Gerald Clifford Weales, theater critic, former Penn professor

Posted: November 03, 2013

A memorial service will be held Saturday, Nov. 2, for Gerald Clifford Weales, 88, a former English professor at the University of Pennsylvania widely known for his theater reviews.

The memorial will be from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on the sixth floor of the Van Pelt Library at Penn, 3420 Walnut St. A reception will follow.

Dr. Weales died Friday, Aug. 30, at the Pines, a nursing facility in Easton, Md.

His greatest joy was the theater, which he first experienced as a boy when his sister Louise Rauch took him to a play. He grew up to become a widely recognized expert on English and American drama, and wrote about both extensively.

Dr. Weales taught English and drama at Penn for 30 years until retiring in 1987.

He held a permanent job as a theater reviewer at the Reporter magazine from 1964 to 1968 and at Commonweal magazine from 1968 to 1993.

Dr. Weales wrote the annual "American Theater Watch" in the Georgia Review from 1978 to 2010.

Readers in Philadelphia and beyond looked to him for reviews and features, which appeared in the Atlantic, Harper's, the Los Angeles Times, Life, the New York Times, the Village Voice, and the Nation.

He also wrote historical surveys of modern American and English drama, as well as children's books and a novel.

Born in Connersville, Ind., he graduated from Connersville High School. After graduating, he served in the Army and then earned bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from Columbia University.

Dr. Weales lived in Philadelphia for more than 60 years before moving to Easton.

He received a George Jean Nathan Award for Dramatic Criticism and a Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Grant.

Dr. Weales loved animals and traveled the world to see them. His favorites were the mountain gorilla, the Tibetan yak, and the orangutan. He enjoyed outings to the Philadelphia Zoo with family and friends.

Surviving are a sister and nieces and nephews. He was married to the former Nora Magid, who died earlier.


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