Tony Babin was a really big guy. Too big for his own good, probably. I suppose we should have known he was in cardio trouble, and I know some people did know. There were warnings, I gather. But in the twenty years I knew Tony, I only knew him as a man full of life ---constant, steady, abundant and endless (I thought) life. His size was completely in proportion with his personality and his energy, which were prodigious. He was a gifted and accomplished guy, and also a gifted and accomplished doll. When I think of Tony, though, I don't think of a gifted actor, a resourceful entrepeneur, a pioneer, or a drag queen, all of which he most certainly was. I think of Tony as one of the most completely benevolent people I ever met. Amazingly so, regularly so, only so.
There will be a great tribute to Tony on Wednesday at 2:00 pm at the Fine Arts Center. Here I offer merely a few glimpses of the great man in action in the role of Big Jule in our Guys and Dolls here three years ago.
Like Big Jule, and whether with Nathan Detroit or Sky Masterson, Tony always came to play. He always wanted a piece of of the action.
It must be said he wasn't always a fan of conventional evangelical preaching.
But he got religion all the same. He carried the spirit within him and he gave it all away freely.
No matter where he went, Tony made a huge impression.
He was almost impossible to hide.
And even though he is no longer in our view, his presence abides. He is sort of a holy ghost of theater in our town. I feel he will watch over us. God loves you Tony, and we do too. We really do.
Cindy Powell, Dec. 13, 2009: Thanks so much for this beautiful tribute to Tony! I totally agree with your comments. I am truly blessed to have been one of Tony's many friends. To know Tony was to love Tony!