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Bella Itkin

  • Professor Emerita
  • Doctorate Western Reserve University; MFA Goodman School of Drama
  • In Memorium

In Memoriam: 1920-2011. A former chair of the Performance Program, Dr. Itkin conducted Techniques classes for senior level and M.F.A. students. Dr. Itkin was known nationally as an acting coach whose past students include Kevin Anderson, Melinda Dillon, Ann Dowd, Linda Hunt, Harvey Korman, Concetta Tomei, Joe Mantegna, Kevin O'Connor, Elizabeth Perkins, the late Lee Richardson and the late Geraldine Page. She has directed more than 200 productions for The Theatre School, including The Seagull, Romeo And Juliet, Toys In The Attic, The Cherry Orchard, A Streetcar Named Desire and the Chicago premiere of Tennessee Williams' Eccentricities of a Nightingale. During her 15-year term as Artistic Director of Chicago Playworks, formerly the Goodman Children's Theatre, she directed Treasure Island, Puss In Boots, A Doctor In Spite Of Himself and A Midsummer Nights' Dream among numerous others. She accepted the prestigious Sara Spencer Award from the Children's Theatre Association of America in 1980 for long-term contributions to children's theatre in the United States and The Joseph Jefferson Lifetime Achievement Award. She served as a visiting professor at University of Kansas in Lawrence, the Aspen Theatre Institute in Aspen, Colo. and the Classical Theatre Foundation in Boulder, Colo., was a producer and the Artistic Director of the Lake Zurich Playhouse and has lectured extensively and conducted workshops at several theatre conventions and seminars. Dr. Itkin received her M.F.A. from the Goodman School of Drama (now The Theatre School, DePaul University), studied with the late Sanford Meisner and earned her doctorate from Western Reserve University. She received the Via Sapientiae Award from DePaul University in 1990, was named to the Chicago Women's Hall of Fame in 1990, the Chicago Tribune All-Professor Team in 1993, the Chicago Park District's 1993 Senior Citizen of the Year and was honored by the Chicago Drama League. Her focus in teaching acting and directing is based on the sensorial life of the character, which is discussed specifically in her book, Acting: Preparation, Practice, Performance, originally published by Harper and Collins. Dr. Itikin passed away in February 2011, and was memoralized in numerous publications, including the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times.