Legit veteran brought plays to children

Jay Harnick, founder of Theaterworks/USA, died in New York Feb. 27 after an illness. He was 78.

Theaterworks is the country’s foremost touring children’s theater troupe, which currently offers a repertoire of more than 15 shows, along with an annual free legit offering in Gotham. Harnick co-founded the org in 1961 and was a.d. until 2000.

Marta Kauffman and David Crane (“Friends”), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (“Ragtime”), F. Murray Abraham and Henry Winkler are among the creatives who worked with the company early in their careers.

Harnick was born in Chicago and attended the University of Illinois before moving to New York. Over his career he directed, performed, and stage managed and produced. He often staged the works of his brother, Sheldon, the book writer and lyricist (“Fiddler on the Roof,” “The Apple Tree”).

He married actress Barbara Barrie in 1964. He is survived by Barrie, a son, a daughter, a granddaughter and a sister.

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