Floria V. Lasky, Esq. (In Memoriam)
After representing Jerome Robbins for more than fifty years, Ms. Lasky continued to serve as executor of his estate, President of The Jerome Robbins Foundation and Trustee of The Robbins Rights Trust. She died in 2007. Ms. Lasky entered Hunter College when she was fourteen years old. She met Jerome Robbins shortly after graduating from New York University Law School, first in her class, when she was only twenty-one. Too young to be admitted to the New York Bar and, being Jewish and female, unable to get a job, she was finally hired by a small entertainment law firm run by someone who knew someone who knew her brother. At the same time, just blocks from her office in the opposite direction, Jerome Robbins had begun a revolution of his own with “Fancy Free” and “On the Town”. Over the half-century of their association, whether it was Broadway or ballet, Ms. Lasky became and remained Jerry’s lawyer and advisor, his steady counselor and his fiercest champion. It has been written of Ms. Lasky that she had a “reputation for not being averse to engaging in battle – in fact, rather doting on it.” While such a phrase belies her warm care and devotion, her willingness to do battle on her clients’ behalf was absolute. In a feat of suasion that still evokes admiration (and vexation) throughout the theater, at Mr. Robbins’ request Ms. Lasky brought together the writers, lyricists, directors, designers and original producers of more than 10 Broadway productions and opened the stage door to “Jerome Robbins’ Broadway”. It won six Tony Awards in 1989. Ms. Lasky spent her entire professional career in the offices of that small entertainment law firm, Fitelson & Mayers, known later as Fitelson Lasky Aslan & Couture. She was instrumental in paving the way for such modern theater classics as “Oklahoma!”, “My Fair Lady”, “The Sound of Music”, “West Side Story”, “Fiddler on the Roof”, “Carousel”, “Peter Pan” and “Grand Hotel” among many others. In addition to Jerome Robbins, her clients included such luminaries as Carson McCullers, Elia Kazan, Jule Styne, Frederick Loewe, Joshua Logan, Mary Martin, Tennessee Williams, Gypsy Rose Lee, Burl Ives and Leland Hayward. Her counsel and guidance were essential to the Theatre Guild and The Actor’s Studio. She lectured at Philip Burton Drama School, Rutgers Law School and New York University School of Law. She was the first Foundation chairman of Hunter College, received its President’s Medal in 1994 and was made a Doctor of Humane Letters in 1998. She also served as the President of the Frederick Loewe Foundation. Ms. Lasky was by turns beguiling and abrupt, demanding and generous, gentle when you least expected it, but always brilliant. Though she was the accidental entertainment lawyer her profound contributions to theater and ballet were no accident.