Critics Circle mourns loss of Don Braunagel
LA JOLLA (6/3/11) — Don Braunagel, one of the founding members of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle who had reviewed theater in San Diego since 1980, passed away June 3 after a heroic, three-year battle with cancer. He was 72.
Braunagel served most recently as a theater critic for sandiego.com. He was the theater critic and columnist for San Diego Magazine from 1995 to 2010. And he covered theater for the San Diego Tribune from 1980 to 1992. He also served as a freelance San Diego theater critic for Variety and Daily Variety from 1985 to 1995.
Before coming to San Diego, Braunagel was entertainment editor and theater critic for the Oakland Press in Pontiac, Mich.
Don was instrumental in the revival of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle 10 years ago, obtaining the organization’s nonprofit status, helping to create the group’s website and coordinating and posting hundreds of photos to the site each year.
“Don loved theater and was proud to have the opportunity to serve as a critic in San Diego for so many years. He often said that he’d reviewed theater all over the world but felt that San Diego had the best overall theater scene worldwide,” said Circle president Pam Kragen. “He was generous, intelligent, kind, thoughtful and a true lover of life. It’s hard to imagine the Circle without his enthusiastic presence in the future.”
Don was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008. The disease was treated and in remission when he received a new diagnosis of ampullary cancer in September 2009. He blogged about his courageous battle with the disease for nearly two years, and continued to review theatrical productions right up until his final months. He passed away Friday, June 3, at his La Jolla home, surrounded by members of his family and his devoted wife of 26 years, Yolanda.
A service to celebrate his life has been scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, at 700 Prospect St. in La Jolla. A reception will follow.
Read more about Don in a tribute by Critics Circle member Jeff Smith of the San Diego Reader here.
San Diego Theatre Critics Circle announced award in the name of Sandra Ellis-Troy
To honor the legacy of late San Diego actress and youth theater teacher Sandra Ellis-Troy, the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle nas announced the inauguration of a new award and scholarship that will be handed out annually in her name.
Ellis-Troy, who passed away Dec. 4, 2010, at the age of 68, worked in most of San Diego’s major theaters over the past 20 years. She also ran youth drama camps for her employer, Moonlight Stage Productions in Vista. In honor of her work with young actors, a memorial fund has been established to grant scholarships for promising youth actors.Since its inaugural year, the award and scholarship has been endowed by her good friend and acting colleague, Ralph Johnson.
San Diego Theatre Critics Circle mourns Craig Noel
Craig Noel, the namesake for the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle’s annual Awards for Theatrical Excellence, passed away April 3, 2010, at his San Diego home. He was 94. Noel spent more than 70 years as the founding artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego’s Balboa Park, and his contributions to developing San Diego’s reputation as a nationally renowned theater city are significant. In 2007, he was honored by President George Bush with the National Medal of Arts, the nation’s highest honor for artistic excellence. Read his obituary in The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.
Craig Noel wins 2007 National Medal of Arts
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nov. 15, 2007) — Old Globe Founding Artistic Director Craig Noel, for whom the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle’s annual awards are named, was honored at the White House on Nov. 15 with the 2007 National Medal of Arts, the highest award for the arts given by the United States government. Members of the San Diego Theatre Critics Circle helped lobby the National Endowment of the Arts to honor Noel for his achievements. Read more about Noel’s award in the U-T San Diego.