SDCF Now Accepting Nominations for 2014 Zelda Fichandler Award

SDCF Now Accepting Nominations for 2014 Zelda Fichandler Award

Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF) opens the nomination process for The Zelda Fichandler Award on May 14, 2014. This award presents an unrestricted grant of $5000 to an outstanding director or choreographer making an exceptional contribution to the national arts landscape through theatre work in a region. In 2014, the award will honor achievement in the Eastern region, comprised of Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Virginia, Washington D.C., West Virginia.

With this award, SDCF recognizes the profound impact and honors the legacy of the founders of regional theatre and celebrates the creativity and artistry of theatre around the country. 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 Susan H. Schulman, President of the SDC Foundation, says, "At its best, theatre brings a community together, it creates public discourse, it builds literacy and empathy - in short, theatre improves the quality of life in a region. Through SDCF's Zelda Fichandler Award, we strive to discover and recognize those whose work is enriching the community and profoundly affecting the arts landscape, just as Zelda Fichandler and the founders of the regional theatre movement did when they transformed our nation's access to the arts."

The Fichandler Award is given regionally in the Western, Central, and Eastern United States on a rotating basis. Past awardees, in order of award, are Jonathan Moscone (Orinda, California), Michael Halberstam (Glencoe, Illinois), Blanka Zizka (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania), Bill Rauch (Ashland, Oregon), and Charles Newell (Chicago, Illinois). Since 2011, finalists have been selected in each region as well.

Nominations will be accepted from all sources through June 30, 2014. Nominators need not be SDC Members. Late nominations and self-nominations will not be accepted. A short nomination form is available (see Fichandler Award under Recognition and Advocacy). In September, a selection committee of professional directors and choreographers will select The Zelda Fichandler Award Recipient from nominated artists. The Award will be presented in November 2014.

Please direct any questions to Ellen Rusconi at

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.

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