Joseph Papp, the legendary founder and producer of New York Public Theater/New York Shakespeare Festival, will be the subject of a documentary set to air on PBS in April 2001. The program, called "Joe Papp in Six Acts," is a joint presentation of the PBS series "American Masters" and "Great Performances."
Until his death in 1991, Papp was the force behind the Public Theater, where he tried to create a theatre and an audience which resembled the diverse, multi-ethnic Lower East Side community he grew up in. He fostered young and minority talents in the fields of acting, directing and playwriting, and bested powerful Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in a battle to bring free Shakespeare to Central Park -- a tradition which goes on today. Among the plays to get their start at the Public are That Championship Season, Hair and A Chorus Line.
The Papp documentary will be part of a full evening of programming which will conclude with the airing of a film of one of Papp's productions.
The producers of "Joe Papp in Six Acts" are currently seeking memorabilia and anecdotes relating to Papp. Any audience members who attended productions during Papp's tenure are encouraged to call (212) 560-8004. --By Robert Simonson