Musicals

Letter | Farewell to Jay Thompson, music icon

July 10, 2014 

One of Myrtle Beach's musical icons has quietly passed from us.

I met Jay Thompson many years ago when he would come backstage to check up on the Broadway musical, “Once upon a Mattress,” which he co-authored and starred Carol Burnett.

At that time I was performing across the street in the Broadway musical, “High Spirits.” Several of us would go over to see Carol Burnett's final scene about once a week. Our show ended early each night and gave us the opportunity to see Broadway's newest star bring down the house.

It was one of those nights that I met Jay Thompson.

I didn't see him again until I moved to Myrtle Beach, where I was fortunate to perform in several of his original Broadway reviews.

Jay was probably the most talented writer, musician, and director I've ever had the pleasure to meet. His sharp satire and clever wit will never be forgotten. His positive outlook on life made working with him a monumental experience.

His dance music in the film "Thoroughly Modern Millie" demonstrated some of his best work.

I will always remember his subtle humor. When asked, "what does one say to a performer who was really not very good in a musical?" Jay would say, "I always greet them after the show with 'You were really up there on that stage.'" It sorta said it all.

We will miss you, Jay, but will never forget your impact on music and performance in Myrtle Beach.

The writer is Director of Music and Fine Arts at First Presbyterian Church in Myrtle Beach.

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