Professor Emeritus Lowell Swortzell, who co-founded the Steinhardt School's program in educational theater in 1966, died from complications of a stroke on August 9, 2004. He was 74.
Swortzell, who spent nearly 40 years with Steinhardt's Department of Music and Performing Arts Professions, helped the educational theater program to become a top-rated center for the training of scholars, administrators, performers and designers committed to advancing theater as an educational art form. He co-founded the program with his wife, Nancy.
Swortzell was a man of letters and a prolific writer. He was the lead author of seven books and 20 plays and received the New York Times' "Outstanding Book of the Year Award" for his compilation, All the World's a Stage: Modern Plays for Young People (Bantam Dell, 1972). No other publication in the field of educational theater has ever received such an honor. In 2003, Swortzell donated his large collections of papers to the world's first collection on child drama at Arizona State University.
A Fulbright Scholar, he also was inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center and was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Children's Theatre Foundation in 2003. As professor emeritus, he directed the "New Plays for Young Audiences" series held each June at the Provincetown Playhouse in Greenwich Village. In May, Swortzell received the Steinhardt School's 2004 Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award.
Swortzell was a tireless citizen of NYU and the Steinhardt School of Education. He chaired or served on dozens of dissertation committees, was an esteemed and highly respected colleague and popular teacher, and was a passionate visitor to all kinds of theater, an avid reader, and a lively debater.
Swortzell earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the George Washington University and his doctorate from NYU in 1963.
The following plays by Mr. Swortzell are published by Dramatic Publishing: The Arabian Nights, Our American Cousin, The Shepherd's of St. Francis and A Visit From St. Nicholas.