Feb. 23, 1950 to March 23, 2018
Michael Lodick, a Buffalo theater director and designer known for his committed work ethic and gregarious personality, died Friday while watching a performance of Subversive Theatre's production of "The Nance." The cause was likely a heart attack, according to Mr. Lodick's wife, Elaine. He was 68.
Mr. Lodick (in the photo at left wearing glasses with New Phoenix Theatre founder Richard Lambert) was a frequent contributor to the New Phoenix, American Repertory and Subversive theaters, where he directed several shows and designed many sets over the last five years. He was in line to direct a two-person show during the New Phoenix's 2018-19 season.
"He was a big, sweet, goofy guy," New Phoenix founder Richard Lambert said of Mr. Lodick, who designed sets for the theater's productions of "Bounty" and "Angels Fall." "He had this great, goofy laugh and this great floppy mop of hair. Just a real sweetheart of a guy."
Mr. Lodick held the title of associate producer at the Subversive Theatre Collective, where he was a near-constant presence as a designer and director of shows like "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," "Slaughterhouse Five" and "The Love Song of Robert J. Oppenheimer." In all, according to a program note for the New Phoenix production of "My Old Lady," which he directed, Mr. Lodick contributed to more than 40 Buffalo theater productions.
He also worked as a lighting designer for an off-Broadway production of Tom Eyen's "Women Behind Bars," starring the cult performer Divine, and worked as a resident lighting designer at the Folger Theatre Group and Washington Theatre Club in Washington, D.C.
"He was very fiery, and he was crazy to work with," Subversive Theatre founder and artistic director Kurt Schneiderman said. "He would often work himself to total exhaustion. When he was the director, he'd end up building the sets even when he wasn't the set designer."
Mr. Lodick was born Feb. 23, 1950 in Millard Fillmore Hospital in Buffalo. He attended St. Joseph's Collegiate Institute and went on to earn a degree in theater from the Catholic University of America in Washington D.C.
After graduating in 1968, Mr. Lodick remained in Washington, where he met his wife, Elaine, and remained until moving his family back to Buffalo in 1981. Upon his return, Mr. Lodick worked with his brother in the waste disposal industry, later starting his own electronics recycling and environmental consulting business.
Mr. Lodick's passion for theater goes back to his youth in Buffalo, when he frequently performed in productions at Rosary Hill College (now Daemen College). After his sudden death Saturday, he was remembered fondly by many Buffalo actors, designers and directors in a series of tributes on Facebook.
"He was a good, passionate artist," Schneiderman said, "which is what you need in this world."
Mr. Lodick is survived by his wife, Elaine "Gretchen" Lodick; a son, Michael Francis; two daughters, Anne and Emily Lodick; and a sister, Susan Constantino. A mass of Christian burial will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday in Trinity Episcopal Church, 371 Delaware Ave.