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Mason, Marshall W.



  • Existence: 1940

Marshall W. Mason (February 24, 1940) was born in Amarillo, Texas to Marvin and Lorine Mason. He became involved in theater productions early in life, as a student at Lulling High School where he earned an award for acting. He then attended Northwestern University graduating with a bachelor's degree from the School of Communication in 1961. Mason was a student of Alvina Krause and his association with her extended beyond Northwestern to the Eagle Mere Playhouse where he both acted in and directed many plays. Ms. Krause was to become a very influential presence in Mason’s choice of career as she encouraged him to pursue directing as opposed to acting.

Upon graduating Mason moved to New York where he began working in the off-off-Broadway theater movement in venues such as the Caffe Cino, La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club, and the Judson Poets Theatre. He and other Northwestern alumni also started the company Northwestern Productions. In 1969 he became one of the founding members of the Circle Repertory Company where he was artistic director of the company for 18 years (1969-1987). During his tenure he worked closely with Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Lanford Wilson, a collaboration which lasted 44 years. Circle Repertory was known for its development of new creative talent and American plays. After leaving Circle Repertory Company Mason became a professor at Arizona State University where he taught for ten years.

During his career Mason directed over 40 off-Broadway productions and a dozen plays on Broadway that earned him five Tony nominations for Best Director: “Knock Knock” by Jules Feiffer, “Talley’s Folly” (New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play and the Pulitzer Prize), “Fifth of July” and “Angels Fall” by Lanford Wilson, and “As Is” by William M. Hoffman (Drama Desk Award for Best Play). Four of his productions received Tony Awards with 24 nominations. He has been honored for discovering and nourishing new talent and for cultivating new writers. Mason was elected to the Theater Hall of Fame in 2015 and was the chief drama critic for the New Times in Phoenix for two years. He also is the author of “Creating Life on Stage: A Director's Approach to Working with Actors” (Heinemann Press, 2006) and “The Transcendent Years of Circle Rep.”

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Marshall Mason (1940- ) Papers

Identifier: 31/6/194
Abstract Marshall W. Mason (born February 24, 1940; B.A., Northwestern University School of Communication, 1961) is an American theater director, educator, and writer. He founded the Circle Repertory Company in New York City and was artistic director of the company for 18 years (1969-1987). He has received many awards over a long career in the theater, among them an Obie Award for Sustained Achievement in 1983 and, in 2016, the Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theater. His papers fill 190...
Dates: 1907-2019; Majority of material found within 1940-2019