Sheldon Patinkin

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Sheldon Patinkin
Born August 27, 1935
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Died September 21, 2014 (aged 79)
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Occupation Director, writer
Known for The Second City, Columbia College Chicago

Sheldon Arthur Patinkin (August 27, 1935 – September 21, 2014) was a 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.

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. He was a cousin of the actor and singer Mandy Patinkin.[1]


Patinkin was a member of The Second City Chicago in 1959, and in Toronto in 1974. He was a writer-assistant producer for SCTV (1976-78). He provided additional dialogue for an adaptation of an Isaac Bashevis Singer novel entitled The Magician of Lublin. He was formerly chair of the theater department at Columbia College Chicago, serving from 1980 until 2009, and served as chair emeritus until his death.[citation needed]

Among his directing projects outside of the college were 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, and concert stagings of opera scenes and excerpts for the Lyric Opera Center at the Grant Park and Ravinia Festival Concerts.[2] He had previously directed Mahoney along with John Malkovich and Terry Kinney in Death of a Salesman in 1980 for Steppenwolf.[3]

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.[4]


Patinkin wrote Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater, published by Sourcebooks in 2000. His textbook on the history of the American Musical No Legs, No Jokes, No Chance was published by Northwestern University Press in 2008.[citation needed]


On September 21, 2014, Patinkin died in Chicago after a heart attack, aged 79.[5][6]


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