It is with a very heavy heart that I mark the passing of Jack Welch, founding board member of StageSource, our first StageSource Theater Hero, champion of new plays, and one of the loveliest men to grace this community.
For many years, Jack ran Baker's Plays, a treasure trove for the theater community that was located on Chauncy Street. It is there that I first met him, as a college student who was going to direct her first play and needed some monologues for auditions, He spent an hour with me helping me to chose those pieces. I was one of countless people he met over the course of that part of his long career.
The next time we met I was the administrative assistant for StageSource. It was 1986 or 1987, and I was helping Dona Sommers with admin tasks like filing headshots, recording the enews (which was a phone message machine that members had a code to), and trying to figure out a new fangled database that someone had donated. I would occassionally take board minutes as well. Never once did Jack walk into the StageSource office when I was there and not give me a huge smile, and ask how I was.
Jack's role in founding StageSource, and keeping it going over some rough patches, cannot be overstated. He loved this theater community, and when the Huntington and ART set up shop, he quickly recognized the need and opportunity for a service organization to help actors connect with producers, auditions, and other resources. In short order StageSource added directors, designers, playwrights, technicians, dramaturgs, technicians, and other artists to the mix. A few years later the organization merged with another group that served producers, and StageSource became what it is today--a connector for the theater community.
In 2011, when I became the Executive Director of StageSource, Jack was right in line to congratulate me. A few weeks after I started he gave me a call. "You don't mind, do you Julie? Once in a while I get a thought, and I want to share it." I never, ever minded. I will miss those calls, that smile, and that gentle man more than I can say.
Our community has lost some lights this year. Jack was a very, very bright one. We are all better off for having had him in our midst.