Marshall W. Mason (b. 1940)

Marshall W. Mason (born February 24, 1940) is an American theater director, the founder and for eighteen years, artistic director of the Circle Repertory Company in New York City.

Born in Amarillo, Texas, Mason graduated from Northwestern University, where he directed Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the age of 19. He relocated to Manhattan, where he began working in the off-off-Broadway theater scene in such venues as Caffe Cino, the La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, and Judson Poets Theatre. He made his off-Broadway debut in 1964 with a revival of the Henrik Ibsen play Little Eyolf. The following year he directed Balm in Gilead, his first collaboration with playwright Lanford Wilson. Since then he has directed more than sixty productions of Wilson's plays, which Playbill has identified as the longest collaboration between a playwright and director in the history of the American theater. Among these are The Hot l Baltimore, for which he won his first Obie Award for Distinguished Direction, Fifth of July, Talley's Folly, and Burn This.

Mason has directed twelve productions on Broadway and has been nominated for the Tony Award for Best Direction of a Play five times, and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Director of a Play twice. His first Broadway production was the 1976 play Knock Knock by Jules Feiffer, for which he received his first Tony nomination. Additional Broadway credits include Gemini, Fifth of July, Talley's Folly, Angels Fall, As Is, Burn This, The Seagull, and Redwood Curtain. Off-Broadway he was awarded five Obies for Outstanding Direction and a sixth Obie Award for Sustained Achievement. Memorable off-Broadway productions he directed include The Sea Horse, Talley & Son, Sunshine, Serenading Louie, Childe Byron, The Destiny of Me, and the New York premiere of Tennessee Willams' Battle of Angels. He is the recipient of the 1979 Theatre World Award, and the 1977 Margo Jones Award for his work with the Circle Repertory Company, and a 1999 "Mr. Abbott Special Millennium Award" as one of the most innovative and influential directors of the twentieth century.

He has worked widely in regional theaters, including the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, the Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, Arena Stage and Ford's Theater in Washington, D.C., the McCarter Theater in Princeton, the Hartford Stage Company, the Pittsburgh Public Theater, the Repertory Theater of St. Louis, the Cincinnati Playhouse, and the Milwaukee Rep. For one season (1988), he was Guest Artistic Director for the Ahmanson Theater of the Los Angeles Center Theater Group. In addition, he directed three productions in London and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? at the National Theatre of Japan in Tokyo. For television, he directed Picnic, The Mound Builders, Kennedy's Children, and Fifth of July.

Mason is Professor Emeritus of Theater at Arizona State University, where he taught for ten years, and was honored with ASU’s 2001 Creative Activity Award. He is the author of the 2007 book Creating Life On Stage: A Director's Approach to Working with Actors. He divides his time between his homes in Mazatlán and Manhattan. On 25 July 2011, the first Monday after New York State enacted its marriage equality law, Mason married his long-time companion and fellow theater artist, Daniel Irvine.

Production Staff

Date Play Venue Role
Nov 29, 1992 The Seagull Lyceum Theatre Director
May 1, 1985 As Is Lyceum Theatre Director
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