Known for entertaining children with on-stage productions of many of their favorite storybooks, the Magik Theatre family is mourning one of its own — 51-year-old Richard Solis.
Solis lost his battle against COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Richard Rosen, Magik Theatre’s founder, said Solis would want to be remembered as “a person who brought joy to people, who did a great job, who was a professional and who loved children.”
“He was extraordinary, and one of a kind, for sure,” said Becky King, another founding member of the Magik Theatre. “I’ve lost one of my best friends.”
Dylan Collins, a former Magik actor and longtime friend, said, “(Solis) was just so engaging, and he was a good guy.”
At first, when Solis was about 20 years old, he told Rosen he wanted to be an actor. Yet, Rosen said all he noticed were the earrings and studs Solis had in his ears and nose.
“That guy will never be on my stage,” Rosen said he later told an assistant. “That shows you how stiff and crazy I was.”
Eventually, Solis became like his own son, Rosen said.
Besides his talent on stage, Rosen said Solis had a gift with children.
Before the pandemic, Rosen said after a performance, the actors would visit with their young audience in the lobby.
“We felt it was important for children to understand that these were not real people,” Rosen said. “Richard would stay out there longer than anybody. He would get upset if somebody wasn’t giving their whole to dealing with the children.”
Those who knew him said Solis also was “resourceful” as a prop master.
“Anything that he could get his hands on, he would make something out of it,” said Collins.
For example, King said Solis made a puppet maneuvered by two little hooks on a string.
“Just unbelievable, the talent that man had,” said King.
So much so that King said Solis became an art teacher.
Rosen said Solis also was a strong LGBTQ advocate.
“He refused to give in to the idea that was wrong,” Rosen said.
Funeral arrangements for Richard Solis have not been announced.