Court Theatre's Charles Newell Wins SDC Foundation's 2013 Zelda Fichandler Award; Ceremony Set for 11/4

Court Theatre's Charles Newell Wins SDC Foundation's 2013 Zelda Fichandler Award; Ceremony Set for 11/4

Charles Newell, Artistic Director of Court Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, is the 2013 recipient of The Zelda Fichandler Award, an award to recognize an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts landscape through imaginative, brave work in theatre. The $5,000 award, given by Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, heralds both accomplishment to date and promise for the future, and lauds deep commitment to a community.

A peer review committee (Lou Bellamy, Amanda Dehnert, Hayley Finn, Ron Himes, D. Lynn Meyers, Norma Saldivar, Steve Scott, Dominique Serrand, Leslie Swackhamer and Chay Yew (Chair))selected Mr. Newell from nominees from the Central region of the United States. Chay 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."

Upon hearing of his receiving this award,Mr. Newell responds, "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. 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. And any Artistic Director knows that their work is the result of a dedicated staff and generous Board of Trustees; I am certainly 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."

The Committee chose to honor four finalists in addition to Mr. Newell. Yew notes, "The Central region is rich with theatre. We were pleased to be able to acknowledge four significant directors as finalists: Peter Brosius in Minneapolis, Jeff Church in Kansas City, Rebecca Holderness in Milwaukee, and Kimberly Senior in Chicago. The committee considered each to be a strong candidate for this award for different reasons: Peter for his national leadership and innovation in children's theatre; Jeff for his passion in presenting topics that challenge our notion of theatre for young audiences; Rebecca for amplifying and boldly invigorating the performance scene in Milwaukee, and Kimberly for her exciting body of work on new plays and her leadership in the Chicago theatre community."

The award will be presented on Monday, November 4 at a reception at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park. Blake Robison, Artistic Director of Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, says, "It's important to celebrate the creativity and vision that directors and choreographers bring to our field. The Playhouse is honored to host this important event, and we look forward to welcoming SDC members to Cincinnati." The award presentation is free of charge and open to the public; please RSVP to by October 30.

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