Thursday, March 01, 2007

On the Side of the Angels*

I received very sad news that Jay Harnick, the man who gave me my Actors Equity card and very first union job right out of college, died this week at the age of 78. I was friendly with his son Aaron in college and knew their family a little. Jay was a very kind man and a true believer in fostering young talent. He gave so many kids I knew their first break. He dedicated his life to bringing educational theatre to young audiences through the company he founded, Theatreworks/USA, one of the oldest and most well respected children's theatres in the country.

Coincidentally, he lived around the corner from me here on the Upper West Side with his wife Barbara Barrie in the same apartment where they raised Aaron and his sister. My thoughts of course go out to Aaron and his mother. I'll try to keep Jay's spirit with me as I audition for yet another grad school acting program this weekend. Hopefully I'll get another break.

* "On the Side of the Angels" is a song from Fiorello! one of the many Broadway shows written by Jay's brother, lyricist Sheldon Harnick.

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At 12:09 AM, Blogger judy said...

I was very sorry to hear of the passing of Jay Harnick, but he has certainly left a wonderful legacy of actors behind him. I can't tell you how many Playbill bios I've read that had Theatreworks mentioned in the background of so many actors. Not to mention the untold numbers of young people who were introduced to the theater through his wonderful productions. He made an enormous contribution and will be fondly remembered.

At 11:03 AM, Blogger LSL said...

I was so touched by this post and by the impact he had on you. What more can we hope for than to have a positive impact on someone else's life?

You'll do great this weekend. I hope they're good enough to deserve you :)


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