Pages from Michael Butler's Journal
MY FIRST WORK IN THE THEATRE
My first exposure to the wonderful world of the theater came through friendship with the actor Richard Ney, writer Portia Nelson and singer Marti Stevens (who later became my wife).
I got to know Roger Stevens (no kin to Marti), the real estate tycoon and last of the great impresarios. Stevens is typical of a gentle, distinguished force not often found in the Broadway scene. He went on to found the Kennedy Center in Washington, one of our greatest venues for the Performing Arts.
Through Roger, I became a liaison between him and Alfred DeLiagre during their transition of The Golden Apple from the Phoenix to Broadway. It was an unhappy relationship, as Alfred was very difficult to work with. That burden really fell on Roger. I was only the message carrier. All this unpleasantness was overcome by the excitement of Kaye Ballard's wonderful performance as Helen.
With Roger, I convinced my Father to invest in West Side Story, which became one of our most profitable theatrical ventures.
I was going out with Audrey Hepburn and convinced her to influence Roger to star her in Ondine. An unfortunate experience; I lost Audrey to Mel Ferrar and we lost money in the show, even though it was a critical success. Fantasies are always the toughest to make commercial hits.
My last experience with Roger Stevens--he was with me opening night of Hair.
On to Another Page in the Diary - "On Stars"
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