Jack Goldstein, a powerful New York theatre executive who helped to shape the very structure of the industry at the end of the 20th century, has passed away. He was 74.
Raised in Washington D.C. as a member of a military family, Mr. Goldstein frequently visited his grandmother in New York City, forming an attachment to the metropolis long before his move to the city in the early 1980s.
Mr. Goldstein began his career in New York as the executive director of Save the Theaters in 1982, following the demolition of many historically important Broadway theatres. The theatres, which had once been thriving homes of artistry, became known as the 'Fallen Five', including the Bijou, the Morosco, the Gaiety, the Astor, and the original Helen Hayes. When Public Theater founder Joseph Papp's fierce defense of the group failed to save them from the wrecking ball, Mr. Goldstein and other members of Save the Theaters stepped in, putting into motion a plan to historically landmark 27 Broadway theatres so as to prevent their damage by encroaching real estate developers.
That campaign almost certainly saved the clustered theatre district as we know it today, keeping the center of New York's commercial theatre firmly in midtown Manhattan as Times Square was revitalized into one of the tourism epicenters of the world. Following this industry-shaping legal battle, Mr. Goldstein was brought into the Shubert fold by Gerry Schoenfeld, with whom he worked for many years. Throughout the latter quarter of the 20th century, Mr. Goldstein worked as the special assistant to Actors' Equity president Ron Silver, became the coordinator of the Broadway Initiatives Working Group, and co-chaired the Theatre Advisory Council to the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting.
In the late '90s, Mr. Goldstein was the executive director of TDF, formerly known as the Theatre Development Fund. Founded in 1968, TDF was already a legendary institution prior to Mr. Goldstein's leadership, with a mission to broaden audience bases for commercial theatre through ticket subsidies and accessibility services. Under his guidance, the organization officially became the largest not-for-profit performing arts service organization in the U.S.
Mr. Goldstein organized the international design competition that led to TDF's iconic red stairs overlooking its discount ticket booth in the heart of Times Square, bringing them into a new millenium prior to his retirement from the industry in 2000.
In recent years, Mr. Goldstein had focused his discerning eye on the art and antique world, opening several storefronts, including in his final home, Cold Spring, New York. Memorial services will be private.