Sheldon Patinkin (born August 27, 1935) is the former chair of the Theater Department of Columbia College Chicago, Artistic Director of the Getz Theater of Columbia College, Artistic Consultant of The Second City and of Steppenwolf Theatre and Co-Director of the Steppenwolf Theatre Summer Ensemble Workshops. Among recent directing projects outside of the College have been The Glass Menagerie (Gift Theater Company), South Pacific (Metropolis Art Center), Uncle Vanya (Steppenwolf), Long Day's Journey into Night (Irish Rep and the Galway Festival in Ireland) and Krapp's Last Tape for the Buckets of Beckett Festival, both starring John Mahoney, as well as concert stagings of opera scenes and excerpts for the Lyric Opera Center at the Grant Park and Ravinia Festival Concerts.
He received a Jeff Award for directing his Irving Berlin revue Puttin’ on the Ritz and a special Jeff for his contribution to Chicago theater. His translation of Brecht's The Good Person of Setzuan was directed by Frank Galati at the Goodman Theatre. His book The Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater was published by SourceBooks in 2000 and Keeping Up with the Times, his text book on the history of the American musical, will soon be published by Northwestern University Press.
Patinkin was a member of The Second City Chicago in 1959 and then again in Toronto in 1974. He was also a writer-assistant producer for the CBC TV series SCTV from 1976 to 1978. Patinkin also provided additional dialogue for an adaptation of an Isaac Bashevis Singer novel entitled The Magician of Lublin. He is currently an instructor at the Second City Training Center in Chicago and was formerly chair of the theater department at Columbia College Chicago. Among his many other credits as a director are shows with Irish Rep and the Galway Festival in Ireland where he directed John Mahoney. He had previously directed Mahoney along with John Malkovich and Terry Kinney in Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman in 1980 for Steppenwolf. His revue, Puttin' on the Ritz: an Irving Berlin American Songbook, won Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best Revue and Best Director. Additionally he has received a special Joseph Jefferson Award for Service to the Chicago Theater Community in 1991, and the Illinois Association's 1992 Outstanding Contribution Award.
Patinkin is the author of "Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater," published by Sourcebooks, and his textbook on the history of the American Musical, "No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance," was published by Northwestern University Press in Spring of 2008.