Lycoming College offers the Harold Clurman experience

The Lycoming College Theatre Department will stage the solo play “LET IT BE ART! Harold Clurman’s Life of Passion” Feb. 13 through 15. Professional guest artist Ronald Rand takes on the role of Clurman, bringing the writer, director and critic to life for audiences.

Harold Clurman directed more than 40 Broadway plays, is considered one of the most influential drama critics and directors in American theater, was nominated for several Tony awards during the span of his career and was one of the three founders of the Group Theatre: “considered by many the most significant ensemble art theatre in the history of the American theatre,” according to Rand’s dedicated “LET IT BE ART!” website.

Clurman’s criticism in “The New Republic” and “The Nation” (he wrote for the latter for nearly 30 years until his death in 1980) helped to shape American theater and its perception on a grand scale. He wrote seven books, including his memoir “The Fervent Years: The Group Theatre And The Thirties” (1961).

For Lycoming College’s Theatre Department, preparing for “LET IT BE ART!” has offered a chance to work with a world-class production company, including Rand, director Gregory Abels, and dramaturg of educational guide Laura Gale. For audiences next week, this will not only mean exposure to someone with an encyclopedic knowledge of an historic figure, but an actor with the chops to bring him to life. For everyone involved it will undoubtedly be equal parts educational and entertaining.

Ronald Rand is currently in his 15th year performing the play and has performed as Harold Clurman across five continents and 17 states. “LET IT BE ART!” has had two critically-acclaimed Off-Broadway runs and has earned Mr. Rand the distinction of being the first American invited to Zimbabwe’s BAFA Festival of Arts, the first American invited to perform in Russia’s “Voices of History” International Theatre Festival, and the first American to perform a play in Columbia’s San Vincente’s Cultural Arts Center. Director Gregory Abels has directed or acted in more than 800 stage plays, films and television dramas.

All performances will begin at 8 p.m. at the Mary L. Welch Theatre located on Mulberry Street on the Lycoming College Campus. Lycoming will offer dinner and a show with the Feb. 14 performance, and advanced reservations are required by calling 570-321-4048 before Feb. 11. Find out more online at, including the schedule for the current season, directions, parking information and ticket information.