In a statement Walmartopia producer Dale Leibowitz said, "Brennen was integral to the spirit of our show and will be sorely missed by everyone involved with the production. Our thoughts are with his family." The show's director, Daniel Goldstein, added, "Brennen was an incredible talent. He was bright, funny, worked hard - the kind of actor you always want in the room. More than that, he loved his job, his company of actors, his crew, and that love and sheer joy shone through every moment on stage. I have no doubt that he would have been a major star. To the Walmartopia company, he already is. He will be sorely missed."
Born Justin Brennen Leath, the young actor was recently seen in R-E-S-P-E-C-T at New York Stage & Film. This past year he also appeared in Happy End and A Christmas Carol, both at San Francisco's A.C.T., and in Mother Courage at Berkeley Rep.
His other stage credits included Richard III, Romeo and Juliet, Henry IV Part 1, Born Yesterday and Camelot. For his work in the latter, a production at the Utah Shakespeare Festival, Mr. Leath received the Michael and Jan Finlayson Memorial Acting Award.
A recent graduate of A.C.T.'s MFA Acting Program, Mr. Leath appeared as a vocal soloist with the Milwaukee and San Antonio symphonies and on NPR's "West Coast Live."
A memorial service will be held in his honor Sept. 27 at the Bethany UCC Church in San Antonio. Contributions may be made in Mr. Leath's name to the American Diabetes Foundation; visit www.diabetes.org.
The Sunday performances of Walmartopia were canceled; performances resume Sept. 25.