Director Jamie L. Brown, who worked on Broadway, in regional theatre and more recently at Sarasota's Asolo Theatre Company as a guest director, was found bludgeoned and stabbed to death in his Longboat Key (Florida) home by police on June 8.
Friends and family alerted local authorities after Brown dropped out of touch for several days.
Sarasota Herald-Tribune writers Timothy O'Hara (crime) and Jay Handelman (theatre critic) described Brown as a prominent director who helmed "a controversial play in Sarasota about AIDS and tender stories about relationships." Handelman told Playbill On-Line that Brown directed As Is, "the first play about AIDS to be produced in Sarasota."
In the Sarasota paper, O'Hara and Handelman reported that Brown directed I'm Not Rappaport, Master Harold ... and the Boys, Philadelphia, Here I Come and The Cocktail Hour at the Asolo. His last show there, the 1998 production of Mr. Bundy, about a child molester, was described as being "as controversial as his first."
On Broadway, Brown directed Of The Fields Lately by the Canadian playwright David French. His Off-Broadway credits included the American premiere of The Death and Resurrection of Mr. Roche and a revival of All the Way Home. In 1996, Brown directed The God of Isaac at Florida Studio Theatre. A retiring man who left the vaguest of impressions with certain neighbors and who often kept to himself, Brown nonetheless managed to earn impressive national credits working at such leading regional theatres such as the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park, McCarter Theatre, Syracuse Stage, GeVa Theatre, Long Wharf Theatre, Delaware Theatre Company and Virginia Stage. Police report that they believe Brown knew his murderer, and there are reports that the director had picked up young men in the past and put them up at his home. Brown's car was found 20 miles from his house in a semi industrial section of Sarasota. Local news reports indicated that Brown was gay, but the broadcasts also stated that while aspects of his general lifestyle may have been a factor, officials do not believe his sexuality was a motive for the murder, thus ruling out the "hate crime" classification at this time.
After extensive work at the crime scene, police are reporting some progress in the case.
A call to Longboat Key police chief John Kintz was not returned by press time.
For anyone with information on the case, the Longboat Key Police Department can be reached at (941) 316-1977.
-- By Murdoch McBride