Tag Archives: Drammys

A wake for Jimmy Caputo tonight

THE MORNING AFTER — It’s a rare and wonderful thing to be in a room filled with love the way that Lincoln Performance Hall was last night for the celebration of Jim Caputo’s life. The hall was filled to overflowing, which must have meant about 700 people were on hand for a night of music, videos (including Caputo’s infamous and oft-repeated dance steps, and his belly-rolling routine that eventually made it onstage in “The Full Monty”), ¬†reminiscences and food. It was a bringing-together of a very broad clan, and Jim was the thread that united the pieces. It’s hard to say who’s more blessed: the man or woman who gives such a gift to a community, or the community that gratefully accepts the gift. Time after time, someone turned to someone else in the crowd and said, “Jimmy woulda loved this.” So he would have. It’s obvious that in the memories and lives of many people he’ll live on for a very long time.

By Bob Hicks

At last night’s loud and rousing celebration of the past season’s Portland theater, the Drammy Awards, Greg Tamblyn took time out from his outstanding-director acceptance speech to remind the crowd that it was a few people short this year, and especially, to his mind, it was missing Jim Caputo, the big-spirited actor who died at age 50 last month.

Jim Caputo in "The Gohosts of Treasure Island" at Oregon Children's Theare. Leah Nash/Special to The OregonianTamblyn and Caputo had been especially close — Greg directed Jimmy in more shows than you could count on the fingers of both of your hands — but Jim was in general one of the best-liked people on the city’s theater scene, a local boy who stuck around, learned well from the likes of the late great Peter Fornara, and became in turn a veteran hand always happy to help the next generation. In fact, he spent a lot of time doing shows with young actors at Oregon Children’s Theatre and elsewhere.

Tamblyn reminded the crowd that there’ll be a celebration of Caputo’s life tonight, Tuesday, at Lincoln Performance Hall on the Portland State University campus. The gathering begins at 6 p.m., and the memorial a half-hour later. Caputo’s widow, Karen Voss, gives this advice: “Please no somber dress — let’s fill the room with the bright colors of his light and laughter.”¬Ě

The Drammy Committee, among its many other services, published a memoriam list in last night’s program of theater people who have died in the past year. Besides Caputo, they include:

  • Janet Bradley, the longtime and much-loved leader of Tears of Joy Theatre
  • Jack Wellington Cantwell, a true gentleman, a Portlander, and a veteran of many seasons at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival
  • Roger Cole
  • Judi Dreier
  • Bob Ellenstein
  • Bruce Fraser
  • Lannie Hurst, a genuine old-time leading lady
  • Dale Long
  • Kenneth Mars, the Hollywood star (The Producers, Young Frankenstein) who appeared onstage here with his daughter, Susannah Mars
  • Katie Myers and Michael Myers, effusive and good-hearted mainstays of Portland TheatreSports, who were swept out to sea by waves on the south jetty at Yaquina Bay
  • Bill Patton, the gentlemanly and supremely competent former executive director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, who began there when it was a little community summer theater and helped shape it into an internationally renowned company
  • James Peppers
  • Bob Rindt
  • Billy Rose

Each one of these people was extremely important in the lives of a lot of other people, from families to coworkers to audiences. Take a moment to remember them and the many roles they played.

And we’ll see you tonight to reminisce about Jimmy.


Photo: Jim Caputo in “The Ghosts of Treasure Island” at Oregon Children’s Theatre. Leah Nash/Special to The Oregonian

Drammy, Drammy, who’s got the Drammy?

Thenkewveddymuch. I couldnadunnit without all the little people.

workingdrammy_003Oops. Wrong award ceremony.

Monday night (a night after the Tonys and a very long distance, psychically, from the glamfest called the Oscars) Portland theater folk will gather for the 30th Drammy Awards, the annual celebration of the best and brightest of the local theater season. It’s a good party, a good show, and generally a lot of fun.

Here’s the official scoop:

WHAT: 30th Anniversary Drammy Awards
WHERE: Crystal Ballroom
1332 W. Burnside St.
Portland, OR
WHEN: Monday, June 8
6:00 PM Social hour and slide presentation
7:00 PM Awards presentation
COST: FREE ADMISSION, no-host bar and pizza
DRESS: Theatrical, elegant, innovative. Costumes are encouraged.

Costumes? I generally show up cleverly disguised as an aging L.L. Bean type who doesn’t own an iron. One year I wore my tuxedo and achieved the improbable: I turned a bunch of Portland actors speechless. It’s almost worth doing again.

These were wild and woolly occasions in their early days, with lots of drinking and shouting and the occasional Marlon Brando refusal to appear (Sacheen Littlefeather, where are you now?). I may not be remembering this exactly right — surely I didn’t imagine it — but one year a director of a certain show, miffed over a slight I can’t remember, refused to go up and receive several awards his show had won until the best-director category came up and his own name was announced. Suddenly he had a change of heart. Another year I got in a post-ceremony tiff with the master of ceremonies, who had engaged in an egregious-because-untrue running rant against my employer of the time. I blush to recall.

Things are more tame these days, if no less fun. The people who hate the idea of awards ceremonies have learned to just stay home. The people who show up seem genuinely excited about the event, which doesn’t mean there isn’t sometimes grumbling about the outcomes of the votes. (And a shout-out to the committee members, who see an unconscionable amount of theater in order to cast their votes.)

Last year’s ceremony is a bit of a haze to me — a happy haze — because I was given a lifetime achievement award, which made me feel somewhere between an unlikely cultural icon and dead. Fortunately life goes on, and I don’t seem to be either. But sometimes I look at my little plaque, which sits atop a bookshelf in my bedroom, and smile.

To all those who wish for a similar rush on Monday night, break a leg.