Al Carmines


1936 – 2005


Who was Al Carmines?

Reverend Alvin Allison "Al" Carmines, Jr. was a key figure in the expansion of Off-Off-Broadway theatre in the 1960s.

Carmines was born in Hampton, Virginia. Although his musical talent appeared early, he decided to enter the ministry, attending Swarthmore College, majoring in English and philosophy, and then Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York, earning a bachelor of divinity in 1961 and a master of sacred theology in 1963.

Carmines was hired by Howard Moody as an assistant minister at Judson Memorial Church on Washington Square Park, New York, to found a theater in the sanctuary of the Greenwich Village church in conjunction with playwright Robert Nichols. He began composing in 1962 and acted as well. His Bible study group grew into the Rauschenbusch Memorial United Church of Christ, with Carmines as pastor.

Carmines taught at Union Theological Seminary and received the Vernon Rice Award for his performance and the Drama Desk Award for Lyrics and Music and was awarded the Obie award for Life Time Achievements.

Carmines is perhaps best remembered in the church for the hymn "Many Gifts, One Spirit" #114 in the United Methodist Hymnal. He was commissioned by the United Methodist Women to write this hymn for their General Assembly in 1974.

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Jul 25, 1936
  • United States of America
  • Swarthmore College
  • Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York
Lived in
  • Virginia
Aug 9, 2005

on July 23, 2013


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