The Year Past: in memoriam
A celebration of Buffalo Theater Personalities Who have left us
By ANTHONY CHASE
A new year inspires hope for the future and an accounting of the year past. While 2020 certainly afforded many happy memories, it is likely to be remembered most vividly as a time of struggle for everyone. Nothing brings this more starkly into focus that the realization that on my roster of theater folk we lost in in the past year, three were taken by Covid-19: Joey Giambra, Marc-Jon Filippone, and Terrence McNally.
Because theater seasons begin in autumn, I have included Timothy Patrick Finnegan, who left us in October 2019 on my list. He would have been memorialized at the 30th Annual Artie Awards in June, but that event was postponed because of the pandemic.
The theater world that slowly begins to reemerge in 2021 will be remarkably different from the one that shut down in March 2020. During the shutdown, the leaders of both African American theater companies in Buffalo died. Each individual we lost last year is irreplaceable, but Agnes Bain and Lorna C. Hill were the lynchpins of an important and delicate structure. Ujima is just reemerging as a major force on our theater landscape after a few years of decline and struggle. The Paul Robeson Theatre is part of a major capital expansion at the African American Cultural Center.
I find that in my collection of theater artifacts, I have reminders of everyone on the list. I am aware that there may be people whose passing escaped my knowledge, and I don't presume that my list is complete by any means.
I hope you might find these memories to be interesting or sentimental, and that you will take comfort in reminders of shows from long ago, and of people who have left us.
Actor / Producer
LORNA C. HILL
Actor, director, playwright
TIMOTHY PATRICK FINNEGAN
HAROLD LUTHER WHITE