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On March 15, 2011, our beloved friend and co-player Chuck Donnelly passed away after a long illness. He was 43. The NET is still reeling from his loss. Regular patrons will recall in his brilliant 11-year career, almost exclusively with us, that Chuck shone on our stage in such shows as The Andersonville Trial, The Tempest, Macbeth, Arsenic and Old Lace, Visit to a Small Planet, and so many, many more. In fact, he graced our stage in more than 60 productions. Despite his illness, Chuck heroically starred last season as James Tyrone in A Moon for the Misbegotten, opposite his bride, Kyla Marie Mostello Donnelly. Ironically, a few shows before, he had played Mr. Brink, the emissary of Death in On Borrowed Time.
Chuck was proud of how gently his Mr. Brink claimed those he would lead into the next life. We’re told he too passed away gently, with a smile on his lips. We give thanks for that blessing and extend our heartfelt condolences and love to Kyla, his son Shane; to all in the Donnelly and Mostello families and all in The NET family who loved him. We who worked with Chuck will always remember him under stage lights — singing, dancing and acting his heart out. Rest in peace, dear friend. Nobody has earned peace more.
The producers dedicated our 2005 encore production of The Petrified Forest to the late Gordon Day. This delightful character actor played the role of Gramp Maple in our original run back in May 1997. A Solebury resident, he was a close friend and a mainstay performer with Town and Country Players. Gordon played in both The Petrified Forest and our 1998 run of The Chalk Garden – all the while battling the cancer which eventually took his life.
Gordon was always quick with a joke – at least one new one every day. With his marvelous wit and twinkling eyes, it was difficult for those who knew him to grasp that he flew combat missions during World War II and was a genuine American hero. It was this heroic nature and this unselfishness that kept him acting until the end. And, incredibly, he thanked us for allowing him to keep treading the boards!
Gordon Day left us early in our company’s history, but his memory lives on. On days when we’re too tired to do anything, we think of Gordon – and then we just go out and do it, the way he would. He was a treasure.