In Memory of William Randall Beard (1956-2021)

St Paul and the greater theatre community lost a bright light last weekend with the passing of William Randall Beard. Randy served as literary manager for Park Square Theatre from 2000-2003, and Richard Cook directed his adaptation of The Odyssey in 2011. Twin Cities theatre followers will know him from his work with The History Theatre, Stages, Red Eye Theatre and the Playwrights’ Center among others.

Reprinted here is the obituary from St. Paul-Reformation Lutheran Church.

I N M E M O R I A M
William Randall Beard
October 19, 1956 – April 17, 2021

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts…”
+Wm. Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2, scene 7

Dear Friends in Christ Jesus,

Our brother in Christ Jesus, Randy (William Randall) Beard died on Saturday, April 17 of complications from COVID-19. Randy was a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College, a long-time member of St. Paul-Reformation, as well as being an active part of the arts community in the Twin Cities for many years. His staged play Come to the Table was a re-telling of the story of St. Paul-Reformation Church itself.

Randy was the co-author, with Matt Sciple, of Mary Stuart, an adaptation of the play by Friedrich Schiller, playing in both St. Paul and a production in Queensland, Australia. He was Literary Manager of the Park Square Theater from 2000 to 2003, and most recently helped to stage (for the second time) his most popular work Beyond the Rainbow, a musical biography of Judy Garland, commissioned by the Minnesota History Theatre in 2005. The play was produced in a dozen other productions around the country, including Florida Stage in West Palm Beach, Meadow Brook Theatre in Detroit and Des Moines Playhouse.

The Odyssey (2011)

Over the last 20 years, Randy wrote for theaters across the cultural spectrum, from the children’s theater Stages (three commissions, including a contemporary adaptation of Cinderella), to the avant-garde Red Eye Theatre (three productions, including a solo performance piece about Jeffrey Dahmer). He has also written educational theater for Hennepin County Library and the Hopkins AIDS Task Force. During his two terms as an Associate Member of the Playwrights’ Center, he served as president of the Board of Directors. As an arts journalist, Beard regularly contributed theater and classical music reviews to the Minneapolis Star Tribune and served as the theater and opera writer for Mpls/St Paul Magazine.

Randy was active in numerous capacities at St. Paul-Reformation Church, serving as Parish Council President and shepherding to completion the parish’s most recent Capital Campaign. For many years, Randy was involved with Wingspan Ministry’s work on behalf of GLBTQIA+ persons in the Church, and his faithful witness and effort toward this work touched countless lives. Randy was able to reconnect with – and eventually marry – the love of his life, Bruce Lively, in 2011.

Randy had an infectious humor, a keen wit, and a larger-than-life personality that fit perfectly with his life in the dramatic arts. He often said, “I love nature, as long as there’s a piece of plate glass between it and me.” In later years, his Christian spirituality developed to new levels of depth, and he particularly found value in the Psalms and the Rule of St. Benedict, which he used as his daily devotional practice. Randy recently moved to the Pillars of Minneapolis, and was in the final editing stage of his most recent book, Holiday Spirits, the story of a gay Christmas ghost. As well, he was continuing to edit a staged work on the relationship he held with his father that underwent previews several years ago.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, a memorial eucharist for Randy will be held at a later time when it is safe to do so. St Paul-Reformation will keep you abreast of these preparations as they finalize. Randy will be deeply, deeply missed.

Memorials can be sent to St. Paul-Reformation, and will be designated to support music and the arts at St. Paul-Reformation: 100 Oxford Street North, Saint Paul MN, 55104.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “See, the home of God is among mortals. He will dwell with them; they will be his peoples , and God himself will be with them; he will wipe every tear from their eyes. Death will be no more; mourning and crying and pain will be no more, for the first things have passed away.” And the one who was seated on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new.” – Revelation 21:1-5

Rest eternal grant to him, O Lord, and may light shine on him forever.

The Odyssey (2011)

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