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Edward Parone, a director and writer for the theater who in the 1960s in New York served as a mentor to such playwrights as Edward Albee and LeRoi Jones (Amiri Baraka), died Jan. 24 of cancer at his home in Nambe, N.M. He was 90.
His family announced the news through the Center Theatre Group of Los Angeles.
During what was one of the most fertile periods in American theater, Parone served as an artistic member of New York’s legendary Albee-Barr-Wilder Playwrights Unit, a company devoted exclusively to the development and production of new American plays.
Parone directed the world premiere of Jones’ signature play Dutchman in 1964 and went on to nurture such playwrights as Sam Shepard, Lanford Wilson and John Guare.
Parone directed numerous plays at L.A.’s Mark Taper Forum, ranging from the world premiere of John Guare’s Muzeeka in 1968 to Tom Stoppard’s Travesties to the American premiere of Pam Gems’ Dusa, Fish, Stas and Vi and a re-creation of his early days in New York with 50/60 Vision — Plays and Playwrights That Changed the Theatre. That featured works of Albee, Shepard, Jones/Baraka, Samuel Beckett, Jean Genet, Eugene Ionesco and Harold Pinter, among others.
In 1967, Parone joined Gordon Davidson, artistic director of the newly opened Taper, to inaugurate its first new play development program, called New Theatre For Now. In 1976, NTFN was awarded the Margo Jones Award in recognition of a “commitment to the encouragement of the living theater everywhere.”
A native of Hartford, Conn., Parone served in the U.S. Navy during World War II and graduated from Trinity College in Hartford.
Parone served as an assistant to the producer on Clark Gable’s and Marilyn Monroe’s final film, The Misfits (1961), and directed for such TV series as Family and Knots Landing. On Broadway, he directed Dozens in 1969, starring Morgan Freeman.
His poetry was published in The New Yorker, and he wrote/edited two books, New Theatre in America, published in 1965, and 1968’s Collision Course. He lived in New Mexico for 30 years.
The family asks that donations be made to the Black Mesa Kennels, 32 Private Drive 1156, Espanola, NM 87532: email@example.com.
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