Named for Abbott, who recently retired after 19 years as artistic director of Maine State Music Theatre, the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation created the fellowship, which will allow an up-and-coming director to observe the staging of a classic work by a "master director or choreographer" at a high-profile regional theatre. Enough funding has been provided to keep the fellowship solvent for five years.
The first-annual Abbott Fellow will observe Ted Pappas stage the Lerner and Loewe classic Camelot at the Pittsburgh Public Theater in January 2011. Pappas serves as producing artistic director of PPT.
According to SDC, 45 directors and choreographers have applied for the fellowship, which comes with a $2,500 stipend. Finalists will be selected in early December, and Abbott will personally select the inaugural recipient.
"Ted enjoys a career as the artistic director of a revered regional theatre as well as a guest artist at other commercial and not-for-profit theatres," Abbott said in a statement. "He continues to include classic American musicals as part of his theatre’s subscription series, most often directing them himself to great acclaim. It seems obvious to me that some lucky fellowship winner will learn a great deal by assisting this well spoken and versed director/choreographer/artistic director."