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In Honor of Jaz Dorsey

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Update: 7/15/2019:  

The Celebration of Life for Jaz Dorsey will be Saturday, July 27, at the Darkhorse Theatre, 4610 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37209. The Celebration will begin at noon and go until 2:30 PM. Afterward, there will be a potluck on the stage of the Darkhorse.

It is Jaz's wish that this occasion is a joyous celebration of more than his life, but also of the music, theater, and community that he loved so dearly.  There will be an open mic for those wishing to perform or say a few words. 

Although our hearts are heavy, here are some things I hope that we can all hold tightly:

Remember the glorious sparkle in Jaz's eye when he received a new inspiration. When it feels far away, look to the stars, for the stars hold the same glow.

Remember the infectious excitement in Jaz's voice when he discussed a new production. When it seems difficult to hear, listen to the laughter of children as they play,  for their laughter has the same qualities.

Remember the staunch confidence that Jaz has in your talent and abilities. When it seems difficult to remember, look in the mirror and allow yourself to see who you are through Jaz's heart, for that *is* who you are truly. 

<end update>

Most everyone in Nashville's theater community either knows—or at least knows of—Jaz Dorsey. Jaz, a native of Atlanta, is a treasured transplant to Nashville. Jaz’s accomplishments are many. He pioneered the graduate dramaturgy program at Virginia Commonwealth University. From 1980-1989, he worked as a freelance dramaturg, actor, composer, playwright, and director in Atlanta. From 1990-1999, he lived and worked in NYC, serving as the production manager in the NYC offices of Biggs Rosati Productions and The National Theatre of the Performing Arts on W. 54th Street. Between 1988 and 1999 he enjoyed a string of NYC productions of his own cabaret musicals and also roamed the Manhattan cabaret scene as accompanist for the chanteuse, Topaz.

In Nashville, Jaz produced a new play reading series for the Metro Parks Theatre Department. He also contributed a Nashville Notes column to Nite Life Exchange. In 2012, Jaz established The Nashville Dramaturgy Project (NDP), with the mission to explore the role of the dramaturg at the urban level. The divisions of the NDP are:

·  SWT - The Southern Writers' Theatre - established 2002.

·  AAPEX - The African American Playwrights Exchange - established 2007

·  F.L.A.G. - The Foreign Language Acting Group - established 2009

·  STN - The Singers' Theatre of Nashville - which debuted in 2013

Jaz has contributed greatly to the theater community in Nashville, with much of his work being unpaid. Now, I am asking Nashville to give back to Jaz by donating to help cover his final expenses. In addition to his final expenses, in lieu of a traditional memorial service, it is Jaz’s wish to be remembered in a more theatrical setting. Your donations will also help to cover the expenses associated with a theatrical revue and wake for Jaz.


Update: 6/10/2019:

Jaz can no longer walk—even with assistance. For any of you who wanted to visit him, please try to get there soon. Even if he is only able to have a short conversation, your visit will mean a lot to him, and even more to his partner, Jamie.

He is in room 133 at Alive Hospice on Patterson Street.

Please continue to share the link. Thank you all so much for your love and support! <end update>

Update: 6/12/2019:

I just visited with Jaz and Jamie, and I brought needed supplies, treats, and flowers (white carnations with baby's breath—Jaz's request—with a portion of your generous donations.

I am happy to report that Jaz ate a small blueberry muffin and greatly enjoyed it.  The visit with Jaz was short, as he is rather fragile and gets tired quickly, but it was wonderful to spend even those few minutes with such a lovely soul. 

Thank you all for your support of our dear friend. These may be the last days that we can enjoy his earthly presence, but his legacy lives on in the lives that he changed for the better with his support, mentorship, and love. <end update>

Update: 6/28/2019:

The hospice nurse said that she expects that Jaz will pass this weekend. He is now very quiet and seems to be resting peacefully for the most part.

Again, thank you all for your kind words, thoughts, and prayers during this time of transition for Jaz. I will let everyone know more as information becomes available.  <end update>

Update: 6/29/2019:
Jaz passed on peacefully at 2:30 AM. 

Please keep Jamie (Jaz's long-time partner) and Jaz's family in your thoughts and prayers.

Thank you all again for your beautiful words to Jaz. He enjoyed hearing from you all and shared lovely memories when I read your words to him. 

The Celebration of Life will be at the Darkhorse Theater at a date and time to be determined.  I will post the information here and on Facebook.

<end update>


Mary Freels
Ashland City, TN

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