Tag Archives: Janet Bradley

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

R.I.P.: Janet Bradley, Harold Schnitzer

Two significant figures in Portland arts and culture have died, and we express our appreciation to them and our condolences to their friends and families.

Harold Schnitzer, the prominent businessman who was a major supporter of the Portland Art Museum and many other organizations, died early this morning at age 87. In the past several years he and his wife, Arlene, have given $80 million to Portland and Oregon causes — an immense reinvestment. They were also astute and generous art collectors; Arlene founded the important Fountain Gallery that gave a commercial kick-start to the Portland art scene. D.K. Row has this report at Oregon Live. UPDATE: The Oregonian has filed this much expanded obituary on Oregon Live.

Janet Bradley, co-founder and for all of its years the vital organizing force behind the puppet company Tears of Joy, died unexpectedly yesterday, April 26. She was a warm, practical and generous woman, always behind the scenes but well-known and well-liked in the performance community. Tears of Joy is a company for kids but it’s also always been hooked in with some of the most innovative international practitioners of the art, and Janet’s openness and determination had a great deal to do with that. We don’t have a lot of details, but her daughter, Emily Alexander, posted this yesterday on Facebook:

My warm and perfect mother, Janet Bradley, passed away early this morning. She was, as you know, a vibrant, electric, and beautiful woman. Her passing is a shock. The cause can best be described as a birth-defect of her aorta that none of us, including my mother, knew about. She was an elegant queen with a green thumb who could turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse. And she truly loved and enjoyed her life. My mom was my very best friend, and a second mother to my children. I am so grateful to have had the time we did.

UPDATE: Michael Griggs, executive director of Portland Taiko and a longtime close friend of Bradley, sends this:

“Janet collapsed at work Monday afternoon, was rushed to Legacy Emanuel hospital and underwent surgery at 2 p.m., but died at 2 a.m. from a previously undetected congenital problem with her aorta.

“Janet was a leader not only in Portland and Southwest Washington, but nationally in the world of puppetry and performing arts touring. She was a tireless advocate for performing arts for children and arts education, and she will be greatly missed by her many colleagues, friends, and the Tears of Joy family and friends.”

A celebration of Janet Bradley’s life will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, May 16, in downtown Portland’s Newmark Theatre.

Contributions to Tears of Joy in Janet’s name may be made to:

Tears of Joy Theatre
323 N.E. Wygant St. #201
Portland, OR 97211
www.tojt.org
503-284-7540