Skip Ascheim, Boston Critic and Director, Dies at 56; Memorial Sept. 11

News   Skip Ascheim, Boston Critic and Director, Dies at 56; Memorial Sept. 11 Skip Ascheim, a much-admired theatre critic and director, died in Boston on Aug. 6 at the age of 56 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Skip Ascheim, a much-admired theatre critic and director, died in Boston on Aug. 6 at the age of 56 after a three-year battle with cancer.

Born Charles Neuman Ascheim 2nd, he always used the name Skip professionally. An alumnus of Phillips Exeter Academy, he received his bachelors degree in English literature from Harvard as a member of the class of 1965. As an undergraduate he was already heavily involved in theatre, working as an actor and director with other students that included Stockard Channing, Tommy Lee Jones, John Lithgow, Kathryn Walker, and the late Paul Schmidt and Timothy S. Mayer. At that time he also began his critical career with articles for the Harvard Drama Review.

After some years laboring for education reform and publishing a resource guide for teachers, "Materials for the Open Classroom" (1973), he returned to theatrical activities. He was a drama critic for the Tab newspapers (1981-85), the Boston Phoenix (1983-88), the Improper Bostonian (1995-97), and the Boston Globe (1995-2000).

In 1990 he co-founded the Boston Theatre Project, for which he directed a sterling production of Shakespeare's The Winters Tale at the famed Brattle Theatre, followed by "Shakespeare: Aspects of Love" at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. Writing his last reviews for the Globe this spring, he had planned to concentrate on directing and coaching, and hoped to reunite some of his old Harvard-Radcliffe colleagues in a Shakespeare-on-CD project.

A stickler for factual and grammatical accuracy, he wrote uncommonly insightful reviews that earned him the highest esteem in Boston's theatrical community. He also taught writing at Tufts University from 1986 to 1989. In addition to his theatrical endeavors, Mr. Ascheim was a computer science professional, and as an avid go player was at the time of his death the president of the Massachusetts Go Association.

He is survived by a sister and brother, and from an early marriage by a daughter and two grandchildren, as well as by his companion of the last 11 years, award-winning actress Dee Nelson.

A memorial gathering will take place at Agassiz Theatre in Cambridge on Monday, Sept. 11, at 8 PM.

-- Caldwell Titcomb
Special to Playbill On-Line