Linda Lee Jacobs, the indefatigable and vivacious former publicist at the Children’s Theatre, died Thursday at Hennepin County Medical in Minneapolis. She had suffered from Hepatitis C.
Jacobs, 64, served from 1997-2007 as the theater’s communications manager. During that decade, she helped frame the narrative of the Children’s Theatre as it became the first family-focused company to win the regional Tony Award and as it expanded into its new Cargill Stage.
“She was my energetic, intelligent and witty partner,” said artistic director Peter Brosius. “Linda was a fireball who lit up the company. We’re all rocked by losing her.”
Jacobs was born in Kenosha, Wisc. When she was five, her family moved to New York. From childhood, she had a lot of pluck and determination, said her mother, Janet Jacobs.
Janet Jacobs recalled that she and her parents went on a trip to Paris in 1969, leaving teenage Linda back home in New York.
“She booked herself on a flight to Luxembourg,” said Janet Jacobs. “One night at midnight in Paris, I get a call. And I couldn’t believe it. We met her off the bus in a square at 3 a.m. The trip took 19 hours and she was totally bedraggled, but she wasn’t going to miss out on the family fun.”
Jacobs entered the work force after graduating from prestigious Hunter College High School. Her first job was as a receptionist at a New York advertising agency, where she was promoted to copywriter in six months.
She moved to the Twin Cities in 1985 and began work at a financial services firm, where she also was promoted quickly. But she did not love the work. She came alive, her mother said, when she took a job doing publicity and much else for Dudley Riggs’ Brave New Workshop.
She spent five years there before eventually landing at the Children’s Theatre, where she bonded with many, including managing director Teresa Eyring. When Eyring became head of the Theatre Communications Group, the nonprofit theater industry’s New York-based advocacy group, she lured Jacobs to Manhattan.
Jacobs was twice married and divorced. She remained close friends with hers second husband, residential remodeler Jonathan Kalstrom.
“She was one of the most warm-hearted people I’ve ever met,” said Kalstrom. “She was a big hugger, always hugged everyone.”
In addition to her mother, Jacobs also is survived by step-father Ted Fine. Her body will be cremated. A memorial service is being planned.
“As Tiger Lily said to Peter Pan, you are the moon, the stars and the sun,” said Janet Jacobs. “That’s what Linda was to us.”