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Word Baker; Original Director of ‘The Fantasticks’

Word Baker, 72, the original director of the world’s longest-running musical, “The Fantasticks.” He first opened the legendary production in May, 1960, and 35 years later it is still running at the Sullivan Street Playhouse in New York. Born Charles Baker in Honey Grove, Tex., he later adopted his mother’s maiden name as his first name. Baker’s long theatrical career included directing such Off Broadway shows as “The Pinter Plays,” “I’m Getting My Act Together and Taking It on the Road” and Arthur Miller’s “The Crucible.” He also directed Lillian Gish in “The Glass Menagerie” for television and directed the AT&T; Bell Telephone show at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. A graduate of the University of Texas, Baker taught theater at Carnegie Mellon, Boston and Purdue universities and the universities of Texas and Cincinnati. He also served as artistic director at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park and the Trinity Square Playhouse in Providence, R.I. On Oct. 31 in Paris, Tex., of a stroke.


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