Broadway Icon Killed by Train

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Thomas J. Gates, a well-regarded Broadway stage manager, died at the age of 51 after being struck by a train near South Orange Station in New Jersey. The incident, which occurred around 9:12 am on Wednesday, May 8, is currently under investigation.

NJ Transit reported that a Morris & Essex Line train en route to Penn Station in New York hit Gates. There were 60 people on board, including passengers and crew, but no additional injuries were reported. The accident led to temporary service delays for the Morris and Essex and Gladstone Branch rail lines, according to updates from NJ Transit on X.

Gates, known for his work on the Broadway production of “Illinoise,” was remembered by the show’s official Instagram account. The post highlighted his vital role and contributions, stating, “Thom was the center of “Illinoise” on Broadway, a beloved friend and collaborator. We are devastated for his husband Rick, another member of the “Illinoise” community. 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.” In light of this event, the evening’s performance was canceled.

Throughout his career, Gates’ expertise and dedication brought to life productions such as “High Fidelity,” “Brooklyn,” “Newsies,” and “The Visit.” His capacity to manage the complexities of Broadway shows made him a respected figure in the theater community.

Sara Bareilles, who worked with Gates on “Waitress,” took to Instagram to express her feelings about his loss. She described him as gentle, funny, soft-spoken, reliable, generous, loving, compassionate, and hardworking. Bareilles’ tribute underlined the significant loss felt by those who knew Gates personally and professionally.

Justin Peck, director and choreographer for “Illinoise”, shared Bareilles’ tribute on his Instagram Stories, adding, “My heart breaks for this and for him and his family. A truly gentle, kind, and intelligent person… He will be deeply missed in so many ways.”

A GoFundMe page has been established to assist Gates’ husband, Rick Steiger. The campaign aims to offer financial support during this difficult time.

The Broadway community and its extensive network of artists, technicians, and fans are coming together to remember Gates and support those he left behind.

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