New York's Lincoin Center White Elephants-the Vivian Beaumont and the Mitzi Newhouse Theaters-many have a new lease on life late next year or early in 1980.
"Everything else seems to have been tried, so we've come up with this new approach," said Richmond Crinkley, who will serve as executive director and chairman of a new directorate made up of theater artists.
Writer-comdeian Woody Allen; opera conductor-director Liviu Ciulei: British director of the Canadian Stratford Festival, Robin Phillips; American director Eillis Rabb and Edwards Albee, as "company palywright," will serve on the board.
"Our aim," Crinkley said yesterday in New York, "is to avoid a one-person theater. The administrative burden has been too great for artistic people to shoulder.
"None of our people can guarantee more than one thing a year, but with such a group as that, this could create an American theater of internaitonal caliber. While most of our directors have had their own companies, the realistic approach is not to expect a formal Lincoln Center company during the first two seasons. By the third we may be that far."
Founder of the Folger Theater Group, 38-year-old Crinkley next went to the Kennedy Center, where he had charge of the Bicentennial series of productions which began with "Skin of Our Teeth." For the past two years he has been in New York as executive director of ANTA, the American National Theater and Academy.
Estimating that expenses for the two theaters, the Beaumont seating 1,100 and the Newhouse seating 299, could be cut 25 percent under most recent costs, Crinkley ascribed his optimism to "remarkable cooperation from all the unions" and that "with news of the plan leaking out, the momentum has been astonishing already."
Robert Whitehead and Elia Kazan were forced out of the directorship before the Beaumont opened in 1967. Herbert Bau and Jules Irving were the next directors, with Irving continuing after Blau's departure. After a single seanson, Joseph Papp gave up in August 1977 after a year, claiming that Lincoln Centre economics were "impossible."