by D.L. Rosenberg - 2/19/17
As a teenager growing up in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan in the mid-nineteen fifties, I was taken by my cousin Ann, a concert pianist, to what was to make an indelible impression on my imagination. I did not understand it at the time but Brecht’s THREE PENNY OPERA at the Theatre de Lys on Christopher Street in Greenwich Village introduced me to a wondrous world of whores, thieves and corrupt politicians who certainly were not common characters on the polite drawing room stages of those days.
Ann had shown me what was to be the most influential thing later to develop in my creative life. To be sure, my experience at Purdue became another major influence. I had a scholarship to study aeronautical engineering but soon changed to theatre. There Ross D. Smith showed me how visual the stage could be, Eugene Kildahl helped me see the importance of every word as he often looked away and just listened to a rehearsal, and Joe Stockdale required that it all had to be based on the inner truth of an actor’s craft. Yet it was the experience at the Theatre De Lys that filled a special place in my life.
Donald Rosenberg talks to Benny Sato Ambush