Saturday, April 01, 2006
GERRY CULLITY LIVES
There are people put on this earth who have a great purpose. Such a man was Gerry Cullity, the first director I worked under as an actor. More than a Scottsdale community theater director, Gerry was a teacher and someone who inspired me at age 50 to dream the impossible dream.
I auditioned for Gerry in his production of; ONE FLEW OVER THE CUKOO’S NEST. I was cast as Dr. Spivey, the psychiatrist who was Nurse Ratchet’s wimpy boss.
Gerry was a classically-trained musician, with a Masters Degree in Fine Arts from the prestigious Mason Gross School of Fine Arts He built an impressive list of credits as an actor, director, playwright, lyricist and musician, holding residency status with numerous companies, including the New Jersey Shakespeare Festival, The Whole Theatre Company, La Mama and New Mercury Theatre Company. Gerry with his wife Laurie and mother Joan Thompson founded Desert Stages back in January 1997.
Primarily Desert Stages was a children’s theater where the luckiest Arizona children could train as actors, singers and dancers. This New York trio of transplants worked incredible magic with anyone and everyone who passed trough their open doors. Some of children barley old enough to walk and talk was taught roles by Gerry and Laurie in shows such as ANNIE and OLIVER TWIST.
I was reading the news wires from Phoenix a little more than a year ago while I was spending some time in India. I read a shocking and heartbreaking story of the sudden death of 51 year-old Gerry Cullity from a heart attack.
I found this tape of a rehearsal I shot when we were getting ready to put on the Dale Wasserman play, MAN OF LA MANCHA. Gerry played the lead. Sit back and enjoy a scene while under construction.
Gerry’s spirit is sill alive in anyone who he’s ever taught, worked with or directed. Desert Stages is in good hands as Joan and Laurie carry on the legacy. Gerry and Laurie’s son Ian Cullity has grown to become a successful actor, singer and dancer carrying on the family tradition.