Michael Chekhov Association: Zelda Fichandler Scholarship Awardees Announced
Posted by: Official_Press_Release 09:26 am EDT 03/20/19



The Michael Chekhov Association (MICHA), the not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving the artistic vision and technique of Michael Chekhov, celebrating its 20th year in 2019, today announced that the next recipients of the Zelda Fichandler Scholarship will be multi-faceted performers, stage and screen actress Tia James and writer/director/choreographer, Chuk Obasi.

Zelda Finchandler was a leader in America’s regional theatre movement and an ardent supporter of the work of Michael Chekhov. The eponymous scholarship was launched in Fall 2017 to benefit the next generation of Chekhov teachers and practitioners. Awardees receive full tuition for one week to MICHA’s International Michael Chekhov Workshop, which takes place every summer at Connecticut College in New London, CT. Previous scholarship recipients include Tony-nominated actress Michelle Shay and up-and-coming performer, Nikiya Matthis.
“MICHA is grateful to the late Zelda Fichandler for endowing MICHA with a scholarship fund to support actor training,” says Chekhov’s former student Joanna Merlin, founder and president of the organization. “It’s a thrill to name these two highly accomplished performers—Tia James and Chuk Obasi—as this year’s Finchandler scholarship recipients. Tia is a talented and passionate Chekhov practitioner--as well as NYU alum—whose contributions consistently enrich stage and screen. Chuk is a true Renaissance man whose well-rounded experience shines both behind-the-scenes and on stage. We are excited to support them in their respective journeys and look forward to hosting both at our annual gathering this summer.”

Tia James is an actor, teacher, director, and vocal coach, currently a faculty member of UNC Professional Actor Training Program, and vocal coach and company member of PlayMakers Repertory Company. Tia has been seen on Broadway in The Merchant of Venice (Broadhurst Theater), and regional theater productions of Richard III (Allentown Shakespeare); Loving and Loving (Stella Adler Studios); The Winter’s Tale and The Merchant of Venice (The Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park), Much Ado About Nothing (Two River Theater) and Civilization (all you can eat) (Woolly Mammoth Theater). Her television credits include “Nurse Jackie” and “Treme.” She has been the vocal coach for PlayMakers Rep, having worked on such shows as The Adventures of Robin Hood, Skeleton Crew, She Loves Me, Bewilderness, Jump, Life of Galileo, and How I Learned to Drive. Tia served as the Associate Artistic Director for The Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford CT, was a teaching artist for NY’s Public Theater Public Works Program, Mobile Unit, and A Midsummer's Day Camp; a teaching artist for DreamYard Arts Center, and has directed over a dozen plays including Hamlet, Othello, and The Mystery Plays at NYU Graduate Acting Program, Richard III at The Shakespeare Academy @ Stratford CT, A Bright New Bright New Boise with Atlantic Acting School, Macbeth with PlayMakers Mobile Shakes and Constellations with UNC PTAP. Tia is the recipient of the 2003 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival; Irene Ryan Winner, the 2014 NYU Graduate Acting Diversity Mentorship Scholarship for Voice and Speech. Tia received her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University, and her MFA from NYU Graduate Acting.

A Nigerian-American actor, writer and director, Chuk Obasi is currently a company member with The Private Theatre; a Movement Director at the Stella Adler Studio of Acting; an Adjunct Professor of Musical Theatre at Drew University; and Choreographer for STAR Theatre (Serving Teens through Arts and Research) at the Director’s Company. A Renaissance man, Chuk has served as Artist-in-Residence with Intersections International; a Teaching Artist at the National Dance Institute; and has held artist residencies with Irondale Theater and SUNY Geneseo (2015); The Actor’s Studio (2016) and The Marble House Project in VT (2018). His other recent work includes Rocco, Chelsea, Adriana, Sean, Claudia, Gianna, Alex at HERE Arts (2019, performer); Twisted Operettas at The Public Theater (2019, co-lyricist); The Actual Dance at the United Solo Festival (2018, performer); music concert A Drink with Death (2018, lyricist) at Feinstein’s/54 Below; and the critically-acclaimed play Uniform Justice (playwright/director), which he produced at the 2015 New York International Fringe Festival. Chuk holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from SUNY Geneseo, where he studied communication with a double minor in musical theatre and dance. Born in Queens and raised in the Bronx, he currently resides in Manhattan with his wife and two sons. Twitter: @ChukObasi / WWW.IMDB.Com/ChukObasi

Learn more about the Scholarship, the upcoming conference or MICHA as a whole at www.michaelchekhov.org.

Celebrating its 20th anniversary in 2019, MICHA is a not-for-profit association that celebrates and preserves Michael Chekhov's artistic vision and legacy. The organization provides a community for performers, teachers, scholars and directors in the form of workshops and events. It researches approaches to teaching that utilize Michael Chekhov's technique, and publishes primary and secondary source materials. MICHA continues to grow its archive and support individuals engaged in practice as research as its relates to Chekhov's psycho-physical approach and its many forms of application. As well, the organization is committed to providing opportunities to artists interested in comprehensive teacher training in the Michael Chekhov Acting Technique. www.michaelchekhov.org

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