Arthur Storch

Director, Performer

Male

Born: June 29, 1925
Brooklyn, New York

Died: March 5, 2013

Obituary: Arthur Storch, the founding producing artistic director of Syracuse Stage and former chair of Syracuse University’s department of drama, has died. He was 87.

The Brooklyn-born Mr. Storch came to Syracuse Stage in 1974 after a long year career as a Broadway performer and director. He made his Broadway debut in 1953 as an actor, performing in End As a Man, Calder Willingham's stage adaptation of his own military-set novel. (He later appeared in the film version, "The Strange One.") He went on to take roles in Time Limit!, Girls of Summer, the hit Thomas Wolfe adaptation Look Homeward, Angel, The Night Circus, The Long Dream and Gore Vidal's The Best Man, in which he stepped into the part of brash presidential hopeful Joseph Cantwell.

In the early '60s, Mr. Storch switched gears, cutting his teeth as a director, staging Off-Broadway productions of plays by William Saroyan, Murray Schisgal and Elaine May, including Schisgal's 1963 The Typists and the Tiger, which starred Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson and won numerous awards.

He returned to Broadway as the director of the hit 1964 romantic comedy The Owl and the Pussycat, produced by Philip Rose, starring Alan Alda and Diana Sands. It was a success. He followed this up with a second hit, the Alan King domestic comedy The Impossible Years, which ran for nearly two years. Mr. Storch had less luck with his next effort, The Best Laid Plans, which closed in three performances in 1966; or Under the Weather the same year, shuttering in 12 performances.

After a string of flops—The Chinese and Dr. Fish, Golden Rainbow, Promenade, All!, The Enemy Is Dead, 42 Seconds from Broadway—Mr. Storch enjoyed a nominal hit with Bernard Slade's Tribute, which starred Jack Lemmon and ran half a year in 1978.

As the producing artistic director for Syracuse Stage, Mr. Storch directed 30 plays ranging from Shakespeare to Beckett and supervised the productions of more than 100 others—everything from Shaw and Shakespeare to Shepard and Beckett. He directed the world premieres of Olwen Wymark’s Loved, Arnold Wesker’s Love Letters on Blue Paper, Roma Greth’s A Quality of Mercy and William Gibson’s The Butterfingers Angel. He also directed Cyrano de Bergerac starring John Cullum, which later went on national tour; and Twice Around the Park starring Eli Wallach and Anne Jackson, which transferred to Broadway in 1982.

In 1980, he spearheaded the renovation of Syracuse Stage’s 500-seat Archbold Theatre. As a professional artist and educator, he was integral in creating the unique relationship between Syracuse Stage and SU Drama. He left Syracuse in 1992 with the Mayor’s Achievement Award. The Arthur Storch Theatre in the Syracuse Stage/SU Drama complex was named in his honor.

In addition to serving almost 20 years as producing artistic director of Syracuse Stage, he served three years as artistic director of the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

Mr. Storch's best-known film credit was as the psychiatrist in the 1973 film "The Exorcist."

At the time of his retirement in 1991, Mr. Storch said, "I think what I am most proud of, as far as Syracuse Stage is concerned, is that we created a standard of quality that does not cater to the lowest common denominator. The bottom line has always been: This is the best play and these are the best people, not this play will sell the most tickets."

He ended his career at Syracuse by returning to his first love, acting in a production of A.R. Gurney's Love Letters. The director was a close colleague: himself.

 

Roles

Playbill Cover - Twice Around the Park Twice Around the Park
Nov. 4, 1982 - Feb. 20, 1983
Director
(Original)
 
    Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Tribute Tribute
Jun. 1, 1978 - Dec. 2, 1978
Director
(Original)
 
42 Seconds from Broadway
Mar. 11, 1973 - Mar. 11, 1973
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Enemy Is Dead The Enemy Is Dead
Jan. 14, 1973 - Jan. 14, 1973
Emmett Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Promenade, All! Promenade, All!
Apr. 16, 1972 - May 27, 1972
Director
(Original)
Who's Who
The Chinese and Dr. Fish
Mar. 10, 1970 - Mar. 21, 1970
Director
(Original)
Who's Who
    Director
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Golden Rainbow Golden Rainbow
Feb. 4, 1968 - Jan. 11, 1969
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Under the Weather Under the Weather
Oct. 27, 1966 - Nov. 5, 1966
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Best Laid Plans The Best Laid Plans
Mar. 25, 1966 - Mar. 26, 1966
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Impossible Years The Impossible Years
Oct. 13, 1965 - May 27, 1967
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Owl and the Pussycat The Owl and the Pussycat
Nov. 18, 1964 - Nov. 27, 1965
Director
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Best Man The Best Man
Mar. 31, 1960 - Jul. 8, 1961
Bill Blades Understudy
(Replacement)
 
    Joseph Cantwell Understudy
(Replacement)
 
The Long Dream
Feb. 17, 1960 - Feb. 20, 1960
Mr. McWilliams Performer
(Original)
 
The Night Circus
Dec. 2, 1958 - Dec. 6, 1958
Businessman Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Look Homeward, Angel Look Homeward, Angel
Nov. 28, 1957 - Apr. 4, 1959
Luke Gant Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Girls of Summer Girls of Summer
Nov. 19, 1956 - Jan. 5, 1957
Gene Mitchell Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Time Limit! Time Limit!
Jan. 24, 1956 - May 12, 1956
1st Lt. Mike Livingston Performer
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - End as a Man End as a Man
Oct. 14, 1953 - Jan. 16, 1954
Maurice Maynall Simmons Performer
(Original)
 
 

Inside the Playbill (2)

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