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Schenker, Joel W.


SCHENKER, JOEL W. (1904–1985), U.S. theatrical producer and builder. Born in Manhattan, Schenker attended New York University and went into the real-estate business. But he also worked as an actor and co-wrote a play, This Our House, which folded after two performances on Broadway in 1935. He swore off the theater for years. In the construction field, he headed the Gregory-Roth-Schenker Construction Corporation and the Webb & Knapp Construction Corporation, building housing for veterans after World War ii and then high-rise apartment houses and office buildings. He became prominent as a producer or co-producer of serious theater after he and Cheryl Crawford revived Sean O'Casey's Shadow of a Gunman in a widely hailed Actors Studio production. His first commercial hit on Broadway, A Far Country (1961), was Henry Denker's drama about Sigmund Freud. He then produced Seidman and Son (1963) with Sam Levene, and, in the same year, A Case of Libel, again by Denker and inspired by the book My Life in Court by Louis *Nizer. Schenker was a mainstay of the American Shakespeare Festival, serving as a trustee and executive producer. He also raised funds and served as an officer of the Jewish Theological Seminary of America and the building division of the United Jewish Appeal.

[Stewart Kampel (2nd ed.)]

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