Ms. Merlis began her career in the theatre in Europe and the United States in a variety of capacities, including producing off-Broadway. She worked in TV news at ABC and WCBS and later produced comedy and musical-variety programs at HBO in New York.
Next, working with Michael Brandman, she produced Athol Fugard's Master Harold and the Boys, starring Matthew Broderick and Zakes Mokae, Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night, directed by Jonathan Miller starring Jack Lemmon and Kevin Spacey, as well as two Stephen Sondheim- James Lapine musicals, Sunday in the Park with George, starring Bernadette Peters and Mandy Patinkin and Into the Woods, starring Bernadette Peters and Joanna Gleason.
For RKO/Nederlander Ms. Merlis produced Eugene O'Neill's Hughie, starring Jason Robards, for PBS she co-produced Hamlet, directed by and starring Kevin Kline, and produced Ruby Dee's adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston's life and works, Zora Is My Name, starring Ruby Dee, Lou Gossett, and Lynn Whitfield. Her productions have received Awards for Cable Excellence, the Christopher Award and an Emmy nomination.
Ms. Merlis has also produced retrospective documentaries on Jack Lemmon and Burt Lancaster.
As a member of The Playwright's Group in Los Angeles, she has worked with writers, developing and directing new plays in workshops and small theatres including an original musical version of Pinoccio.
Via Dolorosa is Iris Merlis, Michael Brandman and Lincoln Center Theater's third production together. The first two were Thornton Wilder's Our Town , starring Spalding Grey, Eric Stoltz and Penelope Ann Miller; and John Guare's House of Blue Leaves, starring John Mahoney, Swoosie Kurtz and Christine Baranski.
A graduate of Vassar College, Ms. Merlis studied theatre at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, as well as film production at New York University.
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