Betty Corwin to Be Honored for Creating Archive to Preserve Live Theater
By: Ellis Nassour
Betty Corwin, one of the most respected and beloved professionals on the sidelines of theater for years, is being honored by the League of Professional Theatre Women (LPTW) not only for championing gender parity in theater for 35 years, but also for her efforts in preserving live theater beginning in 1969 as founder and former director of the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive (TOFT) at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts at Lincoln Center.
A LPTW Lifetime Achievement Award will be bestowed on Miss Corwin, 94, Wednesday at a noon luncheon at Sardi’s.
“Anyone in the Broadway community who’s ever been to Library of Performing Arts and watched a show owes a debt of gratitude to Betty,” says journalist and theater historian Peter Filichia. “The countless shows that have been preserved, in
cooperation with producers, in the video archive provide a live-on-tape of theater captured before audiences. It’s a unique source for preserving decades of work of the greatest artists – directors, choreographers, actors, and set, costume, and lighting designers – in American theater.”
Miss Corwin’s work as production assistant and script reader for theatrical producers inspired her to create a way to preserve theater performances as they
Unfolded before audiences by capturing them on video. Among her numerous honors is an American Theatre Wing special 2001 Tony Award in recognition of the amazing archive she began.
Those who know her claim that “Theater” is Miss Corwin’s middle name. She’s been selflessly involved in every aspect of theater for decades. Ms Corwin has been a juror for Columbia University’s Pulitzer Prizes for Drama, a member of the Tony Awards Nominating Committee, a judge for the Clarence Derwent Awards, the distinguished Callaway Awards, and numerous panels on theater history. She was on the advisory board of CUNY’s Theatre Talk Productions for public TV, and on the Artistic Advisory Council to the Westport Country Playhouse.
For the LPTW, she was co-producer of their Women in Theater TV series. These interviews have been preserved in the Performing Arts Archive.
Miss Corwin is unstoppable. At present, she’s director of Special Projects for TOFT, coordinating a project between the Performing Arts Library and the American Theatre Wing: “How to” interviews with 32 theater notables on their careers and the roles they play in creating productions.
Join in honoring Miss Corwin with a ticket to Wednesday’s luncheon. To purchase, visit www.TheatreWomen.org/event/betty-corwin