Festival Honors Beloved Actor Carole Healey
By Liz Armstrong
Carole Healey was involved with the Festival for over two decades. A teacher, actor, and director, she was extremely talented. She passed away on January 9, 2023, after a valiant battle with cancer and will be lovingly remembered.
“The Festival was so blessed to have Carole perform for so many years,” Interim Managing Director Michael Bahr said. “Not only was she an incredible performer, but she was a generous artist who graciously taught acting workshops and mentored numerous actors within the company.”
Healey’s first season at the Festival was in 1991, when she took on the role of Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew and The Woman in Death of a Salesman. Other notable roles included Regan in King Lear (1992), Portia in Julius Caesar (1992), Mother Marguerite de Jesus in Cyrano de Bergerac (1992), and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (2004). She was also in Blithe Spirit (2004), The Tempest (2007), The Matchmaker (2007), The Moustrap (2007), and Fiddler on the Roof (2008). Her last season at the Festival was in 2011, when she played Duchess of York in Richard III and Mrs. Paroo in The Music Man.
The actor is also known for her roles in the films “The Understudy” (2008) and “Tender Loving Care” (1998), as well as in the television series “Law and Order” in 2001.
In addition to Healey’s love for theatre, Bahr noted that she had an affinity for nature.
“She epitomized Mother Earth, planting gardens across from her apartment, hiking the local canyons, and opening her home and heart to nurture others and sharing her craft with both patrons and artists,” Bahr said.
Fellow actor Carey Cannon played alongside her in King Lear, as Regan to her Goneril.
“She was one of the finest actors I ever had the privilege of working with, and I got to do it right there at the Festival in King Lear,” Cannon said. “It was a thrilling production . . . and Carole was a true great lady of theater. I feel blessed to have been able to share the stage with her.”
In addition to her talent onstage, Cannon noted that she was proud to be a part of the venerable tradition of storytelling, and that she created a community wherever she went.
Artistic Director of Northlight Theatre BJ Jones was a close friend of Healey’s and seconded Cannon’s remark. He reflected fondly on the evenings she curated, noting that she was a superb mixologist of people, always with generous inclusion.
“Her gatherings were a mix of the sublime, intoxicating and exotic folks, who quietly and without realizing it, became an ensemble of friends that would last long after a visit to Carole’s porch,” Jones said.
According to Jones, the electricity generated at her gatherings carried into each rehearsal and performance, “lighting up stages across the country, warming all of our hearts long after her leaving.”