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Lee Breuer, Co-founder of Experimental Company Mabou Mines, Dies at 83

Breuer's best-known production was The Gospel at Colonus.

Lee Breuer
(image via Mabou Mines)

Lee Breuer, a co-founder of the legendary experimental theater company Mabou Mines, died Sunday, January 3, at the age of 83.

Breuer served as a founding co-artistic director of Mabou Mines with colleagues JoAnne Akalaitis, Philip Glass, Ruth Maleczech, and David Warrilow. The company was created to connect audiences with original experimental works and reimagined classics.

Over four decades, Breuer directed more than a dozen Obie-winning productions, including A Prelude to Death in Venice, Peter and Wendy, Mabou Mines Dollhouse, and Mabou Mines Lear. His best known work is The Gospel at Colonus, a 1985 Pulitzer finalist that ran on Broadway in 1988 after being seen all over the country. Breuer earned a Tony nomination for Best Book of a Musical, and a televised version of the production won an Emmy.

Breuer's work has been seen on five continents, and in 2011, he became the first artist to direct an American play, a reimagined version of A Streetcar Named Desire, on the mainstage of the Comédie-Française. He is the recipient of the Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, two Fulbrights, and fellowships from the Bunting, Guggenheim, and the MacArthur foundations.

Breuer is survived by his wife and artistic partner Maude Mitchell, children Clove, Lute, Alexander, Mojo, and Wah, daughters-in-law Jenny and Martha, and three grandchildren.

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