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Dr. Sidney Berger is the former Director of the University of Houston School of Theatre & Dance; 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 both the Houston Shakespeare Festival and the UH School of Theatre & Dance.
As Associate Artist at the Alley Theatre, he directed Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune, T Bone N Weasel, and, most recently All in the Timing. Other professional directing credits include Betrayal, Sight Unseen, The Substance of Fire, A Delicate Balance, and All Over at Stages Repertory Theatre, where he also served as Artistic Director. Among his published works for theatre are The Playwright Versus the Director, edited with Jeane Luere and published by Greenwood Press, and published adaptations of The Little Match Girl, Rapunzel, as well as Bird Boy. He was writer and collaborator with noted Broadway composer Jerry Bock on Brandon Finds His Star (now represented by Music Theatre International) He also 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. For Houston Public Television he adapted and directed several pieces for a continuing series entitled Centerstage, of which he was also co-producer. One of his adaptations 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) won a Silver Award in the Performance Program category by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
He has also had a 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 Specialist by the U. S. State Department and toured throughout Western and Eastern Europe giving concert performances of selections from American Theatre including.Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, After the Fall and Of Mice and Men. He recently 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. He is also known for appearing in the cult film classic Carnival of Souls.
In 1990 he co-founded and was elected President of the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America, uniting all major professional Shakespeare producers. Elected to membership in the National Theatre Conference, he recently served as President; Dr. Berger also serves on the board of Sam Wanamaker's International Shakespeare Globe Centre project in London.
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 award bestowed to the most outstanding faculty member of the year. In 1996, he was named John and Rebecca Moores Professor of Theatre. Dr. Berger was recently inducted into the College of Fellows of the American Theatre.