Richard Newdick takes his final bow

Richard Newdick takes his final bow
Richard Newdick takes his final bow
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newdickOn Friday 3/20, Richard Newdick took his final bow. He was:

– my advisor for 4 years at RPI/VCU

– my mentor thru 2 years of my work-study job

– my friend for many years after graduation.

He was the most influential member of the faculty for me, not to mention a wonderful hoot!

 

Richard couldn’t make the last TheatreVCU reunion in 2012, so I whipped up this video of well wishes from the alumni that attended. It’s even more appropriate now.

 

Watch Video

 

 He was one of the Richmond theatre communities most unique, talented, caring and entertaining personalities.

 

FRIENDS AND FORMER STUDENTS PLEASE FEEL FREE TO POST A “REPLY” WITH YOUR COMMENTS, MEMORIES AND TRIBUTES BELOW.

50 Comments

  1. a giant has fallen. The heavens steal our happiness. Richard Newdick, Bill has been waiting. Send him my love.

    • Claudia Boycott Frantz
      Wonderful to see so many old friends in the video – so sad that Richard has passed over. Hugs to all.

  2. You know, I never was a VCU Student, although I worked at VCU in the mid-late 70’s and taught Lighting and Sound Tech for about 7 yrs. or so as an Adjunct. I knew Richard from his work at the Virginia Museum Theatre, VCU Theatre, the FanFare Seasons, certainly many others and in general – theatre all over town. He was a long-term constant presence in the Richmond theatre community, a friend, and a gentle-man. I know we will all miss him.

  3. Very sad for the passing of Richard Newdick! A tremendously gentle, compassionate, and wickedly funny gentleman and professor whose cackling laughter will always ring in my memories. He was a very helpful member of my faculty council who helped guide my choices and work leading up to my MFA dissertation in the late 80’s. Later in the mid 90’s, it was to Richard that I turned once more when returning to VCU’s theatre dept. to enter it’s BFA theatre education program. One of my favorite memories was sitting in his office discussing the genius of Mike Nichols and Elaine May when looking for comprehensive scene material. RIP, dear Richard.

  4. Very sad. He was a great director and a wonderful professor. I am lucky to have studied with him.

  5. A gentle-man indeed… with a wicked sense of humor and a wicked laugh. He taught me important lessons about working on the stage and living life.

  6. When I walked through the doors of Temple Building to interview in 1973, I was greeted by Richard. He extended his hand. “Hi, I’m Dick Newdick.” After that I remember thinking “I belong here”. I have fond memories of being a designer on two of Richard’s shows.When it’s my turn I hope to hear that greeting again.

  7. Warm, sophisticated, debonaire- and hilariously funny. A hoot of a man and I loved him. I remember he directed Sherree, Freddy and I in “She Stoops to Conquer”. So many fond memories… Seems like yesterday. R.I.P. Richard. x0x0x0

  8. Truly a giant. So many theatre artists owe their excellence to his leadership. I will always remember his exuberant, smoky laugh, and his insistence that I call him “Richard” instead of “Dr. Newdick.”

  9. The mold was broken when Dick Newdick was born. He was a wondI’m talking about.ul professor and one of the greatest characters that I have ever had the pleasure of knowIng.
    If anyone truck his, I mean took his Theatre Administration class they know what I’m Talking about.
    He will be missed, but will live forever in our hearts.
    RIP Dick Newdick.

  10. This makes me so sad. He was my friend, my colleague, even my acting partner. I can still hear his laugh and smell the cigarettes. I acted with him years ago, I designed for him , I worked for and with him at SETC, I helped him pack his office for the last time. We hadn’t seen each other in several years but we always talked at Christmas and checked on each other. The world will be lesser without the Newdick laugh. I assume he is sitting having a cocktail with Tom Holloway and brother William somewhere. God bless Richard.

  11. I was thinking about Richard just the other day. I am so grateful that I knew him…he had a wonderful spirit and he will be missed. We should all throw our heads back and release that signature Richard laugh in his honor. He will truly be missed.

  12. I am so thankful for Richard’s cheerful smile (I really needed it some days in VCU grad program!) and all of the books. When he retired, he gave me at least dozen books & enriched my library. I think fondly of him every time I am going through my library, looking for a play.

  13. In 1970 Spring, you were my main interview. I let you know how much I DIDN’T like contrived musicals and you still let me in. Loved VCU and being one of six in the Berthold Brecht reader’s theatre we toured a few places in the city my freshman year , being a part of the handpicked for the Widow Maker, fun in the Beggars ‘ Opera, Pantaglaise, diet coach & assistant director ob Brigadoon so many one acts of the directing class. Always valued your joi de vivre you always knew what was and wasn’t serious and how important something really was’t. Thank you.

  14. Richard gave away hundreds of books to his students. God bless him. I was outside his office in 1996 prepping for a speech class with a few other VCU Theatre grad students, he asked in his raspy – lived a little – voice, “you want some books”? and he gave each of us a pile. Mamet, Brecht, Huang, Artaud. Each of us took a stack that day and his name lives-on in our libraries written neatly just inside the front cover, “Newdick”. What a generous soul! P.S. I loved this video – so nicely done!

  15. He always had a smile for every student. A kind word. Encouragement. Unforgettable laugh. I loved his office full of books, but also seeing him in it, again, smiling, always willing to take time to listen to a student, give advice. His door really was always open.. I am starting rehearsals for a new show and just told a story to our director about how Richard Newdick taught me about comedy. I will never EVER forget you Richard. May your light shine forever.

  16. I had a wife and two young children when I decided to go back to school and get certified to be a high school drama teacher. As I walked onto the VCU campus for my first day of campus I was overwhelmed with terror and just about ready to run away when Dick called to me and took my arm and walked me to my first class. By the time I got to the room, he had me convinced returning to school was not only the right decision, it was the best decision. And he stayed my mentor and friend throughout the entire process and for many years afterwards. One of the memories that I cherish the most is the way he embraced my entire family and made sure all were comfortable and happy n our new city and home. I wish everyone could’ve seen him playing on the floor with my two pre-school kids. They worshipped him and tried to keep him updated as they grew up and lived their lives. I don’t look forward to calling my two 30-something kids later this morning and telling the news. The tears will definitely flow. But so will the hundreds of wonderful memories that will stay with us forever.

  17. Well…I received this sad news this morning. I’m beyond words and without breath. I can’t add too much since its already been said here. As many of you know RLN was one if the great loves of my life. When I was living in NYC in the 80’s and he would stay Muriel McAuley’s place, Linda DeCantis and I took over a 10 gallon bottle of Dewars. We rang the door bell and from beyond the closed door we heard “Aaaaaahaaaaaaaaaa…”. God I miss those times and the bond we all shared. Journey well dearest oldest friend. I’ll cry later once I can breathe. Love to all of you here as well. Xxxx

  18. Dick Newdick was not only a wonderful professor, mentor and educator–he was also a really fun man to be around! He was so generous to me during my time in the MFA program at VCU. I’ll never forget when he called me into his office the first week of school of my first year in the program and offered me 2 classes to teach (versus the normal 1 class usually offered to 1st semester MFA students). I was shocked, thankful and a bit scared when I asked him “Why me?”. He took a long puff of his cigarette, leaned in to me, looked me straight in the eyes and said…”Oh Stefan, because I know you have the ENERGY to handle it ALL!” followed by that now famous laugh of his. Thank you for everything you did for me and all of us! You will forever be an integral part of my TheatreVCU memories! RIP XOXO

  19. I never would have graduated with out Richards help , He was a Dear , Dear Man . I was often late returning to school , squeezing out those last weeks of summer stock . I would call Richard and he would go pull the cards I needed , he wasn’t even my advisor , he just genuinely cared that I not drop out again . I only had him for one class , ” Uncle Richards Story Hour ” . even upon my exit from VCU , skipping graduation , Richard took the care to mail my Diploma . With a personal note telling me I might actually want it some day . He was right . Thank you my friend and Godspeed

  20. I wrote a longer tribute on my own FB wall, but here is the main point: I shall always be grateful for the time, advise, mentoring, and all around love I received from Richard. He was a very important part of formulating how I approach theory and criticism as well as teaching. Thank you, Richard, for just being YOU.

  21. I might never have graduated if it hadn’t been for Richard’s wonderful compassion towards me. I was going thru a separation from a 15 year marriage and although I’d been separated for two years at the time, I had not really dealt with the pain and emotions necessary for me to move forward. During my 2nd year acting mid term we had to write and perform our most bold action. Mine had been when I confronted the woman that had been a “friend” and betrayed me by having an affair with my now ex-husband. Once I wrote about it and performed it I couldn’t stuff the feelings back inside to be ignored any longer and I had an emotional breakdown. Richard helped me work through it and suggested that instead of leaving VCU’s theatre program that I switch from acting to the “write your own” degree, so I went into directing and film and was even allowed to study with the graduate students in the directing courses. They broke the mold with Richard and I will remember him fondly the rest of my life. Break a leg, Richard. Much love. See you on the other side.

  22. That voice – that laugh – that way of telling me to get on with my life and not apply for grad school! Richard Newdick – we are all so lucky to have called you friend, mentor, teacher.

  23. God rests a little easier now, as he now has someone to direct his angels with laughter and love. our loss is heaven’s gain, alas, no longer is he in pain.

  24. I saw this a immediately had tears in my eyes. The two greatest influences on me while I was at VCU are now gone. He was such a wonderful spirit. I am comforted to think that Tony Ray Hicks met him at the gates, dressed in a floor length gown and holding a drink for him.

  25. Richard Newdick was a very special teacher and friend to all who had the privilege of learning and working with him. He was my first acting teacher and he taught me so much. Such a great man! Such a tremendously funny man. Such a great artist! You will be missed, dear sir! God’s speed!

  26. I loved Richard. He was the Master of the double take, and could deliver a double entendre even better than Maggie Smith. I will never forget him in Taming Of The Shrew, when people were actually falling out of their seats, just because he raised his eyebrows! I loved his directing class. And, I loved him. I owe him a lot of gaffaws and grins. Can’t think of a minute I was anywhere near him, that I did not thoroughly enjoy his humor, kindness, and joy of life. I always suspected To Sir With Love was written for this wonderful guy, or, at least, it should have been.

  27. Richard helped me complete my degree and opened the door to teaching with the BFA. He was an amazing individual, both gentle and humble. I remember many chats in his office and his easy, direct teaching style. He would walk in, shuffle some pages and suddenly, when he looked up, the class was quiet, everyone listening. If I could only emulate that quiet commanding presence! I am so happy that he led me back to my degree and my love of teaching. I will miss him.

  28. What a wonderful spirit, a great teacher, and a bright light in my VCU experience.
    Thank you, Mr. Dick Newdick, a standing ovation to you!
    May the Blessings Be.
    Susan

  29. Dick was one of the best. When it looked like I might have to go an entire extra year to get the last required credit for my Theatre Education degree, he made it possible for me to graduate (mostly) on time. His care and consideration for the students was always clear. I had a blast working with him. It’s so hard to lose another mentor and friend from my VCU days.

  30. It was many many years ago that Dick Newdick taught me and my class of 1970 at VCU. He was a very young man. And I, even younger. He was my favorite teacher. It’s the little things that stick with you, the nuggets of truth. Like the time I was rehearsing David for Lorraine Hansberry’s THE SIGN IN SIDNEY BRUSTEIN’S WINDOW and asked Dick what difference it makes that David is gay and Dick responded: “Does he enter the stage with a sexual act in mind?” to which I responded “no” and Dick dryly quipped: “then it makes no difference at all does it?” And he whisked himself out of the room. He did that often: whisked himself out of the room; or, whisked himself into the room. As if the oversized hand of God were whisking him about. And when Dick retired, he chose Sarasota, (my little town) to retire to. Because it was warm. And it is filled with good art and good people. And we had lunch often. Though not often enough. And as time passed I learned from Dick that his profession did not redeem him. That his students did not redeem him. That my art would not redeem me. That one must redeem oneself. And though I felt that he was left a little empty by so much giving to so many for so long, and a little disappointed that it did not ‘come back’ the way one imagines it will… that he was nonetheless fully himself. And always had been. And for that, he needed no redemption. And so he continued to teach me to the very end. Indeed. His ending is a teaching. As he is whisked away. As if by the hand of God.

    • Richard, one of my favorite moments ( and regretfully, my last ) with Richard, was when he surprised me outside the dressing room after “Far East” at your theatre. Dapper as ever, dressed all in white, he looked like Tennessee Williams and hadn’t aged one day from the way I remembered him. Here was one of my favorite people & mentors – out of the blue (to me)! I felt like I’d won the lottery. I don’t think I stopped grinning for days!

      I so loved his classes & the joy of being directed by him. So while I understand it all too well, I’m pained to hear that he may not have realized the enormity of the love we all have for him. Because clearly, he left a long trail of nothing but love! Perhaps, it’s scope was just too great. I’d like to think that. ♡

      • Its. Not it’s. Thanks, auto correct. :/

  31. Richard Newdick was a great model for loving what you do and sharing that love with others. I was always happier after seeing him. Great teacher, insightful director and bar none the best laugh I’ve ever heard before or since.

  32. Such a dear, good man…with a sparkling veteran pedigree, and a wonderfully wicked sense of humor to go with it. One of the last of the old school stalwarts of Richmond theatre academia, and a fine actor, too. He indeed will be missed. RIP, and endless blessings to his loved ones.

  33. Dick and Tom were the department to me. I imagine them in heaven with a drink and a cig…laughing together. He will be missed.

  34. Such a class,act. They just don’t don’t make them like Dick Newdick anymore. Sad day.

  35. Without Richard, Jim Parker and Tom Holloway I doubt that I would have finished an MFA

  36. One of the great benifts I received from my Theater VCU years was getting to know, work with, and be close to Richard Newdick. My first go round he was my principal acting teacher, and later, my Graduate Advisor. This man of extraordinary vision taught me many things, like how to “Worry it Through,” how not to write in Purple Prose, and above all, how to totally, deeply, fully commit to any project that I became part of. One of my most memorable and moving days was the one in which we dedicated our favorite theatre, Shafer Street Playhouse, to Richard; I think that was the only time that I ever saw him cry. It was a true honor to be a part of that wonderful event. Richard, you touched my life deeply, and you will always live in my heart. I know we will meet again backstage someday – until that time, old friend, Break a Leg.

  37. I had two stays with Theater VCU ( ’85-’87 & ’91-93 ). I was toying with returning in 91 when the greatest advice was given. No matter what you do, your love for your art will determine how far you go. Thanks to that advice I have spent my time with leading national entertainment firms and have returned to Education to give some of what he gave so freely. Definitely a man to emulate. Rest in peace.

  38. Rest in peace dear Mr. Newdick. You were my first university guidance counselor when I started in theatre at the Temple Building. You often invited us to your home. I’ve never forgotten those years at VCU. You were a magnificent presence. I remember all my professors. Thank you and blessed peace to you Richard. Break a Leg.

  39. Never took a class with Dick. Was glad to be in his “She Stoops” and “Shrew”. Part of the marginalia of my TheatreVCU experience that made it worthwhile.

  40. No matter how bad of a day you were having, seeing Dick Newdick would make it better. He just knew how to make things better. He touched so many lives and he will be missed.

  41. I didn’t pursue a career in theater, as such, after I left VCU. So it’s the life lessons that resonate the most.
    Dick Newdick was a pain in my ass. He had the balls to challenge my personality flaws, in no uncertain terms, and thereby was a direct factor in who I became. That influence is too broad to recount here – suffice I remembered him and the input. I went back to Richmond, once, and found him in his office. Fortunately, I had the chance to thank him, to his face.
    But thanks again, Newdick. Wherever you are.

    • Dick was a real trouper and great supporter as one of the first members back when we established the first professional ensemble at VMT. He not only acted himself but was a main teacher of a great many other actors. He will be missed, but will live in a great many memories.

  42. A parting comment.

    Newdick was willing, if not adamant, in sharing the truth, as he saw it. And every year of his life, he became better at doing that. Some of you have touched on that. It’s what made him the teacher he became, the mentor he was, and the lovely man he needed to be. A treasure without question. I am glad to know his name will not soon be forgotten, at Shafer Street and beyond. We all can aspire to such a legacy.

    Good work, Jerry, et al. Keep at it. We all have work yet to do.

  43. Richard Newdick was one of the most talented actors with whom I had the pleasure of sharing a stage. Many years ago opposite. we did BOYS IN THE BAND at old Barksdale Theatre. He was a brilliant Harold opposite my Michael. I will always treasure that memory. RIP Dear Man!

  44. Richard directed my graduate thesis show, “And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little”. He made it so easy! A class act….

  45. Mr. Newdick and I came to the Theatre Department at the same time. I remember him with great affection and I will always remember that laugh! I remember that Theatre History class that he taught and enjoyed every minute of it. RIP dear man.

  46. I experienced much opposition from the then acting theatre chair when I first came to VCU as a grad student for me even being enrolled in the program. Thank God for Richard Newdick who took me under his wing and nurtured me through the grad school event. He not only possessed an open mind but an open heart. I learned much from this very talented man and he will be missed. It has been a privilege to have been his student.

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