"JIM" of Ann Arbor passed away January 13th, 2008, surrounded by his family and loved ones. He is preceded in death by father James Hendricks Posante, Sr. and mother Mary Ann (Gillotti) Posante. He was born in Cleveland, OH, August 8, 1948. Mr. Posante moved to Milford, Michigan in 1960, where he was very active with the marching band and drama programs at Milford High School. He also enjoyed working summers at Camp Dearborn. After graduating in 1966, Jim then moved to Ann Arbor, where he became an integral part of the city's theatre scene through the U of M Gilbert & Sullivan Society, Ann Arbor Civic Theatre, and later, countless other groups. For 40 years Mr. Posante worked in the theatrical community of Ann Arbor, and was a performer, dancer, choreographer, director, teacher, and friend to many. Early in his career he performed with numerous groups such as the U of M's Amaze n' Blues, the Performance Network, Second City of Chicago, Purple Rose Theatre, Thunder Bay Theatre, International Music Camp in North Dakota, Theatre Guild of Redford-Livonia, and Ann Arbor Civic. As a designer, Jim accomplished an astounding range of technical achievement, building stages and then sets to perform on, designing light and sound cues for all levels of theatrical productions, and even exploring the world of projected multimedia elements in his shows. Jim was employed by Greenhills School of Ann Arbor for 32 years, where he built much of the school's performing arts program. Shows there were originally produced in the cafeteria and the gymnasium - now Greenhills students perform original works on campus in the Campbell Center for the Performing Arts. Jim was a key mentor to numerous students who are now professional artists in various mediums of entertainment, working in areas as varied as choreography, technical theatre, opera, and movies. He served the Greenhills community in incredibly diverse ways, including teaching, mentoring, event organizing, publishing, and promoting - becoming a premiere ambassador to the school's families and alumni. Few other educators could ever have had the impact on students that Jim Posante did. The Performance Network in particular was a theatre close to Mr. Posante's heart. A recognized Associate Artist long associated with the company's early years, Jim routinely advised staff and board members and cultivated new professional artists. He constantly pushed for more recognition of LGTB issues and plays, and raised his own artistic bar, as well as the cultural awareness and quality of life of the Network's thousands of audience members. He is credited with the introduction of Executive Director Carla Milarch to the wider Ann Arbor theatrical community. In addition, his collaborative work with playwright Kim Carney in The Home Team and Moonglow helped raise the profile of both Ms. Carney and the theatre company, eventually sending Moonglow to New York for advanced production. However, it is commonly recalled that the often self-stated pinnacle of Jim's career was dancing with Charlie in 2006's The Fantasticks, a moment that remains among the most poignant in "PerfNet's" storied history, and for all the communities he claimed as his own. Some of the highlights of the awards honoring Jim's talents and vision are the Between the Lines Wilde Award for Best Director for Take Me Out, Performance Network's Subscriber's Choice Awards for The Home Team and Take Me Out, and The Detroit Free Press award for Director of Take Me Out. He also received numerous awards for his contributions to the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre. Jim will be missed and loved by partner of 36 years, Charles Sutherland, his biological daughter Angelica "Gigi" (Brian) Richardson with whom he was united seven years ago, brother Jack (Denise) Posante, granddaughter Ashley Kay Richardson, nieces Mary Ann (Michelle) Posante, Jennifer (Tim) Oliver, nephew Joseph (Jasmine) Posante, great-nephews and -niece Joshua, Christian, and MaKayla, sister-in-law Laura Sutherland Smith, her son Paul Charles (Debra) Smith and family, as well as stepmother Florence Duerr Posante and her extended family in Arizona. Special friends Terry Coffman and Laurie Atwood join the family in their grief and mourning. A public memorial service will be held Saturday, January 19, 2008 at the Michigan Theatre at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that friends make donations in Jim's name to Greenhills School, the Performance Network Theatre, or Children's Creative Center/Kidz in Need Scholarship Fund in celebration of Jim's life, talents, and spirit. For further information and remembrances, please visit www.jimposante.org
. Arrangements by Muehlig Funeral Chapel Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Published by The Detroit News on Jan. 17, 2008.