Lawrence J. Sacharow, Obie Award-winning director of Len Jenkin's Five of Us, died Aug. 15 at New York Hospital from complications resulting from a battle with leukemia. He was 68.
Sacharow, who served as the director of the theatre program at Fordham College at Lincoln Center for 17 years, was known for tangling with some of the most challenging works of modern theatre, including plays by Edward Albee, Samuel Beckett, Anton Chekhov, and Sam Shepard.
For his direction in 1994 of Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Three Tall Women, he received the Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Direction and was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle award. In 2003, Sacharow directed the highly celebrated off-Broadway production of Beckett/Albee, an evening of one-act plays starring Marian Seldes and Brian Murray.
The founding artistic director of River Arts Repertory in Woodstock, N.Y., Sacharow directed Joanne Woodward in The Seagull, and also directed the only stage production of the film Casablanca, among numerous other productions at River Arts. He also served as chairman of the theatre panel of the New York State Council on the Arts.
Sacharow was also committed to dramatizing the challenges of lives touched by war, drug abuse, political oppression, and was considered a pioneer in biographical theatre. In 1968 he conceived and directed The Concept, a social commentary on drug addiction performed by recovering addicts from Daytop Village, a drug rehabilitation center. The show ran for three years off-Broadway and was brought back to the stage in 1986, and again in 1994 to tour the Moscow Art Theatre and the Gorky Theatre in St. Petersburg. In 2005, The Concept was still being performed at venues across the country.
Born Oct. 10, 1937, Sacharow received his Bachelor of Arts degree in theatre and television production from Brooklyn College, City University of New York. He was a member of the Actors Studio Directors Unit and studied with Lee Strasberg, Alan Schneider and Mira Rostova.
Funeral plans have not been announced.
-- Lauren Horwitch