Nominations Open for Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation's 2013 Zelda Fichandler Award
Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) is now accepting nominations for The Zelda Fichandler Award. This award presents an unrestricTed Grant of $5,000 to an outstanding director or choreographer making an exceptional contribution to the national arts landscape through theatre work in a region. In 2013, the award will honor achievement in the Central region, comprised of Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
With this award, SDCF honors the legacy of the founders of regional theatre and recognizes the profound impact and imagination of theatre directed nationwide. Named after Zelda Fichandler, a founder of the American regional theatre movement, the award celebrates significant achievement in the field, singular creativity and artistry, and a deep investment in a particular region. This award is not for lifetime achievement; the intent is to honor an artist for both accomplishment to date and promise for the future.
Director Sheldon Epps, Chairman of the SDC Foundation Committee, says, "Our foundation has created this award to recognize those who, like Zelda, continue to devote their energies to the creation of great theatre as directors and choreographers in every region. It is entirely fitting that this important award should be dedicated to the vision of excellence that Zelda always espoused, which has in fact inspired many others. The award recognizes those who keep that light alive."
The Fichandler Award is given regionally on a rotating basis. The first Zelda Fichandler Award recipient in the Central region was Michael Halberstam of Glencoe, Illinois. "Learning that I was to receive the Fichandler Award presented me with a marvelous convolution of feeling both humbled and inspired," states Halberstam. "It's deliciously daunting to be recognized by one's peers. It's something you secretly long for and, at the same time, dread a little. Whereas we often want our colleagues to say that they admire us, the responsibility that comes along with this award is rather breathtaking and, ultimately, inspiring, because the award comes with a particular challenge. It rewards work which has 'transformed the region,' and it unequivocally states that the award is to continue that work and expand upon it. This is enormously encouraging! Perhaps the most significant aspect of the award is its namesake - the ever remarkable and still provocative Zelda Fichandler - who had the audacity to suggest that the regional theatre might have as much (if not more) to give to New York as New York gives to the Regional Theatre."
Additional past awardees are Jonathan Moscone for work in Orinda, California (Western region), Blanka Zizka for work in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (Eastern region), and Bill Rauch for work in Ashland, Oregon (Western region).
Nominations will be accepted from all sources through August 15, 2012. Nominators need not be SDC Members. Late nominations and self-nominations will not be accepted. A short nomination form is available at www.SDCweb.org (see Fichandler Award under Foundation). In October, a selection committee of professional directors and choreographers will select The Zelda Fichandler Award Recipient from nominated artists. The Award will be presented onNovember 4, 2013, at Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.
Please direct any questions to Ellen Rusconi at SDCFPrograms@SDCweb.org.
Zelda Fichandler dedicated her early career to the establishment of America's regional theatre movement. In 1950 she founded Washington D.C.'s Arena Stage and in 1968 she produced The Great White Hope, which became the first production to transfer from a regional theatre to Broadway, winning the Tony and the Pulitzer Prize, and launching the careers of James Earl Jones and Jane Alexander. Her production of Inherit the Wind toured Soviet St. Petersburg and Moscow and Arena Stage was the first American theatre company sponsored by the State Department to do so. Like many other regional theatres afterward, Arena Stage cultivated an evolving but resident company over the decades that included some of America's best actors: Robert Prosky, Frances Sternhagen, George Grizzard, Philip Bosco, Ned Beatty, Roy Scheider, Robert Foxworth, Jane Alexander, James Earl Jones, Melinda Dillon, Dianne Wiest, Max Wright, Marilyn Caskey, Harriet Harris, and Tom Hewitt. In 1975 it was the first regional theatre to be recognized by the American Theatre Wing and the Broadway League with the Regional Theatre Tony Award for outstanding achievement. When Ms. Fichandler retired as producing artistic director of Arena Stage in 1990, she had achieved the longest tenure of any non-commercial producer in the annals of the American theater. Ms. Fichandler is Chair Emeritus of New York University's acclaimed graduate acting program where she personally taught, guided, and inspired more than 500 acting students, including Marcia Gay Harden, Rainn Wilson, Billy Crudup, Debra Messing, Peter Krause, and Michael C. Hall. She has received the George Abbott Award, The Acting Company's John Houseman Award, the Margo Jones Award, and the National Medal of Arts, and in 1999 she became the first artistic leader outside of New York to be inducted into the Theatre Hall of Fame.
Founded in 1965, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation exists to foster, promote and develop the creativity and craft of stage directors and choreographers. SDCF's goals are to provide opportunities to practice the crafts of directing and choreography; to gather and disseminate craft and career information; to promote the profession to emerging talent; to provide opportunities for exchange of knowledge among directors and choreographers; and to increase the awareness of the value of directors' and choreographers' work.