Saturday, October 3, 2009

In Memoriam: Jay McCullough

Posted by Bruce Miller
Jay McCullough, a very active and well-loved member of Richmond’s theatre community, died today after a long and courageous battle with cancer. At the request of his close friends Debra Wagoner and Joe Pabst, the remainder of the run of Souvenir will be dedicated to Jay’s memory.

At Barksdale, Jay sang up a storm in Ernest in Love at the Tavern and She Loves Me at Willow Lawn. With Theatre IV, Jay starred opposite his dear friend Jackie Jones in Isn’t It Romantic?.

Jay also appeared recently at the Mill in Urinetown, at Dogwood Dell as Buddy in Follies, at Chamberlayne Actors Theatre in 84 Charing Cross Road, at Henrico Theatre Company in On the 20th Century, and in Hysterical Blindness with the Triangle Players, where he also recently directed Four Queens in Hawaiian Shirts.

Jay is survived by a full cast of friends and his longtime companion, Don Warren. Our hearts and prayers are with Don in this time of great loss.

Jackie Jones visited with Jay yesterday in hospice at St. Mary’s, and noticed that there were original cast albums playing quietly in the background, helping Jay and his friends feel at home. When Jackie mentioned how much she appreciated this, Don told her that some time before her visit, Buddy’s big number from Follies began to play. Jay’s eyes were closed, he was breathing with the help of a respirator, but as soon as the song started he knew his cue. His feet began replicating the tap steps he’d worked so hard to learn for his star turn at Dogwood Dell.

Old actors never die. Jay’s talents, his friendship and his many performances will live on in Richmond theatre history forever.

--Bruce Miller

Addendum: I've just heard from Michael Hawke that services will be at Bliley's Funeral Home - Central (3801 Augusta Ave, Richmond 23230). Visitation will be Wed Oct 7 at Bliley's from 6 pm until 8 pm. A Celebration Service will be held at Bliley's on Thursday afternoon at 2.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting that story, Bruce. Jay was a great guy.

philcrosbby said...

Bruce --

Thanks for that lovely remembrance.

No one loved Christmas more than Jay, so Richmond Triangle Players will be dedicated its holiday production of "Scrooge in Rouge" to Jay.

-- Phil C.