NEW YORK — Nicholas Martin, an actor-turned-director who ran two important Massachusetts theater companies and earned a Tony Award nomination for directing “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” on Broadway last year, has died. He was 75.
Martin, born in Brooklyn, told Playbill last year, “I was one of those Jewish kids who was taken to plays from the time I could walk, probably. The first time I remember being electrified in the theatre was seeing Ethel Merman in ‘Call Me Madam.’ From that moment on all I wanted to do was get out there and act.”
Martin, who had been battling throat cancer, died Wednesday evening at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York, said officials from the Huntington Theatre Company. Broadway marquees will dim their lights in his honor for one minute Friday night.
He was artistic director of Boston’s Huntington Theatre Company from 2000 to 2008 — nurturing such Broadway-bound shows as Theresa Rebeck’s “Mauritius” and “The 39 Steps” — and the Williamstown Theatre Festival from 2008 to 2010.
“He will be so deeply missed. I take solace in knowing that his DNA remains on our stages and in our company. He will always be here, and he will always be a part of who we are,” Huntington’s Artistic Director Peter DuBois said in a statement.
On Broadway, his directing credits include “Present Laughter” in 2010 with Victor Garber, “Butley” with Nathan Lane in 2006, “Match” with Frank Langella in 2004, “Hedda Gabler” with Kate Burton in 2001 and “The Rehearsal” with Frances Conroy in 1996.
As an actor, he appeared in productions including “Alice in Wonderland,” “The Man Who Came to Dinner,” “Pantagleize,” “Exit the King,” “You Can’t Take It With You,” “The Wild Duck,” “Right You Are If You Think You Are” and “The School for Scandal.”
“What his friends will most remember, I believe, is the joy with which he infected a room, whether it was a rehearsal hall or a dinner table,” Michael Maso, the managing director of Huntington Theatre Company, wrote in an open letter. “And that laugh. Nicky Martin’s laugh will always be a life-affirming miracle, loud enough to rouse the angels from their heavenly sleep and wicked enough to make them question whether they were on the right side.”
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press