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Top row: Demetria Joyce Bailey, Anthony Fusco, Black Hackler, Elizabeth Heflin. Middle row: Bob Hess, Jerry Zaks, Michael Manuel. Bottom row: Sandra Marquez, Zuhairah McGill, Lawrence Redmond, Jomar Tagatac.

Jerry Zaks to Lead 10 Lunt-Fontanne Fellows at Ten Chimneys

The Tony-winning director will lead a week-long intensive for veteran actors Demetria Joyce Bailey, Anthony Fusco, Blake Hackler, Elizabeth Heflin, Bob Hess, Michael Manuel, Sandra Marquez, Zuhairah McGill, Lawrence Redmond, and Jomar Tagatac.

GENESEE DEPOT, WISC.: Ten Chimneys Foundation has announced that director Jerry Zaks will lead 10 regional theatre actors participating in the 2023 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program, running July 16-23. 

“I’m thrilled that Ten Chimneys Foundation is able to give these accomplished actors the outlet to grow artistically and be inspired—all under the helm of Jerry Zaks,” said Randy Bryant, Ten Chimneys Foundation president and CEO, in a statement. “I’m continually impressed with Jerry. His commitment to providing the actors with an engaging experience which will hopefully transcend all boundaries should make the 2023 Lunt-Fontanne Fellowship Program memorable. The theatre communities of our actors will certainly feel the impact.” 

Zaks most recently directed the Broadway revival of The Music Man, starring Hugh Jackman and Sutton Foster, and will be directing the upcoming touring production of Mrs. Doubtfire, which he also directed on Broadway. Additional Broadway directing credits include Sister Act, Hello Dolly, La Cage aux Folles, Little Shop of Horrors, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, with Zaks winning Tonys for his direction of The House of Blue Leaves, Lend Me a Tenor, Six Degrees of Separation, and Guys and Dolls. For the fellowship program, which is exclusive to actors with a minimum of 20 years of acting experience, Zaks will serve as master teacher as the 2023 fellows delve into comedy. There will be two public programs, including a conversation with Zaks (July 21) and a concluding presentation (July 22).

“Working with actors has been my pride and joy for 40 years,” said Zaks in a statement. “I’ve gotten tremendous satisfaction out of helping actors demystifying the process of bringing scenes to life. I look forward to doing more of it at Ten Chimneys, particularly concentrating on comedy. The key to the best comedy is the actor meaning what they say as if their life depends upon it. Life and death stakes—that’s what it’s all about.”

This year’s fellowship class includes Demetria Joyce Bailey (nominated by Walnut Street Theatre), Anthony Fusco (American Conservatory Theater), Blake Hackler (Dallas Theater Center), Elizabeth Heflin (University of Delaware: Resident Ensemble Players), Bob Hess (Dallas Theater Center), Michael Manuel (Pasadena Playhouse), Sandra Marquez (Steppenwolf Theatre Company), Zuhairah McGill (Arden Theatre Company), Lawrence Redmond (Arena Stage), and Jomar Tagatac (Berkeley Repertory Theatre).

Ten Chimneys was founded in 1996 by Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne as a creative retreat. The estate is open to the public as a museum and as a resource for the American theatre.

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