b. 5 April 1911, USA, d. 29 November 1982, New York City, New York, USA. Active as a Broadway producer from the early 40s, Kipness’ credits included some huge successes. In the 40s he produced the revue Bright Lights Of 1944 (1943), the plays The Duke Of Darkness (1944) and Star-Spangled Family (1945), before one of his most successful shows, High Button Shoes (1947). This show was produced in collaboration with Monte Proser and ran at the New Century, Shubert and Broadway theatres for a total of 727 performances. Starring Phil Silvers, the show’s book was by Stephen Longstreet and featured music and lyrics by Jule Styne and Sammy Cahn. With George Abbott directing and choreography by Jerome Robbins, the show also featured Nanette Fabray, Helen Gallagher and Mark Dawson.
In the 50s came the plays All You Need Is One Good Break (1950), Women Of Twilight and Conscience (both 1952), Be Your Age (1953), which was followed by another successful musical, La Plume De Ma Tante (1958). This Tony Award -nominated revue was presented by Kipness in collaboration with David Merrick, was devised, written and directed by Robert Dhery, and had music by Gerard Calvi to which English lyrics were written by Ross Parker. Kipness’ 60s shows included the flop play Have I Got A Girl For You! (1963), a moderately successful musical, I Had A Ball (1964), a musical flop, La Grande Valise (1965) and another flop play, But Seriously... (1969).
Kipness began the 70s with another hugely successful musical, the Tony-winning Applause (1970), which he also produced on television three years later. The show starred Lauren Bacall who was succeeded during the 896-performance run by Anne Baxter and Arlene Dahl. This was followed by the flop play Father’s Day (1971), two moderately successful musicals, Inner City (1971) and Seesaw (1973, the latter Tony nominated), and then the flops No Hard Feelings (1973) and Rockabye Hamlet (1976). Next came the successful I Love My Wife, which ran from 17 April 1977 until 20 May 1979 and was nominated for both a Tony and a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding Musical, King Of Hearts (1978), a one-day revival of The Goodbye People (1979), and Teibele And Her Demon, which ran over Christmas and New Year 1979/80 and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award as Outstanding New Play. The musical One Night Stand was planned for 1980 but never opened and in January 1981 came the one-day production of Frankenstein.