The Talented Mr. Shakman, by Jenni Wei

Matt Shakman is a man of many talents—actor, producer, and, likely his best-known role, television and stage director.  Born August 8, 1975, the Yale University graduate began life as a young thespian of age 4, appearing in such shows as The Facts of Life, Highway to Heaven, and Diff’rent Strokes.  Though his acting days are now behind him, Shakman notes the impact of this performance background on his present journey in directing.   Shakman is currently in town to direct additional episodes of the ABC award-winning series, Ugly Betty, which is being shot on location in its current third season (the first two seasons were shot in Los Angeles).  Ugly Betty has been nominated for 48 awards and has won 38 of them, including two Golden Globe Awards, a SAG Award (Best Actress for America Ferrera), a Peabody, and three Emmys.   Production recently made the bicoastal move to provide greater realism to the series as well as for New York tax incentive purposes, and luckily for our program, Shakman has made the move as well.  Unlike films, television series use various directors for their episodes, so Shakman is one of many directors who have worked on this show.

Shakman made his television debut for the critically acclaimed series, “Once & Again,” before moving on to shows like “Boston Legal,” “Everwood,” Judging Amy,” “Oliver Beene,” and “One Tree Hill.” Some of his other well-known television work includes “Six Feet Under,” Brothers and Sisters,” “The Riches,” “Men in Trees,” “House,” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” (several episodes of which he also produced).   Shakman has received several awards, including the 1989 Young Artist Awards (Best Young Actor/Actress Ensemble in a Television Comedy, Drama Series or Special), and for his theatre work, the 2002 Garland Award for Direction and the 2005 LA Drama Critics Circle Award for Direction.   Before going to the small screen, Shakman was known for extensive directing credits in theatre.  He is the founder of the Black Dahlia Theatre (BDT) in Los Angeles, which was recently named one of “A dozen young American companies you need to know,” by American Theatre Magazine, and “Best Small Theatre” by LA Magazine.   The Black Dahlia Theatre aims to develop and produce new work for theatre, and has mounted premieres by some of the most influential American playwrights, including Stephen Belber, Oliver Mayer, Austin Pendleton, Richard Kramer, Stephen Adly-Guirgis, and Adam Rapp.  The BDT’s latest production under Shakman was the world premier of Jonathan Tolin’s Secrets of the Trade, a seriocomic showbiz saga starring John Glover, Amy Aquino, and Bill Brochtrup.

  Spindle, Les.  “Matt of All Trades.” Backstage: The Actor’s Resource, March 25, 2008.
  “Matt Shakman,” Wikipedia: The Free Encyclopedia. 
  “Matt Shakman,” The Internet Movie Database. October 21, 2008.
  HBO: Matt Shakman.  “Six Feet Under – Cast and Crew.”  October 22, 2008.

(please see attached documents for direct footnotes and images)

Download matt_shakman_blog.doc


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