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(This article was published in U.S. 1 Newspaper on December 2, 1998.

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From Berlind’s Heart

At a press conference this week that featured the

glamour

of actress Glenn Close and the buttoned-up rectitude of university

president Harold Shapiro, McCarter Theater and Princeton University

celebrated the establishment of the Roger S. Berlind Theater, the

fruit of a $3.5 million gift from the eminent theater producer and

member of the Class of ’52, at right in the photo above with Michael

Cadden and Emily Mann. Designed by Hugh Hardy ’54 of Hardy Holzman

Pfeiffer Associates, the new 350-seat theater will be constructed

on McCarter’s south lawn at a cost of $8 million; its opening is

planned

for early 2001.

The gift represents more than a new, state-of-the-art facility, but

a new partnership between McCarter and the university’s Program in

Theater and Dance, directed by Cadden. The gift grew out of a question

posed by Berlind more than four years ago as to what it would take

to raise the program’s level. Cadden’s response — a small,

purpose-built

theater — dovetailed with Mann’s long-held desire for a stage,

significantly smaller than her 1,100-seat McCarter stage, on which

to develop and present new works and revived classics. The two

entities

will share the facility and expand programs to bring students together

with theater professionals. As Berlind, who has produced 25 plays

and nine Tony winners, noted, "I remain a competitive animal.

I want to move the program in theater from excellence to

preeminence."

Berlind made his reputation in finance before a 1975 plane accident

took the lives of his wife and three of their four children.

Recovering

from the tragic loss with his 2-year-old son, Berlind, an alumnus

of both Princeton’s Triangle Club and Theater Intime, resigned from

his brokerage firm and followed his heart back to the theater. His

son, William Berlind, graduated from Princeton in 1995.

Berlind was introduced at the press conference by Glenn Close who,

in 1976, just two years into her professional career, was featured

in Berlind’s first show, Richard Rodgers’ "Rex." Also

celebrating

the launch was author Joyce Carol Oates, who holds Princeton’s Roger

S. Berlind professorship. "Regional theaters are vital if the

soul of this country is to remain intact," said Close, who

compared

establishing a new theater to establishing a church. "It will

inspire, challenge, and maybe save those who enter."


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