The Omaha theatre community continues to mourn the loss of performer Joseph Miloni. Miloni, 61, was found dead of natural causes in an Omaha motel room on August 18th. Miloni performed on various stages in Omaha for more than 40 years, most recently in Brigit Saint Birgit Theatre’s production of The Heiress by Augustus and Ruth Goetz in 2013. Several members of Omaha’s theatre world remember Joe fondly.
“He was a treasure. I met him during The Heiress and we became fast friends. He knew my voice teacher from his days at Carnegie Mellon … We used to message each other late at night. No matter how terrible his circumstances, he was always great fun and quick with a joke, a prayer and advice. He always knew which Saint to pray too. I hate that he died where he did. He deserved far better .. Joe was a gem.” – MaryBeth Adams
“Joe was an amazingly-gifted artist and an intelligent man with an old-school respect, even reverence, for every aspect of the profession and its disciplines: vocal training, physical presentation and grace, character and script study and a generous and respectful etiquette toward his fellow players. Onstage he was magical. His peerless wit was water in the desert, and his ‘just-get-on-with-it’ approach was too. So very grateful to have worked with him. A real gent.” – Cathy Kurz
“Joe did many shows for me at the Norton Theatre, always operettas. He had an uncanny ability to hold a stage and then ‘eat’ the scenery. In The Red Mill, originally written for a comedy team in the early part of the century, Joe and John LaPuzza would get so carried away with unbridled silliness that they would add twenty minutes to the show every night. Audiences quickly grew to sell outs when people heard about him. He loved Rudyard Norton and affected his speech patterns and dapper dress. It quickly grew into the Joe Miloni everyone loved. Once, when I was having auditions at the Upstairs Dinner Theatre for children, a young man of 10 sang his song and read his lines with that same affectation. When I said ‘Could you just read those lines as yourself?’ he replied, ‘Oh, I thought I would audition like Joe Miloni!’” – Dwayne Ibsen
A memorial service for Miloni was held in August at Holy Cross Catholic Church. If you have any fond memories of Joseph Miloni, feel free to share them with firstname.lastname@example.org.