Ellis Rabb, an actor and director who in 1959 formed the Association of Producing Artists (known as APA) -- a theatre company that brought new works and noteworthy revivals to Broadway and to regional theatres -- died Jan. 11 in Memphis of heart failure. He was 67.
Rabb's APA -- a collective ensemble of actors and directors who presented plays in repertory -- in 1964 merged with the Phoenix Theatre and as the APA-Phoenix went on to mount Broadway revivals of Man and Superman, The Show-Off and Right You Are, among others.
In 1968 APA-Phoenix was honored with a special Tony Award for distinguished achievement.
After APA-Phoenix completed its final season in 1969, Rabb went on to direct a 1973 production of A Streetcar Named Desire, starring Rosemary Harris (to whom he was married from 1960-1967); a rousing Royal Family in 1975, in which he also appeared; and a 1983 revival of You Can't Take It With You, with Jason Robards and Colleen Dewhurst.
As an actor, Rabb starred in the New York premiere of David Mamet's A Life in the Theatrein 1977 at Off-Broadway's Theatre de Lys and in 1980 played the title role in The Man Who Came to Dinner at NY's now-defunct Circle in the Square. Rabb studied drama at Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh. After graduating, he acted and directed with the Antioch Area Theatre in Yellow Springs, OH, and with the American Shakespeare Co.in Stratford, CT.
In 1958 he won the Clarence Derwent Award for his Off-Broadway performance in The Misanthrope.
In recent years, Rabb taught and directed at the State University of New York in Purchase.
He is survived by his mother, who lives in Memphis.
-- By Rebecca Paller