which yielded yet another Tony.
In all, Nichols won six Best Director Tonys for plays and musicals and one Tony each for Best Play and Best Musical. He also won for producing for Annie (1977) and The Real Thing (1984) through his company, Icarus Productions.
With a solid track record in Theater, he was asked by Warner Bros. in 1966 to direct a screen adaptation of Edward Albee’s play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton starred and the film won five Academy Awards.
Nichols went on to become one of a few people to win an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony. His six Tonys for Direction is still unsurpassed.
“Legendary director Mike Nichols shared his distinct genius for storytelling through the worlds of stage and film,” said Broadway League Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin.
“He won over audiences with his passion for art. His notable presence in our industry will be deeply missed. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans.”
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