Zelda Fichandler, American stage producer and director, Died at 91


Zelda Fichandler (née Diamond) was born on September 18, 1924, Boston, Massachusetts, and died on July 29, 2016.

She was an American stage producer, director, and educator.

Her husband, Thomas C. Fichlander, she was a statistician and economist.

He was a co-founder of the Arena Stage theatre in Washington, D.C., the first integrated theater in Washington.

At age 4, Zelda reloaded from Boston area to Washington D.C. as her father accepted a job at the National Bureau of Standards.

Zelda performed as Helga in Helga at 8 years old and the White Peacock at the Rose Robison Cowen’s Studio for Children’s Theatre.

The Fichandlers were able to build a new theatre complex.

He served as Arena’s artistic director from the theatre’s inception until her retirement at the end of the 1990-91 season.

During that period, Arena Stage became known as one of America’s premier regional theatres.

With his leadership, the Arena won the first regional Tony award in 1976, became the first American theatre to tour the USSR (1973), as well as the first regional theatre to transfer a show to Broadway.

He directed numerous plays at Arena Stage including Death of a Salesman, Uncle Vanya, A Doll’s House and Six Characters in Search of an Author.

For several of her Arena Stage productions toured internationally, including Inherit the Wind and The Crucible.

From 1984, he has been chair of the graduate acting program and Master Teacher of Acting and Directing at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.

Zelda was artistic director of The Acting Company, from 1991-94.

Her honors and awards include the Common Wealth Award for distinguished service in the dramatic arts (1985); the Helen Hayes Award for directing The Crucible (1988); and the National Medal of Arts in 1996.

She was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1999, the first artistic leader outside of New York to be so honored.

He died from congestive heart failure.

Zelda Fichandler passed away at 91 years old.