Penumbra Theatre founding firm member Terry Bellamy dies at 70

Actor and director Terry Bellamy – a founding firm member of St. Paul’s Penumbra Theatre and Combined Blood Theatre in Minneapolis – has died at age 70.

Bellamy’s physique was discovered at his St. Paul house Saturday after police had been known as for a welfare examine. Bellamy’s older brother Lou, who based Penumbra, has mentioned Bellamy was combating COVID-19. They spoke by telephone for the ultimate time Thursday night time.

“Terry was one of the vital passionate artists within the Twin Cities,” mentioned Ron Peluso, who not too long ago retired from St. Paul’s Historical past Theatre.

Peluso first met Bellamy within the early ’80s when Peluso was a stage supervisor at Combined Blood. He helped Bellamy launch a tour of faculties across the state together with his one-man Malcolm X present.

“It was one actor in a gymnasium with a folding chair for a set,” Peluso mentioned. “I couldn’t assist however see how the scholars had been simply mesmerized by Terry.”

Bellamy was the third son of ElVeeda Luckett Bellamy, who owned and operated St. Paul’s Ebony Lounge, and Maurice Bellamy, a railroad waiter. After attending the College of Minnesota and serving within the Navy, Bellamy started his appearing profession. In 1976, he joined each Penumbra and Combined Blood when the theaters opened with a promise of presenting extra numerous and inclusive productions.

The recipient of two Twin Cities Drama Critics Circle Awards, Bellamy’s intensive stage work included performances on the Guthrie Theater, Historical past Theatre, Park Sq. Theatre, Combined Blood Theatre, Phantasm Theater, Ten Thousand Issues Theater, Goodman Theatre, Oregon Shakespeare Pageant, Middle Stage Baltimore, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Cleveland Play Home and Hudson Guild.

At Penumbra, Bellamy discovered success appearing in works written by August Wilson, who went on to win two Pulitzer Prizes. Wilson based mostly the character Levee on Terry in “Ma Rainey’s Black Backside.” Bellamy additionally originated the younger character Booster in Wilson’s “Jitney.” In a 2016 manufacturing of “Jitney,” former Pioneer Press theater critic Dominic Papatola praised Bellamy for taking up an older function within the play, writing that Bellamy “performs the nosey Turnbo like a ornery canine who received’t let go of a bone.”

“Like many individuals, I’m shocked and crushed by the loss,” Peluso mentioned. “Terry was actually an outspoken artist and I cherished being round him. He was obsessed with his factors of view and storytelling and social justice. Whether or not you agreed or disagreed with him, he was going to offer you 110 % of his coronary heart and soul.”

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