Roger L. Stevens
Roger Lacey Stevens (March 12, 1910 – February 2, 1998) was an American theatrical producer, arts administrator, and a real estate executive. He is the founding Chairman of both the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (1961), and National Endowment for the Arts (1965).
Born in Detroit, Michigan, Stevens was educated at The Choate School (now Choate Rosemary Hall) in Wallingford, Connecticut and at the University of Michigan. He produced more than 100 plays and musicals over his career, including West Side Story, Bus Stop, and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. In 1971, he received Special Tony Award for his body of work.
Stevens was the General Administrator of the Actors Studio as well as one of the producers of the Playwrights Company, a member of the board of the American National Theatre and Academy (ANTA), and one of the members of a Broadway producing company he founded in 1953 with Robert Whitehead, and Robert Dowling. In 1961, he was asked by President John F. Kennedy to help establish a Natural Cultural Center, and became Chairman of Board of Trustees of what was eventually named the Kennedy Center from 1961 to 1988.
In 1965, he received an appointment from President Lyndon Johnson as first Chairman of the National Council on the Arts later named the National Endowment for the Arts.
Stevens was married to Christine Gesell Stevens, founder of the Animal Welfare Institute in 1951. He served as the organization's treasurer until his death in 1998.
On January 13, 1988, Stevens was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan. In 1988, he was also awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Read more about Roger L. Stevens: Stage Productions
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