The Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department hosted a reception on Monday, September 28, to celebrate the legacy of the late Sheldon Patinkin–teacher, director, friend, and mentor to thousands of theatre artists around the world, and longtime chair of the Theatre Department. Columbia College Chicago‘s president, Dr. Kwang-Wu Kim, formally dedicated the department’s lower-level studio performance space (formerly the New Studio Theatre) as The Sheldon Patinkin Theatre.
Other speakers at the dedication ceremony included Dr. John Green, Sheldon’s successor as chair of the Theatre Department; Lynn Patinkin, Sheldon’s niece; and Stephanie Shaw, an alumna of the Columbia College Theatre Department and now a faculty member there.
More than 80 friends, Patinkin family members, and Columbia College Chicago alumni, faculty, staff, and students gathered for the event, which also raised funds for the Sheldon Patinkin Endowed Award at Columbia College Chicago.
The program opened and closed with musical numbers from two shows Sheldon directed at Columbia: alumna Harmony France sang “Goodbye My Love,” from Ragtime, and alumni Lauren Griffith and Courtney Mack and students David Stobbe and Cole McMillan wrapped up the performance with “No One Is Alone,” from Into the Woods–the show Sheldon was directing when he passed away. The singers were accompanied by Theatre Department musical director and faculty member Andra Velis Simon.
Perhaps the highlight of the evening was a special auction, in which Theatre Department teachers Jeff Ginsberg, David Puszkiewicz, and Dr. Caroline Latta auctioned off the letters of the signage for the newly dedicated theatre.
The auction raised more than $1,000, with all proceeds benefiting the Sheldon Patinkin Endowed Award. This fund, established by Sheldon before his passing, will give outstanding Theatre students cash stipends in their senior year at Columbia to aid in their journeys toward a professional career.
The lobby of The Sheldon Patinkin Theatre was redecorated for the occasion under the direction of set designer and Theatre Department faculty member Jacqueline Penrod. The theatre will host the Columbia College Chicago Theatre Department’s mainstage production of Blues for an Alabama Sky December 2-11.
For more information, and to contribute to the Sheldon Patinkin Endowed Award, please call 312-369-7519 or visit https://giving-colum.nationbuilder.com/sheldon_patinkin_endowed_award. This site hosts a short biographical video of Sheldon talking about his life and career, as well as a feature-length video of the memorial celebration held in Sheldon’s honor in January 2015.
All Photos: Philip Edward Dembinski — courtesy Columbia College Chicago Office of Development and Alumni Relations