“A light has dimmed in my life…”
The actor and producer James Stovall, a much loved and well respected member of the cultural art scene in New York City died at a hospital in Manhattan on Sunday September 26, 2010, as confirmed by his talent agency, Abrams Artists & Associates.He was 53 years old. A 27-year veteran Broadway performer who worked with Bob Fosse and was in the original cast of Ragtime, James will be well remembered for his work in the community with such events as the African Burial Ground National Monument, the American Museum of Natural History’s Kwanzaa and Black History Month celebrations his work as artist-in-residence at the Dwyer Cultural Center, as a founding member of the Actor’s Fund New Leadership Committee, and four years of service as executive director of Ministry of the Arts & Culture at the United Palace Theatre in Harlem. Funeral arrangements are pending.
The 2010 Kwanzaa Celebration at the American Museum of Natural History will be dedicated to the memory of James Stovall. The Morehouse College Glee Club will honor alumni James Stovall in its 100th Anniversary Season in 2011. The Dwyer Cultural Center will incorporate a special James Stovall Day into its 2011 season of programs.
“…he was a steward of African-American artistic and cultural history.”
On hearing the news of his passing, his friend and producing partner, the actress Hattie Winston Wheeler, said “Words can’t describe how I felt when I was told of James’ death. I simply went numb. James was my friend-brother! As demonstrated by his idea to adapt Langston Hughes‘ Black Nativity, which he and I co-wrote, he was a steward of African-American artistic and cultural history. A light has dimmed in my life.”
“He was about his community…he was selfless and pure and his smile and love lit every room he entered.”
Voza Rivers, chairman of the Harlem Arts Alliance, and Barbara Horowitz, founder and president of Community Works, released this statement “He was the artistic director for 4 years of our Kwanza celebrations at the American Museum of Natural History and our annual Black History month celebration there as well. He was our first artist-in-residence at the Dwyer Cultural Center. He created for us an amazing piece on Paul Robeson; he became Robeson. He created another work on Marcus Garvey for us. He did artistic direction for New Heritage as well. He was about his community…he was selfless and pure and his smile and love lit every room he entered. Barbara spoke to him days before he passed. He called from his hospital bed to say he would not be able to attend our anniversary celebration on last Tuesday at the Dwyer….he said ‘I really want to be there for you,’ he was and will always be there for us and so many others in spirit. He will be so missed.”