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Memorial

Bryan Fonseca, a leading theater producer in Indianapolis who challenged audiences with cutting-edge plays and was one of the city’s first impresarios to stage a show during the coronavirus pandemic, died there on Sept. 16. He was 65. The cause was complications of Covid-19, a spokeswoman for the theater said. Mr. Fonseca co-founded the Phoenix Theater in 1983 and led it for 35 years. It was a home for productions that might never have found a place on the city’s half-dozen more mainstream stages. His shows included Terrence McNally’s exploration of a group of gay men, “Love! Valour! Compassion!” — which attracted picketers — “Human Rites,” by Seth Rozin, which deals with female circumcision, and unconventional musicals like “Urinetown” and “Avenue Q.” He left the Phoenix Theater in 2018 after a dispute with the board and started the Fonseca Theater Company, a grass-roots theater in a working-class neighborhood on the city’s west side. The company champions work by writers of color and has a largely nonwhite staff. Mr. Fonseca was committed to diversity because he believed that it made his productions stronger, Jordan Flores Schwartz, his company’s associate producing director, said. “He was a force for good in the lives of many, many people,” she said. At times, Mr. Fonseca said, his choices were “too controversial for the leaders of this conservative community,” and cost him corporate and foundation sponsors. He did not care. “His personal mission was to bring diverse work to Indianapolis, because he firmly believed we deserved that, too,” Ms. Schwartz said. After the pandemic closed theaters across the country in March, Mr. Fonseca brought live performance back to Indianapolis in July with a socially distanced production — in the theater’s parking lot — of Idris Goodwin’s “Hype Man: A Break Beat Play,” which centers on the police shooting of an unarmed young Black man. Bryan Douglas Fonseca was born on Oct. 10, 1954, in Gary, Ind., to Manuel and Aggie Fonseca. His father was a railroad worker, his mother a homemaker.  After graduating from William A. Wirt High School, Mr. Fonseca became the first in his family to attend college, studying sociology and theater at Indiana University Northwest in Gary, where he also started a storefront theater. He moved to Indianapolis in 1978. He received his bachelor’s degree from Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis.Mr. Fonseca had a penchant for loud shirts, authentic Day of the Dead art, puppies, the music of John Prine and Christmas music (which he felt could start in as early as August). He was also a taskmaster, Ms. Blossom said. “If you were going to be in a play with him, you were going to work,” she said. “But after he got done yelling, everyone would go out for tequila together.”He is survived by his father; his brothers, Kevin and Bob; and a sister, Hollye Blossom. As posted in the New York Times - Those We've Lost

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MEMORIAL FOR:

Bryan Fonseca

About the Deceased

Name Of Deceased

Bryan Fonseca

Date of Birth

10/10/1954

Date of Passing

09/16/2020

Place of Birth

Gary, Indiana

Family

Name of Parents

Manuel Fonseca , Aggie Fonseca

Name of Siblings

Kevin Fonseca, Bob Fonseca, Hollye Blossom