On Tuesday evening at 6:45, the typically bright lights of Broadway went dark in honor of a very special man. His name may not be as well known to the general public as those of the actors who appeared in the plays he produced, but to Broadway insiders, Stuart Thompson was and will remain a legend.
Born in 1955 to Rosamund A. Thompson and J. H. Barrington Thompson in Sydney, Australia, Stuart James Thompson studied dramatic arts at Flinders University of South Australia in Adelaide before moving to New York in 1980. After earning his master’s degree in arts administration at New York University, Thompson worked at the American National Theatre under director Peter Sellars. In the late 1980s, while under the tutelage of Broadway veterans Lewis Allen and Robert Whitehead, Thompson was named general manager of Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men at the Music Box Theater. That same season, Thompson oversaw production of the Truman Capote biography, Tru, at the Booth Theater.
On November 13, 1987, Thompson was introduced to the man who would be the love of his life. Exactly 26 years after their first meeting, Stuart James Thompson and Joseph Roland Baker were legally married by Judge Deborah A. Batts at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Manhattan, according to the New York Times.
In 1993, Stuart Thompson Productions debuted with the Broadway production of the Willy Russell musical Blood Brothers. Over the course of his illustrious career, Stuart Thompson oversaw more than 70 theatrical productions, including On Golden Pond, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Motherfu**er With the Hat, The Tale of Allergist’s Wife, The Old Neighborhood, and Waiting for Godot. Thompson’s production of Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s critically acclaimed Book of Mormon opened in March 2011 and continues to wow audiences at Broadway’s Eugene O’Neill Theatre.
At the time of his death from esophageal cancer on August 17, Thompson was slated to produce the upcoming stage adaptation of Mean Girls. Touted as “ferociously funny,” Mean Girls is based on a book by Tina Fey and features original songs by Jeff Richmond and Nell Benjamin. At the time of this writing, it is unclear who will fill in for the irreplaceable Stuart Thompson as Lorne Michaels’ Mean Girls co-producer. The musical adaptation of Mean Girls premieres October 31 at the National Theater in Washington, D.C.
In response to the death of his Mean Girls co-producer, Lorne Michaels described Stuart Thompson to Variety magazine.
“A true gentleman and a joy to work with, he led Tina Fey and I through the process of developing our show. We look forward to presenting ‘Mean Girls’ in both Washington, D.C., and New York to the high standard that Stuart has set for us.”
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