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Stuart Thompson, the prolific theatrical producer, manager and six-time Tony Award winner behind such Broadway sensations as Proof, God of Carnage and The Book of Mormon, has died. He was 62.
Thompson died Thursday of complications from esophageal cancer at his home in New York, according to his husband, Joe Baker. The lights on Broadway theater marquees will be dimmed for one minute at 6:45 p.m. ET on Tuesday in memory of the respected industry leader.
A native of Sydney, Thompson produced or managed more than 70 Broadway and West End productions. He brought plays by some of America’s greatest contemporary playwrights, as well as many of London’s most prestigious productions, to Broadway during the past two decades.
Thompson’s six Tony Awards came from producing the Pulitzer Prize-winning Proof in 2001, God of Carnage in 2009, The Book of Mormon in 2011, revivals of Death of a Salesman in 2012 and Skylight in 2015 and, also from two years ago, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
He produced the three longest-running plays on Broadway of the past quarter-century: The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife, Proof and Curious Incident.
As head of Stuart Thompson Productions — which launched on Broadway with Blood Brothers in 1993 — Thompson oversaw the company’s general management activities and produced shows including Book of Mormon, for which he served as executive producer for the U.S. companies and as a co-producer of the West End and Australian productions.
“In this very small community, Stuart was always a huge figure,” Book of Mormon producers Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino said in a statement. “He was a wonderful partner, a beloved colleague and a profoundly loyal friend.”
Stuart Thompson Productions is also a producer of the new musical Mean Girls, and producer partner Lorne Michaels called Thompson “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.”
Thompson began his producing career on Broadway with David Mamet’s The Old Neighborhood in 1997 and went on to co-produce Art, The Chairs, Not About Nightingales, The Play What I Wrote, The Retreat From Moscow and On Golden Pond.
His most recent credits include Sweat, yet another Pulitzer Prize winner; John Guare’s Six Degrees of Separation, with Allison Janney; The Present, which marked Cate Blanchett’s Broadway debut; King Charles III, which proved a great theatrical swan song for lead actor Tim Pigott-Smith; the double bill of No Man’s Land and Waiting for Godot, starring Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, with Scarlett Johansson; Jerusalem, with Mark Rylance; The Motherfucker With the Hat, with Chris Rock and Bobby Cannavale; A View From the Bridge, with Liev Schreiber and Johansson; and Exit the King, which won a Tony for star Geoffrey Rush in his Broadway debut.
Thompson also produced No Man’s Land and King Charles III for London’s West End.
Thompson grew up in Adelaide, Australia, and studied drama at Flinders University. After moving to New York in 1980 to study arts administration at NYU, he worked at the Kennedy Center with the American National Theatre under the artistic direction of Peter Sellars from 1984-1986.
Thompson was mentored by legendary producers Robert Whitehead and Lewis Allen, and his first Broadway assignment as a general manager was on Aaron Sorkin’s A Few Good Men at the Music Box Theatre in 1989. That was followed by Tru, starring Robert Morse in a Tony-winning role, at the Booth Theatre that same season.
In 2010, Thompson was presented with the Robert Whitehead Award for outstanding achievement in commercial theater producing.
He served on the board of directors of The Broadway League and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
In addition to his husband, survivors include his brother Graham; sister-in-laws Nicole and Paula; brother-in-law Ben; niece Lucy; nephews Joey, Beau and Drew; father-in-law Joe; mother-in-law Joyce; and cousin Margot.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and the Medicare Rights Center. A memorial service will be planned.
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