Losing Shane

The reeling continues – loss upon loss – in our community. Our Associate Technical Director, Shane Wallis, died in a motorcycle accident late Thursday night in Maryland. On December 14 on his Facebook profile status line, Shane wrote “Shane has a pinch of sadness, a dash of anxiety, a sprinkle of worry, and a whole heap of faith in the future.”  That sums up this sensitive, gung-ho, introspective, charming, dependable, friendly soul–an actor, a carpenter, a dad, a friend, a musician, a jack of all trades, a teacher, a dreamer. How well did we each know him? All of us differently, and still probably in the same way; catching bits of him on the fly, at home, at work, on the go.
I found out at 1 AM this morning. So many of his friends in this community found out earlier, and knew him better. But I so valued our unspoken connection. It’s been an unspeakably painful week — burying Bob Prosky and losing Leonard Borovay (our Projection Designer Zak Borovay’s dad) the same day, heart attacks and financial wipe-outs and shiva calls for Council member fathers, husbands… Let us down easy.

On his last Facebook posting, written the day I saw him last, December 16, Shane wrote, “Shane is blessed.”

Rest easy, Shane.




in the Washington DCJCC’s Aaron and Cecile Goldman Theater

1529 16th Street, NW (Metro: Red Line to DuPont Circle – walk 4 blocks to 16th & Q)

Parking at 1616 P Street (between 16th & 17th) – $4 with validation at DCJCC front desk


17 thoughts on “Losing Shane

  1. Well said. Shane was a terrific actor and one of the most unaffected and down-to-earth that I have ever met. I had the good fortune of working with him on 3 shows and he was so wonderful in each one. He also had a great time doing theater. He hosted several memorable cast parties at his apartment that were great good times. He wanted people to enjoy not just the theater, but each other’s company. It’s times like this when I believe Billy Joel had it so right, “only the good die young.”

  2. Thank you so much for writing a bit about this Ari. I have been trying to find some information on what happened and when. Lovely entry. He will be greatly missed.

  3. After working with the man last summer for the first time ever, I can honestly say the DC Theatre world will be a little darker without Shane in our lives.

  4. Shane you will be so very missed! I unfortunately did not get to know you that well, however, I was lucky to have been able to call you my coworker for 2 years at the DCJCC. I could always feel your positive energy and admired the hard work you put into not only Theater J shows, but into many other major JCC events as well. This is such an unbelievable shock and moreover, unfair. I hope there will be some solace in knowing that wherever you are, I have a feeling you will always be creating beautiful art….and shining down on us.

  5. Thank you so much for writing this Ari. I have been haunted by this news all day. The fragility of life, and the tragedy of young life cut short.

    I feel so lucky to have gotten to know Shane this year, first at auditions for Honey Brown Eyes, and then in that fantastic track suit costume, where the Southern stud went all Balkan thug on us. I smiled every time the door opened and he walked on stage.

    Thank you Shane, for helping bring a new play to life from start to finish.

    My heartfelt condolences to his family and his children and also to this wonderful Washington community of actors and designers to which he belonged.

    I know many say family is everything, but I believe community is everything. And Shane touched a community, and a community will mourn his absence.

    I am grateful to have gotten to share such a special community for a while, a grateful observer, participant, and interloper.

    (playwright, Honey Brown Eyes)

    • beautiful comment, Stefanie
      thank you for staying close
      thank you all, PB — Jen, Margot, Courtney, Jackie, Lee, Joe, et al.
      This virtual/Facebook grieving and shiva call is really something quite extraordinary

  6. I first met Shane when he was the swing on the production of the “Scottish Play” that I was PA for. One of our actors was in a horrible accident, and Shane went on for three weeks, filling multiple roles, sometimes covering two different tracks in the same scene! I remember thinking about how dedicated he was to his craft. And he did it with such a sense of humor to it all. Getting to know him since then was a treat and an honor. His warmth, compassion, dedication, and overall friendliness was a rare combination, and one that will be sorely missed.

    Is there a way to reach out to his family and children?

  7. what a beautiful and thoughtful note ari… and everyone. his gentleness, sweetness, and humor will be missed. i didn’t know him terribly well but enough to drop my heart when i heard the news. a testament to who he was i suspect.

  8. I was honored to know Shane only briefly — working with him during my fleeting two months on staff at the Jewish film festival — but he was immediately likeable and had a great soul. Ironically, since I was moving at high speed for most of the last two months, I’d only had time to have my first meaningful conversation with him a week ago at our closing night party (and later when I sat across from him at our afterparty at Stoney’s). I spent an hour talking with him about his love of British literature; how real men can, indeed, play flute; and his plans for graduate school and his future. His death is heartbreaking and unspeakably sad – and a reminder to us all that life is a precious gift. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and loved ones.

  9. Shane was a good friend of mine we pretty much grew up together. He was such a wonderful person to be around. After high school though I didn’t get to see him much, but I do have the pleasure of watching his two beautiful children grow up. His family will be in my prayers.

  10. I just found out about Shane’s death today, and I was deeply saddened. Thank you, Ari, for an honest, warm remembrance & from what I hear, the memorial service was lovely. Shane and his family are in my thoughts tonight.

  11. I just wanted to comment on this previous post of yours about Shane Wallis. I found myself in shock through a facebook group setup in his memory and googled to find out more about a guy I group up around, early in his acting career.
    It was a community theater production. I don’t know about him, but it was my first lead, and he was my counterpart and friend in Charlie’s Aunt (a fun, little known 3-act modified for New Orleans). He was one of mine favorites to work with among the shows I did. This is tough for me, though, because this marks five deaths from this cast; two of the 3 leads. They all made me be a better actor.
    I am glad to hear he was able to live life to the fullest, never change from the guy I knew [and adored], and found the love and endearment of his young family.
    A special thanks to those in the craft who use his life and love as fuel for their creative fires.

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