Kennedy Center theater director Max Woodward dies at 76

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Max Woodward, who joined the Kennedy Center staff as an usher when the performing arts center opened in 1971 and retired in 2016 as vice president of theater programming, overseeing touring Broadway productions and the original shows, died Oct. 14 at a care center in Washington. He was 76 years old.

The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said friend Steven Suskind.

From usher, Mr. Woodward slowly progressed from the accounting department to managing the Eisenhower Theater and eventually overseeing the Opera House, Terrace Theater and Concert Hall.

When he retired, he told The Washington Post that he would miss working on new theatrical ventures the most, including Sondheim’s Celebration in 2002 as well as revivals of Sondheim’s “Follies” (2011) and Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty-Terrence McNally’s “Ragtime”. (2009).

In those cases, he said, his job was to “start a show from scratch. You pick a project, get the rights, hire designers, choreographers and stuff, and put it on rehearsal. The first day of rehearsal is the most wonderful day. This is the part I will miss the most. »

Max Arthur Woodward was born in Masontown, Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh, on June 20, 1946. After graduating from high school in 1964, he worked as an FBI records clerk and served in the military at Frankfurt, Germany, before moving to Washington. in 1967 after his release.

He was an usher at the National Theater before the Kennedy Center. He traced his interest in acting back to his childhood fascination with “The Ed Sullivan Show” on television.

Survivors included her partner of six years, Bill Wooby of Washington; and a brother.

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