The Theater: Joe Papp: Populist and Imperialist

BY my plays ye shall know me," says Joseph Papp. He has never written a play but he has given life to many, and as an innovative impresario he exerts enormous influence. Each of the works produced in the Downtown Manhattan beehive called the Public Theater bears the Papp stamp. "That's my job," he says. "Oh, yes, that's my job! I'm very good at saving plays, you know." Some would add, at saving the American stage. He himself observes with characteristic modesty: "I am the most important producer on Broadway, off-Broadway—in the U.S."

His ambition is, if possible, even bigger than his...

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