Bruce R. Coleman

Dallas theater legend Bruce R. Coleman died Tuesday, Aug. 15, at the age of 62 of an apparent heart attack.

Bruce was born Dec. 3, 1960, at Bethany Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., to Richard Charles Coleman and Carol Joan Askew Coleman. He attended Frank Rushton School and Rosedale Middle School in Rosedale, Kan., before the family moved to Carrollton. Bruce graduated from Newman Smith High School in Carrollton in 1979 before attending Midwestern State University, where he graduated in 1985 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in theater arts.

Bruce taught theater arts at MacArthur High School in Irving and, periodically, at Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts. He also taught classes at the Kim Dawson Agency.

He was also an ordained minister.

In the North Texas theater community and beyond, Bruce was known as a director, a costume and scenery designer, a playwright, a screenwriter, a visual artist in drawing and painting, a fabric artist, a photographer and an illustrator.

Bruce had been working as a professional theater artist throughout the Dallas/Fort Worth area since 1985. During that time, he worked with most local theater organizations, including a 200-year association with Theater Three, which included a two-year stint as interim artistic director from 2015-2017.

Bruce wrote Andi Boi, the story of a transgender teen, which was commissioned for and premiered at Dallas Children’s Theater in February 2020. His work has been recognized by The Theatre Communications Group, The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Dallas/ Fort Worth Theatre Critics Association, The Leon Rabin Awards, The Column Awards, The South West Playwriting Festival and The Pride Write Playwrighting Festival.

During the COVID pandemic, Bruce worked sewing standard CDC designed masks while at the same time designing, creating and altering clothing for people and illustrating a children’s book.

As a child, his family said, Bruce would direct little backyard shows with other kids on the block, inviting all the parents to come and watch. He was a big fan of well-written sitcoms, showtunes and most popular music, especially 1980s music. He also loved talking on the phone with his mother before her death in October 2022.

He was, his friends and family said, a man who understood that love, kindness and compassion are at the core of every decent human being, and lived it.

Bruce was preceded in death by his father, Richard Charles Coleman, and mother, Carol Joan Askew Coleman.

He is survived by brothers Brett Matthew Coleman and Brian Lee Coleman; sisters-in-Law Thalia Coleman and Mimmie Coleman; nephews Carrek Coleman and Brandon Coleman; niece Carolyne Coleman; great-nephew Jackson Coleman and great-niece Pepper Ann Asebedo, as well as a myriad of friends, mentees, loved ones and associates.

Details for services are yet to be determined. In lieu of flowers, the family asks instead for donations to “the fine arts institution/ company/ organization of your choice.”