The Broadway community will mark the passing of producer Elliot Martin, who died May 21 at home in Connecticut at 93, by dimming the marquees of Broadway theaters tomorrow for one minute at 7:45 PM.
Elegant, charming and unfailingly gracious, Martin was a producer of the old school whose career spanned more than seven decades and included historic productions of such plays as Eugene O’Neill’s A Moon For The Misbegotten, August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come And Gone and David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross. Nominated nine times for the Tony Award, he was awarded a special Tony in 1974.
Born in Denver, Martin made his theater debut in the London cast of Oklahoma! in 1947. During that production, he met Marjorie Cuesta Austin, to whom he would be married for 65 years until her death in 2014. His single appearance on Broadway as a performer came in Texas Li’L Darlin’ in 1949. Martin went to work for Theatre Guild producer Lawrence Langner at the Westport Country Playhouse. He was production stage manager on the original Broadway mounting of O’Neill’s posthumously produced Long Day’s Journey Into Night, starring Florence Eldridge, Fredric March and Jason Robards, and directed by José Quintero. Martin went on to be a preeminent producer of O’Neill’s works, often working with Quintero and Robards.
In a tradition all but extinct today, Martin pursued his career as an independent producer. In 1967, Dorothy Chandler hired him as the first director of the Center Theatre Group at the Los Angeles Music Center, managing the Ahmanson and Mark Taper Forum theaters. He returned to New York to produce A Moon For The Misbegotten in a legendary production staged by Quintero and starring Robards, Colleen Dewhurst and Ed Flanders at the Morosco Theatre, one of the houses later bulldozed to make way for the Marriott Marquis hotel. Martin would produce two more revivals of the play as well.
Indeed, Martin’s association with the works of O’Neill marked him through his final production, a London revival of Long Day’s Journey Into Night that starred David Suchet and Laurie Metcalf (who is currently starring on Broadway in A Doll’s House, Part 2).
He is survived by his sister, Lois Dunbar; his son Richard Martin and daughter Linda Martin Giannini; three grandsons; and a great granddaughter. A memorial service will be held at Marble Collegiate Church on June 26 at 3 PM.