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Booth, John E. 1919-2008 (John Erlanger Booth)

Booth, John E. 1919-2008 (John Erlanger Booth)


See index for CA sketch: Born August 23, 1919, in New York (some sources cite Dobbs Ferry), NY; died September 10, 2008, in Rowe, NM. Nonprofit executive, journalist, and author. Booth joined the New York Times as a messenger in the 1930s and eventually began to write travel stories and theater articles for the paper. He spent several years as a journalist, both in the United States and abroad, until 1977, when he became the first chair of the new, nonprofit Theatre Development Fund. Under Booth's direction, the fund promoted stage events in New York City for decades, primarily through the "TKTS" booths that have sold millions of discount tickets to local plays and dance productions. The discount tickets made the theater experience accessible to a wide range of potential audience members, and they also supported the productions themselves by increasing attendance and boosting revenue. Booth also promoted the New York theater world through his writings, including an edited collection, Actors Talk about Acting: Fourteen Interviews with Stars of the Theatre (1961). In another book, The Critic, Power, and the Performing Arts (1991), he explored the role of the drama critic as a quasi-talent scout and overall promoter of the stage arts. Booth spent most of his career as an integral part of the New York theater scene, but he also worked for several years as an associate director of the public policy research group known as the Twentieth Century Fund (renamed the Century Foundation). In retirement, he taught writing classes to prison inmates, initially at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in Ossining, New York, then after his move to New Mexico in 2002, at a Santa Fe facility.



New York Times, September, 17, 2008, p. A25.

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