by Kevin Allman
Photo of Donnie Jay by Larry Graham, Studio One
To Do Productions, the theater company that has produced so many plays at the Marigny Theatre, announced this morning that founder Donnie Jay died last night after a March operation to remove a fast-growing brain tumor.
Jay was well-known in the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny as a popular entertainer and charity fundraiser. He was also a past grand marshal of the Southern Decadence parade and a columnist for the gay and lesbian publication Ambush.
On his Web page, Jay wrote of his career:
I began my show biz career, and I use that term loosely, at the tender age of sixteen in 1959.... It was then that I first appeared,on the boards,in a high school production of some obscure musical which I can't even recall the name of. But I was hooked at once; the roar of the grease paint, the smell of the sweaty male dancers in the dressing room. Two years later I donned my first fright wig, my first pair of high heels and got my first laughs. The rest as they say is history. I have been performing ever since; in one venue or another, in one medium or another, in one state or another, and I will continue to do so, until I am no longer able. I will do so as long as there is ONE LAST SONG left for me to sing.
Memorial arrangements have not been set at this time.