Sidney Berger is a man of many titles and talents. Currently the John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Theatre, he is the Director of the University of Houston School of Theatre; founder and producing director of the Houston Shakespeare Festival; and co-founder and producer of the Children s Theatre Festival, UH s professional summer projects. He has directed many productions for the Houston Shakespeare Festival, and over sixty at UH. As Associate Artist at the Alley Theatre he directed FRANKIE AND JOHNNY IN THE CLAIRE DE LUNE, T BONE N WEASEL, and, most ALL IN THE TIMING. Other professional directing credits include A DELICATE BALANCE, BETRAYAL, SIGHT UNSEEN and THE SUBSTANCE OF FIRE at Stages Repertory Theatre, where he also served as Artistic Director. He also directed Albee s ALL OVER, with Mr. Albee consulting. As well, he has directed JACQUES BREL for the Qcc Equity Theatre in New York, GREASE and MY FAIR LADY (with Noel Harrison and Clive Revill) for Theatre Under The Stars and the film HOUSTON PROUD narrated by Ben Vereen.
Also an author, Dr. Berger s literary credits include articles and reviews in such publications as Players Magazine, StandPoints, American Theatre Journal, Opera Cues, and the Jewish Book Annual. 1998 saw the publication of THE THEATRE TEAM, a book co-edited with Jeane Luere and published by Greenswood Press. Among other published works for theatre are THE PLAYWRIGHT VERSUS THE DIRECTOR, edited with Jeane Luere and also published by Greenwood Press, and adaptations of THE LITTLE MATCH GIRL, RAPUNZEL, as well as BIRD BOY for children. He adapted and directed THE FALL AND RISE OF BERTOLT BRECHT, wrote the book and lyrics for THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST and the libretto for WHERE IS THE SUN? (both with Theo Fanidi), and TICKETS, PLEASE for Texas Opera Theatre with music by Robert Nelson. In addition, he and Mr. Nelson recently collaborated on a musical piece entitled American Anthem , to be performed by the Houston Symphony Orchestra. He has written film scripts, among them UPSTREAM, U.S.A. (narrated by Goldie Hawn), the PBS film HOUSE OF THE JAGUAR. For Houston Public Television he recently adapted and directed several pieces, including WAS IT A DREAM?, from a Guy de Mauspassant short story performed on a continuing series entitled Centerstage, of which he is also a co-producer. This adaptation was awarded the Red Ribbon by the American Film and Video Association in the category of Literary Adaptations to the Screen. His production of OLD SECRETS (with Paul Yeager) was given a Silver Award in the Performance Program category by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Most recently he collaborated with famed Broadway composer, Jerry Bock (FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, SHE LOVES ME, etc.) to create a new children s mucial entitled, THE MAGIC JOURNEY and will write a new musical with him for the 2000 CTF season. Additionally, Dr Berger is writing and directing a series entitled SCIENCEQUEST, which will be telecast over the PBS network.
He has also had an additional number of accomplishments in musical theatre, directing productions both here and abroad including USO-Defense Department tours of THE BOY FRIEND, BRIGADOON, THE BOYS FROM SYRACUSE and SWEET CHARITY to Asia, Greenland, Iceland, Labrador and Western Europe. Equally at home with opera as well as musical comedy, he has directed Tableau Opera tours of MARRIAGE OF FIGARO, MACBETH and ROMEO AND JULIET for the Houston Grand Opera. For two consecutive summers Dr. Berger was appointed American Theatre including WHO S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOOLF, AFTER THE FALL and OF MICE AND MEN. He was invited by the government of the Federal Republic of Germany to meet with heads of German theatres and served as a NASA consultant for the arts in the Space Program. In 1990 he co-founded and was elected President of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America, uniting all major professional.
Shakespeare producers in North America. Elected to membership in the National Theatre Conference, he served as one of its trustees and its president, Dr. Berger also was elected to the board of Sam Wanamaker s International Shakespeare Globe Centre project which was dedicated to rebuilding Shakespeare s theatre in London.
A Close friend, colleague and former student of famed director, Jose Quintero, Dr. Berger was asked to curate an exhibition of his memorabilia and papers at the University of Houston Library.
Additionally, Dr. Berger has provided narration for five PBS documentaries.
Holding a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas, Dr. Berger was a member of the faculty and Director of Graduate Studies at Michigan State University prior to his appointment at UH in 1969.
In recognition of the role he has played in the theatre life of this city, Dr. Berger was chosen as a recipient of the Mayor s Award for Outstanding Contribution by a Performing Artist. The City Council and the Mayor again recognized his accomplishments by issuing special proclamations in 1989 and 1993 for outstanding service to the arts. In 1992 he received the Esther Farfel Award, the University of Houston s highest academic honor bestowed on the most outstanding faculty of the year. In 1997 he was inducted as a Fellow of the American Theatre at the Kennedy Center and in 1998 was elected to the post of the Vice-President and President-Elect for the National Theatre Conference and in 1999, President-Elect of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America. Dr. Berger was also elected as a Fellow of the National Foundation For Jewish Culture. In 2002 he was appointed Director of the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts.
In 2002, he received the highest award given by the Association Fort Theatre in Higher Education: the ATHE Career Achievement Award.
The University of Houston Library will form a collection of Dr. Berger s memorabilia and personal papers.