I was sorry to learn from Rosie O’Donnell’s blog that Broadway actor/singer/dancer and all-around-great-guy Jason Opsahl is dead. She misses him and so do I. Jason died of a brain tumor called “anaplastic astrocytoma” on Oct. 25, 2002. He was 39.

Jason Opsahl Head Shot

I met Jason in 1991 while working on the Broadway musical The Will Rogers Follies and he was always kind and friendly to me and everyone else he touched. Jason was an incredibly talented singer and dancer. He was effortlessly alive while many of us just live.

Working in the theatre is a strange life. For three months you see everyone every day all day and all night and then the show opens and sometimes you never see them again but you never forget them and you always remember the tender moments of beauty that everyone worked so hard to create together for the audience. Jason Opsahl will be missed by more than his family and friends.

He will be missed for the void he leaves on the Broadway. He will be missed for the loss of light his life brought to an ever-darkening world. He will be missed for the promise of a talent sabotaged by the very thing that makes us of the moment.

I am fond of saying we are not our bodies and that we all have a life energy that tells beyond bones and skin and muscle and, for the sake of us all, I hope I’m right because the world without Jason Opsahl’s energy is one that is less-friendly, less-warm and less-good.

Goodness is hard to find in a broken world and goodness has great human value because it brings together shattered lives and shards of people and, for a moment anyway, goodness makes everything okay for awhile.

The Will Rogers Follies lost other good people who helped wind the world and I miss them all: Peter Stone Cy Coleman Adolph Green Phil Oesterman I’m sure there are others who are gone that I should be missing and I’m sure I’ll hear about them soon enough. Right now, though, I’m still trying to find the goodness in the death of Jason Opsahl.


  1. Jason Opsahl is my uncle and I appreciated him very much. He made such an impact on my life. He is the reason I would like to become an actor thank you so much for sharing your story…
    God bless,
    Logan Opsahl

  2. Hi Logan —
    Thank you so much for your kind comment.
    Your uncle was a wonderful person and it was my pleasure to know him. He made us all a little bit better.
    I wish you all the luck in your acting career and I’m sure Jason is nearby and rooting for you as well.

  3. I graduated high school with Jason, and still miss talking to him. What a smiling presence he had about him!

  4. Hi Gerry —
    Welcome to this blog and I thank you for posting such a wonderful memory of Jason here for us to share. You are right about his smile. It was friendly and warm.

  5. Some people wait a life time to meet someone like my Uncle Jason. Im blessed not only to have know him but to have had the oppertunity to have him pour into my life with his wisdom and his love. In the busiest moments or in his hardest times My uncle Jason would take the time out to make sure that I knew he loved me. I miss being able to see him, I miss the suprise visits home to orlando or the great laughs that we had.
    Its comforting to know that out of sight dosent mean out of mind for everyone.
    He had a great impact on my life. I cant tell you how much it means to be able to read all the great things about him. It makes me feel that much closer to him.
    ITs hard to fight back tears even now, I feel like someone cheated me out of something great. But I know that even though he is not here in body he is with all of us in spirit.
    To the Best Uncle that I have ever known!
    Thank you to all who have taken the time out of there busy day to remember one of the greatest people who ever lived.

  6. Today is Jason’s birthday, and I must say that I am very melancholy. Jason did have a light about him that made you want to be around him. He had the best laugh and the greatest sense of humor. I miss him and I miss the energy he created. I feel extremely fortunate to have known him, worked with him, and considered him a friend.

  7. Hi Maria!
    Welcome to Urban Semiotic and thank you for sharing such a great remembrance of Jason on his birthday.
    If we all remember him, he will never be forgotten.

  8. So sorry to hear about Jason Opsahls passing. I have many pleasant memories from the time period of the Will Rogers Follies. It was the first Broadway show I paid full price to see, and I couldn’t wait to see it & subsequently saw it twice more. I was aquianted with people who were aquainted with people in the show, and remember walking by the theater one night after the show was over and at the stage door Jason Opsahl, Jerry Mitchell & Eileen Grace were signing autographs for some beaming kids who were thrilled with the whole experience. It was very very sweet. I’m glad had at least one opportunity to see him perform. My thought to friends and family… what a bummer.

  9. I love your warm remembrance of Jason, Kyle, and welcome to Urban Semiotic!
    Jason was unique and special and that’s what makes his early death so hard to take.

  10. Great & very interesting site, David. I will explore it more this evening. Sorry about the above misspellings & meant to say my THOUGHTS are with Jason’s family! (I have more than one…)

  11. I first met Jason when I was 18 years old. He was an amazing man and a wonderful friend. I have no doubt in my mind that if it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be here today. He was like a father figure to me during that time of my life and I will never ever forget him. To this day it hurts me to know that I will never be able to look him in the eye as an adult and thank him for everything he did for me. I am 31 now and I make it a point to tell those close to me what an amazing person he was.
    I have a audio tape of Music of the Night from 1996 in San Fran when he was doing the lead parts. If any of his friends or family would like a copy I would be more than happy to get one to you. I gave one to Jason all those years ago but I don’t know if his family has it or not.

  12. Welcome to Urban Semiotic, Jodi, and I thank you for your great memory celebrating Jason’s talent. You help him live with the kind of wonderment of experience you share about his continued movement in your life.

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