Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation (SDCF), the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society (SDC), announced the news on Oct. 7.
The award "heralds accomplishment to date and promise for the future, artistic vision, and deep commitment to a region outside of New York." It carries an unrestricted grant of $5,000 to the individual recipient.
Halberstam said in a statement, "Theatre is, of course, a completely collaborative art form and my work has only ever been as successful as the many actors, designers, artisans, technicians, staff members, volunteers and donors who have come together to support a particular vision. Midwest regional theatre is simply bursting with enthusiasm for the art, significant talent and the entrepreneurial spirit. But we owe our foundations to the visionary leadership of pioneers like Zelda Fichandler. I am thoroughly in awe her legacy and I am honored to be chosen as representational of the kind of work she inspired."
The Fichandler Selection Committee is comprised of professional directors and choreographers; this year's committee included Sheldon Epps, Wendy C. Goldberg, Sari Ketter, Tom Moore, Jessica Redish, Steve Scott, and Ed Stern.
Halberstam is the artistic director and co-founder of Writers' Theatre in Glencoe, IL, located on the North Shore of Chicago and now in its 19th season. For his company he has directed Love & Lunacy, A Play on Words, Dear Master, Not About Heroes (starring Nicholas Pennell), Diary of a Madman, My Own Stranger, Marriage & Bears, Blake, Memoir, Private Lives, Look Back in Anger, Candida, Fallen Angels, Nixon's Nixon, Spite for Spite, The Father, A Phoenix Too Frequent, Rough Crossing, Crime and Punishment, Benefactors, The Doctor's Dilemma, Seagull, The Uneasy Chair, The Duchess of Malfi, Othello, The Savannah Disputation, A Minister's Wife, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead and most recently She Loves Me. Halberstam will be directing the new musical A Minister's Wife (based on Shaw's Candida) in New York as part Lincoln Center Theater's 2010-11 season.
The award will be presented to Halberstam by David Cromer on Oct. 18 at 6 PM at Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago. The evening will begin with a panel of Chicago directors, Seth Bockley, Timothy Douglas, Gary Griffin, Kimberly Senior and Dennis Zacek, moderated by Sheldon Patinkin, discussing the Chicago stage-directing aesthetic and where it is headed in the 21st century.
The event is free and open to the public and will be captured for future podcast through SDCF's online programming series, "SDCF's Masters of the Stage," a collaboration with American Theatre Wing. Reservations are encouraged and can be made by emailing Foundation@SDCweb.org. For further information on the event, visit SDCweb.org.