Sidney Berger, Ph.D. (Doc) was born in the Lower East side of Manhattan, NY on January 25, 1937 and passed away in Kingwood, TX on Friday, February 2013 after a short illness.
He attended Brooklyn College earning a BA in Theatre followed by a Masters and a Doctorate in Theatre at the University of Kansas where he met the love of his life, Sandra Hopkins. They married in 1963 and moved to Michigan State University, E. Lansing where Doc was a director and Director of Graduate Studies. In 1969 they moved to Houston where Doc took over as Chairman of the Drama Department at the University of Houston. When he retired 38 years later he had transitioned the fledgling department into a nationally respected and highly esteemed School of Theatre and Dance. Doc taught a full load of classes each semester and directed at least one show per academic year. During the summers he not only taught but also Founded, Produced and Directed the Houston Shakespeare Festival in Hermann Park as well as Co-founding and Directing the Children's Theatre Festival.
In order to celebrate, honor and share his most favored playwright, Dr. Berger Co-Founded the Shakespeare Theatre Association of America in January, 1991. The organization was established to provide a forum for theatres whose central activity is the production of Shakespeare's plays. Doc was the first President of the organization, which thrives internationally today.
Dr. Berger had two great passions, teaching and William Shakespeare. His beginning Shakespeare classes were always filled to capacity, leaving his students begging for Advanced Bard classes. His office door was always open, making him accessible to any student who needed one-on-one encouragement or assistance with a class project or play in which they had been cast.
Sidney Berger understood his students' deep passion for Theatre. He understood this so well that he tenaciously and steadily brought well-known artists and technicians to the School of Theatre and Dance. Pulitzer Prize winners Edward Albee and Lanford Wilson, Tony Award winners Stuart Ostrow and Sir Peter Hall, Costume Designer Desmond Heeley and actress Elizabeth Ashley are among the many luminaries that Doc convinced to share their skills and talent, giving the students the opportunity to grow under the tutelage of sages in their chosen field.
Because he shared his knowledge, his vision, his tenacity and his generosity of spirit and wisdom, there are thousands of Doc's former students throughout Texas, the United States and around the globe who attribute their achievements and successes to the man who wed Theatre and Shakespeare in the School of Theatre and Dance, Sidney "Doc" Berger.
Dr. Berger was preceded in death by his parents, Sam and Pauline Berger, his daughter, Jennifer Berger Young and her husband, Mark Young. He is survived by his wife of 49 years, Sandra and their son, Erik.
Visitation for friends and family will be held at Kingwood Funeral Home from 10:00 am - noon on Tuesday, February 19, 2013, immediately followed by a service. Burial will be at Brookside Memorial Park after the noon service.
Published in Houston Chronicle on Feb. 18, 2013