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Las Vegas Theatre Directors nominated for Zelda Fichandler Award

The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation has notified local Theatre Directors Sarah O'Connell of The Asylum Theatre and EAT MORE ART! Vegas, and Kate St-Pierre of The Lab LV that they each have been nominated for the 2018 Zelda Fichandler Award.

Established in 2009, the Zelda Fichandler Award is SDC Foundation’s first award devoted to the regional theatre. With this award, SDC Foundation acknowledges the profound impact the founders of regional theatre have had on the field, honoring their legacy through the recognition of the extraordinary directors and choreographers who are transforming the national arts landscape with their unique, creative work and deep investment in a community outside of the New York City arena.

The Fichandler Award is given regionally on a rotating basis. In 2018, it will be given to a director or choreographer who has made, and who continues to make, a significant contribution to their community through extraordinary work in theatre in the Western region of the United States, defined by SDCF as Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.

The nominees were asked to submit an artist statement for final consideration upon receiving their nominations.

The Fichandler Award recipient will receive an unrestricted award of $5,000 from SDC Foundation. A decision is expected to be made in September and the Award will be presented at the annual SDC Foundation Awards in the Fall of 2018 in New York City.

Past recipients:

Western Region

Jonathan Moscone of California Shakespeare Theater in Orinda, California (2009)

Bill Rauch of Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon (2012)

Tim Dang of East West Players in Los Angeles, CA (2015)

Central Region

Michael Halberstam of Writer’s Theatre in Glencoe, Illinois (2010)

Charles Newell of Court Theatre in Chicago, Illinois (2013)

Lisa Portes of Chicago, Illinois (2016)

Eastern Region

Blanka Zizka of The Wilma Theater in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2011)

Joseph Haj of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC (2014)

Vivienne Benesch of PlayMakers Repertory Company in Chapel Hill, NC (2017)

About Zelda Fichandler:

Zelda Fichandler (1924 -2016) 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. Before her passing in July of 2016, Ms. Fichandler was 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. Her honors include the SDC Foundation’s “Mr. 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.

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