‘Illinoise’ Dedicates Run Of Broadway Musical To Thomas J. Gates, Production Stage Manager Struck And Killed By Train; Sara Bareilles Pays Tribute

‘Illinoise’ Dedicates Run Of Broadway Musical To Thomas J. Gates, Production Stage Manager Struck And Killed By Train; Sara Bareilles Pays Tribute

UPDATE, with GoFundMe info: The Broadway production of Illinoise has dedicated the entire run of the musical to production stage manager Thomas J. Gates, who was struck and killed by a New Jersey Transit train yesterday.

“With heavy hearts we mourn the passing of our Production Stage Manager, Thomas J. Gates,” the production posted on social media today. “Thom was the center of Illinoise on Broadway, a beloved friend and collaborator. We are devasted for his husband Rick, another member of the Illinoise community.

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“These two amazing human beings led our company on our journey since the beginning. We dedicate the run of Illinoise to Thom and his loving memory.”

Last night’s performance of the Sufjan Stevens-Justin Peck-Jackie Sibblies Drury musical was canceled after the production received word of the tragic incident.

A resident of South Orange, New Jersey, Gates, 51, was struck and killed at 9:12 a.m./ET Wednesday by a New Jersey Transit train headed to New York’s Penn Station. Local news outlets reported a fatality at the South Orange New Jersey station yesterday, but Gates’ identity was not released until today.

Gates was a longtime Broadway stage manager whose Broadway credits go back to 2001’s Noises Off and include such major productons as Hairspray, High Fidelity, Newsies the Musical, Pippin, The Visit and Waitress. His resume also includes touring productions of Chicago, White Christmas, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Grease. Off Broadway credits include last year’s Lincoln Center Theater production of The Gardens of Anuncia.

Following a sold-out Off Broadway run at Manhattan’s Park Avenue Armory, Illinoise transfered to Broadway’s St. James Theatre and has been nominated for four Tony Awards, including Best Musical. The limited engagement began performances on April 24 and runs through August 10.

Sara Bareilles, composer, lyricist and star of Waitress, paid tribute to Gates on Instagram. “He was gentle. He was funny, usually without meaning to be. He was soft spoken. Reliable. Generous. Loving. Compassionate. Tired and overworked, but I never heard him complain. He was the first one In and the last one out. He has been a stage manager for many shows over the years, and taken care of countless others…but he’s the only one I made my first show with who took care of me. Today is unspeakably tragic for many reasons- I can’t even put words to it. Thom Gates will be missed and loved. I hope he knew that.”

Gates’ survivors include his husband Rick Steiger, who was also a Broadway stage manager with credits including Back to the Future, Spring Awakening, War Horse, Flying Over Sunset and many others.

A GoFundMe page as been set up to assist Steiger, and as of today has raised $88,468 of a $110,000 goal. The page message reads: “Broadway Production Stage Manager Lisa Iacucci started a GoFundMe to assist Thom Gates’ husband Rick Steiger during this difficult time. Thom was an amazing person and this has left a huge hole in the world. If you didn’t know Thom personally, there is a great chance that the community worked with his husband Rick Stieger who is also a Stage Manager in the Broadway community.”


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