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Celebrating the members of the League of Professional Theatre Women

Archive for the tag “Proust”

Ruth Mayleas

Ruth Mayleas, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenFoundation Arts Program Officer OR Foundation Arts Executive
New York, New York USA

I believe strongly in government and private support for the entire nonprofit sector of all the arts, and have worked in both sectors — with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Ford Foundation — to further those beliefs and convictions. In all, the grant programs I developed in both sectors, the two guiding principles were the quality of the arts being produced and attention to representation of minorities and women.

Originally, I was strongly influenced by my family, which provided me with extensive exposure to the arts and particularly the theatre.

I was present at the flowering of the Off Broadway theatre movement in New York and have remained strongly attached to the work of its pioneers and, very selectively, with exponents of experimental work. Though no play or production changed my life, I was certainly strongly influenced by productions seen in Europe during a seminal trip there in the early sixties — and later by theatre in the then Soviet Union transitioning to Russia — and still later by performing arts (theatre, dance) seen in Asia, particularly Asia and Indonesia.

No really favorite book, though I could read and re-read many 19th century novels, and Henry James, and The English Patient—and am mesmerized by the books of W.G. Sebald (there are all too few of them).

I dream of more travel, mostly to unfamiliar places, but also to Italy which will never be familiar enough. The other thing I dream of doing is finishing Proust!

Ruth Mayleas was first Director of Theatre Program, NEA: 1966-78; subsequently Director, Arts Program and International Consultant, Ford Foundation: 1982-1994. At NEA shaped national program for nonprofit theatres throughout the country. At Ford Foundation work encompassed support for all performing arts, including theatre and visual arts. Work emphasized minority arts organizations, commissioning, development of new work.

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Melba LaRose

Melba Larose, member of the League of Professional Theatre WomenArtistic & Administrative Director of NY Artists Unlimited,
Playwright-Director-Actress

New York, New York USA

A relic of the Warhol days, ex-“Queen of off-off-Broadway,” and a legend in her own mind, Melba LaRose (yes, that’s her real name) escaped to the West Coast in the ’70s in a full-length black velvet coat, hot pants, floppy hat, and ripped fishnets — the strangest thing that ever got off the bus. After shaking off the glitter, it turned out that, contrary to popular dish, she wasn’t a drag queen after all. She was accepted into Lonny Chapman’s Group Theatre, where she explored more traditional roles than those written for her in NYC by Jackie Curtis, assisted by the inimitable Candy Darling. Lulled into a lobotomy by the ocean waves and insistently repetitive sunny days, she began writing and directing plays about the underground in NY and soon was on a plane back to Gotham. Now, ensconced in the world of providing professional theatre to under-served audiences (for 30 years), she writes, directs and sometimes acts in touring productions of the nonprofit company, NY Artists Unlimited. Not completely forgetting the wild theatre history of her youth, she created the International CringeFest, an annual escapade of irreverent, naughty, politically incorrect, politically satirical plays and musicals by up & coming and already arrived playwrights.

Favorite book: Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past;
Favorite movie: Death in Venice;
Favorite line from a play: “What the fuck for, dial one?!” (Lanford Wilson’s 4th of July)
Favorite pop-culture guilty pleasure: “Family Guy”;
Life-altering play: Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf (original production);
Favorite cocktails: poured them out 40 years ago after drinking a fleet of sailors under the table (I was a child prodigy);
still dream of: getting a MacArthur Genius Grant… or going to Hinckley, Ohio, to wait for the buzzards to return;
feel most like myself when I am at the ietm International Theatre Conference in a different country every six months;
best escape: obviously, travel (Travelers Anonymous is calling);
one thing nobody knows about me: I’m shy.

These days, I spend my life contemplating existential angst over the current crisis throughout the world, but especially as it affects the arts. The meds are not working.

Melba LaRose. Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in Executives & Professionals. Formerly with the NY Street Theatre Caravan. She has been married 25 years to Brazilian sculptor Elson de Faria

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