Local stage star Lydia Taylor-Mora dies

Lydia Anne Taylor-Mora (pictured) inspired those she touched. Her 27 years on this planet took her many places, both spiritually and geographically; on March 3, she succumbed to brain cancer.

Taylor-Mora performed for several years as Magenta in the European tour of Richard O’Brien’s The Rocky Horror Show to sold-out houses of up to 3,000 people. She was known locally by many in the performing-arts scene from her involvement in Chico City Light Opera at the Eaton Road Opera House, where she acted, sang, danced, and choreographed, directing many productions for CAST, the Chico Area Student Theatre. She also performed in Keeping Dance Alive. She appeared in The Rocky Horror Show for the past three years at the Chico Cabaret Theatre. She was the inspiration for that production and choreographed the first two years.

Those who knew her reported that she was a force of nature, a devilishly beautiful girl with a zest for life. Her parents, Prudence Lockhart and Martin Taylor, themselves veterans of the stage, speak of her with great love and pride. Taylor said that, at some point, she became more than a daughter; she was his greatest teacher.

“She lived her beliefs,” he said. “She taught me what is good in this world, to find and see the light in all people.”

Taylor-Mora graduated from Red Bluff Union High School in 1994 and studied anthropology at California State University, Chico. She also attended the prestigious American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.

On Sept. 21, 2002, she married Ivan Rottman-Mora in Bodega Bay. They met when they were both 14 and reconnected a few years later. The two were born within three days of each another, he on Oct. 28, 1977, and she on Halloween. He called their life together “a fairy tale.”

“We had wonderful adventures. … Everyone who knows her was touched by her,” he said. “She did everything with such grace. We lived life to the fullest. She taught me to follow my heart.”

Besides her mother and father, she was also very close to her brother, Chris Hutchins, and her grandmother, Alyce Hill. Even while Taylor-Mora was undergoing chemotherapy in San Francisco, her family remained positive despite the fact that she was very sick. And though she suffered terrible headaches, they said she never complained.

When her friend Paul Winterford, the resident director of the European tour of The Rocky Horror Show, called last October to ask her to return to the stage as Magenta to perform in Milan, she and her doctor decided that a vacation was the wiser choice. The cancer had spread from her spinal fluid to her brain.

She went to Hawaii with her husband, where they swam with dolphins, rode in a helicopter on Valentine’s Day (a gift from her doctor) and meditated at a spiritual retreat. She returned home and died quietly in the evening of March 3, surrounded by her family and loved ones.

Lydia requested that her friends and family honor her life and spirit rather than mourn her passing. A celebration of her life will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, March 20, at the Chico Cabaret Theatre in the Almond Orchard plaza on Pillsbury Road. For more information, contact the theater, (530) 895-0245, or Lockhart, (530) 396-2503.