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March 6, 2007

Contact: Contact: Mike Emery
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HOUSTON, March 6, 2007 – Tony Award-winning producer Stuart Ostrow has long helped tell stories on Broadway. Recently, his own story was celebrated as one of the best of 2006.

The University of Houston Distinguished University Professor of Theatre chronicled his career on the Great White Way in “Present at the Creation, Leaping in the Dark, Going Against the Grain: 1776, Pippin, M. Butterfly, La Bête and Other Broadway Adventures.” The book recently was selected by Booklist, the magazine of the American Library Association, as one of the top 10 arts books of 2006.

Never at a loss for humor, Ostrow recounted the challenges of writing about one’s life and career.

“Telling the truth. Sharing the credit. Nailing the bad guys. Admitting your mistakes,” he said.

In Booklist’s review of “Present at the Creation,” critic Jack Helbig applauded Ostrow’s work, particularly his sharp memory and ability to deliver vivid details about colleagues.

“He would rather dissect a show to reveal what makes it a hit than eviscerate a colleague. That will disappoint some, but true fans of the Broadway musical will find this book more intellectually satisfying and nutritious than many another on their passion,” wrote Helbig.

In his book, Ostrow applauded many of the mavericks with whom he collaborated and discussed a producer’s ultimate responsibilities with regard to helping deliver a quality stage performance.

“He must have a vision of what the show is about and the talent and erudition to convince the creators to remain on course and remember why they were initially excited about their concept,” he wrote.

Ostrow oversees the Musical Theatre Collaboration and Musical Theatre Lab (MTL) classes in the UH School of Theatre & Dance. He founded the Musical Theatre Lab in 1973 at St. Clement’s Church in New York City. It was later developed at the Kennedy Center and Harvard College before it arrived at UH in 1995. During its tenure in New York, the lab hosted workshops featuring the talents of playwright Arthur Miller, singer Carol King and avant-garde dramatist Robert Wilson.

“Since its inception, the Musical Theatre Lab produced some 40 experimental musicals, some distinguished, yet all dedicated to creators seeing how far they could take their work, as opposed to seeing how much they could make from it,” wrote Ostrow in “Present at the Creation.”

Ostrow received Tony awards for “1776” as Best Musical in 1969 and “M. Butterfly” as Best Play in 1988 and England’s Olivier Award for “La Bête” as Comedy of the Year in 1992. He also has produced Tony nominees “Pippin” and “The Apple Tree,” in which he collaborated with Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick, Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse and Stephen Schwartz.

Previous books written by Ostrow include “A Broadway Producer’s Journey” and “Thank You Very Much: The Little Guide to Auditioning for the Musical Theater” and “How to Audition for Musical Theater II: Finding the Song.” He is working on a new book, “Academic Theatre.”

“Present at the Creation” was published in 2006 by Applause Books. For more details on the book, visit

“This book is definitely one of the most valuable sources of information regarding the theater industry,” said Sidney Berger, director of the UH School of Theatre & Dance. “Stuart’s stories come out of his vast experience on Broadway and extraordinary insight, which he now passes on to our students.”

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