Stefan Brecht, Theater Historian, Is Dead at 84





Stefan Brecht, whose father was the playwright Bertolt Brecht and who added to the family’s theatrical legacy by fastidiously chronicling the rise of avant-garde theater, died on April 13 in Manhattan. He was 84.

The cause was a heart attack, said his wife, Rena Gill. Her husband had Lewy body dementia, a progressive brain disease, she said.

For decades, Mr. Brecht worked on a series of books, collectively known as “The Original Theater of the City of New York: From the Mid-Sixties to the Mid-Seventies,” that described, in great detail, the work of the city’s seminal experimental theater artists.

He completed three books: “Queer Theatre,” which focused on the rise of gay artists like the camp-and-kitsch devotee Jack Smith and the actor and director Charles Ludlam and his Ridiculous Theater Company; “The Theatre of Visions: Robert Wilson,” and “Peter Schumann’s Bread and Puppet Theatre.” Written from extensive notes taken during performances, rehearsals and interviews, the books were conceived as historical documentation of an artistic movement.


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