Mitchell Erickson, Veteran Stage Manager, Dies at 92

News   Mitchell Erickson, Veteran Stage Manager, Dies at 92 Mitchell Erickson, a stage manager whose 50-year career encompassed well over 100 productions on Broadway and on tour, died Oct. 22 at the age of 92 in Portland, OR, after a long illness.

Erickson worked on multiple plays with writers ranging from Tennessee Williams and John Osborne to Tom Stoppard, and he was a close colleague of a long list of performers including Jason Robards, Uta Hagen, Maggie Smith, Julie Harris, John Wood and more.

A native of Duluth, MN, Erickson served as a Navy Lieutenant in the Pacific during World War II. After finishing college on the G.I. Bill at the University of Hawaii, he moved to New York in 1948. Early jobs included summers at the Kennebunkport Playhouse in Maine, where he and another young company member — Colleen Dewhurst — were occasionally billed as "Maine's Favorite Young Lovers." His stage managing career began when he was cast as the First Reporter in Gore Vidal's 1960 hit The Best Man and asked to double as assistant stage manager.

A job on William Inge's 1963 Natural Affection, with Kim Stanley, led to a major assignment: Director Tony Richardson was so impressed that he insisted on Erickson as production stage manager of his incoming hit, John Osborne's Luther, starring Albert Finney. When producer David Merrick refused to use an unknown stage manager, Richardson boycotted rehearsals until he got his way. Erickson recreated the direction for the national tour and eventually found himself playing the title role in Honolulu.

Erickson quickly became Merrick's top dramatic stage manager, working on the original Broadway productions of Osborne's Inadmissible Evidence, with Nicol Williamson; Brian Friel's Philadelphia, Here I Come!; Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, with John Wood and Brian Murray; Woody Allen's Play It Again, Sam; Robert Marasco's Child's Play; Christopher Hampton's The Philanthropist; and Robert Bolt's Vivat! Vivat Regina! with Claire Bloom and Eileen Atkins.

These were followed by Stoppard's Jumpers, with Brian Bedford and Jill Clayburgh; Jean Giraudoux's The Enchanted, with Elizabeth Ashley; John Gielgud-directed revivals of Private Lives (with Smith) and The Constant Wife (with Ingrid Bergman); the Harold Pinter-directed production of The Innocents, with Claire Bloom and introducing Sarah Jessica Parker; The Bed Before Yesterday, with Carol Channing; Souvenir, with Deborah Kerr; Preston Jones' A Texas Trilogy; Stoppard's Every Good Boy Deserves Favor; A Touch of the Poet, with Robards and Geraldine Fitzgerald; Medea, with Zoe Caldwell and Judith Anderson; Pack of Lies with Rosemary Harris; Ghosts, with Liv Ullman and Kevin Spacey; You Can't Take It with You, with Robards and Dewhurst; and Acting Shakespeare with Ian McKellen. Other shows included The Iceman Cometh (with Robards), the Robards/Dewhurst twin productions of Long Day's Journey into Night and Ah, Wilderness!; Richardson's Toyer, with Kathleen Turner; Lettice and Lovage, with Smith on Broadway and Harris on tour; The Gin Game, with Harris and Charles Durning; and The Sunshine Boys, with Jack Klugman and Tony Randall. His final show was Judgment at Nuremberg; by the end of the run, he was back on stage as an actor.

Erickson is survived by his sister, Kathleen Lindberg, plus three nieces and two nephews. A memorial service is being planned.

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