The following is an expanded version of a memorial published in the July 6, 2016, issue.
Geoff died Jan. 14, 2016, of a heart attack at his home in San Diego, Calif.
Born in New York City into a theatrical family, Geoff spent his whole life on one side of the footlights or the other. At Princeton he was involved in Triangle, Theatre Intime, the University Choir, and the Footnotes. He directed a production of “The Fantasticks,” was lead singer in the bands My Ship and Electric Dharma, organized the Creative Arts Bizarre, and co-wrote and co-edited the Princeton Freshman Handbook. Geoff majored in English literature, titling his thesis “Bertolt Brecht’s Galileo: Theories of Alienation and Plans for Production,” and was a member of Tower Club. After graduation, he went on receive a master’s degree in directing and theater management at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Goodman Theater School.
Geoff grew up in Beverly Hills, Calif., and graduated from Beverly Hills High School, where he excelled in the performing arts and also on the football field. He played freshman football at Princeton, but a knee injury suffered shortly after arriving at Princeton prevented him from continuing this unusual combination of pursuits.
Geoff’s professional career spanned both coasts. He was managing director of the historic Spreckels Theatre in downtown San Diego in the mid-70s and returned as its executive director in 2010 to oversee major renovations to the theatre, coinciding with its 100th anniversary in 2012. Between these stints, he managed the 47th Street Theater and others in Manhattan and had an active career as a stage and television director.
He served as managing director of the bilingual Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre and also worked with the American Directors’ Institute (which he helped found in 1981), the Roundabout Theatre, and the Circle Repertory Theatre. On the west coast, he worked with El Portal Center for the Arts in Los Angeles, the Pacific Repertory Theatre, and the Carmel Shakespeare Co. and its School of Dramatic Arts in Carmel, Calif.
In addition to his family and the theatre, Geoff was passionate about racquetball, which he played with abandon until recently, when a neuropathy in his foot made him leave the court. He also played cribbage, softball and poker and was an integral part of a weekly low-stakes game in the New York area for more than two decades in which he and Art Lowenstein ’71 represented the Tigers.
Geoff is survived by his wife of 34 years, Susan LaFollette; daughter Rachael Shlaes Liberman and her husband, Jason; granddaughter Maya; mother Jacquelyn Littlefield; and sisters Melissa Abehsera and Lucy Farmer. The class extends sincere condolences to his family and many friends.