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Theater fund and memorial concert set to honor late Dallas composer

Theater fund and memorial concert set to honor late Dallas composer

Donald Fowler
Donald Fowler unexpectedly passed away in May. Photo by Mei-Chun Jau

The Dallas arts community lost Donald Fowler in an unexpected accident in May, but now several plans are in place to honor the late actor, composer, playwright, and former director of retail at the Nasher Sculpture Center.

Christened the Donald Fowler Theater Arts Memorial Fund, it will provide annual support in the form of seed grants to artists living in Dallas-Fort Worth, supporting their creation of new works of theater. The grants will assist with early costs of creation for individual artists whose work-in-progress is not yet financially supported by a theater or presenter. 

An online campaign for additional gifts to the fund, which has its home at The Dallas Foundation, is open through Fowler's November 13 birthday.

"During the years leading to the premiere of Donald's musical Creep, and as he worked on his new piece Oregon, we talked about the financial challenges playwrights and composers face, particularly prior to obtaining a production agreement with a theater," says Fowler's friend Nick Even in a release. "I suggested the creation of this fund to Donald's family and they agreed it was a very appropriate way to honor him."

"We are grateful that The Dallas Foundation quickly stepped in to provide a home for this fund, assuring that gifts in Donald's memory are directed to a qualified 501(c)(3) charitable institution," says Lynn McBee. "Donors will become part of his ongoing legacy in Dallas."

In January 2021, the fund will open the application process for its first grant cycle, which it expects to award in May 2021.

The inaugural grant presentation will be made at a memorial celebration and concert honoring Fowler's two decades of theatrical work in DFW, scheduled for Saturday, May 8, 2021, at Theater Three.

The concert will be free and open to the public and will feature performances by Fowler's friends from the theater community, including the first public performance of a selection from Oregon, the musical Fowler was composing at the time of his death.

WaterTower Theatre will later conduct a workshop of Oregon, which will culminate in the first public reading of the completed show in July 2021, with invited audience, if possible.

Singer/actress and close friend of Donald's, Patty Breckenridge, says, "Donald was loved by so many people from so many different sectors of life: theater, art, design. After his passing, it was very difficult not being able to have everyone at his memorial. This concert, which will include many people he loved and admired, is the perfect way to celebrate his life and the impact he had on so many lives."

Additional details regarding the May 8 memorial celebration will be shared in the spring.

More information about the Donald Fowler Theater Arts Memorial Fund, including how to donate and how to apply for a grant, may be found on the fund's website.