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]

Career[edit]

Born and raised in Chicago, Patinkin graduated from the University of Chicago with a degree in English. While there, he joined Playwright's Theater Club, where he put up plays with a group of other students including Mike Nichols, Elaine May, and Ed Asner. 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]

In July 2014, Columbia College Chicago announced the Sheldon Patinkin Endowed Award, a scholarship named in his honor that will provide a theater student with a cash stipend to aid them with their career.

Books[edit]

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]

Death[edit]

On September 21, 2014, Patinkin died in Chicago after a heart attack, aged 79.[5][6] He was buried two days later at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, IL. At the time of his death, he was in the process of directing a production of "Into The Woods" at Columbia College Chicago, which opened one month later. On January 26, 2015, four months after his death, a memorial service was held in Skokie, IL. Speakers at the event, that was put together by The Second City, Columbia College Chicago, and Steppenwolf Theater. Speakers included Second City alum Scott Adsit, Second City Executive Producer Andrew Alexander, director David Cromer, Columbia faculty and actress Meg Thalken, Gift Theater artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton, and Steppenwolf alums Martha Lavey and Jeff Perry and with letters from Anna D. Shapiro, original member of Playwright's Theater Club Joyce Piven, and Alan Arkin. The event was attended by over five generations of colleagues and former students, including Fred Willard, Susan Messing, Mick Napier, John Mahoney, Laurie Metcalf, Rondi Reed, Jim Jacobs, and Isabella Hofmann.

References[edit]

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