Hope Baugh

Hope Baugh

On Thursday, we learned that Hope Baugh passed away. Hope wrote theatre criticism for NUVO and had her own blog indytheatrehabit.com. She also worked as Manager of Young Adult Services for the Carmel Clay Public Library, which released this statement today about Hope:

It is with deep sadness that [the Library] must share the passing of Young Adult Services Manager Hope Baugh. Hope was hired in 2001 as a Young Adult Librarian, then advanced to the position of manager of the department a year later. Throughout her tenure with the library Hope was a passionate advocate for teenagers, not just as library users but as the next generation of leaders. In addition to her love of connecting readers with Young Adult literature, Hope was a gifted storyteller and an accomplished theater blogger. She had an infectious laugh, a generosity of spirit and a deep commitment to serving our community. Her friends, colleagues and patrons at the library will miss her dearly.

In my interactions with her – whether at the library or out as a fellow reviewer writing up IndyFringe performances — I found her always bright and cheerful. I enjoyed her writing for NUVO, a sample of which you can find here. She had an in-depth knowledge of the Indy theater scene, as she had been an actor in a variety of theater performances around town. Her theater blog reflects this knowledge.

An exploration of the famous sex therapist, this solo show incorporates her signature wackiness, but it is ultimately more moving than humorous.

Someone else who found her a joy to be around is her friend Mark Lee, who has also written (as well as taken photographs) for NUVO. 

On Thursday, he wrote: 

“One of the first shows I ever did at the Phoenix was The House of Blue Leaves, and among the amazing castmates was Hope Baugh... an absolute delight to be around, and someone who exudes joy and happiness wherever she goes.

“Years later the two of us became movie buddies, and I just found out through a mutual friend on Facebook that she is no longer with us. What's up with so many GOOD people dying? (I was going to create a list of complete asses I'd much rather see go, but I know Hope would not like it if I did ... she might LAUGH, but she seriously did not have a mean bone in her body). 

“Rest in peace, my friend ... I'm sorry to see you go...”

I asked Mark if he had anything to add.

“We used to go to Keystone Arts to watch movies together and around Christmas time she would always ask me with a twinkle in her eye if I thought the guy playing Santa Claus was flirting with her,” he said.  “Now I wish that he was. I always thought it would have taken someone with a heart like good Old St. Nick to capture Hope’s heart and to match her spirit.”  

Will McCarty, creative manager for NUVO and co-founder of Q Artistry, says: 

“Hope was a wonderful supporter to many in the theater community. She was heavily supportive of women and telling women’s stories. She was good energy all around. She remembered your name, was very personable in that regard. She had a great laugh. 

“We had a show that opened during an ice storm and she was one of the only people there. She came through the ice storm because she wanted to be there for opening night. She was one of those."

Longtime NUVO reviewer and commentator Rita Kohn also shared her thoughts on Hope's passing:

"As long as there are theatres, actors, playwrights, patrons of theatre  in Indianapolis, Hope Baugh will be alive," she said.  "As a colleague and sometimes reviewer of my plays, Hope was a joyful presence putting it out there as she felt it. I was sad when she announced 'retirement' as a NUVO reviewer; I'm still processing her passing."

This blog will be updated as additional memories from friends and family come in.


Dan Grossman is NUVO's arts editor.

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