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“critics acknowledge that Chicgo’s theatre movement owes much to two pioneers Robert Sickinger and George Keathley. There is an irony that for us in that Sickinger and Keathley had tried to stir up theater in Philadelphia. The timing was wrong. When they found it impossible to compete against the then star studded commercial theatre of our town, they moved on……to Chicago.

 ERNEST SCHIER PHILADELPHIA EVENING BULLETIN



“It was Bob who got it out of me! Working with him is tremendous. He knows what he wants and how to get it, but it in an intelligent fashion you know, he’s sort of a gentleman in the theatre. He’s handled me throughout as a lady, gently and I’ve responded as I’ve never been able to respond to those directors who carry the big stick, who shout and threaten” 

PAULIN HAGUE STAR OF HAPPY DAYS BEST ACTRESS CHICAGO SESON 1968 TRAINED AT THE ABBEY THEATRE IRELAND 

“For Bob Sickinger who shook up Chicago for more than a decade, helping the hog-butcher to the world develop a soul that carved a theater that challenges rather than reassures……..this volume of early Tennessee so early that that he still called himself Tom.

  With love, respect and friendship for the future”
DAN ISAAC’S EDITOR OF TENNESSEE WILLIAMS PLAY “SPRING STORM”



“I asked about your goal for theatre in Chcicago. You said, “six or seven thousand neighborhood theaters.” I knew you were dreaming…but I knew your dream was serious and not exaggerated……but rather premature! Count on me to contribute financially to make your dream come true!”

LOUIS SZATHMARY BAKERY CHICAGO

 “Roberto; It’s been an honor and a pleasure. As the little lady says…the biggest bouquet goes to the man behind the scenes, a gentleman, a scholar, and most important A DIRECTOR!

LORAINE ZELMANKI played Helen Cobb in WHO WILL SAVE THE PLOWBOY?


“I fondly remembered how you talked me into playing Sister Jeanne in the The Devils as we tried to force male devil voices out of my mouth.     The note you gave me that worked…I’ve kept it a secret all these years was the best directing note I have ever been given. When we worked on the fifth century Greek, Sophocles’ Electra you convinced the creative team and actors the only environment the action could take place was an Italian Funeral Home. What would it take to get me to act again? A word from Bob Sickinger wok with Bob Sickinger ! ‘

DIANE RUDALL VETERAN HULL HOUSE ACTRESS


“I perceived as I worked with him that he didn’t want to make definitive choices up front ….he wanted the process of creating to happen. He said “If I knew what I wanted on top, I wouldn’t need myself.

ESTELLE SPECTOR CHOREOGRAPHER TEACHER AND DIRECTOR


“Bob’s vision was the mainspring of the great explosion of theatrical activity in Chicago we have today. I remember the early days of Bob’s fund raising [pre funding days] “Chamber Theatre” where we went to the wealthiest homes of Chicagoans to read plays followed by a discussion, dinner and then substantial donations. Though on occasion we were treated as though we were a group of vagabonds from Maxwell Street. Never mind, the scheme worked and in a few years we were so well known David Susskind invited us to NYC to televise Bob’s production of the DUMBWAITER for national viewing.“

KENNETH NORTHCOTT DEPT OF GERMANIC LANGUASGES AND LITERATURE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO


“Bob was as very instinctual director and he had a wonderful eye and somehow with no budget he’d put on shows that today in professional theater would cost $500.000.“

ROBERTA CUSTER REMAINS THEATER 


“Sickinger would tell the cast after a press opening…….All right, they’ve been here. Now you can do your work and play it for yourselves! The most valuable acting advise was just  SIMPLIFY! SIMPLIFY! SIMPLIFY!”

BEA FREDMAN VETERAN CHICAGO ASCTRESS

 
“I was just a backstage brat but you were like a God to me, there’s nothing I wouldn’t do when asked. To this day working for you was one of the best experiences of my life much to the dismay of my parents and teachers. Through this experience my life has grown culturally, intellectually and artistically. At least I’ve been able to share in this note a little of what I’ve carried in my heart for 23-26 years. Thanks for giving me the gift of theater.

VICKI DOYLE HOFSTETTER a teenage apprentice and technician at HHT.


“I don’t know what it would it take to get Bob Sickinger to direct here again? I do know we would all be better off if he did and I hope he will.

JACK MC FADDEN DIRECTOR HHT UNDERGROUD THEATRE


“WHO’LL SAVE THE PLOWBOY The first production by Bob Sickinger…. the play was forced and flawed but Sickinger’s galvanic direction and the acting by local actors dramatically illustrated that vital exciting theater could spring from the city’s own talent.  The effect was mind blowing! From then on, with a stunning flow of Off Broadway and avant garde European drama that Sickinger was to mount in the next five years. Off Loop theater in Chicago was on it’s wa !
 
I984 CRITIC PICKS A GOLDEN DOZEN DRAMATIC GEMS IN A GLITTERING ERA 1  

Files
Who is who in America
A theater of our own
Chicago Tribune 1997
Mike Nussbaum
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