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Steve Nelson, 38

Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA) - January 21, 1998


Deceased Name: OBITUARIES Steve Nelson, 38, playwright, children's author

The memorial service for noted New York playwright Steve Nelson, 38, of Ellijay, will be held at noon today at Atlanta Unity Church in Chamblee.

Mr. Nelson died Jan. 7 from complications of Lyme disease at his residence. The body was cremated. Logan Funeral Home and Chapel of Ellijay is in charge of arrangements.

Influenced by playwrights Eugene O'Neill and Edward Albee, Mr. Nelson was known for his "nonrealistic comedies with serious social comment," said Jake Rufli of New York, who taught Mr. Nelson theater at Lake Erie College and has produced five of his former student's plays

Mr. Nelson displayed in his work "a concern for the elderly and the uniqueness of American life," Mr. Rufli said. Mr. Nelson's plays, "The Squirrels," "Hubbard, Ohio," and "Tripper's Room," have been performed in Cleveland, New York and Los Angeles.

A former playwright-in-residence at Aboutface, an experimental theater company on 42nd Street in New York, Mr. Nelson took his responsibilities seriously. Attending nearly every rehearsal, Mr. Nelson "was very meticulous about rewriting," said Mr. Rufli.

In New York, Mr. Nelson's work was performed by Circle Rep, Playwrights Horizon and the 92nd St. Y. While working on Broadway, Mr. Nelson became acquainted with Mr. Albee, who lent his support to one of Mr. Nelson's productions at the John Drew Theatre in East Hampton, N.Y.

Mr. Nelson moved to Ellijay several years ago for health reasons, said his mother, Donna Nelson of Acworth. It gave him time to write and illustrate a children's book, "Mrs. Woodstork's Adventure."

Mr. Nelson graduated from Lake Erie College. He attended Miami University of Ohio and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, where a number of his works were produced. Survivors in addition to his mother are his father, Larry Nelson of Acworth; a sister, Laura Nelson Smith of Kirkwood, Mo.; and his paternal grandmother, Esther R. Nelson of Farmington, Conn.

In lieu of flowers, the family requested contributions be made to the Steve Nelson Memorial Playwrights Fund, Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Hurt Building, Suite 449, Atlanta, GA. 30303

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Atlanta Journal-Constitution, The (GA) Date: January 21, 1998 Edition: The Atlanta Constitution Page: C05 Record Number: 980220142