In Memoriam

Dallas theater community mourns passing of Theatre Three pioneer Jac Alder

Dallas theater community mourns passing of pioneer Jac Alder

Jac Alder Dallas
Jac Alder passed away on May 22. Photo courtesy of Theatre Three
Jac Alder and Norma Young
Alder and his wife, Norma Young. Photo courtesy of Theatre Three
Jac Alder Avenue Q
Alder in both human and puppet form. Photo courtesy of Theatre Three
Jac Alder Dallas
Jac Alder and Norma Young
Jac Alder Avenue Q

The Dallas-Fort Worth theater community lost a legend on May 22, when Jac Alder passed away from respiratory failure at age 80. Alder was the co-founder, executive director and producer of Theatre Three, which he formed in 1961 with his future wife, Norma Young, who died in 1998.

At the time of his passing, Alder was the longest-serving artistic director of any regional theater in the United States. Theatre Three announced its 54th season on May 12.

Besides his contributions with acting, designing, directing and producing, Alder will also be remembered for his pre-show welcome speeches, in which his excitement for the theater's current and upcoming shows was palpable. His presence — and look — was so iconic that when Theatre Three produced its long-running Avenue Q in the Theatre Too basement space, a Jac Alder puppet was constructed to deliver the speech on video.

"Jac Alder was a friend to me, as he was to so many of us in the Dallas theater community," said Dallas Theater Center artistic director Kevin Moriarty in a statement. "His death is a cause of great sorrow for everyone who loved him, but it is also an opportunity for us to reflect upon his life. Because of Jac's remarkable leadership, Theatre Three has provided outstanding art for our community for more than 50 years. He is irreplaceable."

Many took to Facebook to express their sorrow and share memories of working with and knowing Alder.

T3's current production, The Liar, will continue through May 31. According to the theater's Facebook page, a celebration of Alder's life is in the works.

"His final wish was the for the continued success of Theatre Three," the post read. "And, as Jac would say, 'See you at the theatre!'"