Memorial set for youth theater founder Jack Nakano
A memorial celebration of the life and work of Jack Nakano, who launched a number of nonprofit theater arts programs for young people over the decades, will be held at 7 p.m. Monday at Barnsdall Gallery Theatre in Barnsdall Park, 4800 Hollywood Blvd.
Nakano, who died of heart failure in 2009 at age 75, was a performing arts teacher at La Cumbre Junior High School in Santa Barbara in 1962 when he joined other local drama teachers to create the summer theater program that became the long-running Youth Theatre Productions in Santa Barbara.
He later taught theater arts at Santa Barbara High School. And in the early '80s, while chairing the drama department and teaching theater at Crossroads School for Arts & Sciences in Santa Monica, he focused on his second nonprofit theater arts program for young people: California Youth Theatre.
Nakano left California Youth Theatre in 2004, and it closed two years later. In 2006, he launched YouTHeatre-America!, a nonprofit national theater arts program for young people.
During his long career working with young people, Nakano touched the lives of performers such as Jack Black, America Ferrera, Eric Stoltz, Anthony Edwards, Randolph Mantooth, and Timothy, Joseph, Samuel and Benjamin Bottoms.
-- Dennis McLellan
Photo: Jack Nakano in 2006. Credit: Gilbert A. Smith