6th Street Playhouse celebrates the life of longtime playwright, set designer, scholar, lifetime learner, and supporter of theatre, Harry Reid, who passed away on August 29, 2020, at the age of 94.
“The 6th Street Playhouse family will always cherish our relationship and history with one of the most generous, talented, and brilliant members of our community. Harry designed the very first set at the Playhouse for Auntie Mame,” said Jared Sakren, Artistic Director. “As a donor, along with his wife Linda, Harry was a member of our Landmark Circle, and was active in the theatre community all over the Bay Area. He was also a fellow Connecticut Yankee—we had that in common—and had an amazing and impressive past. We will never forget Harry Reid, and our hearts go out to Linda and his family.”
“He was such a talented and enthusiastic supporter of the Santa Rosa Players and the 6th Street Playhouse,” said Susane Byrne, a member of the board of Directors of The Playhouse. “Harry was a playwright and wrote plays for the Players, and even wrote an opera for us. He directed, was a scenic designer, and was always an enthusiastic audience member and a very generous donor for many, many years. He even helped build the sets he designed. Forever cheerful with a great sense of humor, he was an architect by trade, but eventually branched out into history and earned a master's degree at SSU. He even built a little theatre on his property and had performances and readings there for many years. The Reids' theatre parties were among the best ever! Harry will be missed tremendously by many communities around Sonoma County. He was always learning something all the time. This past year he was teaching himself Dutch and still writing plays. He certainly packed a lot into his long life. I for one will miss this beautiful person and feel so privileged to have known him!”
An MIT grad, Harry studied with famed Frank Lloyd Wright at Taliesin. He was a force for creativeness, humor and love, and almost a dozen of his plays and an opera were performed in the Bay Area. As an author, besides plays, Harry published over seven novels and a memoir. When asked in an interview a few years ago, how he managed to write so many things, Harry said, “We’re all blessed with creative skills. Writing is my strongest skill. As to passion, it is about my delight with human innocence. At the age of eighty-eight, one is reminded of human mortality; a sense of deadline sits upon the horizon. Our natures are teased by immortality. Maybe, in a century or two, a hominid will come across something I’ve written and show it to other hominids as an example of its curious 21st century mental activity.” Harry’s master thesis for SSU, American Ethos in 19th Century Alaska, a study of cross-currents in American and Tlingit cultures, can be found at Princeton and other major university libraries.