The primary Stages Off-Broadway Oral history Project

Celebrating the visionaries who created New York's vibrant Off- and Off-Off-Broadway theater.

Richard Frankel

Richard Frankel


Interviewed on: Thursday, December 15, 2016
Location: at Mr. Frankel's Office
Interviewed by: Casey Childs
Interview #85
"It was just the joy of doing it. At the time I didn’t really have much thought about a career. I was just doing it and seeing where it took me."
Richard Frankel Highlights
Video Length: 6 Minutes, 6 Seconds
Richard Frankel Interview Part One
Video Length: 1 Hour, 58 Minutes
Richard Frankel Interview Part Two
Video Length: 44 Minutes, 35 Seconds

Richard Frankel is one of the foremost producers of Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre.  As Managing Director of Circle Repertory Company, he helped produce dozens of Off-Broadway productions including TALLEY’S FOLLY (1980), FOOL FOR LOVE (1983) and BALM IN GILEAD (1984).  He founded Richard Frankel Productions in 1985 and,  along with his producing partners Tom Viertel and Steve Baruch, produced their first commercial production Off-Broadway, PENN & TELLER (1985). That production was the legendary duo’s first appearance on a New York stage and, together with his partners,  Frankel produced their subsequent national tours and their triumphant return to Broadway in 2015.  Marc Routh  joined RFP as a partner in 1991, and the company’s Off-Broadway successes have  included FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE (1987), THE COCKTAIL HOUR (1989), LOVE LETTERS (1989), SONG OF SINGAPORE (1991), JEFFREY (1993), MARVIN’S ROOM (1992), THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP (1992) and  the New York production of STOMP (1994) which has been running in New York and on tour for the past 22 years.

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Frankel majored in Television Production at  Brooklyn College.  After spending two years in Ethiopia with the Peace Corps, he returned to New York and began working crew positions at Off-Broadway theatres including  the  Delacorte Theatre and La MaMa E.T.C. He later became a stage manager and administrator  at theatres including the Chelsea Theater Center, Ensemble Studio Theatre and Circle Rep.  In addition to RPF, Frankel heads FGTM Theatrical Management, which General Manages and Executive Produces shows for other producers.  In 2012, Frankel and his partners opened the award-winning supper club,  Feinstein’s/54 Below.  He is the recipient of six Tony Awards for Angels in America: Millennium Approaches (1993), Angels in America: Perestroika (1994), The Producers (2001), Hairspray (2003), Company (2007), and The Norman Conquests (2009). Frankel has also won numerous Olivier, Drama Desk, Lortel, and Outer Critics Circle Awards.

Mentioned in Interview

Paul Libin, Carole Rothman, John Vacarro, Charles Ludlam, John Malkovich, Lucille Lortel, Penn & Teller, Kyle Renick, John Lee Beatty, Bernard Gersten, Paul Rudnick, David Rothenberg, La Mama ETC, NYSF/The Public, The Delacorte Theater, Roundabout Theatre Company, Chelsea Theater Company, Ensemble Studio Theatre, Actors’ Playhouse, American Place Theatre, The Players’ Theatre, Promenade Theater, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Sheridan Square Playhouse, Theater at St. Clements, Theater for the New City, Union Square Theatre, The Village Gate, The Westside Theatre, WPA, Circle Repertory, 54 Below, Gerald W. Lynch Theater [John Jay College], Astor Place Theater, Circle in the Square, Lamb’s Theatre, The Phoenix Theatre, Old Reliable Theatre Tavern, Martinique Theatre, Ridiculous Theatrical Company, FOOL FOR LOVE, FORTUNE IN MEN’S EYES, JEFFREY, MARVIN’S ROOM, LOVE LETTERS, MY OLD LADY, BALM IN GILEAD, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, FRANKIE AND JOHNNIE IN THE CLAIR DE LUNE, STOMP, MNEMONIC, SONG OF SINGAPORE, DRIVING MISS DAISY