According to an obituary from the Associated Press, 79-year-old jazz musician Deedie Ball died, Nov. 18, while making her theatre debut. A heart attack felled Ball as she was playing the piano music introduction to the second act of a show at a playhouse in San Luis Obispo, CA. Ironically, in the play, Ball was portraying a spirit passing into heaven. Ball's musical career took her around the world, onto radio in the 1940's and 50's, and into clubs everywhere with jazz groups. In the audience that fatal night, Ball's friend Karen Hammond later noted, "It was the most beautiful death I've ever seen."
A similarly unfortunate event took plays a few years ago when the Japanese Butoh dance troupe Sankai Juku (recently at Brooklyn Academy of Music) lost one of its members during a piece that had the troupe hanging upside down outside an office building. Supports snapped on one dancer, who then plunged several stories downward. The name of that piece was "The Dance Of Life And Death."
-- By David Lefkowitz