Ben Segal, Producer Who Turned CT Summer Stock Into a Dramatic Destination, Dead at 83

Obituaries   Ben Segal, Producer Who Turned CT Summer Stock Into a Dramatic Destination, Dead at 83 Ben Segal, a producer and founder of the Oakdale Theatre in Wallingford, CT, died Dec. 27, 2002, in Wallingford after a brief illness, according to Variety.

Mr. Segal was 83 and leaves behind a 60-year theatrical career that included serving as manager-director of the Shubert Theatre in New Haven, CT. He also served as general manager for 70 Anthony Brady Farrell productions (1949-54) and was production associate for Farrell's Billy Budd on Broadway. In 1952, he produced Broadway's Fancy Meeting You Again and the revival of Of Thee I Sing.

He was co-founder of Oakdale Musical Theatre in 1954, and also founded Carousel Theatre in Framingham, MA, in 1962. He was also co-founder of Warwick Musical Theatre in Warwick, RI, and a co-owner and director of the Melody Fair Theatre in North Tonawanda, NY. He was also president and director of Laurel Theatre properties in Laurel, MD.

Variety reported that Oakdale Theatre began as a 1,600 seat tent-theatre, presenting Equity summer stock musicals in the round. Mr. Segal lured Hollywood and Broadway stars to Connecticut and business boomed. The theatre was expanded in 1972 to 3,200 seats, with a wooden roof added, turning the place into a much-used concert venue.

In 1996, Mr. Segal's dream of a 5,000-seat year-round proscenium facility was realized. Oakdale is now operated by Clear Channel and is a major touring house.

Mr. Segal was born in Boston in 1919. His father was a restauranteur. He is survived by his wife Barbara of Wallingford; daughter Rebecca Segal and sons Beau Segal (who operated Oakdale in the 1990s) and Mark. Mr. Segal was predeceased by his first wife, Clarice Cumbley Segal.