Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Jack Zink; Good-night, Sweet Prince.

Jack Zink lost his struggle with cancer yesterday, Monday August 18, 2008. He was 61 years old. Somehow, in the midst of all the tropical storm coverage, his death slipped by almost unannounced. Fortunately, Theatre Row didn't miss it; there is a story in the Sun-Sentinel, also. Christine Dolen has also written about it in her blog.

It's hard to imagine South Florida Theatre without Jack Zink there, at least for me. He was already 'the man' at the Sun-Sentinel when I moved into Florida in 1985. Back then, the "big three" was Jack Zink, Christine Dolen, and Caroline Jack of the Palm Beach Post.

While those of us onstage would be aprehensive when Christine or Caroline were in the audience, most of us looked forward to Jack; not that he wouldn't pan a show, but his reviews tended to balance the good against the bad. Even while noting the shortcomings of a production, he would always note a performance that worked in a show otherwise mired in confusion or chaos. And even if a show was beyond any praise, his writing at least made the review a good read.

Not only was he one of South Florida's most ardent reporters, he is the man behind the Carbonnell Awards. He founded South Florida's answer to the Tony Awards in 1976, and was actively involved in every production, including the most recent awards.

As much as any artistic director or producer, Jack Zink was a guiding force in South Florida theatre. He will be sorely missed; his death leaves a huge vacuum in coverage of theatre in South Florida. We are poorer for his absence.

A public memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 25 at Parker Playhouse, 707 NE Eighth St., Fort Lauderdale.

Memorial donations can be made to St. Ambrose Episcopal Church, 2250 SW 31st Ave., Fort Lauderdale, FL 33312 or to the Carbonell Awards, P.O. Box 14211, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33302-4211.

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