Mel Howard (Producer)
After founding the literary cabaret La Contrescarpe in 1960 with French actress Arlette Reinerg, Arlette and Mel took the lease of the Theatre De Poche Montparnasse where as La Compagnie Reinerg-Howard they produced and directed the first productions of original plays by the likes of Dubillard, Arrabal and Obaldia. Their production of Naives Hirondelles by Roland Dubillare, which he also translated into English, won the critics prize for Best Play of the year in 1961 and is now considered a classic in France. He also produced in Paris Leroy Jones’s Slave Ship and Michael McClure’s “The Beard”. Among other plays Mel produced was the original version of La Maison D’Os by Rolond Dubillard. While running La Contrescarpe Mel toured his theater productions throughout France and on to Italy, Germany and England.
Mel returned from Paris to the United States in 1967 with a taste for doing things first and doing them well. He created and toured the French review Paris Rive Gauche for five years, brought back to the U.S. and produced the first and only U.S. national tour of the Living Theater, the first tours of Stars Of The Comedie Francaise and Stars Of the Royal Shakespeare Company, was first to bring La Mama, The Martha Graham Dance Company, A Chorus Line, Merce Cunningham, Robert Wilson, 42nd Street and his creation Tango Pasion among others on tour in Europe. He toured Ain’t Misbehavin’ around the world as the first Broadway Musical straight from Broadway to perform in Germany, Austria, Sweden, Mexico, Finland and Spain, among others. Mel was the first to present Shirley MacLaine Live in many European countries and the first to present Cats in Paris, where his production won the coveted Prix Moliere for Best Musical in 1989. He produced the musical review Black and Blue at the Chatelet in Paris and then moved it to Broadway where it garnered 17 Tony nominations, winning 3 Tony’s. On Broadway he also produced Flamenco Puro, Tango Argentino, Medea at Lincoln Center, Bejart on Broadway, Notre Faust, Wonderhouse and Tango Pasion, which has been touring the world these last 19 years.
For some name-dropping: Mel Howard was the first to produce an arena tour for Placido Domingo, starting at Madison Square Garden and two tours of North and South America with ballets produced especially for Rudolf Nureyev, Giselle and Don Quixote. He toured Shirley MacLaine Live in 5 countries Shirley had never performed in before.
Mel brought for the first time to the U.S. major dance troupes from Bali, Cambodia, Turkey, Morocco, Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, Thailand, Japan, Brazil, Peru, Greece, Yugoslavia and Argentina. Mel Howard is also producer of the world tour of Ain’t Misbehavin,’ performing internationally since October 2011
Currently Mel is pleased to be presenting Rasta Thomas’s Rock the Ballet internationally with partner Thomas Collien. Rock The Ballet has given over 500 performances for more than 500,000 spectators’ world wide since Howard and Collien first produced it in Hamburg at the St. Pauli Theater four years ago. Rock The Ballet 2 is set to open a new world tour in January of 2013.