Joan Stein, who produced both theatre on the West and East Coasts and television in Los Angeles, died today from appendceal cancer, a family spokesperson announced. She was 59.
She graduated in 1974 with a B.A. in Theater and English at the State University of New York at Albany. After graduating, she began her illustrious theatre career producing and/or general managing over 80 plays and musicals.
In 1980, she began producing Off-Broadway with James Lapine’s Table Settings (1980), The Middle Ages (1983), The Miss Firecracker Contest (1984) and Tent Meeting (1987).
Joan Stein made her Broadway debut as a producer with Larry Shue’s The Nerd in 1987. Additional Broadway productions include: Catch Me If You Can, Legally Blonde, Butley, Nine to Five.
In 1982, she began a five-year tenure as the Managing Director of the historic Berkshire Theatre Festival in Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where she partnered with Artistic Director Josie Abady.
In 1990, she moved to Los Angeles, where she became the Executive Director of The Canon Theatre, producing and general managing productions that included Love Letters, Forever Plaid, Ruthless The Musical, Bermuda Avenue Triangle, Last Night At Ballyhoo and Nude, Nude Totally Nude starring Andrea Martin. Ms. Stein was also the theatre producer of the HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen.
In 1994, Ms. Stein partnered with producer Stephen Eich to present the Los Angeles premiere of Steve Martin’s Award-winning Picasso at the Lapin Agile at the Westwood Playhouse. The production later moved to Off Broadway’s Promenade Theatre and received the Outer Critics Circle Award for Best Production. Picasso then moved to San Francisco’s Theatre on the Square and continued to play both nationally and internationally.
Ms. Stein also produced Warren Leight’s Sideman on Broadway in 1998 and in 1999 she received the Tony Award for Best Play.
She partnered in 2002 with Steve Martin and created Martin/Stein Productions, a television company that developed and produced scripted and reality television programming for all broadcast networks, HBO and Showtime. Martin/Stein was a division of Carsey-Werner Productions. Productions include The Downer Channel and The Scholar with partners, Elizabeth Williams and Jon Murray.
Other television producing credits include: My Brother’ Wife starring John Ritter and Mel Harris for ABC and Crazy in Love starring Holly Hunter, Gena Rowlands and Bill Pullman for TNT.
Joan Stein’s most recent projects include Motherhood Out Loud with Susan Rose(Co-Conceivers/Producers), which opened at Primary Stages in New York City in September 2011; Standing On Ceremony - The Gay Marriage Plays; Mad Hot Ballroom, a new musical based on the Award winning documentary; and Baby It’s You!
In addition to producing, she created and manages two theatrical investment funds, was a co-founder and served on the Board of Directors of New York Theatre Workshop, and Women in Film, helped launch Broadway Cares and was a member of The Broadway League for 22 years.
Joan Stein is survived by her adoring husband of 35 years, director and landscape architect Ted Weiant. She is the daughter of Florence and the late David Stein. She is also survived by her sisters Marcia Stein Kirschner and Emily Stein and by her beloved nephew Keith Moscowitz his wife Michele and niece Traci Sacks her husband John and her great nieces and nephew Lily, Jacob and Marley Rae.
Services will be held in New York. Memorials in Los Angeles and New York are currently being planned. In lieu of flowers, donations in the memory of Joan can be made to: The American Cancer Society, 800-227-2345 or cancer.org (Appendceal Cancer Research).