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Kennedy Center theater director Max Woodward dies aged 76

Max Woodward, who joined the staff at the Kennedy Center as an usher when the performing arts center opened in 1971 and retired in 2016 as vice president of theater programming, overseeing Broadway productions and original shows, died on October 14 at a care center in Washington. He was 76.

The cause was complications from Alzheimer’s disease, said a friend, Steven Suskind.

From attendant, Mr. Woodward moved slowly through the accounting department to managing the Eisenhower Theater and eventually overseeing the Opera House, the Terrace Theater, and the Concert Hall.

When he retired, he told The Washington Post that he would miss working on new theatrical ventures the most, including the 2002 Sondheim Celebration, as well as the revivals of Sondheim’s “Follies” (2011) and the Lynn Ahrens-Stephen Flaherty-Terrence McNally “Ragtime” (2009).

In those cases, he said, his job involved “starting a show from scratch. You choose a project, you get the rights, hire designers, choreographers and the like, and have it rehearsed. The first day of rehearsal is the best day. That’s the part I’ll miss the most.”

Max Arthur Woodward was born in Masontown, Pennsylvania, south of Pittsburgh, on June 20, 1946. After graduating from high school in 1964, he worked as a file manager for the FBI and served in the military in Frankfurt, Germany, before joining settled in Washington. in 1967 after his resignation.

He was an usher at the National Theater for the Kennedy Center. He traced his interest in the theater to his childhood fascination with “The Ed Sullivan Show” on television.

Survivors included his six-year-old partner, Bill Wooby of Washington; and a brother.

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