Bryon Predika: Actor, Chef, Loving Friend

Bryon Predika was a man who, by all accounts, loved life and loved those fortunate enough to have been in his life. The entire Baltimore theatre community suffered a great loss with his passing on January 6, 2007. Personally, I had the great fortune to witness his final performance in Cockpit-in-Court's An Inspector Calls. Almost immediately after his death was announced, several members of the community sent me tributes and a formal obituary to be posted in honor of his long, illustrious career, and as a final farewell from his many friends worldwide. I am honored to be a part of this tribute.

James

Obituary written by Linda Chambers, friend and director of An Inspector Calls:

Bryon Joseph Predika's long career in theatre began in Niles, Ohio on March 29, 1939. He was the son of the late Marie and Fred Predika and beloved brother of Cook, his only sister, formerly of California. His long time partner, Jon M. DeHart, passed away in 1996.

Active in TNT, a playhouse in Warren, Ohio, Mr. Predika performed with the Kenley Players and had his own television show when he was in high school. Although known in Niles for his acting, he was also a Boy Scout, achieving the rank of Eagle Scout. He attended Hiram College, receiving dual degrees in English and in Speech, was an active member of the Delphic Social Club and continued to perform in productions at the college.

Mr. Predika created Act One Musical Notes, a greeting card company using sheet music from stage, screen and novelty pop tunes through the years. His cards were sold all over the country and in London.

Mr. Predika wrote an award-winning children's play and a best-selling cookbook, Cooking With Pride (compiled by "Leatherella O. Parsons, a legend in her spare time"). He cooked for Liberace, Lana Turner, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy, as well as his enormous circle of friends.

Marianne Angellela, actress: "I am so sad. Bryon and I had an email exchange before Christmas, I was in search of a lost recipe and, God Bless him, he had it. I am so very sorry that he had to leave his friends so soon."

He appeared on stage with Ethel Waters and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr., held a degree from the Pasadena Playhouse and studied with Agnes Moorehead.

Among his many theatrical credits: Windmill Dinner Theatre in Forth Worth, Texas; Pasadena Playhouse; Northridge Repertory, Painters Mill and the Garland Dinner Theatre, where he acted and directed from 1974 to 1978. Robert & Carline Lewis, owners of The Garland Dinner Theatre: "Bryon was a valued professional actor in many plays at the Garland Dinner Theatre in Columbia, Maryland, during the 1970's. [We are] sad, but glad, to have known and worked with a good friend."

He acted and/or directed in Maryland at the Vagabond Players, Arena, Axis, Fells Point Corner and Pumpkin theatres; he performed as "Pearl, Bertha, Rev. Spikes and all the Gang" in Greater Tuna and Tuna Christmas at the New Embassy Theatre in Cumberland, Maryland, and " in 41 of the 50 states", as Bryon himself put it. He served on the Board of Governors of the Vagabond Players from 2000 until 2005 and continued to serve on the play reading committee.

In 2000, Bryon was cast in Kimberley Lynn's play, The Last Battle of the American Revolution.Last Battle, the story of the women's suffrage movement, was produced at Axis Theatre as both a staged reading and a full production, then condensed into a forty-minute educational piece and taken on the road as part of Young Audiences of Maryland. Bryon and the late Anne B. Mulligan were the only cast members who performed in all three and both found interaction with students particularly rewarding.


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James was first bitten by the theatre bug at the tender young age of 11, when, at the last minute, he was called upon to replace a classmate who, 42nd STREET-like, broke his leg, in a play, of all things, about the skeletal system! It was a trip to New York with his high school drama teacher to see Angela Lansbury in MAME that sealed his fate. As an actor, favorite roles include Sheridan Whiteside in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER, Potiphar in JOSEPH..., Col. Pickering in MY FAIR LADY, and Sancho Panza?s ass in MAN OF LA MANCHA. After spending a summer feeling very conflicted playing both an apostle AND a high priest in JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, James' theatre career took a turn toward direction and design, including such varied productions as THE DIARY OF ANNE FRANK, LOST IN YONKERS, GETTING AWAY WITH MURDER and GRAND HOTEL, SIDE SHOW, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD and SWEENEY TODD. James holds a Bachelor's degree in English from Towson University, with additional course work in journalism, dramaturgy, scenic design and stage direction. He is living proof that you can be a devout Sondheim fan AND love MAMMA MIA!


 
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