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Norman Bel Geddes Photograph by Arnold Genthe, 1925. Courtesy of the Library of Congress (LC-G401-T-4759-003).

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Geddes, Norman Bel (21 April 1893–08 May 1958), scene and lighting designer, industrial designer, and producer, was born Norman Melancton Geddes in Adrian, Michigan, the son of Clifton Terry Geddes and Gloria Lulu Yingling. He was educated in public schools in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois before attending the Cleveland School of Art and the prestigious Chicago Art Institute by the time he was sixteen years old. When he was in his early twenties, Geddes had his earliest successes as a magazine and poster artist in Detroit, Michigan. He designed his first theatrical production, ...

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Jones, Margo (12 December 1911–24 July 1955), originator and inspirer of America's professional regional theater movement, originator and inspirer of America’s professional regional theater movement, was born Margaret Virginia Jones in Livingston, Texas, the daughter of Richard Harper Jones, a lawyer, and Martha Pearl Collins, a teacher. In the Drama Club at Girls’ Industrial College (later Texas Women’s University), she was the only student interested in directing. In 1931, after experiencing what she called “something wonderful” at her first professional production, ...

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Papp, Joseph (22 June 1921–31 October 1991), theater producer, director, and administrator, was born Joseph Papirofsky in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Samuel Papirofsky, a trunk maker, and Yetta Miritch, a garment worker. Both parents were Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Encouraged by teachers in local public schools, young Joseph Papirofsky developed an enthusiasm for English literature, especially the works of Shakespeare. After graduating from Eastern District High School in 1938, he applied to Brooklyn College but was not admitted because of poor grades in science and mathematics. He then worked at a series of jobs and became active in the Communist party. From 1942 to 1946 he served in the U.S. Navy, spending most of this time in an entertainment unit. After discharge from the navy, Papirofsky enrolled at the Actors’ Laboratory Workshop in Los Angeles, using veteran’s benefits to pay expenses. At the Actors’ Lab, which had been founded by former members of the politically left wing Group Theater of the 1930s, he gained valuable experience in fundamentals of stage direction and nonprofit theater management. He stayed with the Actors’ Lab until it ceased operations in May 1950, and then joined a touring company of ...