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Friday, October 29, 1993 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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A Longtime Theatergoer, Marsha Glazer, Donates $1 Million To Rep

When the honchos at Seattle Repertory Theatre went hunting for a major gift to jump-start their sluggish capital campaign for a new second stage, they did not have to search far.

Marcia Sloan Glazer, a Rep trustee for the past five years and an avid theater fan, came through big time. Her gift of $1 million, says Rep General Manager Benjamin Moore, "provides radical encouragement to everyone here that this new space will be achieved."

The donation marks the largest single contribution the 30-year-old Rep, or any other Seattle theater group, has ever received from an individual. (The second largest gift to the Rep was $225,000 from Bagley Wright, for the Rep's mainstage theater erected in 1983.)

At first the publicity-shy Glazer asked that her donation remain anonymous. But this week she stepped out of the shadows to discuss her enthusiastic support for a theater she calls "top-notch, one of the very best in the country."

Glazer, 47, traces her interest in drama and philanthropy to her parents, Seattle civic leaders Sam and Althea Stroum. "My philosophy of giving was ingrained in me since I was a young girl," says Glazer, who also presented $1 million to Seattle Children's Hospital and Medical Center this month. "One of the things we discussed often at home was the advantage of giving while you're alive, instead of after your death. It's a wonderful way to see what happens to your gift."

Her fascination with theater, Glazer recalls, was piqued by adolescent visits to Seattle Rep. "My parents always took me to theater, and I loved it. My strongest memories are of seeing Rep productions of `Macbeth' and `King Lear.' "

Later she passed the passion on to her two sons, now in their mid-20s. "I made a deal with them when they were teenagers. For every rock concert they went to, they had to do something cultural, like go to a play or the symphony. And they're still theatergoers today."

Glazer stresses her personal wealth comes not directly from her parents, but from monies acquired during her first marriage to Stewart Sloan, a partner in her father's successful electronics concern. When that business was sold, Glazer received a share of the proceeds. Last February she married entrepreneur Jay Glazer.

She serves as a director of SureFind Classifieds by Telephone, a new high-tech communications firm, but devotes much of her time to volunteer activities. Glazer sits on the boards of the Seattle Art Museum and the Corporate Council for the Arts, as well as the Rep, and is a former trustee of Children's Hospital also.

Though she has donated at least $25,000 a year to the Rep since 1991, Glazer had never given the theater anything close to $1 million before. She was moved to make the commitment, she explains, because "we really need a second stage very much, for our new play development and our Stage 2 series."

The 133-seat Poncho Forum where those programs are presented is, contends Glazer, "very inadequate. That's not right, because the plays we do that go on to Broadway start in the new play workshop.

"Honestly, I've sometimes liked those shows better than the more familiar things on the mainstage, because the actors, writers, and directors all stay around to interact with the audience. I've taken my nephews, my kids, lots of friends to those workshops. They're very enlightening."

The proposed new theater will be an addition onto the south end of the Bagley Wright. Moore says it will have about 275 seats, a proscenium-style stage, and a small balcony. Counting Glazer's gift, the Rep has now accumulated $4.6 million toward building costs, with roughly $3.4 million left to raise. If fundraising goes well, Moore estimates construction will begin in fall 1994, with the opening in fall 1995 or the following spring.

Published Correction Date: 11/02/93 - Marsha Sloan Glazer Is The Donor Of $1 Million To Seattle Repertory Theatre, The Largest Gift In Its History. Her First Name Was Misspelled In This Article.

Copyright (c) 1993 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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