I first met Andy when I was participating in Metro Youth Shakespeare in high school in St. Louis. I was so taken with his teaching, his absolute commitment, but sort of childlike whimsy, as were a couple of my close friends, that we just thought he was one of the most lively, curious kind of people we had ever met. Andy had that Andy spark that we all know and love. Something that is so hard to describe in words.
He was an excellent teacher and transmitted Shakespeare as I imagine a Buddhist monk transmits a koan. It sort of knocked you into the world of Shakespeare- not something archaic and staid but something very present, visceral, and alive.
Well needless to say, I’m sure all my friends had a crush on Andy. I remember one time we pulled a school aged prank and crashed his house (I have no clue how we got the address and am mortified in hindsight) and he just totally put up with us, very professionally of course, and entertained us from his front yard for a short while as only Andy could, replete with flamboyant gestures and monologues.
After high school I was lucky to be invited to train with the Slightly Askew Theatre Ensemble, where we all had the fortune of learning some Suzuki method from Andy. It was so striking how someone could be so intensely still, methodical, committed to every single moment and movement.
This was a beautiful time in my life where I was being exposed to Viewpoints, Suzuki, and Linklater, in a multi-generational ensemble of parents, peers, and teachers I so admired. I will never forget that formative period of time, training alongside my teachers.
Andy was the best stage actor I ever knew, even 15+ years later, I’ve never seen anyone top his performances in Valhalla or The Elephant Man.
I only went to one Pie Day in Forest Park, but I am so glad I did.
Andy, you are a treasured soul. I wish I had kept in touch all these years, but I will always respect and admire you, and remember the respect you showed others. Your creative spirit transcended form and age and place from moment to moment while you were with us, and I am sure you are doing so now, on an immeasurable scale.
Your memory reminds us that our lives can be full of whimsy, curiosity, and wonder. Thank you for everything.