Lee D. Sankowich

Title: Producer, Director, Playwright, Owner
Company: Zephyr Theatre
Location: Larkspur, California, United States

Lee D. Sankowich, Producer, Playwright, Director and Owner at Zephyr Theatre, has been recognized by Marquis Who’s Who Top Artists for dedication, achievements, and leadership in theater production.

Involved in the performing arts from a formative age, Mr. Sankowich began acting at the age of 12 and soon became a member of the Young Adults Division of the Jewish Federation. As he was the only member of the group with a formal theatrical background, he was asked to direct a play and thrived in the newfound responsibility of leading a production. Continuing on his performing arts path, Mr. Sankowich attended the University of Southern California where he was introduced to a small theater production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” In 1970, he produced and directed a revival of the play to great success. The production opened to strong reviews and record-breaking extended runs in San Francisco for five years, New York for two years and Boston for one year, as well as an international production in Israel. Notably, Kirk Douglas presented an offer to turn the production into a movie.

Having built notoriety for his work, Mr. Sankowich continued to direct and refine his skills on and off the stage, directing at a myriad of theaters across the United States. Among his directing credits are the first professional all African-American cast production of “Death of a Salesman,” along with two estate-sanctioned productions of previously unproduced plays by Tennessee Williams. Since 2006, Mr. Sankowich has served as the notable owner and producing artistic director of Zephyr Theatre in Los Angeles, a historic black-box theatre space with a legacy of mounting challenging productions from creators at all career stages. Earlier, he gained experience for the distinguished role as artistic director of the Marin Theater Company from 1990 to 2006. Lending his expertise to the classroom, Mr. Sankowich taught at Carnegie Mellon University as an associate professor of drama from 1986 to 1990.

Renowned for his theatrical success, Mr. Sankowich was the recipient of four San Francisco Bay Area Drama Critics Awards for Direction, as well as Best Production of the Year Awards. He attributes his success to the desire of not giving up and doing what he desires. Studying people, being receptive to what occurs around you and storing moments in memory are examples of how he utilizes the everyday to fuel production greatness. He stresses that vulnerability is critical in his industry, as emotion in writing and directing is what makes a great story. Looking ahead in his career, Mr. Sankowich hopes to go out with a bang as he approaches his retirement. Presently, he serves as a board member for the Infernal Theater Company.

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