James E. Wiley, Jr. lives in theaters.

On the Saturday afternoon I stopped by his house, he had been to the symphony the night before at the Meyerson and was heading to an opening at the Undermain Theatre that evening. On Sunday he would catch The Totalitarians at the Kitchen Dog Theater.

TACA (The Arts Community Alliance) holds Jim’s commitment to theater and all of the performing arts in high regard and will honor him with a Silver Cup Award in February.

“Karen [his wife] and I like to support smaller theaters,” he noted. But he also has served on the Board of Trustees at the Dallas Theater Center, along with TACA Silver Cup co-honoree, Rebecca Fletcher.

A subscriber to DTC since high school, Jim well remembers consultants telling them that when they decamped from the Kalita Humphreys to the Wyly Theatre, they would have

“to upscale their productions”—a lot. “If you do the same thing you’ve been doing on the Kalita stage,” they said, “it will be like: so???”

The Dallas Theater Center did upgrade, dramatically, and achieved as a result a great and continuing success.

In fact, Jim said, “Since Jaap [van Zweden, conductor of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra] and [general director] Keith Cerny at The Dallas Opera came to Dallas,” it’s been a feast of riches.

Of course, Jim serves on those boards too: DSO’s Board of Governors since 2000 along with the Building Committee,

PATRON SAINTS Stradivarius Committee, and Gala Host Committee, plus he’s on the Board of Trustees for The Dallas Opera.

It all began for the Wileys at the Junior Players where he tumbled easily into energetic support since he had been an actor at Thomas Jefferson High School, playing in Brigadoon and Bye Bye Birdie.

PATRON SAINTS He still feels strongly about the importance of the Dallas Independent School District and is proud to have his son’s two children at Nathan Adams.

The Booker T. Washington School of the Performing Arts is high on his list as well. Karen Wiley was upstairs wrapping holiday gifts that day.

These would be sent to another son, his wife, and their four children in Norway. It’s part of the seasonal ritual of the Wiley family, which lives according to the calendar of the Episcopal Church. St. Michael’s, like the arts, is central to their lives.

Jim sings tenor in the choir there; having honed his voice while growing up at University Park Methodist, the denomination, it must be admitted, that has the best hymns of any in the realm of Protestant Christendom.

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