David Hyde Pierce Named Master Teacher for Ten Chimneys Foundation's Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship
On January 27, 2014, Ten Chimneys Foundation announced that Tony and Emmy Award winner David Hyde Pierce will serve as the Master Teacher for the 2014 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program. From July 13-20, ten of the nation's top regional theatre actors will join Mr. Pierce for an intensive weeklong master class and immersion experience at Ten Chimneys, the National Historic Landmark estate of Broadway legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin.
"What a gift this is - a chance to retreat and recharge, to connect with and learn from a diverse group of accomplished actors, and to remind ourselves, through Alfred and Lynn, of the theatrical lineage we all share."
- David Hyde Pierce, 2014 Master Teacher
This will be the sixth year of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program. During the first two years, the top regional theatre actors in the U.S. spent the artistic portion of their Ten Chimneys immersion delving into Shakespeare - with the late actress Lynn Redgrave in 2009 and renowned Shakespearean Barry Edelstein in 2010. In 2011, they explored Chekhov with award-winning actress Olympia Dukakis. In 2012, the actors focused on American Musical Theatre with Broadway legend Joel Grey, and in 2013, explored spontaneity on stage with American icon, Alan Alda. Ten Chimneys Foundation is delighted to welcome award-winning actor David Hyde Pierce to this exemplary company of Master Teachers.
"The Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship is the preeminent program for theatre actors with a minimum of twenty years of stage experience. It's THE opportunity for our country's top regional actors to come together, to be reinvigorated, to grow in their art form, and to feed from the creative energies of their fellow actors and master class teacher. We are thrilled to have David Hyde Pierce as the lead for the 2014 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program. He exemplifies the qualities Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne valued - commitment to theatre, mentorship, and the pursuit of excellence."
- Randy Bryant, Ten Chimneys Foundation President & CEO
In consultation with a distinguished board of national advisors and in collaboration with top regional theatres from around the country, Ten Chimneys Foundation is in the process of selecting ten accomplished actors, its "theatre mentors," from the nominees submitted by this year's cast of award-winning Partner Theatres. In addition, Mr. Pierce's curriculum, content, and focus of the artistic elements of the experience are beginning to take shape.
"To attend Ten Chimneys as a Fellow was to commune with the masters of stage - past and present. The Lunt-Fontanne estate and program is an immersive experience for professionals into our talent AND our potential. My old pal, David Hyde Pierce, will bring his skill, wisdom, humor and humanity as a master of modern entertainment to this year's fortunate fellows."
- Sharon Lawrence, 2013 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow, nominated by The Pasadena Playhouse
Ten Chimneys, the Wisconsin estate lovingly created by theatre legends Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, is open to the public as a House Museum and national resource for theatre, the arts, and arts education. For much of the twentieth century, Ten Chimneys served as a haven for the Lunts and the artistic leaders of their era. Carol Channing famously said of Ten Chimneys, "There is a peculiar feeling for actors or anybody in the theatre that when you went to Ten Chimneys you had done something right. You had died and gone to heaven. You were home."
In addition to welcoming and inspiring the "best-of-the-best" in American theatre to Ten Chimneys, the Lunts were also known for their dedication to the next generation of actors, counting among their protégés some of the most famous actors in the world. The Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program continues that tradition of mentorship. This historic context, and the inherent inspiration of Ten Chimneys, is why Lynn Redgrave said that "this program simply couldn't happen anywhere else," and why participating Fellows have all talked about the immersion experience as being "transformative."
"I feel like I'm a part of something bigger, part of a legacy. I'm doing what was done here before and there will be someone to do this fifty years later. And, how great that I'm a part of this legacy and this journey. It feels amazing that my name will be etched in there, as well - Colman Domingo sang here."
- Colman Domingo, 2012 Lunt-Fontanne Fellow, nominated by TheatreWorks
This summer (July 13-20), the top actors in the country will be given a rare and deeply needed opportunity to reflect on their accomplishments, to connect with fellow actors, to grow artistically, to renew their passion for their art form, deepen their commitment to mentorship, and form a national community of Lunt-Fontanne Fellows - all under the direction of Mr. Pierce. These actors will return to their home communities more inspired, and more inspiring - offering great benefits to other actors, to individual theatres, and to American theatre as a whole.
At the close of the Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program guests are invited to attend two public programs. On Friday, July 18, Ten Chimneys Foundation will present A Conversation with David Hyde Pierce, an intimate evening during which Mr. Pierce will share stories about his life and his career. On Saturday, July 19, Mr. Pierce and the ten 2014 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows will take the stage together for a Concluding Presentation, a rare look at the work they explored during their week at Ten Chimneys, as well as a one-night-only program highlighting the remarkable actors chosen as 2014 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows. More information, including ticket prices and program details, will be announced soon.
Mr. David Hyde Pierce is a Tony and Emmy Award-winning actor widely known for his distinctive voice and deadpan humor, which was perhaps best exemplified on TV's iconic comedy Frasier. For his portrayal of Dr. Niles Crane, Mr. Pierce was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actor for a record eleven consecutive years, every year of the sitcom's run, earning him four Emmy Awards, among many other accolades. Mr. Pierce won a Tony Award and was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for his role in the musical comedy Curtains. He made his professional and Broadway debut in 1982 in Christopher Durang's Beyond Therapy. Since then, his prolific theatre credits includeThat's It, Folks!, The Author's Voice, Elliot Loves, The Heidi Chronicles, Monty Python's Spamalot, Accent on Youth, La Bête, and The Landing. Mr. Pierce's directing credits include It Shoulda Been You, The Importance of Being Earnest, and this year, a new production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike at the Mark Taper Forum. He returns to the play as director after earning a Tony nomination for his performance as Vanya, the role he originated in Durang's play. Mr. Pierce's film credits include Little Man Tate, Sleepless in Seattle, Nixon, Down With Love, and the Sundance Film Festival selection, The Perfect Host. In addition to his work as a performer, Mr. Pierce has spent years working with the Alzheimer's Association advocating for Americans with Alzheimer's disease.