“Liz McCann was a force of nature. She elevated the Broadway Community to heights heretofore unachieved. She knew that we were nothing without our playwrights. Now we are without her. RIP, Liz. RIP.” -Judy Jacksina
Liz McCann, was one of the first and most successful women to achieve a prominent leadership role in the “theater community”. Liz died Thursday of cancer at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. She was 90.
Elizabeth Ireland Mcann, started her career in theater as a production assistant and manager with Proscenium Productions at the Cherry Lane Theatre in the 1950s.
By 1967, McCann moved on to Broadway, as Managing Director for James Nederlander. She teamed up with Nell Nugent where the duo produced the Tony Award-winning productions of Dracula (1979), The Elephant Man (1979), Morning’s at Seven(1980), Amadeus (1980) and The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (1981). McCann & Nugent’s as produced Night and Day (starring Maggie Smith), Piaf, Rose (starring Glenda Jackson and Jessica Tandy), Leader of the Pack, The Dresser, Mass Appeal, Good, The Glass Menagerie (starring Jessica Tandy and Amanda Plummer) and the Royal Shakespeare Company’s All’s Well That End’s Well, along with Much Ado About Nothing and Cyrano de Bergerac starring Derek Jacobi.
As General Managers, McCann & Nugent managed the Broadway productions of The Gin Game with Jessica Tandy and Hume Cronyn, Tintypes, Crimes of the Heart, ‘night Mother and Tango Argentino, along with The Robber Bridegroom, Otherwise Engaged and Comedy with Music by Victor Borge.
McCann and Nuggent also produced Off-Broadway, including The Lady with the Clarinet and Painting Churches.
Liz partnered with Daryl Roth on Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Three Tall Women in 2002. They were part of the 4x Tony Award-winning The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia? and the 2005 revival of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? starring Kathleen Turner and Bill Irwin. Off-Broadway hits The Play About the Baby and Beckett/Albee were also part of this team. One of her favorite endeavors was on Paula Vogel’s play Indecent in 2018. Her final collaboration was with Robert Fox in producing Martin McDonagh’s Hangmen, which closed prior to opening on Broadway due to the Covid pandemic shutdown.
In other partnership with other producers, she was on Copenhagen, A View From the Bridge and the revival of Hair. She was also a producer of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, A Delicate Balance, Passing Strange, My Fat Friend and Shakespeare for My Father (the latter two starring Lynn Redgrave), Nick & Nora, Orpheus Descending starring Vanessa Redgrave and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Liz also served as Executive Producer of the Tony Awards for several years and was General Manager of the Big Apple Circus.
Her death was announced by longtime associate and friend Kristen Luciani. Funeral arrangements are being made. A mass will take place at St. Paul the Apostle on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.