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Remembering Barry Hoffman

Thursday, July 31, 2014   (0 Comments)

ISPA is sad to share the new that Barry Hoffman passed away on July 25, 2014. He served as the ISPA Chair from 1981-1983. We share a brief obituary below. He will be greatly missed.

Producer, manager, director, lighting and sound designer, technician, carpenter, summer tent raiser, actor, and horse-riding Marshall of Frontier Town, Barry Hoffman began his career in performing arts at Fort Richardson in Alaska during the Korean War, when he replaced Robert Blake as head of the theatre department, otherwise known as Special Services.

After leaving the Army, he went back to Temple University to get a degree in speech and theatre, working weekends and summers at Philadelphia’s Playhouse in the Park and Robin Hood Dell (now the Mann Center). During 15 years in New York, Hoffman lived the life of a frequently out-of-work actor for a while, getting regular TV bit parts in shows like “Car 54 Where Are You” and “Naked City”, helping build small theatres, and teaching technical theatre at Brooklyn College. Doing whatever needed doing in summer stock houses all over the Northeast and at Avondale Playhouse in Indianapolis, led to working as stage manager on and Off-Broadway, and as company manager for New York’s national bus-and-truck road tours for the Theatre Guild, Columbia Artists, Producing Managers Company and more. This included working for a season in England to bring Theatre Royal in Windsor on its first North American tour, and squiring the Osipov Balalaika Orchestra of Moscow around on their American tour.

He moved to Washington in 1970 to work with Palladium Independent Films and manage the Shakespeare Summer Festival on the National Mall. In 1971, Hoffman became Manager of the Concert Hall at the Kennedy Center, where he also served as Company Manager in the Eisenhower Theatre for Roger Stevens’ pre-Broadway shows. From there, he went on to be the first General Manager of Orchestra Hall in Minneapolis; run the Center for Music, Drama and Art in Lake Placid, New York, where he also coordinated arts projects for the 1980 Winter Olympics; was interim Manager of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, taking them on their first international tour; and Executive Director of Studio Arena Theatre in Buffalo, New York. He is Past President of the International Society of Performing Arts Administrators and a long-time member of Actor’s Equity and the Association of Theatrical Press Agents and Managers’ professional union. Hoffman’s own companies SRO and Hoffman/Michaels Group ran subscription campaigns for major performing arts organizations and professional sports teams across the nation.

After retiring, Hoffman became active in greater Washington, DC’s community theatre scene, frequently directing plays and serving as President of Silver Spring Stage and Producing Artistic Director of Potomac Theatre, until moving to Long Beach Island on the Jersey shore. After hurricane Sandy, he and his wife relocated to the artist community of Paducah, Kentucky, where he passed away on July 25 at age 81. He is survived by his wife Suzi, son David in New York City, and a grandson.