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April 23, 2007

Contact: Contact: Mike Emery
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Annual Award Presented to Stage Professionals Who Shape Young Artists’ Lives

HOUSTON, April 23, 2007 – For 38 years, Sidney Berger has cultivated generations of theater talents and entertained Houstonians of all ages by directing a host of productions. Now, Berger, director of the UH School of Theatre, will be honored for his contributions to Houston’s stage community.

Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars (TUTS) will present Berger with the 2007 Ruth Denney Award during the annual Tommy Tune Awards ceremony April 24 in Houston’s Hobby Center for the Performing Arts (800 Bagby St.). The award recognizes the lifetime achievement of those individuals who have played an instrumental role in shaping the lives of young artists.

“To be honored for doing something I love makes me more grateful than I can articulate,” Berger said. “It also is very rewarding to receive this award from TUTS, which has done everything to help theater in this city. I am very happy that they have chosen to honor me.”

Berger has served as the School of Theatre’s director since 1968 mentoring and directing student actors, including future Hollywood stars such as Randy and Dennis Quaid, Robert Wuhl and Loretta Devine. In 1975, Berger co-founded the Houston Shakespeare Festival, which continues to offer free performances in Miller Outdoor Theatre. He also co-founded the Children’s Theatre Festival in 1978, which has entertained audiences of all ages with family-friendly summer performances.

The Ruth Denney Award is named for the famed Texas theater educator, who passed away in March. Denney taught at Lamar High School in Houston, mentored stage star Tommy Tune and founded Houston’s High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in 1971. From 1976 – 1988, she taught at the University of Texas at Austin.

“I greatly admired Ruth Denney,” Berger said. “To receive this award just weeks after her passing is a singular honor.”

Previous Ruth Denney Award recipients have included Denney herself and choreographer Patsy Swayze.
For more information on Berger, visit, and to learn more about the UH School of Theatre & Dance, visit

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