Eric Krebs, the producer of Broadway's Electra and Off-Broadway's This is Our Youth, will receive the 1999 Robert Whitehead Award from the Commercial Theatre Institute Feb. 9.
The award for "outstanding commercial producing" goes to a CTI graduate every year. CTI was founded in New York City in 1981 as the nation's only formal training program for commercial theatre producers, providing a 14-week seminar in which hopeful producers meet industry leaders in a lecture-discussion setting. It is a joint project of The League of American Theatres and Producers and Theatre Development Fund.
CTI founding executive director Frederic B. Vogel said, "[Krebs'] current production of Electra has proven to us all that you can still present classic theatre on Broadway and turn a profit through wise producing decisions."
"The value I found in CTI had to do with understanding the community of producers better," Krebs told Playbill On-Line Jan. 19. Krebs entered the CTI program in 1986-87 after he left New Jersey's nonprofit George Street Playhouse, and the contacts and connections -- marketing people, lawyers, press agents, producers -- at CTI "were key to my understanding" the complicated New York producing world.
The award will be handed to Krebs by Electra's titular star, Zoe Wanamaker, 5:30 PM Feb. 9 at Tavern on the Green. Krebs, who has worked in nonprofit and commercial ventures, is the founder and artistic director of the Off-Broadway John Houseman and Douglas Fairbanks theatres. Krebs is a partner with Barry and Fran Weissler in the move of Off-Broadway's This is Our Youth from Second Stage to the Douglas Fairbanks.
His other New York producing credits include Star Billing, The Broadway Kids Sing Broadway, Capitol Steps, Fyvush Finkel from Second Avenue to Broadway, Too Jewish and Paul Robeson. In nonprofit theatre, Krebs founded and was producing director of the George Street Playhouse in New Brunswick, NJ, for 14 years. He is current chair of the Rosetta LeNoire AMAS Musical Theater and has been a professor of theatre arts at Rutgers University since 1969.
The Whitehead Award, named for longtime producer Robert Whitehead, who recently produced Master Class, has been given to Benjamin Mordecai (The Piano Lesson), Susan Quint Gallin (Other People's Money), Dennis Grimaldi (Annie Warbucks), Kevin McCollum (Rent), Randall L. Wreghitt (The Food Chain, Beauty Queen of Leenane), Marc Routh (The Mystery of Irma Vep) and Liz Oliver (Last Night of Ballyhoo).
For information about CTI, call (212) 586-1109.
-- By Kenneth Jones