Roger Paradiso’s article about Judson Church (April 2019 issue) tells a lot, but has huge holes in it. He doesn’t mention the protean gifts of Rev. Al Carmines, who Rev. Howard Moody (also not mentioned) hired to start a theater in the church. Rev. Carmines brought in large numbers of people who got their start in the theater there: Maria Irene Fornes and Ronald Tavel, playwrights; Essie Borden, Lee Guilliatt, and Julie Kurnitz, actresses; Ira Siff, now on WQXR talking about the opera (but previously the producer, director and star of La Gran Scena Opera Company); and Albert Poland, general manager of many Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off-Off-Broadway shows.
Al Carmines wrote many of the theater pieces himself. He won eleven Obies!
The article also fails to mention the Judson Art Gallery, where happenings, uh, happened in New York City, and which hosted happenings by artists Claes Oldenburg, Tom Wesselman, Jim Dine, Robert Whitman, and Allen Kaprow, who originated the happenings, after lessons learned from his teacher, John Cage.
The freewheeling openness of the Judson Church was unprecedented, certainly among churches.
—Jane Heil Usyk