Benjamin Mordecai, Longtime Producer, Dies

New Haven, Conn. (AP) -- Benjamin Mordecai, a theater producer long associated with the plays of August Wilson, has died after a long illness, his wife said Monday. He was 60.

Mordecai died Sunday at Yale Health Services, Sherry Lynn Morley Mordecai said.

He first produced Wilson's plays at the Yale Repertory Theatre where he was managing director from 1982 to 1993. At the Rep, he transferred five of Wilson's plays to New York including "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (1984), "Fences" (1987), "Joe Turner's Come and Gone" (1988), "The Piano Lesson" (1990) and "Two Trains Running" (1992).

Later, as executive director of a producing organization called Sageworks, he brought Wilson's "Seven Guitars" (1996), "King Headley II" (2001) and a revival of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" (2003) to Broadway, as well as a production of "Jitney" to off-Broadway in 2000.

Mordecai currently is represented on Broadway by "Brooklyn The Musical" and at the Yale Rep with the world premiere of Wilson's "Radio Golf," the final work in the playwright's cycle of dramas chronicling the black experience in America in the 20th century.

Among the other shows Mordecai produced on Broadway were the 2002 revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "Flower Drum Song," "Golden Child" (1998) by David Henry Hwang, "Angels in America" (1993), "The Kentucky Cycle" (1993) and Anna Deveare Smith's "Twilight: Los Angeles" (1992).


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