Berkeley Rep Launches Charles Dean Award

by Jacob Coakley
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The Charles Dean Award comes with a $10,000 cash prize endowed by the Robinson Family Fund for the Arts and will be administered by the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. The award recognizes a Bay Area actor who has dedicated his or her career to Bay Area theatre. The inaugural award was presented to its namesake, Charles Dean at the inaugural Bay Area Theatre Awards.

BERKELEY REP AND THE ROBINSON FAMILY FUND FOR THE ARTS ANNOUNCE THE CHARLES DEAN AWARD
Prestigious award honors exceptional actors for their dedication to Bay Area theatre

November 13, 2014 – At the recent Theatre Bay Area Awards, Berkeley Repertory Theatre and the Robinson Family Fund for the Arts announced the Charles Dean Award to celebrate and honor outstanding work by a local actor. The inaugural award was presented to longtime Bay Area actor Charles Dean. The award comes with a $10,000 cash prize endowed by the Robinson Family Fund for the Arts and administered by Berkeley Repertory Theatre. It recognizes a Bay Area actor who has dedicated his or her career to Bay Area theatre. Future awardees will be chosen by a panel of local theatre community adjudicators and presented annually at the Theatre Bay Area Awards.

In announcing the award, Leigh Robinson of the Robinson Family Fund for the Arts said, “We decided to propose and fund an award for stellar actors working on Bay Area stages because we have always believed that they receive far too little recognition and far too little remuneration.”

Robinson added, “When Berkeley Rep first opened on College Avenue back in the ’60s we lived down the street within walking distance and never missed a show. One actor who appeared in production after production would always steal the show with voices and mannerisms perfectly matched to his characters. He was a chameleon who could breathe life into any character. That actor was, and is, Charles Dean. We’re thrilled to name this award after him, an award presented to actors for spending their professional lives on Bay Area stages.”

“The Robinsons have been longstanding supporters of Berkeley Rep and patrons of the arts in the Bay Area,” said Susan Medak, Berkeley Rep’s managing director. “When they approached us to be a part of establishing the Charles Dean Award to recognize the importance of actors in our community, we immediately said yes. Charles is a fixture in the theatre scene and this is a fitting tribute for a man who has dedicated his life to creating some of the most memorable characters to grace not only Berkeley Rep’s stage but also so many other stages in the Bay Area.”

“I’m part of a remarkable community of actors who consistently deliver outstanding performances at some of the Bay Area’s best theatres,” said Dean. “I am truly moved and honored to be recognized in this manner by the Robinsons and Berkeley Rep, and proud to have appeared at some of the best theatres in the Bay Area.”

Actor Charles Dean is originally from Southern California where he received a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts from UCLA in 1972. After graduation he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and began working at the Magic Theatre with founder John Lion and playwright Sam Shepard. In 1977 he joined Berkeley Rep at its College Avenue location as a company member and after three seasons moved with the Theatre to its current home on Addison Street. There he served under founder Micheal Leibert, Joy Carlin, Sharon Ott, and Tony Taccone, and in 20 some years he appeared in 80 productions there. He last appeared at Berkeley Rep in Menocchio in 2002. During his illustrious career, Dean has appeared in over 150 productions and has performed at many Bay Area theatres including American Conservatory Theater, Aurora Theatre Company, California Shakespeare Theater, San Jose Repertory Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, San Francisco Playhouse, and others. Nationally his credits include the Guthrie Theater, the Alley Theatre, Center Stage Baltimore, Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, and Dallas Theater Center. He also created the role of General Waverly in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas at the Curran Theatre in 2004 and recreated it on Broadway in 2008. He has received many Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards, among others.

ABOUT BERKELEY REP
Berkeley Repertory Theatre has grown from a storefront stage to an international leader in innovative theatre. Known for its core values of imagination and excellence, as well as its educated and adventurous audience, the nonprofit has provided a welcoming home for emerging and established artists since 1968. In four decades, four million people have enjoyed more than 300 shows at Berkeley Rep. These shows have gone on to win five Tony Awards, seven Obie Awards, nine Drama Desk Awards, one Grammy Award, and many other honors. In recognition of its place on the national stage, Berkeley Rep received the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre in 1997. Its bustling facilities – the 600-seat Roda Theatre, the 400-seat Thrust Stage, the Berkeley Rep School of Theatre, the Osher Studio, and a spacious new campus in West Berkeley – are helping revitalize a renowned city.