Partner John Bernard Myers

Queer Places:
1484 Inwood Ave, Bronx, NY 10452
30 Buchanan Pl, Bronx, NY 10453
74 Hickory Grove Dr W, Larchmont, NY 10538
37 W 56th St, New York, NY 10019
59 E 79th St, New York, NY 10075

Herbert Alan Machiz (January 14, 1919 - August 27, 1976) was a theatrical director who had staged more than 300 plays, including several premieres of works by Tennessee Williams. During more than 35 years in the theater, Machiz directed plays and musicals by such other authors as Kurt Weill, Langston Hughes, Yukio Mishima and Jane Bowles, and worked with such varied theatrical personalities as Orson Welles, Jean Cocteau, Louis Jouvet, Jean ‐ Louis Barrault, Tallulah Bankhead, Lotte Lenya, Helen Hayes, Dame Judith Anderson, Hazel Scott, James Earl Jones, Siobhan McKenna and Eric Portman. He had a long professional relationship with Williams, for whom he directed the critically acclaimed first production of “Suddenly Last Summer,” in 1958. He also directed Stop Here Any More, at the Spoleto Festival of Two Worlds, a production subsequently brought to Broadway by Roger Stevens, the producer. Other Williams premieres staged by Machiz were “Speak to Me Softly Like the Rain,” “Something Unspoken” and “In the Bar of a Tokyo Hotel.”  An ebullient, outspoken man who liked to regale his friends with anecdotes and mimicry of the theater people with whom he had been associated, Machiz reveled in the fact that he was the only man who had directed Bankhead twice—in the City Center's revival of “A Streetcar Named Desire” and in “Eugenia,” a Broadway version of Henry James's “The Europeans.” At his death he was working on a theater memoir tentatively entitled “Two With Tallu.”

Born in New York City, where he attended City College, Machiz received his early theatrical training in Erwin Piscator's Dramatic Work shop at the New School in the late 1930's and Tamara Daykharhanova, of the Moscow Art Theater, who was teaching in New York. He attended Washington and Lee University New York University and the American Theatre Wing.

After serving in the Army Air Corps World War II, Machiz was awarded the first Fulbright Fellowship in drama, to study in France. In Paris he organized the American Theater, which produced American plays in English. His productions, done in the round for the first time, were seen by Orson Welles, who hired him as assistant director for a Welles production of “The Blessed and the Damned,” a new version of the Faust legend.

In Paris Machiz also served as a production assistant to Jean Cocteau for his film “Beauty and the Beast,” and in the same capacity with Louis Jouvet Productions and the theater of Jean‐Louis Barrault. During his stay in Europe he directed, by invitation of the United States Army, Kurt Weill's “Down in the Valley” for the Vienna State Opera.

Returning to New York in 1952, Machiz attended classes at the Actors Studio for several months, but left because his European training had oriented him more toward a classical objective form of theatrical expression and away from the naturalism then in vogue in New York.

Shortly after his return, he met Williams, who gave him permission to direct the first revival of “The Glass Menagerie” in 1952 and worked closely with him on it.

In 1956, Machiz again directed “Down In the Valley,” in New York for the Church of the Heavenly Rest. The production resulted in his meeting with Weill's widow, the singer Lotte Lenya, who invited him to direct Weill's comic opera, “The Tsar Has His Photograph Taken,” at the Provincetown Playhouse in 1957. The production led to a later invitation to mount Weill's version of “Street Scene,” the Elmer Rice play, for the New York City Opera Company in the late 1950's.

In 1961 and 1962 Machiz received two Rockefeller Foundation grants to lecture and direct in South America.

Machiz felt his most important contribution to American theater was his Off Broadway unit, the Artists Theater, whose producer was his partner John Bernard Myers, the contemporary art dealer. The aim was to unite poets, painters and composers in collaboration.

Machiz staged works by James Merrill, Frank O'Hara, John Ashbery, Kenneth Koch, James Schuyler, Barbara Guest and Yukio Mishima, with the collaboration of such composers as Ned Rorem and Paul Bowles, and with decors designed by Larry Rivers, Elaine de Kooning, Grace Hartigan, Alex Katz, Alfred Leslie, Jane Freiticher, Jane Eakin, Kendall Shaw and Julian Beck.

Machiz died on August 27, 1976, of a heart attack at his summer home in Brewster, N.Y. He was 57 years old. At his death Mr. Machiz was on the faculty of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Machiz, who also lived at 59 East 79th Street, was survived by John Bernard Myers.

Letters to Herbert Machiz are located at the Columbia University Rare Books and Manuscipt Library. The correspondence includes items from well-known actors and authors, such as Truman Capote, Tennessee Williams, Yukio Mishima, Julie Harris, Paul Bowles, and Gian Carlo Menotti. The collection also includes newspaper articles on Mishima collected by Machiz, and an obituary of Machiz.

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