Max Woodward, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts executive and producer who oversaw the production of its theater programming for years before his retirement in 2016, died today of Alzheimer’s disease at a Washington D.C. care facility. He was 76.
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“Today, we mourn the passing of Max Woodward,” the Kennedy Center said in a statement. “Max began his career at the Center as an usher in 1971, shortly after we first opened our doors, eventually assuming his programmatic leadership role in 2002. Over the course of his 44-year career, he helped shape the identity of theater at the Center and left his mark through unforgettable events including our 2002 Sondheim Celebration and 2011 Follies revival. His warmth, kindness, and humor touched the hearts of all who met him, and his intimate knowledge of his art form could impress even the most seasoned of theatergoers. We carry on our work in celebration of his legacy.”
At the time of his retirement, Woodward had been the Kennedy Center’s VP Theater Programming since 2002, programming and producing the plays and musicals of its theater season. As a producer for Center initiatives, he produced such acclaimed programs and shows as Sondheim Celebration, Tennessee Williams Explored, Mr. Roberts, Carnival!, Mame, August Wilson’s 20th Century, Ragtime, Terrence McNally’s Nights at the Opera, Follies and The Guardsman.
The Kennedy Center productions of Ragtime and Follies made successful transfers to Broadway.
Prior to his role at retirement, Woodward served as the Center’s General Manager of Theater for 12 years, overseeing the daily operations of the Center’s seven theaters. He had previously served as House Manager of the Center’s Eisenhower Theater for 17 years, and also served as the Company Manager for Kennedy Center productions such as First Monday in October with Henry Fonda, Medea with Zoe Caldwell, Make and Break with Peter Faulk, and Caine Mutiny with Charlton Heston, among others.
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