You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Donald Schoenbaum dies at 86

Was managing director of famed Guthrie Theater

Donald Schoenbaum, former managing director of Minneapolis’ renowned Guthrie Theater and a key figure in the rise of nonprofit professional theaters in the U.S., died in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 24. He was 86.

Born in New York, Schoenbaum studied theater at USC under William DeMille. After a stint as an actor in Hollywood, he took to directing and producing efforts, founding the touring Repertory Players company in Omaha, Neb., in 1958. Together with director Adrian Hall and others, Schoenbaum started Trinity Repertory Theater in Providence, R.I., where he served as managing director. Schoenbaum exited two years later, in 1965, when he received his second Ford Foundation grant, this one to study the internal workings of the Guthrie Theater.

By 1969 he was the Guthrie’s managing director, a post in which he remained for 21 years, during which he led the organization’s expansion into an operation with year-round offerings. Under Schoenbaum, the Guthrie received a special Tony Award for theatrical excellence at regional theaters in 1982.

In a statement, Guthrie director Joe Dowling said, “Don Schoenbaum was one of the true heroes of the Guthrie, managing it through good times and bad — but always conscious of the artistic and institutional priorities.”

Schoenbaum retired to Sarasota in 1986 but remained involved in theater there.

Survivors include his wife, Patricia Nygaard; three sons; a stepson; and four grandchildren.

More Scene

  • Brandon Flynn, Timothy Granaderos, Alisha Boe,

    Alisha Boe Says Brock Turner Case Was Her 'Bible' for '13 Reasons Why' Season 2

    Donald Schoenbaum, former managing director of Minneapolis’ renowned Guthrie Theater and a key figure in the rise of nonprofit professional theaters in the U.S., died in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 24. He was 86. Born in New York, Schoenbaum studied theater at USC under William DeMille. After a stint as an actor in Hollywood, he […]

  • Yara ShahidiMTV Movie & TV Awards,

    Yara Shahidi, Noah Schnapp, More Talk the Dangers of Social Media at MTV Awards

    Donald Schoenbaum, former managing director of Minneapolis’ renowned Guthrie Theater and a key figure in the rise of nonprofit professional theaters in the U.S., died in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 24. He was 86. Born in New York, Schoenbaum studied theater at USC under William DeMille. After a stint as an actor in Hollywood, he […]

  • A Night in the Writers' Room

    Parity Takes Center Stage at Variety's 'A Night in the Writers' Room' Drama Panel

    Donald Schoenbaum, former managing director of Minneapolis’ renowned Guthrie Theater and a key figure in the rise of nonprofit professional theaters in the U.S., died in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 24. He was 86. Born in New York, Schoenbaum studied theater at USC under William DeMille. After a stint as an actor in Hollywood, he […]

  • American Black Film Festival opening night

    Trevor Jackson Was Originally Told He Was 'Too Young' to Star in 'Superfly' Remake

    Donald Schoenbaum, former managing director of Minneapolis’ renowned Guthrie Theater and a key figure in the rise of nonprofit professional theaters in the U.S., died in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 24. He was 86. Born in New York, Schoenbaum studied theater at USC under William DeMille. After a stint as an actor in Hollywood, he […]

  • Women In Film Crystal and Lucy

    Brie Larson Says She Learned Her Own Strength Playing 'Captain Marvel' Role

    Donald Schoenbaum, former managing director of Minneapolis’ renowned Guthrie Theater and a key figure in the rise of nonprofit professional theaters in the U.S., died in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 24. He was 86. Born in New York, Schoenbaum studied theater at USC under William DeMille. After a stint as an actor in Hollywood, he […]

  • 2018 NBCUniversal Upfront

    Andy Samberg on Returning to NBC With 'Brooklyn Nine-Nine': 'It Feels Like Home'

    Donald Schoenbaum, former managing director of Minneapolis’ renowned Guthrie Theater and a key figure in the rise of nonprofit professional theaters in the U.S., died in Sarasota, Fla., on Feb. 24. He was 86. Born in New York, Schoenbaum studied theater at USC under William DeMille. After a stint as an actor in Hollywood, he […]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content