Dear Tisch Community,
It is with great sadness that I share the news that Louis Scheeder, our colleague, mentor, and friend passed away just after midnight on August 28th from frontotemporal dementia.
In recent days Louis had been surrounded by his loving wife, Patricia, and longtime colleagues Carrie Meconis, Daniel Spector and family friends who were with him until his peaceful end. Some of us were able to visit him, sharing stories of our families and the school, reading favorite passages from Shakespeare, but most of all to express our love and respect.
Remembering Louis Scheeder: In 2019, Louis retired after 30 years of dedicated service to the NYU Tisch School of the Arts. He was the founder and director of The Classical Studio, an advanced training program in the Department of Drama. To say that Louis was beloved by his students and colleagues would be an understatement. He regularly conducted acting workshops in Los Angeles, London, Havana, Johannesburg, Cape Town, Singapore, and Shanghai. Louis served as interim Chair of the Department of Drama from 2011 to 2013. One year later in 2014, Louis earned our university’s highest honor for faculty: the NYU Distinguished Teaching Award. Each year at graduation Louis wore that medal proudly, displaying his love of teaching. Drama. Chair Rubén Polendo wrote, “Louis’s spirit, determination, and joy are permanently woven into the culture of the Department of Drama. Louis consistently modeled what it is to be an artist, a mentor, and a teacher. A true inspiration, he will be dearly missed.” Daniel Spector, current Director of the Classical Studio, shares, “My feelings are utterly uncomplicated right now, and I cannot improve on Sebastian’s words from one of Louis’s favorite plays, Twelfth Night, to express them: “I can no other answer make but thanks, and thanks, and ever thanks.”
Louis served as the Producer of Washington’s Folger Theatre Group and worked at the Royal Shakespeare Company. He was a member of London’s The Factory UK, and he received his PH.D. in Performance Studies from NYU. He directed on, off, and off-off Broadway, multiple productions at the school, and at regional theaters in the U.S. and Canada. He produced three off-Broadway shows, most notably Amlin Gray’s Obie-winner How I Got That Story.
Louis contributed two chapters to Training of the American Actor, and he specialized in using classical texts for actor training. He co-authored All the Words on Stage: A Complete Pronunciation Dictionary for the Plays of William Shakespeare with Shane-Ann Younts, faculty in our Graduate Acting Program. They also co-created an invaluable guide for actors with the Audio Shakespeare Pronunciation application that can be found at the official website. Shane-Ann Younts writes, “The influence of Louis will be felt for years to come. Students, actors and fellow faculty members who studied and worked with him will always have a part of him with them. I am grateful for the many years we spent together. I am richer for having known him.”
“Goodnight, sweet Prince
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” Hamlet V, 2, William Shakespeare
Alongside his considerable teaching responsibilities and professional work, Louis served as the Senior Associate Dean of Faculty at Tisch for 11 years. Carrie Meconis, Director of the Office of Faculty, observed, “Louis added his mental genius and heart into every decision he made during his time as Associate Dean. People came to him for guidance, and he delivered his answers with care, thoughtfulness and integrity.” Tisch Chief of Staff Joan Maniego adds, “I wouldn’t be where I am without Louis. He was objective to a fault, with the right amount of humanity and compassion that earned him the trust of everyone.”
Personally, I too sought his guidance from the first time I met him, even before I arrived at Tisch. I am forever grateful to Louis for his unflagging moral compass, his sage advice, warmth, kindness, honesty, dry humor, and his keen ability to provide direction and support to our colleagues and students. Louis was a dedicated champion for each of us, and he will indeed be dearly missed.
Please join me in expressing our love and condolences to Louis’s wife, Patricia, grieving colleagues, treasured students, and his many friends around the world. We will organize a celebration of Louis’s life in the coming year.
With much admiration, love, and respect for Louis Scheeder, and a life well-lived.
Dean of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts