ARNOLD MITTELMAN is a Producer, Director, Educator and Author with a nationally recognized career of artistic and educational achievement. He has created almost 300 diverse productions of plays, musicals and special events in all art forms. He helped found and/or lead five major not-for-profit theaters including the acclaimed New york Free Theater, The Whole Theater Company and The Coconut Grove Playhouse. Employing innovative development strategies, he has launched numerous world premieres and commercial theatrical productions for Broadway, Off Broadway, National Tours and the West End. His distinguished teaching, educational and innovative training programs have accompanied his body of work. In 2007 he created and was named President and Producing Artistic Director of the National Jewish Theater Foundation, Inc./National Jewish Theater (NJTF/NJT) which celebrates the cultural significance of Jewish history, themes and creativity including significant Jewish playwrights, composers, lyricists, authors and performers. Mr. Mittelman guided by a prestigious Board of NJTF/NJT Advisors developed the first comprehensive production and research-oriented, Holocaust-related Theater Catalog (HTC). Mr. Mittelman is founding director of the NJTF/HTII Holocaust Theater International Initiative, at the University of Miami Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies, overseeing its work in research, education and production. The NJTF/Holocaust Theater International Initiative (HTII) produced and Mr. Mittelman directed the critically acclaimed NYC production of the stage and film version of The Soap Myth by Jeff Cohen. He founded in 2008 and served as President until 2018 The American Theater Festival Foundation. ATF extended the finest work of America's not-for-profit producing theaters to historic or underutilized presenting venues reaching otherwise underserved audiences. Both not-for-profit companies, supported by national and regional donors, have previosly collaborated on critically acclaimed productions of Theodore Bikel in Sholom Aleichem: Laughter Through Tears and The Soul of Gershwin: The Musical Journey of an American Klezmer in major metropolitan areas, including New York City, South Florida, San Francisco and Toronto. Mr. Mittelman and the NJTF guided the development of the new musical play Words By: Ira Gershwin by Joseph Vass with productions in Los Angeles and throughout the United States. In New York city and London, Mr. Mittelman in association with NJTF produced the premiere of Rothschild and Sons, music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, book by Sherman Yellen.
Prior to his founding the NJTF/NJT and ATFF/ATF Mr. Mittelman was for over two decades (1985-2006) the Producing Artistic Director of the renowned Coconut Grove Playhouse (CGP) in Miami, Florida. Mr. Mittelman was responsible for more than 200 ethnically diverse plays, musicals, educational and special events performed on two stages (1100 & 200 seats) during his tenure at the Playhouse. These plays and musicals were highlighted by 30 World or American premieres and reinterpreted revivals, many directed by Mr. Mittelman. Forty Playhouse productions, featuring some of the industry's greatest theatrical talents and supported by innovative partnerships between the not-for-profit and for-profit sectors, transferred directly to Broadway, Off-Broadway, toured, or went on to other national and international venues. This body of work includes three Pulitzer Prize-winning playwrights directing their own work for the first time in a major theatrical production: Edward Albee - Seascape; David Auburn - Proof; and Nilo Cruz - Anna In the Tropics. Musical legends Cy Coleman, Charles Strouse, Jerry Herman, Jimmy Buffett, John Kander and Fred Ebb were in residence at the Playhouse to develop world premiere productions. The Coconut Grove Playhouse was honored by the participation of librettist/writers Herman Wouk, Alfred Uhry, Jerome Weidman, Terrence McNally and Mario Vargas Llosa. Numerous Tony Award winning actors, writers directors, choreographers and designers worked with Mr. Mittelman. (see selected production list and stars below). While at the Playhouse he oversaw the creation of an education program that included an ongoing professionally taught theatrical training curriculum, internships, scholarships and in-school touring program that commissioned and produced 35 socially relevant plays reaching over 200 thousand students and teachers.
As Producing Artistic Director, Mr. Mittelman headed an organization with an annual budget in excess of $6-$8 million. He supervised a year-round and seasonal staff of 60-100 people that included artistic, educational, production, marketing, fundraising and administrative departments. During his tenure the Playhouse generated well over $200 million in gross revenues, representing over $500 million in economic impact to South Florida. His productions have been seen by over three million attendees, including countless disadvantaged citizens, seniors and students. In addition, Mr. Mittelman led a team that received $20 million in government funding and $5 million in private sector support for emergency Playhouse renovations. During his tenure, the Playhouse was also the home of many other artistic events including music, dance, concerts, film festivals and television broadcasts. In 2006 Mr. Mittelman was the recipient of the prestigious George Abbott Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts
Before coming to the Playhouse and for more than a decade (1973-1984), Mr. Mittelman was Producing Director of the nationally acclaimed Whole Theatre Company, which he founded with other artists including Oscar-winner Olympia Dukakis. Mr. Mittelman had the pleasure of directing Ms. Dukakis in Brecht’s Mother Courage, Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf and O’Neil’s The Touch of the Poet. He also directed Weiss’s Marat Sade and Pinter’s The Homecoming. The repertory of the Whole Theatre resident company emphasized classic American and Western European literature. Prior to the Whole Theatre he was a founder and director of the innovative New York Free Theatre where he created, for six years (1966-1972), original plays and musicals with relevant social themes; including racism and individual responsibility. He was also a co-producer of Shaw's Candida for CBS Television starring Blythe Danner. In 1984/5 he was lead producer and directed Alone Together at Broadway’s Music Box Theatre. He was also the sole producer of the Off-Broadway hit Visiting Mr. Green (1997/8) first starring Eli Wallach then Hal Linden which has received 300 productions all over the world and been translated in 27 languages.
Mr. Mittelman attended the High School for the Performing Arts and graduated with honors from Brooklyn College. He received his M.F.A. from the N.Y.U. School of Arts, where he was the first recipient of the Vincent Sardi Scholarship-established by Mr. Sardi for Mr. Mittelman. Additionally, Mr. Mittelman has taught and been on the graduate faculty of Rutgers University, under a grant he received from the Rockefeller Foundation, developing a new doctoral program in Applied Arts. He has taught or lectured at numerous Colleges and Universities including New York University, Columbia and The New School for Social Research. He is the co-author of Theater Arts and Self Awareness, a compilation of pioneering techniques in the development of self-esteem, reading, math, and positive behavioral change in adolescents. He is a co-author of Enacting History: A Practical Guide to Teaching the Holocaust through Theater, published by Routledge Press. He also wrote under contract for Universal Studios. Mr. Mittelman has been a member of the League of American Theatres and Producers, Actors Equity, and the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.
Mr. Mittelman has also headed many social service and educational projects: including the Youth Arts Development Program of Full Circle Associates of New York City, which worked with school systems and local community organizations using the arts as tools for personal, institutional and community development. He served as a consultant to the Montclair Board of Education, in New Jersey developing their gifted and talented program, assisted Montclair State College in designing expansion plans for the existing Fine and Performing Arts Department; was Executive Director of the Fort Lee Youth and Community Services, and the North Essex Development and Action Council which had centers of operation throughout Northern New Jersey, including youth service bureaus, art therapy and drug abuse prevention programs. He served as consultant to the Smithsonian Institute in its program using creative arts to enhance social awareness, combat drug abuse and prevent juvenile crime.
Shows originally produced by Arnold Mittelman during his tenure as
Producing Artistic Director at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, for Broadway, Off-Broadway,
London, National Tours and Regional Theater Co-Productions.
Recent highlights include the founding of the
National Jewish Theater Foundation and its Holocaust Theater International Initiative.
|CORPSE moved from the CGP to an open ended run on Broadway at the Helen Hayes Theater
|RUM & COKE was co-produced with Joseph Papp's New York Shakespeare Festival-Public Theater
|ON THE TWENTIETH CENTURY went on National Tour following its run at CGP, starring Imogene Coca
|ALONE TOGETHER originally produced and directed on Broadway (1984/85) by Mr. Mittelman plays CGP with Broadway star Janis Paige, Robert Reed and Desi Arnaz jr.
|LET ‘EM ROT by Cy Coleman and A.E. Hotchner which moved directly to Broadway with the title WELCOME TO THE CLUB
|FAME the Musical originated at CGP and has been produced around the world and on London's West End
|BLOOD WEDDING was co-produced with the Tony Award winning Old Globe Theatre of San Diego
|RUN FOR YOUR WIFE starring Ray Cooney and Paxton Whitehead moves from CGP to Broadway for open-ended run
|MIXED BLESSINGS by Luis Santeiro, based on Moliere's TARTUFFE won the AT&T On-Stage National Award. Production marked the professional debut of Broadway star Raul Esparza
|LADY DAY AT EMERSON'S BAR & GRILL transferred to the Wisdom Bridge Theatre in Chicago
|MATADOR the Musical, moved directly to London’s West End, was produced by CBS Records starring Stephanie Powers
|EMBRACEABLE YOU re-opened on Broadway with the new title MIXED EMOTIONS
|ONCE UPON A SONG moved to London's Off-West End for an open-ended run starring Anthony Newley
|THE BIG LOVE starring Tracey Ullman transferred directly to Broadway
|TANGO PASION a company of 30 of Argentina’s finest dancers, musicians and singers transferred directly to Broadway
|FAMILY SECRETS moved and became the then longest running one-woman show in off- Broadway history
|PAPA about Ernest Hemingway, transferred to off-Broadway for an open-ended run starring Len Cariou
|BERMUDA AVENUE TRIANGLE starring Bea Arthur moved from CGP to Detroit, Los Angeles, then to New York
|RADIO GALS musical spoof moved to an open-ended off-Broadway run
|DEATH OF A SALESMAN was created by and began its national tour at CGP, starring Hal Holbrook
|VISITING MR. GREEN starring Eli Wallach moved to off-Broadway. Produced around the world in numerous languages
|DON'T STOP THE CARNIVAL by Herman Wouk and Jimmy Buffett moved to the Bahamas for an open-ended run
|LITTLE BY LITTLE had an open-ended run off-Broadway at the York Theatre
|THE SUNSHINE BOYS moved to Broadway starring Jack Klugman and Tony Randall
|AN EVENING WITH JERRY HERMAN featuring Mr. Herman transferred to Broadway for a limited engagement
|GOODBYE, MY FRIDUCHITA produced in New York by the Director’s Company, then transferred off-Broadway
|TALLULAH starring Kathleen Turner, had a National Tour of 15 major cities presented by the Nederlander Organization
|ROUGH CROSSING was produced in association with Tony Randall’s National Actor’s Theatre
|THE GATHERING first with Theodore Bikel then Hal Linden, moved to Broadway for an open-ended run
|SAY GOODNIGHT, GRACIE moved to an open-ended run on Broadway, then to a National Tour
|I'M NOT RAPPAPORT with Judd Hirsch and Ben Vereen, moved to Broadway for an open-ended run
|URBAN COWBOY the Musical opened on Broadway and received two Tony Nominations (choreography and score)
|BLUE was co-produced with the Pasadena Playhouse, Arizona Theatre Co. and Papermill Playhouse, State Theater N.J.
|ROMEO AND BERNADETTE was co-produced with the Papermill Playhouse
|SIX DANCE LESSONS IN SIX WEEKS with Rue McClanahan and Mark Hamill moved to Broadway
|CONFESSIONS OF A MORMON BOY transferred off-Broadway for an open-ended run
|COCONUT GROVE PLAYHOUSE announces plans to transfer all productions for runs at Parker Playhouse in Ft. Lauderdale
|TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE created by CGP, toured 12 major American cities presented by Broadway Across America
|SOUTHERN COMFORTS with Hal Holbrook and Dixie Carter, then presented by Primary Stages in New York City
|THE CONSTANT WIFE co-production with Walnut Street Theater of Philadelphia, winner of the Carbonell Award for "Best Production in South Florida."
|SONIA FLEW by Melinda Lopez, directed by David Ellenstein and starring Lucie Arnaz is final play of CGP 50th anniversary season.
|ARNOLD MITTELMAN was honored with the prestigious George Abbott Award for "Outstanding Achievement in the Arts"
|ARNOLD MITTELMAN creates the American Theater Festival Foundation/American Theater Festival (ATF) and the National Jewish Theater Foundation/National Jewish Theater (NJT). He becomes the first President and Producing Artistic Director of both not-for-profit companies.
|THE SOUL OF GERSHWIN produced at the CGP in 2002, becomes the Inaugural Production of American Theater Festival and National Jewish Theater at the Parker Playhouse, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. Overwhelming success prompts return engagement prior to National Tour.
|Theodore Bikel seen at CGP in THE DISPUTATION, THE GATHERING, THE CHOSEN and ABOUT TIME writes and stars in SHOLOM ALEICHEM: LAUGHTER THROUGH TEARS and is second American Theater Festival and National Jewish Theater Production at Parker Playhouse.
|Arnold Mittelman announces plans to produce the first major Broadway revival and West End premiere of the musical THE ROTHCHILDS by Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnich and Sherman Yellen for the 2011-2012 season. Other productions jointly produced by the ATF and NJT nationally and internationally in the 2010 season include:
- KOSHER CHEERLEADER written and starring Los Angeles based Sandy Wolshin premieres in Arizona then South Florida on way to New York engagement.
|THE SOAP MYTH by Jeff Cohen produced by NJTF and directed by Mr. Mittelman opens off Broadway in New York City to critical acclaim.
WORDS BY: IRA GERSHWIN by Joseph Vass premieres at the North Coast Repertory Theatre, San Diego to critical acclaim.
|THE SOAP MYTH The filmed version of the play is co-directed by Mr. Mittelman and is to be released for worldwide viewing by the prestigious London based company Digital Theatre as their first American made production.
WORDS BY: IRA GERSHWIN by Joseph Vass is in seen in multiple productions throughout the United States.
|ROTHSCHILD & SONS music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, book by Sherman Yellen premiered in readings at North Coast Repertory Theatre and had staged readings in New York City.
|WORDS BY: IRA GERSHWIN by Joseph Vass premieres at the Colony Theater in Los Angeles to critical acclaim and an extended run.
ROTHSCHILD & SONS music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, book by Sherman Yellen has New York City premiere off-broadway at The York Theatre Company to critical acclaim and extended run.
|National Jewish Theater Foundation- Holocaust Theater International Initiative becomes part of the University of Miami Sue and Leonard Miller Center for Contemporary Judaic Studies. Arnold Mittelman named its Founding Director. First and only University based Initiative in world to focus solely on Holocaust Theater research, education and production.
|NJTF/HTII completes its fourth annual Remembrance Readings with participants from 11 cities and states including Washington, DC: New York City, NY: San Diego, CA and Chicago, Ill. Elie Wiesel honored for his own plays with Remembrance Readings of them across America and at Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. Mr. and Mrs. Wiesel are awarded the NJTF/HTII Lifetime Achievement Award as part of the Lincoln Center Reading hosted by Mr. Mittelman. Ed Asner stars in national readings of the NJTF/HTII produced and critically acclaimed off Broadway production of The Soap Myth by Jeff Cohen originally directed by Mr. Mittelman.
|ROTHSCHILD & SONS produced by Mr. Mittelman and NJTF/HTII premieres at the London’s Park Theatre for an extended and sold out run.
|Arnold Mittelman receives Arts Champion Award from John S.and James L. Knight Foundation for lifetime arts achievement including leadership of Coconut Grove Playhouse and National Jewish Theater Foundation.
NJTF HTII conducts Remembrance Reading of ROTHSCHILD & SONS at NYC Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts. 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award given to family of composer Jerry Bock.
NJTF HTII honors The Old Globe, La Jolla Playhouse and North Coast Repertory Theatre for 2015 founding role in NJTF HTII Remembrance Play Readings.
|Mr. Mittelman is co-author of Enacting History: A Practical Guide to Teaching the Holocaust through Theater, published by Routledge Press.
NATIONAL JEWISH THEATER FOUNDATION
NATIONAL JEWISH THEATER
National Jewish Theater Foundation (NJTF) Mission
The NJTF celebrates Jewish culture, history and identity as well as the creative contributions of Jewish theatrical artists-playwrights, composers, lyricists, actors, musicians, choreographers, directors, and designers-by creating, preserving and presenting these works to diverse audiences across America.
These are the inaugural Funders of National Jewish Theater Foundation/National Jewish Theater and Holocaust Theater International Theater Initiative. We thank them all and welcome you to join them.
- Akerman Senterfitt/Judge Michael Chavies
- Parviz Afrahim
- American Life Insurance Company
- Severyn Ashkenazy
- Ana Azcuy & Ted Gelman
- Lang Baumgarten
- Marilyn Kalusin Berens
- Theodore Bikel
- Stanley & Joyce Black Family Foundation
- Craig Shipler & Portia Bock*
- Estate of Jerry Bock
- Charles and Andrea Bronfman Foundation
- CBRE/CB Richard Ellis/Stephen Siegel*
- Harvey & Roberta Chaplin
- Jack Chester Foundation
- Ray Cooney
- Joseph & Robert Cornell Memorial Foundation
- Stanley Diller Charitable Foundation
- Lewis S. “Mike” Eidson*
- Ron & Charlene Esserman
- Fairholme Foundation
- Carolynn & Michael Friedman
- Jean & Jerome Friedman
- Ira & Lenore Gershwin Trusts
- The Goldrich Family Foundation/Jona Goldrich
- Scott & Robin Gottlieb*
- Herschel V. & Nancy Green
- Sheldon Harnick*
- Sue & L. J. Hochberg
- Jim Joseph Foundation*/Jeffrey Solomon trustee
- Karnell Foundation
- Jack Klugman
- John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
- Koret Foundation
- R. Kirk Landon
- Mary Ann & Ray Larsen
- Anne E. Leibowitz Fund
- Marvin & Isabel Leibowitz*
- Senator Gwen Margolis
- Lynn Martenstein
- James H. T. McConnell, Jr.
- Leonard Miller Sue Miller
- Joanne & James Mitchell*
- Arnold & Susann Mittelman*
- Fred Moss
- Paul Newman
- Newman's Own Foundation
- Parker Playhouse Foundation
- Alan Potamkin
- Jordan Ressler Charitable Fund*
- Rob & Fran Ruwitch
- Gloria Scharlin & Family
- Rodney & Marsha Scully
- Myra & Harold Shapiro
- Jean D. Shehan
- Dan Silverstein
- The Simons Trust
- David Smith
- Isaac Sredni
- Andrew Stevens Taube Foundation
- Barbra Streisand Foundation*
- Laslo N. Tauber Family Foundation
- Grant Thornton/Emily & Mitchell Less
- Randy Jones Toll & Steven J. Toll*
- Max Webb
- Jean Baker Weiss Trust/Harry B. Smith
- White and Case/Owen Pell
- Maurice Wiener
- Patricia Wollowick
- Sanford & Dolores Ziff
- *Contributors since 2017 to NJTF HTII Second Decade Legacy Fund