Chuck Olsen Memoriam
The man who was the artistic genius behind the Irish Repertory Theater of Tallahassee and other companies has moved on to a different journey.
Chuck Olsen is no longer with us in this theatrical reality. He touched so many lives in our community. His legacy extends back to Hal Prince asking for an autographed picture of his mother in the school Chuck and Hal (and Chuck’s brother George) attended. Chuck’s mother, Ethel Shutta, appeared as a singer for Chuck’s big-band leader father, George Olsen. At 72, Shutta convinced Hal Prince to give her the song “Broadway Baby” in Follies, and she brought down the house.
Chuck, after a career of directing all over the world, moved to Tallahassee, where he was the head of the directing program at FSU. He spent many years coaching, directing (and acting) in beloved productions locally. His shows were performed with incredible insight, using techniques he had observed at the Moscow Arts Theater, rehearsing a production of The Show-off for AART tirelessly for months until the show was “ready” to be presented publicly.
The breadth of his work as a director and actor always reflected his gentle, but determined, spirit. He is survived by his wife, Rosalyn, his daughter Kristin, and son David.
Take a bow, Chuck. It is a standing O.