Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Hail and Farewell to John DeBoer

Posted by Bruce Miller
Hail and farewell to our good (and new) friend, John DeBoer. (That's John pictured to the far right with Matt Hackman in Little Dog.) John left Richmond yesterday morning to make his merry way to Missoula. Montana’s gain – Virginia’s loss.

Six months ago, I hadn’t a clue who John Kenneth DeBoer was. Then, when the leading contender for the starring role of Mitchell in The Little Dog Laughed removed himself from consideration, several friends suggested I go see “the new guy” in Visiting Mr. Green. I went, I was impressed, and I called John to ask if he’d be interested in reading for the show.

And, oh yeah, if he got the part, there was this little matter of a gay nude scene. Not knowing John from Adam—and vice versa—it made for an interesting first conversation.

Since then, John and I have become fast friends. He not only starred in Little Dog, he played Damon Runyon in Guys and Dolls, and provided dialect direction for Peter Pan, Guys and Dolls and Shirley Valentine. That’s five contracts in five months. Talk about starting out with a bang.

And now, with lots of hugs and “I love you’s” following his final performance in Guys (and his last hurrah at Club Dacus), J. K. is excitedly off to face his future as a new professor at the University of Montana-Missoula. We couldn’t be happier for him. His new boss, as fate would have it, is noted Virginia theatre expatriate, Jere Lee Hodgin. Jere, a talented theatre artist and all round great guy, was artistic director of Mill Mountain Theatre in Roanoke for something like the last two decades of the 20th Century. Now he heads the theatre department at UM-M.

John promises to stay in touch with us, and we with him. We will miss his talent, his beaming smile, and his good humor.

Chris Stewart will be stepping into John's shoes for the final week of Guys and Dolls, but no one will take John’s place in our hearts. It was great getting to work with you, Johnny. Thanks for your fearlessness, good will, and all the laughs. We’re looking forward to hearing great things about you in the future.

--Bruce Miller


Anonymous said...

It's nice when good things happen to good people. John's a great guy, and I'm so pleased he landed such an impressive university gig. We'll all miss him.

Anonymous said...

I notice you're running a photo of John DeBoer in de buff to illustrate your article. Don't you think some of his new students may come across this blog when they Google their professor? Is this really how you want to support the beginning of John's work in Montana, by showing him naked in bed with another man?

Bruce Miller said...

The photo that accompanies this post is a show shot from Barksdale's production of "The Little Dog Laughed." John is a professional actor. He's proud of his chosen career, as well he should be. I'm confident that John, his friends and family, the University of Montana, and the students in their theatre program will all be comfortable with the fact that John is an actor and that he has a chest, which, on occasions, will be bare.