Equus Ran in Miami and New York Simultaneously in 1975

Robert Fishko, director of New York City’s Forum Gallery, which his mother Bella Fishko established in 1961, got his start in the arts as a freelance theater manager and producer.

Of the many productions Robert Fishko managed or produced, one in particular stands out. In 1975, while he was producer at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, he was fortunate to obtain the rights to Equus, the taut psychological drama by Peter Shaffer, just as it was closing out its critically acclaimed two-year initial run in London and was opening on Broadway. Fishko’s Miami production opened just as the Broadway production got the Tony Award as Best Play.

Shaffer developed the complex plot around an actual incident in which a young man blinded six horses. The play, which is told from a psychiatrist’s perspective, explores the relationship among materialism, convenience, passion, and worship, as well as the human capacity for pain.

Although tradition has it that a show doesn’t go on the road until after it closes on Broadway, Miami wasn’t one of the regular venues for national road shows, and so a rare exception was made and Equus ran in Miami and New York simultaneously. Fishko’s Miami production, which was much more emotional than the New York staging, ran for a full six months and was credited with elevating Miami’s cultural image.

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