Jim Parsons' meteoric rise as the star of the CBS hit comedy The Big Bang Theory is the greatest success story to come out of Houston in a long, long while. In addition to leading the cast of a spectacularly popular sitcom, in the last year alone, Jim has been nominated for a “Best Actor in a Comedy Series” Emmy Award, presented an award at the Oscars and been featured during the Super Bowl. Soon he will join an extremely privileged class of celebrities as he makes a special guest appearance on Sesame Street. It couldn’t have happened to a nicer or more deserving guy and we couldn’t be prouder of our old friend.
In 1995, Jim made his first appearance in a play with Infernal Bridegroom Productions, the company founded by Catastrophic Artistic Director Jason Nodler. The play was Endgame. Nodler directed and Catastrophic Associate Director Tamarie Cooper and company member Greg Dean were in the cast. It was the first in a series of fruitful collaborations between Jim, Jason, and many of the current Catastrophic ensemble. Jim was a popular stage actor at a number of venues in town, but IBP was his artistic home. Over the course of five years, he appeared in eighteen plays with the company: Endgame, Marat/Sade, Othello, Suicide in B-flat, Woyzeck, Guys and Dolls, Eddie Goes to Poetry City, Jack, The Future is in Eggs, The Cherry Orchard, Camino Real, The Threepenny Opera, In the Jungle of Cities, Marie and Bruce and the world premieres of Last Rites by Brian Jucha, King Ubu is King by Nodler and Tamalalia 3: The Cocktail Party and Tamalalia 4: The Camp-Out, both by Cooper.
A graduate of the University of Houston School of Theatre, Jim was also a regular at Stages Repertory Theatre, appearing in Pitchfork Disney, Below the Belt and the world premiere of Chili Queen by Jim Lehrer, in which he shared the stage with his mentor and former professor Carolyn Houston Boone, who recently starred in Catastrophic’s Our Late Night.
In 2004, Jason traveled to New York to direct Jim and Catastrophic company member Amy Bruce in a showcase production of The Mineola Twins, the twelfth play on which Jason and Jim collaborated.
According to Jason, “It is an understatement to say that working with Jim was a delight; he is, of course, among the most gifted artists I’ve had the pleasure to know. More important though were the friendships we all formed. Collaborating as we did, in the grittiest spaces and on the most difficult plays, for no apparent reward but an artistic one, at such a formative time in each of our lives, we became a sort of a family. Those are bonds that never break.”
Jason, Tamarie, and the entire Catastrophic Theatre family will honor Jim Parsons, his contribution to the arts in Houston, and his tremendous accomplishments since his time here, at the annual Catastrophic gala, appropriately themed to celebrate not only Jim but the medium that made him famous: television.