Fisher, Gentry, Guinan, Wills, Staunton Among Inaugural Lunt-Fontanne Fellows at Ten Chimneys

News   Fisher, Gentry, Guinan, Wills, Staunton Among Inaugural Lunt-Fontanne Fellows at Ten Chimneys Eleven regional theatre actors — considered the cream of their communities — have been announced as Lunt-Fontanne Fellows in a new artist-enrichment program sponsored by Ten Chimneys Foundation.

The foundation, which runs the lavish Wisconsin estate Ten Chimneys, which actors Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne called home, will bring the group to the hallowed halls and grounds for a summer 2009 master class with Lynn Redgrave.

The performers were nominated by major regional theatres where they have performed; a select group of theatres were asked to nominate three performers from their community, and one of the three from each theatre was selected to move forward to the master class.

In addition to "the distinction of being selected and the immense value of participating" in the "once-in-a-lifetime" experience, Lunt-Fontanne Fellows receive a $2,500 cash fellowship. Additionally, all travel and lodging expenses are covered.

The inaugural class of Lunt-Fontanne Fellows will convene with master teacher Lynn Redgrave, Aug. 3-9, 2009, at Ten Chimneys in Genesee Depot, WI.

Ten Chimneys Foundation hopes that "after their week at the inspirational National Historic Landmark, Ten Chimneys, Lunt-Fontanne Fellows will return to their home communities across the country, bringing with them everything they gained artistically as part of the master class, along with renewed energy and a deepened commitment to mentorship." Master teachers and nominating theatres will change every year.

The 2009 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows are:

  • Suzanne Bouchard, nominated by Jerry Manning, producing artistic director, Seattle Repertory Theatre.
  • Dan Donohue, nominated by Bill Rauch, artistic director, Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Ashland, OR).
  • Lee Ernst, nominated by Joseph Hanreddy, artistic director, Milwaukee Repertory Theater.
  • Mary Beth Fisher, nominated by Steve Scott, associate producer, Goodman Theatre (Chicago).
  • Jon Gentry, nominated by David Ira Goldstein, artistic director, Arizona Theatre Company (Phoenix and Tucson).
  • Francis Guinan, nominated by Martha Lavey, artistic director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company (Chicago).
  • Don Griffin, nominated by Susan Booth, artistic director, Alliance Theatre (Atlanta).
  • Naomi Jacobson, nominated by Molly Smith, artistic director, Arena Stage (Washington, DC).
  • Kim Staunton, nominated by Kent Thompson, artistic director, Denver Center Theatre Company.
  • Todd Waite, nominated by Gregory Boyd, artistic director, Alley Theatre (Houston, TX).
  • Jack Willis, nominated by Carey Perloff, artistic director, American Conservatory Theatre (San Francisco). Award-winning Broadway, London, film and television actress Redgrave "will focus on Shakespeare during the inaugural week-long master class and retreat." Their work will take place at the historic Ten Chimneys estate and in the state-of-the-art Lunt-Fontanne Program Center.

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    According to the foundation, for much of the 20th century, Ten Chimneys was the center of the theatrical universe — an important place for the luckiest of artists to retreat, rejuvenate, and collaborate. The Lunts were known for their dedication to the "next generation" of actors. They reveled in mentoring young actors. Legends such as Laurence Olivier, Uta Hagen, Montgomery Clift and Julie Harris proudly considered themselves protégés of the Lunts. The Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program continues that tradition of mentorship at Ten Chimneys.

    The week of August 3-9, 2009 will also have special programs for the local actors and the community at large. Redgrave will offer a half-day workshop, or "mini-master-class" for local actors. More details about this opportunity will be available as the date comes closer.

    On Aug. 7, Redgrave will participate in Ten Chimneys Foundation's "Conversations at Ten Chimneys" lecture series, sharing anecdotes and remembrances about her life and career.

    On Aug. 8, the 11 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows and Redgrave will offer an informal public presentation, sharing a glimpse of the work that took place at Ten Chimneys during the week.

    For more information, visit www.tenchimneys.org/fellowship.