This past Wednesday was the 75th birthday of Jerry Russell, founder and current producing director of Stage West. His theatrical accomplishments are way too numerous to list here, so instead let’s look for the best word to describe his artistic status in North Texas. Icon? Nah, they flake and lose their color with age. Institution? They tend to develop foundation problems over the decades. Trailblazer? Once the trail is blazed, the fire tends to go out.

The best description for Russell might be “damn good actor and director.” He’s currently celebrating his way – directing the cast in rehearsals for Melissa James Gibson’s This, which will receive its regional premiere next weekend at Stage West. Happy birthday, Mr. Russell!