In Memoriam: Marian Seldes

Jacob Coakley

Marian Seldes, a Tony Award winner actor and Broadway icon, died Monday, Oct. 6 after an extended illness. Seldes’ career spanned more than 60 years. She won a Tony for her work in A Delicate Balance and in 2010 she was honored with a Tony Award for lifetime achievement. Her last appearance on Broadway was in 2007 in Terrence McNally’s Deuce. She taught for many years at The Juilliard School and later as an adjunct professor at Fordham University. 

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In Memoriam: Sherman Carl Ward, Jr. (1921-2014)

Jacob Coakley

Sherman C. Ward, Jr., respected local artist and community theatre leader, died at the age of 92 on October 1, 2014 after having been in failing health for several months. Sherman was working on his latest artwork and a family history at his home in Alexandria Bay, NY, when he passed. Born in Lorain, Ohio, on November 14, 1921, the son of the late Dr. S. Carl Ward and Ruby Kathleen Warner Ward, he graduated from Oglethorpe University in 1946 and received his Master of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1948. He is survived by the former Ann Laura Bodie, whom he married in 1949. Sherman had been a leader in community theatre for more than 50 years, during which time he founded The Musicrafters of Camden County and was well known as a skillful and creative director. With the Musicrafters, he directed, his wife stage managed, his three children all acted in the shows, and everyone built the sets. Community theatre for Sherman was an adventure for the whole family. He also served as president of the New Jersey Theatre League as well as several community theatre groups. He was a member of the Board of the American Association of Community Theatres (AACT), a Regional Representative of AACT Region II, Treasurer of the Eastern States Theatre Association (Region II), and a roving adjudicator for the Theatre Association of New York (TANYS). One of the plays he directed was a finalist in AACT’s national competition and went on to represent the United States at the International Community Theatre Festival in Nova Scotia. In 2004, he was Playwright in Residence at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, and in 2005, he was honored by AACT with the Robert E. Gard Superior Volunteer Award and in 2011, he was inducted as an AACT Fellow. In 2008, TANYS established an annual award in his name to honor a volunteer over the age of 65 who has participated in community theatre for over 25 years.

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Joseph Haj Wins Zelda Fichandler Award

Jacob Coakley

Joseph Haj, producing artistic director at Playmakers Rep in Chapel Hill, N.C. won the 2014 Zelda Fichandler Award from the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society. The Zelda Fichandler Award honors “an outstanding director or choreographer who is transforming the regional arts landscape through imaginative, brave work in theatre” and comes with a $5,000 prize. The SDC chose Haj thanks to his “exemplary artistry, diverse and exciting programming choices, and deep commitment to the arts in North Carolina.”

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United Performing Arts Fund Allocates $9 Million

Jacob Coakley

The United Performing Arts Fund will distribute $9,075,300 to its member organizations and affiliates. The $9 million is a nine percent increase over 2013 and the most in UPAF history. The record-setting 2014 UPAF Campaign was co-chaired by Bob Arzbaecher, chairman of Actuant Corporation; Therese Burkhart, community volunteer; and Glen Hackmann, vice chairman of Robert W. Baird and Co. The allocation numbers are determined by an independent committee, which was expanded this year to increase representation of UPAF's largest corporate donors. The UPAF Allocation Committee utilized the allocation process that was established in 2013 to ensure transparency and objectivity while maintaining prudent stewardship of donor dollars.

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Michael Riedel Loses Bet, Gets Doused With Ice

Jacob Coakley

In a fun story about the politicking and press that happens in the big-stakes Broadway world, longtime New York Post gadfly and Broadway gossip columnist Michael Riedel lost a bet to Finding Neverland producer Harvey Weinstein, and had a bucket of ice water poured over his head as part of the ALS ice bucket challenge. After Riedel wrote a column criticizing Finding Neverland (which is playing at American Repertory Theatre in Cambridge, Mass., in a run-up to a Broadway debut) without having actually seen the show, the producer Harvey Weinstein invited him to see the show for himself and offered him a challenge: if less than 80% of the audience did not love the show, Weinstein would do the ALS ice bucket challenge. However if 80% or more of the audience loved it, Riedel would have ice dumped on him. The show was surveyed and the results were verified by accounting firm Ernst and Young. After 96% of the audience voted they loved the show, Weinstein doused Riedel. (Read the whole press release after the jump for a few more great digs at Riedel—including one from himself.)

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Theatre Bay Area Announces Finalists for Inaugural Awards

Jacob Coakley

Theatre Bay Area has announced the finalists for their inaugural awards program. The awards aim to honor the highest caliber of theare across the Bay Area and will take place on Monday, Nov. 10. Some 180 productions from 78 participating theatre companies were evaluated by 270 adjudicators, who recorded close to 3,000 ballots to select the final slate of finalists.

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New York Innovation Theatre Foundation Names 2014 Winners

Jacob Coakley

On Monday, Sept. 22, the New York Innovation Theatre awards celebrated the best of Off-Off-Broadway and independent theatre in New York—its tenth annual show. On the tech side of thing, Kia Rogers won the NYIT for Outstanding Lighting Design for her work on Jane the Plain at Flux Theatre Ensemble, while  Gail Cooper-Hecht won the award for Outstanding Costuem Design for her work on The Importance of Being Earnest from Take Wing And Soar Productions, Inc. The award for Outstanding Set Design went to Travis McHale for Rubber Ducks and Sunsets, from Ground Up Productions, while Outstanding Sound Design went to Christian Frederickson for The Awake from kef theatrical productions. Outstanding Innovative Design went to Nicole Hill for her Puppet Design for Mute from the New York Neo-Futurists. Allegro, from the Astoria Performing Arts Center won Outstanding Production of a Musical and Pirra from Theare 167 earned the Outstanding Premiere Production of a Play.

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Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Raises $700k+ at Flea Market

Jacob Coakley

The 2014 Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS Broadway Flea Market & Grand Auction raised a record $713,986 on Saturday. Thousands of fans perused more than 65 tables worth of Broadway memorabilia and bid on more than 247 Grand Auction items. The tables this year raised an impressive $369,616; the live auction raised $263,850. The top-selling lot of the live auction was a handwritten musical phrase of “Let It Go,” from the hit Disney animated movie Frozen. The phrase was written and signed by songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Idina Menzel, who sang the Oscar-winning song in the movie and voiced the lead character. The phrase sold for $9,000. An opportunity to meet Menzel backstage during the run of her current Broadway hit, If/Then, also was among the top live auction lots, bringing in $8,000.

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Tennessee Repertory Theatre Changes Name to Nashville Repertory Theatre

Jacob Coakley

Tennessee Repertory Theatre will start its 30th anniversary season with a name change. The theatre will now be known as Nashville Repertory Theatre. The name change is meant to celebrate “the theatre’s deep commitment to working with local, professional, actors, artisans, and artists as well as its commitment to fostering the city’s theatre ecology.”

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