Terry Allen Kramer, 85, the colorful Broadway producer who won five best-production Tony Awards in 16 years but was just as well known as the grande dame of Palm Beach, Fla., socialites, died May 2 at NewYork-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell hospital in Manhattan.
Kramer had contracted pneumonia while visiting the Bahamas last month.
Kramer's first Tony was for Edward Albee's "The Goat, or Who Is Sylvia?" (2002), the unexpected story of a married architect who falls in love with a female of another species. It was named best play. Her last was for "Hello, Dolly" (2017), the widely praised Bette Midler production about Thornton Wilder's 19th-century larger-than-life widowed matchmaker. It was named best musical revival.
Kramer won Tonys for two shows featuring drag performers as major characters: "La Cage aux Folles" (2004), best musical revival; and "Kinky Boots" (2013), best musical. She also produced the drama "The Humans" (2016), which won four Tonys, including best play.
Although she kept her awards in her Manhattan home, she was better known for her Florida residence. When La Follia, her Palm Beach estate, was put on the market last fall for $135 million, it was said to be the most expensive American property ever listed. The Italianate villa, facing both the Atlantic Ocean and the Intracoastal Waterway, covers more than 37,000 square feet, with 13 bedrooms, a movie theater and its own fitness center.
Invitations to Kramer's annual Thanksgiving dinner at La Follia were prized, and even other celebrity hosts praised her — particularly for standing at the buffet, alongside her staff, serving the guests herself. Photos taken there and around the world showed Kramer, instantly recognizable by her signature long blond hair, deep tan and (often) diamond earrings, with famous friends like Joan Collins, Jerry Hall, Denise Rich and Ivana Trump.
Kramer was 41 when she produced her first Broadway show, "Good News," a 1974 revival of a 1927 musical, with a cast including Alice Faye and Stubby Kaye. It was teasingly described by critic Clive Barnes in the Times as "entirely recycled, up-to-the-minute nostalgia." The show opened two days before Christmas and closed on Jan. 4.
In 1977, things went considerably more smoothly with "I Love My Wife," a relatively low-budget comedy that ran two years and won two Tonys and six Drama Desk Awards.
Over the decades she showed a taste for revivals, producing Broadway returns of hits like "Fiddler on the Roof" (2004), "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (2005), "Grease" (2007), "West Side Story" (2009) and "The Elephant Man" (2014).
"Escape to Margaritaville" (2018), a musical based on the songs of Jimmy Buffett, was her last Broadway production.
Terry Allen was born in Manhattan on June 20, 1933.
Rafael Hernández Colón, 82, a three-term governor of Puerto Rico who argued for the preservation of the island's commonwealth status while others were calling for either statehood or independence, died May 2 at his home there.
Ricardo Rossello, Puerto Rico's current governor, declared a 30-day mourning period. Hernández Colón had leukemia.
Hernández Colón led the Popular Democratic Party, assuming the mantle from its founder, Luis Muñoz Marín, in the early 1970s. He was governor from 1973 to 1977 and, in two consecutive terms, from 1985 to 1993.
He made some bold decisions in his first term, seeking to increase the island's autonomy in its complex relationship with the United States.
"Heir to his party's populist tradition, he tried to make a mark by acquiring the Telephone Company, a state-owned shipping company [Las Navieras] and a series of warehouses," Luis Martínez-Fernández, who lived in Puerto Rico at the time and is now a history professor at the University of Central Florida, said.
"None of those initiatives panned out," he added, "largely because of poor timing, as the 1973-74 oil crisis coincided with his assumption of power, a crisis to which he responded by raising taxes, one of which was nicknamed 'la vampirita' — the little vampire."
That led voters to turn Hernández Colón out. He returned to the governorship in the 1980s with a less confrontational stance toward the federal government, one closer to that of his party's founder, who had negotiated details of the island's original commonwealth status, which took effect in 1952.
"Rafael has learned well the lesson taught to us by Muñoz: that you have to deal with whoever is in the White House," Jaime Santiago Meléndez, director of the University of Puerto Rico's economics department, said in 1984.
The eight-year tenure that began with Hernández Colón's inauguration in January 1985 was relatively stable. But the commonwealth vs. statehood issue proved vexing for him.
In 1991, a referendum he supported, which included constitutional amendments and essentially called for the U.S. to respect Puerto Rico's culture, was defeated after pro-statehood forces argued that it would lead to separation from the U.S. The next year, he announced that he would not seek another term.
Hernández Colón was born on Oct. 24, 1936, in Ponce, Puerto Rico.
New York Times