Josh Burton, founder of New Court, is gone

Josh Burton represents those who have devoted their lives to theater. His lifelong career included roles on the New York stage in Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys and ended with his appearance at the New Court Theatre Aug. 17 as he bade farewell to the cast and audience of Broadway Bound.

As founder of that theater, he acted, wrote, directed and produced those plays dear to his heart. Playwright Neil Simon’s work seemed very special. The series that began with Brighton Beach Memoirs followed last year by Biloxi Blues and concluding with Broadway Bound seems the perfect ending to his life in theater.

My admiration for those who devote their lives to the arts cannot be measured. Their sacrifices reward all of us. Josh’s joy in performing was evident every time he appeared, and his ability to recreate a multitude of characters from Scrooge to Ben, the crotchety grandfather, in Broadway Bound, revealed an immense talent. Scheduled to play Ben, his illness prevented him from taking the stage. Rod MacDonald stepped in, and as the play ended, the audience and cast gave a standing ovation to the two beloved veterans of the stage.

My personal relationship with Josh has been one of fan and critic. His complete professionalism made every experience one of deep appreciation. Everyone who knew him will have an empty space in their lives with his passing. My deepest sympathy to his wife, Virginia, their family, and all of the dear friends for whom he was so important.

from the Sept. 19 – 25, 2007, issue

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