John (Rocky) Coe

  • Years at WGBH: 1954 – 1956
  • Position(s): Staging Facilities Director
  • Email address: joncoe@oasisonline.com

From Don Hallock – 1999

After leaving WGBH, Rocky set about getting an MFA degree from Boston University majoring in Theater Arts, and spent some time directing theater productions in the Boston area before making the move to New York City.

He became quite involved in the early days of the Off Off Broadway movement. He spent a couple of years with The Living Theater and made two tours of Europe with that company. Then he was a member of The Open Theater as well as directing and acting in several of their productions. In that same period he collaborated with Ellen Stewart on several productions a the Cafe LaMama, both as actor and director. He also was helping Joe Cino in establishing the Cafe Cino as a force in the off-off arena. He acted in the premiere of Sam Shepard’s Icarus’ Mother at the Cino. The American Place Theater and the Judson Poet’s Theater were also exciting venues for experimentation in theater styles.

The Regional Theater movement was getting underway at that time and over the years John/Rocky was a member of the company in the theaters of many cities around the country. Several trips to “Broadway” were exciting theater, but did not produce any mega-hit long run productions.

Rocky spent many years happily ensconced in a small, old, warm apartment on 18th St. in Manhattan that fitted him like a comfortable shoe. And he spent a lot of his time sailing and messing, messing, messing about in boats at City Island and wherever he could find good water. That was his mistake. He became seduced in the dream that he should build his own boat — his dream schooner. And he did it!

But the time frame for production expanded far beyond his plans. After several years of working on the boat in Deltaville, VA, with only short visits back to the city, he was taught a rough truth about New York theater careers, and casting agents, when reports reached him that Jason Miller had said to Marty Sheen, “Yeah, its too bad about John Coe, he’s gone now. Didn’t you know … he died a couple of years ago”.

With his obit firmly established in New York and no directors demanding his participation in their productions John slipped the old New York mooring lines and firmly set his bow anchor in Deltaville where he lives aboard MISTRESS QUICKLY, his thirty six foot sailing schooner.

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