Stephen Ludwig, Key Member of OC Storefront Theater Scene, Dies in France

"Steve was born and raised in the Main Line suburbs of Philadelphia and came out here when he was a teenager. He was a real renaissance man, incredibly well read...he could give you a five- or 10-minute dissertation on a fairly arcane corner of philosophy and render it accessible and totally fascinating. He could talk to you about the Paul Butterfield Blues Band or Rene Descartes with equal enthusiasm. I remember him as being very generous--with his talent, time, resources and insights. I always looked forward to seeing him and seeing what he had written. Always."

Sharyn Case, who was both a close friend and collaborator, echoes those sentiments.

"I knew Stephen very well and directed some of his early work. He was my roommate for almost five years (until the last year of his life, when he moved to Las Vegas) and a more funny, engaging, intelligent and sensitive person than anyone I have met. He died in a place he felt he belonged--France--literally doing what he loved--writing. He told a mutual friend just before he passed that he had fallen in love--with himself, and was more inspired and creative than he had been since Accidental Dancers."

Dave Barton, who worked closely with Ludwig on a myriad of productions. said that besides writing plays, Ludwig also "was a huge patron of the arts, served on Rude Guerrilla's Board of Directors and helped produce too many shows to count. He brought one of the first productions of Sarah Kane's work to the U.S., Blasted, in its California premiere, as well as our productions of Mark Ravenhill's Some Explicit Polaroids and the U.S. and LA premieres of Pool (no Water).

"I have a hole in my heart from his passing, but I can't really grieve. I'll miss our conversations about history and sex and activism and philosophy and Rimbaud and Genet and revolutionary politics and foreign films, but he died doing what he loved in a place that he loved and I'm grateful for that."

New Voices is dedicating its next show, which opens June 1, to Ludwig's memory and lasting impact. Ludwig's ashes will be scattered in France and a celebration of his life will be held later this month. Details are pending.

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