According to published reports, famed producer and director, Manny Fox, passed away on Tuesday, September 23, due to complications deriving from a heart condition. He was 77 years old, currently residing in Pheonix, Arizona, and leaves behind four sons and three grandchildren.
Fox was famous for his work with Barbra Streisand, Orson Welles, and Gregory Hines among others. Born and bred in New York City, his first major credential was in 1959 at the fabled Cherry Lane Theatre on Commerce Street, in Greenwich Village off-Broadway where he created THE ROOTS OF JAZZ - with African tribal royalty, Prince Onago and Princess Muana - the first presentation in the U.S. of African drums, dances, songs and rituals in a theatrical setting. Thereafter Manny presented original Jazz Festivals with Louis Armstrong and Sarah Vaughan and Folk Festivals at Carnegie Hall featuring a theatricalization of Carl Sandburg'S AMERICAN SONGBAG with Chuck Berry, Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, Phil Ochs, Buffy Sainte-Marie and the Staple Singers.
Manny created the first major presentation of Performance Art, "A HAPPENING WITH SALVADOR DALI at Lincoln Center in Philharmonic Hall with Salvador Dali painting 'live' onstage. Manny has produced numerous anthologies including The Radio Theatre of Orson Welles beginning with THE WAR OF THE WORLDS, THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMEDY narrated by George Burns, SHOWSTOPPERS - 50 performances by the original casts in Broadway musicals including Ethel Merman, Rex Harrison, Barbra Streisand, Ezio Pinza; THE BEST OF BROADWAY for CBS, ENCHANTED EVENINGS WITH RODGERS AND HAMMERSTEIN for PBS, and FREEDOM ROCK.
Manny produced a 5 LP retrospective of Duke Ellington which led to Manny producing Duke Ellington'S SOPHISTICATED LADIES on Broadway starring Gregory Hines and Judith Jameson. Manny produced five subsequent companies of SOPHISTICATED LADIES throughout the world including the first time a Broadway Musical was brought to Japan, and the first Broadway musical in Russia, and the first and only time ever of a live performance on Pay-Per-View TV directly from On Stage on Broadway. Recently Manny produced three original children's musicals, ON OUR OWN, RELATIVELY SPEAKING and QUESTIONABLE QUEST which performed at the Beacon Theatre on Broadway and was filmed 'live' on stage. He had also been working on his second major musical, FAMILY FORTUNE.