NEW CASTLE, Pennsylvania, (MyValleyTributes) – Lester D. Malizia, Jr., 69, died Sunday, September 26, 2021, at Washington Health Center in Washington, Pennsylvania.
He was born in New Castle, March 16, 1952, a son of the late Lester D. Malizia, Sr. and Dorothy (Champ) Malizia. His mother survives in New Castle.
Lester was a graduate of Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania and the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.
Lester served as a Director in Residence at Playhouse on the square in Memphis, Tennessee, Artistic Director for the Town and Country Playhouse in New Hampshire and has been Co-Director of the Young Playwrights Festival in New York. Lester was also a founding member of Orlando’s Rogue Theater Company. Lester was with Seaside Music Theater in Daytona Beach, Florida for over 30 years, serving as Artistic Director for 20 years. While at Seaside, he directed over 100 productions, including the first professional production of Million Dollar Quartet, which went on to Broadway and won a Tony award, as well as a production of The Marriage of Figaro, for which he did the English language adaptation. His production of the operetta, Floradora is in the permanent video collection of the Library of Performing Arts at Lincoln Center. He has served on the board of the National Alliance of Music Theatre, has been Chairman of the Professional Division of the Southeastern Theater Conference, Chairman of the Professional Division of the Florida Theater Council and President of the Florida Professional Theater Association. He won the 1997 Murphy Memorial Award for excellence in directing. In 1999, Lester was awarded the Distinguished Career Award by the Florida Theater Council. In 2006 he was awarded the Volusia County Arts Advocate Award (now the Tippen Davidson Award) for over 25 years of service to the arts in Volusia County and the Richard G. Fallon Award for excellence in professional theater by the Florida Professional Theatre Association.
Lester was a profound lover of the arts. He believed they could heal and challenge people in times of uncertainty and ultimately draw people closer together. He also believed they could bring you great joy and the courage to open your mind and risk falling in love with life.
In addition to his mother, he is survived by one brother, Floyd Malizia of New Caslte; one sister, Maureen Donaldson of New Castle; one nephew, Brandon Donaldson and one niece, Ashlee Sidorchak.
He was preceded in death by one niece, Gabrielle Malizia.
Private services will be held at the William F. & Roger M. DeCarbo Funeral Home, 926 Cunningham Avenue, New Castle, PA 16101.
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A television tribute will air Tuesday, September 28 at the following approximate times: 7:10 a.m. on FOX, 12:22 p.m. on WKBN, 5:08 p.m. on MyYTV and 7:27 p.m. on WYTV.