Forman Brown

Forman Brown

Forman Brown (1901-1996) was one of the world leaders in puppet theatre in his day, as well as an important early gay novelist. He was a member of the Yale Puppeteers and the driving force behind Turnabout Theatre. He was born in Otsego, Michigan in 1901 and died in 1996, two days after his 95th birthday. Brown briefly taught at North Carolina State College, followed by an extensive tour of Europe.

Forman's Yale Puppeteers, which he established upon graduating from University of Michigan Class of 1922), opened a puppet theatre in Los Angeles in 1941 (the Turnabout Theater) which attracted celebrity attention and support from some of Hollywood's biggest names, e.g. Greta Garbo, Marie Dressler, and Douglas Fairbanks, as well as other notable figures including Albert Einstein. Brown wrote all the songs and sketches for the troupe's productions. Bette Midler recently sang one of Forman's songs, Mrs. Pettibone, at a Los Angeles AIDS benefit.

Along with Yale Puppeteers Harry Burnett and Richard Brandon, Brown launched Turnabout Theatre in 1941 as "a vehicle for performing both puppet plays and revues for adults. Turnabout Theatre was a highly popular puppetry venue until its dissolusion in 1956. Reversible seats were installed in the theatre so that after the puppet shows were performed at one end of the auditiorium, the puppeteers asked the audience to "turnabout" their seats for the Turnabout revue staged at the opposite end of the auditorium.

In 1933, he wrote, under the pseudonym Richard Meeker, a controversial novel called Better Angel, about a young man coming to terms with his homosexuality. This novel is regarded as "the first American novel to present the "gay" experience in a healthy light.

Broadway vitae

  • Home Sweet Homer (4 January 1976) | lyrics by Forman Brown
  • Music in My Heart (2 October 1947 - 24 January 1948) | lyrics by Forman Brown
  • The Red Mill (16 October 1945 - 18 January 1947) | additional lyrics by Forman Brown

Film vitae

  • An Old Spanish Onion (1935) | writer
  • Bandits and ballads (1934) | writer

Published works

  • The Generous Jefferson Bartleby Jones (1991), ISBN 1-55583-198-2
  • Better Angel (1933), written under pseudonym Richard Meeker


External links

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