Schneider, Alan, 1917-1984

Alternative names
Dates:
Birth 1917-12-12
Death 1984-05-03
Americans
English

Biographical notes:

Stage director and professor of theatre educated at the University of Wisconsin (1939) and Cornell University (1941). Schneider's directing career began with his staging of JIM DANDY in 1941. Over the next thirty years he directed plays by prominent playwrights, including Tenessee Williams's Glass menagerie and Edward Albee's American dream and Who's afraid of Virginia Woolf. In 1956, Schneider directed the American premiere of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot, beginning a long-term professional relationship with the Nobel laureate writer.

From the description of Alan Schneider papers, ca. 1937-2001. (University of California, San Diego). WorldCat record id: 20293791

Director Alan Schneider was born Abram Leopoldovich Schneider in Kharkov Russia on December 12, 1917 (There is some confusion surrounding the date-the true date being December 11).

He arrived in New York with his parents, Leopold Victorovich Schneider and Rebecka Samilovna Malkin Schneider, both physicians, on July 4, 1923 and spent his childhood in Maryland. Mr. Schneider received a B.A. magna cum laude in political science from the University of Wisconsin in 1939 and an M.A. in Dramatic Literature from Cornell University in 1941. His first New York production was A Long Way from Home by Maxim Gorki, adapted by Randolph Goodman and Walter Carroll, which opened at Maxine Elliott's Theatre on February 8, 1948. The only director to receive a Tony Award (Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, 1963) and an Obie Award (The Dumb Waiter and The Collection, 1963) in the same year, Mr. Schneider directed well over one hundred works, including the original American productions of such playwrights as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Robert Anderson, Joe Orton, and Michael Weller.

In addition to the New York theater, he was active in regional theater, especially in his association with The Acting Company and as artistic director of the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. (1951-1953, 1961-1963 and 1973). For the proposed Ithaca Festival, he served as artistic director from 1963 to 1968. Mr. Schneider received several international prizes for his work on Samuel Beckett's Film (1964). He also directed for television. He toured the U.S.S.R. in1973 with the Arena Stage production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and was also the U.S. delegate of the International Theatre Institute that year.

Mr. Schneider maintained a lifelong interest in theater education, subsequently teaching at Boston University, ca. 1970, the Juilliard Theatre Center from 1976-1979, and the University of California, San Diego where he was head of the Graduate Directing Program from 1979 to 1984. Mr. Schneider traveled extensively in his professional capacity, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia and also directed productions in England and Israel. In 1949, he received a Rockefeller Foundation grant for a study of European theater and traveled to Eastern Europe as a cultural representative for the U.S. State Department.

He married Eugenie Muckle in 1953; they had a daughter, Viveca and a son, David. Alan Schneider died May 3, 1984 in London from head injuries suffered when he was hit by a motorcycle. At the time of his death, Mr. Schneider served as the president of Theatre Communications Group and had just completed the first volume of his autobiography, Entrances: An American Director's Journey, published posthumously by Viking in 1986.

From the description of Alan Schneider papers, 1923-1984. (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 78125949

Director Alan Schneider was born Abram Leopoldovich Schneider in Kharkov Russia on December 12, 1917 (There is some confusion surrounding the date--the true date being December 11.) He arrived in New York with his parents, Leopold Victorovich Schneider and Rebecka Samilovna Malkin Schneider, both physicians, on July 4, 1923 and spent his childhood in Maryland where his parents worked in tuberculosis sanatoriums. Mr. Schneider received a B.A. magna cum laude in political Science from the University of Wisconsin in 1939 and an M.A. in Dramatic Literature from Cornell University in 1941.

He began his professional career as a teacher and director at Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. in 1941. He served on the faculty (with Walter Kerr) for eleven years and received his first professional directing assignment there for a production of William Saroyan's Jim Dandy . During World War II, he worked for various government agencies and acted in a Broadway flop called Storm Operation by Maxwell Anderson in 1944.

Mr. Schneider maintained a lifelong interest in theater education, subsequently teaching at Boston University, ca. 1970, the Juilliard Theatre Center from 1976-1979, and the University of California, San Diego where he was head of the Graduate Directing Program from 1979 to 1984. His first New York production was A Long Way from Home by Maxim Gorki, adapted by Randolph Goodman and Walter Carroll, which opened at Maxine Elliott's Theatre on February 8, 1948. The only director to receive a Tony Award ( Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, (1963) and an Obie Award ( The Dumb Waiter and The Collection, 1963) in the same year, Mr. Schneider directed well over one hundred works, including the original American productions of such playwrights as Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Edward Albee, Robert Anderson, Joe Orton, and Michael Weller. In addition to the New York theater, he was active in regional theater, especially in his association with The Acting Company and as artistic director of the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. (1951-1953, 1961-1963 and 1973). For the proposed Ithaca Festival, he served as artistic director from 1963 to 1968. Mr. Schneider received several international prizes for his work on Samuel Beckett's Film (1964). He also directed for television.

Mr. Schneider traveled extensively in his professional capacity, especially in Eastern Europe and Russia and also directed productions in England and Israel. In 1949, he received a Rockefeller Foundation grant for a study of European theater and traveled to Eastern Europe as a cultural representative for the U.S. State Department. He toured the U.S.S.R. in1973 with the Arena Stage production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town and was also the U.S. delegate of the International Theatre Institute that year.

He married Eugenie Muckle in 1953; they had a daughter, Viveca and a son, David. Alan Schneider died May 3, 1984 in London from head injuries suffered when he was hit by a motorcycle.

At the time of his death, Mr. Schneider served as the president of Theatre Communications Group and had just completed the first volume of his autobiography, Entrances: An American Director's Journey, published posthumously by Viking in 1986.

From the guide to the Alan Schneider papers, 1923-1984, (The New York Public Library. Billy Rose Theatre Division.)

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Subjects:

  • Theater--Production and direction
  • Television producers and directors
  • Theater--Production and direction--History
  • Theater--Production and direction--Study and teaching
  • Theater--Societies, etc
  • Theatrical producers and directors--Biography
  • Theater--United States
  • College theater
  • Radio writers
  • World War, 1939-1945--Theater and the war
  • Amateur theater
  • Theatrical producers and directors
  • Theater

Occupations:

  • Dramatists

Places:

  • United States (as recorded)