Jerry Russell, the founder of stalwart Fort Worth theater company Stage West and father of state Sen. Wendy Davis, is in critical condition at Harris Methodist Hospital following complications from abdominal surgery that turned into pneumonia.
Reports of his condition started appearing on Facebook a few days ago, as friends, colleagues and his daughter, Davis, started calling for prayers and positive thoughts.
On Saturday, it was reported that his status was stable after he was put on a ventilator, but by Sunday night, his condition had worsened. Around 7 p.m., Davis posted on her personal Facebook page: “Update on my Dad – he’s taken a very difficult turn and is in critical condition now. Your prayers for our family are greatly appreciated.”
Russell was in the third week of directing the current show at Stage West, another in Mark Richard’s series of adaptations of P.G. Wodehouse’s Jeeves and Wooster stories, Thank You, Jeeves, when he became sick. The production, the closing show of Stage West’s 34th season, opened Saturday night. He was also set to begin rehearsals of Neil Simon’s The Sunshine Boys at Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, in a role he has played before, including at Bass Performance Hall. When he had the surgery, he pulled out of that production, which has reportedly been recast.
Russell most recently appeared onstage in one of his all-time favorite roles, lawyer Clarence Darrow, in April when Stage West opened an intimate Studio Theatre. He had played the role twice before. He also directed a revival of Marie Jones’ Stones in His Pockets in May.
We’ll keep you posted on his status.