Court Theatre Artistic Director Charles Newell Receives SDC's Zelda Fichandler Award
Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), announces that Artistic Director Charles Newell of Court Theatre is the recipient of the 2013 Zelda Fichandler Award, which recognizes an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts landscape through singular creativity and artistry in theatre. The award heralds accomplishment to date and promise for the future, artistic vision, and deep commitment to a region outside of New York. It carries an unrestricTed Grant of $5000 to the individual recipient. The award will be presented to Mr. Newell on Monday, November 4, 2013 at a reception at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
"To receive The Zelda Fichandler Award from SDCF means the world to me. My very first theatre-going memories are of my mother taking me to Zelda's Arena Stage. The daring theatre she created and produced, the singular artists she championed, the impact her art made on her community: these all have been a beacon of inspiration to me. For twenty years, I have been fortunate to build a life in the theatre here in Chicago, seeking to follow Zelda's example. I am very proud to be a member of this most vibrant theatre community, and am constantly inspired by our artists and patrons," comments Charles Newell. "I am thankful for the unwavering support and platform that the University of Chicago provides us at Court Theatre, and for the fabulous community in which I work and have raised a family, Chicago's South Side. As any Artistic Director knows, their work is the result of a dedicated staff and generous Board of Trustees, and I am no exception. I am particularly grateful to Ron OJ Parson for nominating me, and to my fellow directors and choreographers who have selected me for this honor. Thank you for this recognition. I fully embrace the challenge that this award demands: the future promise of more to come. I am deeply humbled."
A peer review committee selected Mr. Newell from nominees from the Central region of the United States. Selection Committee Chairperson Chay Yew states, "It's an honor to give this year's Zelda Fichandler Award to Charlie Newell. His work in this region has been extraordinary and influential. Through his remarkable leadership, his brilliant direction, and his genuine dedication and desire to make a difference, he is continually changing the Chicago theatrical landscape. Always giving fresh interpretations to the classics and committing to cultural inclusion, he has opened our eyes of how to view the classics in context with contemporary America. His work has inspired us all - audience and artists alike."
The Fichandler Selection Committee comprises professional directors and choreographers; this year's committee included Chairperson Chay Yew and Lou Bellamy, Amanda Dehnert, Hayley Finn, Ron Himes, D. Lynn Meyers, Norma Saldivar, Steve Scott, Dominique Serrand and Leslie Swackhamer. Through this award, named after Zelda Fichandler, a founder of the American regional theatre movement, SDCF recognizes the profound impact of the founders of regional theatre and honors their legacy. The award is given regionally on a rotating basis. The award complements SDCF's "Mr. Abbott" Award, presented bi-annually in New York to recognize lifetime achievement, and the Joe A. Callaway Award, given annually for distinguished direction and choreography in non-Broadway productions in New York. These three awards are the only awards given to theatre directors and choreographers by their peers.
The committee also chose to honor four finalists in addition to Mr. Newell. They are Peter Brosius in Minneapolis, Jeff Church in Kansas City, Rebecca Holderness in Milwaukee, and Kimberly Senior, a fellow acclaimed Chicago director.