David Jiranek, Broadway producer, writer, photographer, philanthropist and businessman in the field of marketing, died Sunday Aug. 17 in a swimming accident while vacationing with his family in North Hatley, Quebec. He was 45 and lived in Old Greenwich, Conn.
At the time of his death, he was significantly involved in documenting the plight of children post-Rwandan genocide/mutilation and helping some of the victims.
Jiranek’s theater career began just after he graduated from NYU. Teaming up with his friend, Broadway producer David Weil, and with theater legend John Houseman, Jiranek served as associate producer for the 1981 Broadway production of the William Alfred drama “Curse of an Aching Heart,” starring Faye Dunaway.
In 1982, Jiranek co-produced the New York premiere of David Mamet’s “Edmond” Off Broadway at the Provincetown Theater. Production won two Obie Awards, including best play.
Two years later, Jiranek and Weil founded their own marketing firm, CTM Brochure Display. Company outgrew its niche in the theater business to become the second-largest brochure distributor in the nation. CTM, headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, with 13 offices in the U.S. and Canada, now operates brochure stands in hotel lobbies and transportation hubs, advertising Broadway shows, ski vacations and tourist attractions.
Even before Jiranek and Weil sold CTM in 2000, they were directing their energies back into the theater. In 1999, the pair, with Cricket Hooper Jiranek, Jiranek’s wife and business partner, formed CTM Prods. That year the group co-produced the Broadway blues revue “It Ain’t Nothin’ but the Blues.”
Later that year, the trio produced a Broadway revival of “Fool Moon,” two-man show starring Bill Irwin and David Shine, which won the Tony for special theatrical event.
This past spring, Jiranek and company co-produced Bill Maher’s one-man show “Victory Begins at Home.”
Jiranek was slated to direct a production of “Lysistrata” from his own translation for the Off Broadway Jean Cocteau Repertory, where he was president of the board. He completed a draft of the script just days before his death. Production is scheduled to go forward Oct. 24-Feb. 5.
Member of the League of American Theaters and Producers also had a passion for photography, adventure and working with disadvantaged children. He combined all three with his recent Rwanda fund-raising photo project, “Through the Eyes of Children”: Three years ago, he traveled to Rwanda at his own expense to document in photographs the after-effects of the 1994 genocide. Resulting exhib was shown in Rwanda’s capital, the Furnam Gallery at the Walter Reade Theater in Lincoln Center in June, and elsewhere.
He also played a significant role in helping get to the U.S. an orphan whose hands had been hacked off by machete-wielding Hutus; last year the youth was outfitted with prosthetic hands, and ABC’s “20/20” documented the story.
He is survived by his wife and their two daughters, his mother and a large, extended family that includes four half-brothers.
Donations may be made to the Rwanda Project (www.rwandaproject.org).