Alan Poindexter, who had been longtime artistic director at Children's Theatre of Charlotte, died Tuesday night.
Poindexter, 47, had been in and out of the hospital the past week, friends said.
"He was an extraordinary artist," said Steve Umberger, who was Poindexter's director for the controversial "Angels in America" at the Charlotte Repertory Theater in 1996.
His role as Prior, which involved disrobing on stage, and the play's nudity and gay themes, caused controversy, but Umberger said he was impressed with how Poindexter handled the situation with integrity.
County commissioners withdrew funding for arts groups because of the "Angels" production.
Poindexter grew up in Gaston County and studied theater at UNC Charlotte. In a 2011 television interview with Central Piedmont Community College, he said taking a class at the Children's Theatre of Charlotte in 1978 changed his life. In the class, he helped produce a show, called "Sword and Mirror."
"It was a magical thing for me," he said in the interview. "That class was a transformation in my life."
He co-founded Innovative Theater, a fringe troupe, in 1987, and was a Tarradiddle Player and occasional director for Children's Theatre. In the 1990s, he notably played Oscar Wilde in "Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde," Prior in "Angels" and a one-man adaptation of Dickens' "A Tale of Two Cities."
Poindexter was named artistic director of Children's Theatre in 2002, and was the director for 10 years. During his time there, the company moved from Morehead Street to its home in ImaginOn, increased its budget from $2 million to $4 million and enlarged the physical scope of productions.
He directed "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," which broke company attendance records, "The Wizard of Oz" (and he played the Wicked Witch of the West), and many others.
"His imprint as an artist – as a theater artist – was quite broad across the Charlotte community," said Bruce LaRowe, Children's Theatre executive director.
- Lindsay Reubens, the Charlotte Observer