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The Broadway League
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CONTACT: Elisa Shevitz
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Broadway Dims Lights Oct. 28th In Memory Of Legendary Librettist Joseph Stein
October 27, 2010
The Broadway community mourns the loss of Joseph Stein, who passed away Sunday at age 98. The marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in his memory on Thursday, October 28, at exactly 8:00pm for one minute.
Paul Libin, Chairman of The Broadway League and Executive Vice President/Producing Director of Jujamcyn Theaters, said, “Joe Stein was one of the great luminaries of the Broadway theatre. A lifelong New Yorker who grew up in the Bronx, he combined humor and life experience to write memorable books for over 25 of the greatest musicals ever presented on Broadway.”
Joseph Stein was a veteran musical librettist who penned the books to such shows as Fiddler on the Roof and Zorba . He graduated with a Masters degree in social work from Columbia University in 1937, and spent many years as a psychiatric social worker, writing comedy on the side, before making his Broadway debut in 1948.
Mr. Stein received the 1965 Tony Award ® for writing the book to Fiddler on the Roof , which also won the 1965 Tony Award ® for Best Musical. He was nominated for Take Me Along (1960), Zorba (1969) and Rags (1987).
Mr. Stein was best known for the folksy, heartfelt text for Fiddler on the Roof , which was replete with one-liners tailored to the talents of star Zero Mostel's comic style, many spoken directly to the Almighty. He also wrote the books to the shows Mr. Wonderful , Take Me Along , Juno , Irene and Plain and Fancy , and scored a solid comedy hit in 1963 with Enter Laughing which was recently revived off Broadway to great acclaim. His steadiest collaborator was Fiddler on the Roof composer Jerry Bock, but he seemed to have worked at least once with nearly every notable Broadway composer, including Charles Strouse, Sheldon Harnick, Stephen Schwartz, John Kander, Fred Ebb, Bob Merrill, Alan Jay Lerner, Burton Lane, Marc Blitzstein, Jule Styne, and Albert Hague.
Mr. Stein was inducted into The Theater Hall of Fame in January 2008. He was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008 by The Dramatists Guild of America. In 2007, he was honored by the York Theater with the Oscar Hammerstein Award for Lifetime Achievement in Musical Theatre. Other honors include a Distinguished Achievement Award from Writers and Artists for Peace in the Middle East and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009 from the Encompass New Opera Theatre.He is survived by his wife Elisa, three sons, two stepchildren, and six grandchildren.