Local News: Alley & Houston Theatre Remembers Bettye Fitzpatrick

Posted by: Staffon 2011/9/30 5:50:00 1210 reads Beloved Veteran Artist Bettye Fitzpatrick Passes at 79

September 30, 2011

Longtime Alley Theater Company Artist Bettye Fitzpatrick died today at the age of 79. Alley audiences will remember Ms. Fitzpatrick for her 53 years spent with the Alley as a stage manager, production manager, director of interns and most notably a member of the Acting Company. Her final performance at the Alley Theatre was on December 27, 2009 in A Christmas Carol. After her retirement, the Alley Theatre’s Fitzpatrick Internship program was established as a tribute to Ms. Fitzpatrick in December 2010.

Alley Theatre Artistic Director Gregory Boyd said of Fitzpatrick’s passing, “Bettye was the most generous, warm-spirited, loving and big hearted member of the Alley family. She was the living history of the theatre, and its pulse and presence for so many seasons. Her influence on all of us, her inspiration to all who worked on our stage, backstage, above and beyond the stage, and the great gifts she brought every Alley audience for 53 years will continue to shape our future and will never be forgotten. She was a great lady of the American theatre...”

Bettye Fitzpatrick celebrated 53 years with the Alley as a Company member before retiring in 2009. Ms. Fitzpatrick has been described as the living history of the Alley, or as she liked to put it, “a walking file cabinet.” In her tenure at the Theatre, she worked under all three artistic directors: the Alley Theatre’s founding artistic director Nina Vance, her successor Pat Brown, and the Theatre’s current artistic director, Gregory Boyd. She served as a stage manager, production manager, director of interns, and most notably of course, as a member of the acting company.

Throughout her impressive career she has played numerous roles including Mrs. McCutcheon in The Man Who Came to Dinner, Mary Pidgeon/ Spirit of Christmas Past in A Christmas Carol, Mother Marguerite in Cyrano de Bergerac, Mrs. Dubose in To Kill a Mockingbird, Friar in Much Ado About Nothing, Janet Mackenzie in Witness for the Prosecution, Ouiser Boudreaux in Steel Magnolias, Rebecca Nurse in The Crucible, Miss Caroline Amory in Black Coffee, Betty Meeks in The Foreigner, Player/Lady in Hamlet, Olga in You Can’t Take It With You, Miss Goodleigh/Mrs. Dilber in A Christmas Carol, Izzie Truce in House and Garden, Mrs. Dudgeon in The Devil’s Disciple, and Olympe in A Flea in Her Ear. Fitzpatrick also reprised the role of Ms. Mavis in The Traveling Lady, as part of Playwright’s Festival at Baylor University honoring Horton Foote, a production which gave a special performance at Actors’ Studio in New York. She has also mentored theatre students in the Alley Theatre/University of Houston collaboration of The Diary of Anne Frank. Ever the world traveler, she particularly enjoyed performing at Alan Ayckbourn’s Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, England as Grandmother in Close Ties. In addition to the Alley’s A Christmas Carol, she performed for 20 seasons at Christ Church Cathedral as Cousin Sook in Truman Capote’s A Christmas Memory. She also appeared as Elder Lundie in Brigadoon at Theatre Under the Stars.

The Fitzpatrick Internship was created in 2010 after Ms. Fitzpatrick’s retirement. It is designed to combine Ms. Fitzpatrick’s many facets and keep her legacy a part of the future of the Alley Theatre. Fitzpatrick Internships provide training and educational opportunities to recent college graduates and students during the main theatre season that will supplement a strong theatrical education and act as a bridge for early career professionals.

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