Gerald Schoenfeld

Performer
Gerald Schoenfeld

Also known as: Gerry Schoenfeld

Male

Member of
The Shubert Organization (Jun. 30, 1972-Jan. 1, 1973)
The Shubert Organization (Dec. 31, 1973-Nov. 25, 2008)

Born: September 22, 1924
New York, New York, USA

Died: November 25, 2008
Manhattan, New York

Gerald Schoenfeld, the longtime Chairman of the theatre-owning powerhouse known as the Shubert Organization and a man routinely referred to as the most powerful man on Broadway, died suddenly Nov. 25, 2008, at his home in Manhattan. He was born in 1924 and was 84 years old. The Shubert Organization is the owner and caretaker of 17 Broadway theatres. It is the proprietor of more houses than any other company in the theatre. Along with his late partner, Bernard Jacobs, who died in 1996, Mr. Schoenfeld ruled over this real-estate empire, as well as the adjoining Shubert Foundation. If you were a producer and regularly presented on Broadway, you had no choice but to do business with Jerry and Bernie. So closely were the two men associated with the organization that they were regularly referred to as "The Shuberts," even though they were no blood relations to the family of three brothers who first founded the dynasty.

Obituary: Mr. Schoenfeld was a familiar sight at every Broadway opening, standing in the aisle endlessly greeting theatre colleagues with a solemnity and magnanimity that more than a few compared jokingly to the Pope handing out dispensations. With a mild, courtly manner, he was known to relish the theatre business, as well as his exalted place in its hierarchy.

The Shuberts functioned in a warren of rococo offices at the top of the Shubert Theatre, at the corner of 44th Street and Shubert Alley (a thoroughfare that the organization actually owned). Access was only by a small, doorman-guarded private elevator. The outfit operated without a press agent or public relations department. Mr. Schoenfeld occasionally granted interviews, offering overviews on the state of the theatre, but rarely revealed too much. Even as Mr. Schoenfeld grew older, topics such as a line of succession were rarely, if ever, discussed. Philip J. Smith currently serves as President of the Shubert Organization.

The current marquee at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre.
photo by Matthew Blank
In 2004 the Shubert-owned Plymouth Theatre on 44th Street was named after Mr. Schoenfeld.

Mr. Schoenfeld, a lawyer by trade, was brought into the Shubert fold in 1950. When Mr. Jacobs was drafted by Mr. Schoenfeld in 1958—Jacobs was a high school friend of Mr. Schoenfeld's brother—it was run by J.J. Shubert. The Shubert brother died in 1963; his will turned over the bulk of his estate, including the theatres, to the Shubert Foundation. At the time, the foundation was a little-known arm of the theatre company. In the years to come Mr. Jacobs and Mr. Schoenfeld emerged as the new leaders.

The theatre was suffering through hard times during New York's economic crisis in the 1970s, and many credit Mr. Schoenfeld and Mr. Jacobs with turning the situation around. The men helped to right the then-foundering organization, not only acting as efficient landlords, but influencing the influx of product by investing money in new plays and acting as producers.

Over the years, Mr. Schoenfeld backed such productions as A Chorus Line, Sly Fox, The Gin Game, Dancin', Children of a Lesser God, Division Street, Amadeus, The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, Dreamgirls, Cats, 'night Mother, Sunday in the Park With George, As Is, Big Deal, Lend Me a Tenor, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, A Few Good Men, Spamalot, Dirty Blonde and Amour. (This last was a particular sentimental favorite of Mr. Schoenfeld's.) The producers were particularly close with Bob Fosse and Michael Bennett and helped foster their projects. In recent years, the Shuberts' producing activities lessened.

Tony Award-winning Shubert productions include Ain't Misbehavin', Children of a Lesser God, Amadeus, Nicholas Nickelby, Cats, The Real Thing, The Heidi Chronicles, Jerome Robbins' Broadway, The Grapes of Wrath, City of Angels and Passion.

An unusual tax ruling in 1979 gave the Shubert Foundation an exemption to Federal tax laws that declare that private charities generally cannot own a controlling stake in a profit-making business. The ruling, for which Mr. Schoenfeld was largely responsible, allowed the Shubert Foundation to retain its theatre buildings while simultaneously awarding large grants of money to numerous theatre organizations over the years.

Over the years, Mr. Schoenfeld oversaw the refurbishing of many of the Shubert Theatres, which included the Ambassador, the Ethel Barrymore, the Belasco, the Booth, the Broadhurst, the Broadway, the Cort, the John Golden Theatre, the Imperial, the Jacobs, the Longacre, The Lyceum, the Majestic, the Music Box, the Schoenfeld Theatre, the Shubert and the Winter Garden. The Shuberts also own an Off-Broadway theatre, the Little Shubert, which was built during Mr. Schoenfeld's tenure. "I'm proud to be able to sustain these old theatres, renovate them and adapt them so they function in today's world," he told Playbill.com in 2002.

Gerald Schoenfeld was born Sept. 22, 1924, in New York City, the son of a manufacturer of fur coats. He graduated from the University of Illinois and served in the Army in World War II. His father suggested his son go to law school: He did, attending NYU. His association with the Shuberts came almost immediately; after graduating, he joined a firm that named the organization as one of its clients.

"Over a period of about seven years, people in the law firm grew older, one died, another went off on his own and I ended up being the only one left," the Times quotes Mr. Schoenfeld as saying. "So J.J. Shubert asked me, as he put it, if I wanted to 'take care of our affairs.' I said 'Yes.' I was 32."

Mr. Schoenfeld is survived by his wife of 58 years, Pat; a brother, Irving; a daughter, Carrie Schoenfeld-Guglielmi, and two grandchildren.

A private funeral will be held per the family's request, and a memorial service will be announced at a later time.

 

Roles

Playbill Cover - Equus Equus
Sep. 25, 2008 - Feb. 8, 2009
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Thurgood Thurgood
Apr. 30, 2008 - Aug. 17, 2008
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Country Girl The Country Girl
Apr. 27, 2008 - Jul. 20, 2008
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Passing Strange Passing Strange
Feb. 28, 2008 - Jul. 20, 2008
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Deuce Deuce
May 6, 2007 - Aug. 19, 2007
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Coram Boy Coram Boy
May 2, 2007 - May 27, 2007
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Inherit the Wind Inherit the Wind
Apr. 12, 2007 - Jul. 8, 2007
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Year of Magical Thinking The Year of Magical Thinking
Mar. 29, 2007 - Aug. 25, 2007
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Vertical Hour The Vertical Hour
Nov. 30, 2006 - Mar. 11, 2007
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Faith Healer Faith Healer
May 4, 2006 - Aug. 13, 2006
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Three Days of Rain Three Days of Rain
Apr. 19, 2006 - Jun. 18, 2006
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Spamalot Spamalot
Mar. 17, 2005 - Jan. 11, 2009
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Little Shop of Horrors Little Shop of Horrors
Oct. 2, 2003 - Aug. 22, 2004
Original Producer at the Orpheum Theatre, NYC
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Vincent in Brixton Vincent in Brixton
Mar. 6, 2003 - May 4, 2003
By Arrangement with
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Amour Amour
Oct. 20, 2002 - Nov. 3, 2002
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Dance of Death Dance of Death
Oct. 11, 2001 - Jan. 13, 2002
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Dirty Blonde Dirty Blonde
May 1, 2000 - Mar. 4, 2001
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
    The Shubert Organization Chairman
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Ride Down Mt. Morgan The Ride Down Mt. Morgan
Apr. 9, 2000 - Jul. 23, 2000
Chariman, The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
    Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Amy's View Amy's View
Apr. 15, 1999 - Jul. 18, 1999
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Closer Closer
Mar. 25, 1999 - Aug. 22, 1999
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Blue Room The Blue Room
Dec. 13, 1998 - Feb. 25, 1999
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Judas Kiss The Judas Kiss
Apr. 29, 1998 - Aug. 2, 1998
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Skylight Skylight
Sep. 19, 1996 - Dec. 29, 1996
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Tempest The Tempest
Nov. 1, 1995 - Dec. 31, 1995
By Special Arrangement with
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Indiscretions Indiscretions
Apr. 27, 1995 - Nov. 4, 1995
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Passion Passion
May 9, 1994 - Jan. 7, 1995
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - An Inspector Calls An Inspector Calls
Apr. 27, 1994 - May 28, 1995
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
Nov. 10, 1993 - May 29, 1994
Co-Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Wonderful Tennessee Wonderful Tennessee
Oct. 24, 1993 - Oct. 31, 1993
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Someone Who'll Watch Over Me Someone Who'll Watch Over Me
Nov. 23, 1992 - Jun. 13, 1993
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - A Streetcar Named Desire A Streetcar Named Desire
Apr. 12, 1992 - Aug. 9, 1992
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Most Happy Fella The Most Happy Fella
Feb. 13, 1992 - Aug. 30, 1992
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Once on This Island Once on This Island
Oct. 18, 1990 - Dec. 1, 1991
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Lettice and Lovage Lettice and Lovage
Mar. 25, 1990 - Dec. 23, 1990
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Grapes of Wrath The Grapes of Wrath
Mar. 22, 1990 - Sep. 2, 1990
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Tru Tru
Dec. 14, 1989 - Sep. 1, 1990
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - City of Angels City of Angels
Dec. 11, 1989 - Jan. 19, 1992
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Circle The Circle
Nov. 20, 1989 - May 20, 1990
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Few Good Men A Few Good Men
Nov. 15, 1989 - Jan. 26, 1991
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Secret Rapture The Secret Rapture
Oct. 26, 1989 - Nov. 4, 1989
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - The Heidi Chronicles The Heidi Chronicles
Mar. 9, 1989 - Sep. 1, 1990
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Lend Me a Tenor Lend Me a Tenor
Mar. 2, 1989 - Apr. 22, 1990
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Jerome Robbins' Broadway Jerome Robbins' Broadway
Feb. 26, 1989 - Sep. 1, 1990
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Ain't Misbehavin' Ain't Misbehavin'
Aug. 15, 1988 - Jan. 15, 1989
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Chess Chess
Apr. 28, 1988 - Jun. 25, 1988
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Serious Money Serious Money
Feb. 9, 1988 - Feb. 20, 1988
Produced in Association with
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Sarafina! Sarafina!
Jan. 28, 1988 - Jul. 2, 1989
Produced in Association with
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Roza Roza
Oct. 1, 1987 - Oct. 11, 1987
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Dreamgirls Dreamgirls
Jun. 28, 1987 - Nov. 29, 1987
Original Producer on Broadway
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Les Liaisons Dangereuses Les Liaisons Dangereuses
Apr. 30, 1987 - Sep. 6, 1987
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Pygmalion Pygmalion
Apr. 26, 1987 - Aug. 2, 1987
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Barbara Cook: A Concert for the Theatre Barbara Cook: A Concert for the Theatre
Apr. 15, 1987 - Apr. 26, 1987
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Safe Sex Safe Sex
Apr. 5, 1987 - Apr. 12, 1987
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Stepping Out Stepping Out
Jan. 11, 1987 - Mar. 15, 1987
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
Aug. 24, 1986 - Oct. 12, 1986
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Long Day's Journey Into Night Long Day's Journey Into Night
Apr. 28, 1986 - Jun. 29, 1986
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Petition The Petition
Apr. 24, 1986 - Jun. 29, 1986
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Social Security Social Security
Apr. 17, 1986 - Mar. 22, 1987
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Big Deal Big Deal
Apr. 10, 1986 - Jun. 8, 1986
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Song and Dance Song and Dance
Sep. 18, 1985 - Nov. 8, 1986
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Odd Couple The Odd Couple
Jun. 11, 1985 - Feb. 23, 1986
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - As Is As Is
May 1, 1985 - Jan. 4, 1986
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - A Day in the Death of Joe Egg A Day in the Death of Joe Egg
Mar. 27, 1985 - Jun. 23, 1985
Chairman of the Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
    Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Harrigan 'n Hart Harrigan 'n Hart
Jan. 31, 1985 - Feb. 3, 1985
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Whoopi Goldberg Whoopi Goldberg
Oct. 24, 1984 - Mar. 10, 1985
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Wiz The Wiz
May 24, 1984 - Jun. 3, 1984
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Sunday in the Park with George Sunday in the Park with George
May 2, 1984 - Oct. 13, 1985
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - A Moon for the Misbegotten A Moon for the Misbegotten
May 1, 1984 - Jun. 9, 1984
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Human Comedy The Human Comedy
Apr. 5, 1984 - Apr. 15, 1984
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Glengarry Glen Ross Glengarry Glen Ross
Mar. 25, 1984 - Feb. 17, 1985
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Real Thing The Real Thing
Jan. 5, 1984 - May 12, 1985
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - All's Well That Ends Well All's Well That Ends Well
Apr. 13, 1983 - May 15, 1983
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - 'night, Mother 'night, Mother
Mar. 31, 1983 - Feb. 26, 1984
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Marcel Marceau on Broadway Marcel Marceau on Broadway
Mar. 9, 1983 - Apr. 17, 1983
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Angels Fall Angels Fall
Jan. 22, 1983 - Mar. 13, 1983
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Good Good
Oct. 13, 1982 - Jan. 30, 1983
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Cats Cats
Oct. 7, 1982 - Sep. 10, 2000
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - "Master Harold"...and the Boys.
May 4, 1982 - Feb. 26, 1983
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Dreamgirls Dreamgirls
Dec. 20, 1981 - Aug. 11, 1985
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Grown Ups Grown Ups
Dec. 10, 1981 - Feb. 20, 1982
Produced in Association with
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby
Oct. 4, 1981 - Jan. 3, 1982
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Rose Rose
Mar. 26, 1981 - May 23, 1981
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Piaf Piaf
Feb. 5, 1981 - Jun. 28, 1981
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Amadeus Amadeus
Dec. 17, 1980 - Oct. 16, 1983
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Brigadoon Brigadoon
Oct. 16, 1980 - Feb. 8, 1981
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Division Street Division Street
Oct. 8, 1980 - Oct. 25, 1980
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Children of a Lesser God Children of a Lesser God
Mar. 30, 1980 - May 16, 1982
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Last Licks Last Licks
Nov. 20, 1979 - Dec. 1, 1979
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Devour the Snow Devour the Snow
Nov. 7, 1979 - Nov. 10, 1979
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Richard III Richard III
Jun. 10, 1979 - Jul. 15, 1979
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Zoot Suit Zoot Suit
Mar. 25, 1979 - Apr. 29, 1979
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Ain't Misbehavin' Ain't Misbehavin'
May 9, 1978 - Feb. 21, 1982
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Mighty Gents The Mighty Gents
Apr. 16, 1978 - Apr. 23, 1978
Produced In Association with
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Eliot Feld Ballet
Apr. 10, 1978 - Apr. 23, 1978
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Dancin' Dancin'
Mar. 27, 1978 - Jun. 27, 1982
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Merchant The Merchant
Nov. 16, 1977 - Nov. 20, 1977
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Act The Act
Oct. 29, 1977 - Jul. 1, 1978
Presented
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Gin Game The Gin Game
Oct. 6, 1977 - Dec. 31, 1978
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Fiddler on the Roof Fiddler on the Roof
Dec. 28, 1976 - May 21, 1977
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Your Arms Too Short to Box with God Your Arms Too Short to Box with God
Dec. 22, 1976 - Jan. 1, 1978
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Sly Fox Sly Fox
Dec. 14, 1976 - Feb. 19, 1978
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - I Have a Dream I Have a Dream
Sep. 20, 1976 - Dec. 5, 1976
Produced in Association with
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
Who's Who
Playbill Cover - Godspell Godspell
Jun. 22, 1976 - Sep. 4, 1977
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - The Night That Made America Famous The Night That Made America Famous
Feb. 26, 1975 - Apr. 5, 1975
Produced in Association with
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Sherlock Holmes Sherlock Holmes
Nov. 12, 1974 - Jan. 4, 1976
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
Playbill Cover - Liza Liza
Jan. 6, 1974 - Jan. 26, 1974
Producer
The Shubert Organization
(Original)
 
 

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