Helen Marie Guditis, Founder and President of "The Theatre Museum" , died of cancer, in her sleep. She valiantly fought for 4 years but succumbed to the disease on December 3, 2012. She was with family members, who said that she sang broadway show tunes until her last breath. Stewart F. Lane, chairman of The Theatre Museum called Helen's dedication to theater inspiring and stated, "Helen will be deeply missed by the theater community."
In 2003 Guditis founded the "Broadway Theatre Institute", the name was changed to "The Theatre Museum" in 2007. The Museum has successfully functioned with partnerships and associations in greater New York and throughout country. The Theatre Museum has provided exhibitions, educational, and public programs to bring together scholars, architects, historians, and actors to chronicle The National Theatre.
The Theatre Museum Awards are presented each spring and are a highlight of the New York theatre season. Guditis was instrumental in securing talent, presenters and funding for the prestigious awards. Some of the recipients that received honors from Helen and the Theatre Museum Board include: Sheldon Harnick, Ellen Burstyn, Carmen de Lavallade, Bonnie Comley, Michael Kantor, Louis Botto, and the organizations: The Theatre Development Fund, The Drama League, Frank Sinatra High School and Arts Horizons among others.
Born in Chicago, Illinois to Albert and Helen Guditis, she graduated from Marquette University, The American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and received a Master of Fine Arts from Northwestern University. After directing and appearing in several plays at "The Theatre on the Lake" in Chicago, she moved to New York City in 1972, to begin a successful career in Broadway and off-Broadway productions. In the 1980's she taught speech and drama in the New York Public Schools before dedicating her life to theater education and preservation.
Helen Marie Guidtis is survived by her brother Albert John Guditis, nephew Jay Matthew Guditis, his wife Mary and grand nephews Nathaniel and Nicholas.
In lieu of flowers, please send tax deductible contributions to: The Theatre Museum, 40 Worth Street, Suite 824, New York, New York 10013. Website: thetheatremuseum.org.
Photo Credit: Rob Rich