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Sheldon Patinkin remembered by Chicago’s theater & comedy elite

The huge blizzard on the East Coast prevented Anna Shapiro from making it to the celebration of the life of the late Sheldon Patinkin that took place Monday night at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. The Tony-winning director, who will soon become the artistic director of Steppenwolf Theatre, had a special reason for wanting to be at the memorial tribute to Patinkin, the longtime director, producer and writer who played such a huge role in the development of Chicago’s theater and comedy scenes.

Without Patinkin, Shapiro might not even be here, as he introduced her parents Joann (herself a director) and Mort (the longtime Second City photographer).

Shapiro was back East readying her next Broadway production, “Fish in the Dark,” the new comedy by Larry David of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Seinfeld” fame. David also will star in the show, joined by Rosie Perez. Since Shapiro couldn’t make it, her statement about Patinkin was read by her fellow award-winning director and former Columbia College theater classmate, David Cromer.

Among those spied at the Patinkin tribute were John Mahoney, Rondi Reed, Laurie Metcalf, “Grease” co-author Jim Jacobs, Fred Willard and Isabella Hofmann. Speakers at the event included the evening’s emcee, Scott Adsit, Steppenwolf co-founder Jeff Perry, Columbia College Chicago president Kwang-Wu Kim and Second City CEO Andrew Alexander.

Patinkin died last September.