As some of you will know, the director, Howard University professor, and Duke Ellington School co-founder Mike Malone died over the weekend. His body was discovered at his home early Monday.
Malone had been ill, suffering from diabetes complications, and friends had been concerned that depression had gotten the better of him recently, since the deaths of his mother and a colleague. Friends worried that he wasn't taking care of himself.
D.C.'s tight-knit African-American theater crowd was reeling Monday and today, as news spread, and for good reason: Malone had been a fixture among them for a long time. "The influence he had on black artists in Washington was considerable," said actor Jewell Robinson, who was close to him.
Malone won a Helen Hayes Award in 1994 for choreographing Studio Theatre's production of Spunk, and in 1996 was nominated for the direction and choreography awards for the Kennedy Center's production of Black Nativity, the hugely popular gospel musical he staged around the country for nearly three decades. He'd been working on remounting the Congo Square Theatre's Chicago production this month, but apparently was too unwell to continue and returned home not too many days ago.