The Stage: Bleak House

What the U.S. needs is more and better repertory theaters. The Lincoln Center Repertory Company opened in 1964 with great expectations but it has been a bleak house.

Elia Kazan and Robert Whitehead, its first directors, lasted one season. Then in 1965, the center brought in Herbert Blau and Jules Irving, two professors who had founded San Francisco's highly touted Actor's Workshop.

Their first production, Danton's Death, was nearly their own, critically speaking. Afterward, when Blau was asked if the reviewers were out to get the new team, he replied: "Nonsense. The knives are always out for you. The only way...

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