Obituary: concert and theater producer Arthur Shafman, 75

Posted on: July 31, 2014

In Thursday’s (7/31) New York Times, William Yardley writes, “Arthur Shafman, an ambitious concert and theater producer who spotted an obscure Swiss mime troupe at a café in Zurich in the 1970s, brought it to Broadway and watched it become one of the longest-running shows in history—Mummenschanz—died on Monday in Palm Springs, Calif. He was 75. His wife, Jill Gordon Joseloff, said the cause was pancreatic and liver cancer.” Shafman had a roster of more than a dozen cabaret and Broadway performers—mostly singers—who performed pops concerts with numerous orchestras. While Shafman worked with orchestras, most of his activity was in the theater world, where he “worked with many prominent performers over his long career, helping to stage well-received late-career appearances by Red Skelton at Carnegie Hall in the 1970s and, in the 1980s, Martha Schlamme and Alvin Epstein’s cabaret shows of Kurt Weill music and the singer Sandra Reaves-Phillips’s ‘Late Great Ladies of Blues and Jazz.’ He also managed Ms. Schlamme, the singer Karen Akers, the dancer Jose Molina and the cabaret performer Mark Nadler, among others.… Mr. Shafman said his hunch about Mummenschanz was informed by years of hard work and sharp observation of the theater business.” Born in Brooklyn on April 15, 1939, Shafman “graduated from Samuel Tilden High School before attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. Besides his wife, his survivors include a sister, Susan Balsam.”

Posted July 31, 2014