JAMES DUNN 1933 – 2018
James Dunn – his official Director credit – passed away peacefully from heart disease on the evening of June 3rd , leaving a legacy of wonderful theater memories throughout the Bay Area and among all who had been connected with him at Ross Valley Players. His final show for us was Cabaret, which received the highest praise from audiences and critics alike.
Years ago as a recently discharged Marine, he first came to The Barn as an actor in a bit part in The Time of Our Lives and Mr. Roberts. He went on to study theater at San Jose State and then to create the Drama Department at the College of Marin. In addition to COM and RVP, Jim directed shows at ACT, The Old Globe Theatre (San Diego), Denver Center Theatre, Marin Theatre Company, Juilliard School (NYC) and Monterey Shakespeare Festival. And for 30 years he directed massive musicals for The Mountain Play on Mount Tam.
A Shakespearean scholar, Jim brought renewed life to productions of the Bard, notably a COM production of Taming of the Shrew set in the Old West, which went on to receive awards at the Edinburgh International Arts Festival some years ago. His final show was a beautiful Romeo and Juliet at COM, which closed in May of this year.
At RVP Jim found a new home as he partially retired from COM. He acted here in Love Letters, The Foreigner, Laughter on the 23rd Floor, and most recently in a charming bit part as a taxi driver in Harvey. But his greatest contributions were in the form of directing a series of strong and successful productions such as Journey’s End, Glengarry Glen Ross, Heroes, A Few Good Men, You Can’t Take It with You, The Pirates of Penzance and Cabaret.
Jim Dunn is and will remain a Bay Area theater legend. RVP and our actors and audiences are fortunate to have shared his “story telling” (the phrase he preferred to “art”). We will try to carry his spirit forward at RVP, following his example, by doing the best and most relevant theatre possible.