Thommie Walsh

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Thommie Walsh
BornThomas Joseph Walsh III
(1950-03-15)March 15, 1950
Auburn, New York, USA
Died June 16, 2007(2007-06-16) (aged 57)
Auburn, New York, USA
Occupation Choreographer, Dancer, Director, Author

Thomas Joseph “Thommie” Walsh III (March 15, 1950 – June 16, 2007) was an American dancer, choreographer, director, and author.



Thommie Walsh was born in Auburn, New York, and began to study dancing at age five at the Irma Baker School of Dance. After high school, he attended the Boston Conservatory of Music from 1972–74, but left during his junior year to tour with Disney on Parade. [1]

Auburn, New York City in New York, United States

Auburn is a city in Cayuga County, New York, United States, located at the north end of Owasco Lake, one of the Finger Lakes, in Central New York. As of the 2010 census, the city had a population of 27,687. It is the county seat of Cayuga County, and the site of the maximum-security Auburn Correctional Facility, as well as the William H. Seward House Museum and the house of abolitionist Harriet Tubman.

He joined the national tour of Applause , [1] starring Lauren Bacall, and the company of The Ann-Margret Las Vegas Show. He was in the film version of Jesus Christ Superstar as the apostle Thaddeus. Walsh made his Broadway debut in the chorus of Seesaw in 1973. [2] Also in 1973 he appeared in the flop Rachael Lily Rosenbloom (And Don't You Ever Forget It) , which starred Ellen Greene and Anita Morris, and did not officially open on Broadway after 7 previews. [3] [4]

<i>Applause</i> (musical) musical by Betty Comden and Adolph Green

Applause is a musical with a book by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, lyrics by Lee Adams, and music by Charles Strouse. The musical is based on the 1950 film All About Eve and the short story on which the movie is based, Mary Orr's "The Wisdom of Eve". The story centers on aging star Margo Channing, who innocently takes a fledgling actress under her wing, unaware that the ruthless Eve is plotting to steal her career and her man.

Lauren Bacall American actress

Lauren Bacall was an American actress known for her distinctive voice and sultry looks. She was named the 20th greatest female star of classic Hollywood cinema by the American Film Institute, and received an Academy Honorary Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2009, "in recognition of her central place in the Golden Age of motion pictures".

<i>Jesus Christ Superstar</i> (film) 1973 film adaptation of the musical of the same name directed by Norman Jewison

Jesus Christ Superstar is a 1973 American musical drama film directed by Norman Jewison and co-written by Jewison and Melvyn Bragg based on the Andrew Lloyd Webber/Tim Rice rock opera of the same name. The film, featuring a cast of Ted Neeley, Carl Anderson, Yvonne Elliman, Barry Dennen, Bob Bingham, and Kurt Yaghjian, centers on the conflict between Judas and Jesus during the week before the crucifixion of Jesus.

A Chorus Line

In 1975 Walsh was invited by choreographer Tony Stevens to participate in a series of frank conversations among Broadway dancers, known as "gypsies," about their experiences, hopes, and dreams. The result was Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line , in which he originated the role of Bobby. The musical opened on Broadway on July 25, 1975. [5] The role of Bobby was in large part based on his life [6] and also used material from a comedy stand-up routine he used at the time. (Samples: "I thought about killing myself, but then I realized to commit suicide in Buffalo is redundant." and "I used to break into people's houses. I didn't steal anything; I'd just rearrange their furniture.") He co-wrote a book with Baayork Lee, another Chorus Line cast member, about the musical's origins and evolution, entitled On the Line, which was published by William Morrow in 1990. [7] [8]

Tony Stevens, born Anthony Pusateri, was an American choreographer, dancer, and director who worked with, danced with, and directed many of Broadway and Hollywood's theatre-centric actors and actresses, including Chita Rivera, Martin Short, Robert Redford, and Gene Kelly.

Michael Bennett (theater) American choreographer

Michael Bennett was an American musical theatre director, writer, choreographer, and dancer. He won seven Tony Awards for his choreography and direction of Broadway shows and was nominated for an additional eleven.

<i>A Chorus Line</i> musical

A Chorus Line is a concept musical with music by Marvin Hamlisch, lyrics by Edward Kleban and a book by James Kirkwood Jr. and Nicholas Dante. Centered on seventeen Broadway dancers auditioning for spots on a chorus line, the musical is set on the bare stage of a Broadway theatre during an audition for a musical. A Chorus Line provides a glimpse into the personalities of the performers and the choreographer as they describe the events that have shaped their lives and their decisions to become dancers.

Choreography and direction

Walsh soon left his dancing career to concentrate on choreography, musical staging, and direction. His credits include The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas (1978 and 1982) with Chorus cast member Pam Blair, The 1940's Radio Hour (1979), A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine (1980), with Chorus cast member Priscilla Lopez, Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? (1982), Nine (1982), My One and Only (1983) with Chorus cast member Ron Dennis, [9] Marilyn: An American Fable (1983), [10] and My Favorite Year (1992). [11]

<i>The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas</i> musical

The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas is a musical with a book by Texas author Larry L. King and Peter Masterson and music and lyrics by Carol Hall. It is based on a story by King that was inspired by the real-life Chicken Ranch in La Grange, Texas.

Pamela Blair, known as Pam, is an American actress, singer, and dancer best known for originating the role of "Val" in the musical A Chorus Line and several appearances on American soap operas.

<i>The 1940s Radio Hour</i> play

The 1940's Radio Hour is a Play with Music by Walton Jones. Full of 1940s music, dancing and old-time sound effects, the play portrays the final holiday broadcast of the Mutual Manhattan Variety Cavalcade on the New York radio station WOV in December 1942.

He received the Tony and Drama Desk Awards for his choreography in A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine and My One and Only which also earned him a Tony nomination for best direction. [9]

Tony Award awards for live Broadway theatre

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Manhattan. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

<i>My One and Only</i> (musical) musical

My One and Only is a musical with a book by Peter Stone and Timothy S. Mayer and music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin. The musical ran on Broadway and West End.

He went on to direct Lucky Stiff Off-Broadway in 1988 [12] the musical Always in 1997 (West End debut), [13] and A Broadway Baby at Goodspeed Opera House in 1984. [14]

With such a developed reputation in the industry, Walsh was brought in as a show doctor on many of Broadway's shows during the 1980s, such as The Grand Tour, Black and Blue, The Tap Dance Kid; he also choreographed many numbers in Grand Hotel .

Walsh has also directed and staged musical numbers for Chita Rivera, Sandy Duncan, Mitzi Gaynor, Donna McKechnie, Whoopi Goldberg, Lorna Luft, Priscilla Lopez, Joel Grey, Barbara Cook, and Julie Budd. [15]

Walsh also directed and choreographed many commercials such as the NY Lottery, Perdue Chicken, Crush, and MCI. Walsh's last direction and choreography before his death was the national tour of The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas starring Ann-Margret and Gary Sandy. [16]

At the time of his death, he was working on a musical adaptation of A Tale of Two Cities as choreographer, for a Broadway opening. [17] [18] Much of his work was done in collaboration with Tommy Tune, including The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. [7]

He also was a judge for Miss America, Danny Hoctor's Dance Caravan and Stars of Tomorrow in conjunction with the Professional Dance Teachers Association.

Personal life

Thommie Walsh died on June 16, 2007 at his Auburn, New York home from lymphoma at age 57. [7] [15]

Awards and nominations



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  1. 1 2 Barran, Kathleen. "School to honor Auburn's Walsh", May 12, 2008
  2. Seesaw, accessed June 26, 2016
  3. Rachael Lily Rosenbloom, accessed June 26, 2016
  4. Rachael Lily Rosenbloom Playbill, retrieved October 1, 2017
  5. A Chorus Line Playbill, October 1, 2017
  6. Stewart, John. " "A Chorus Line' ", Broadway Musicals, 1943-2004, McFarland, 2006, ISBN   1476603294, (no page number)
  7. 1 2 3 Gans, Andrew. "Thommie Walsh, Tony-Winning Choreographer, Dead at 57" Playbill, June 17, 2007
  8. Gerard, Jeremy. "Take It From the Top. On the Line " The New York Times, April 22, 1990
  9. 1 2 "Thommie Walsh Broadway" Playbill, accessed June 26, 2016
  10. Rich, Frank. "Stage: 'Marilyn,' Musical About Monroe's Magic" The New York Times, November 21, 1983
  11. My Favorite Year, accessed June 26, 2016
  12. Lucky Stiff, accessed June 26, 2016
  13. Wolf, Matt. "Review: 'Always' " Variety, June 22, 1997
  14. Charles, Eleanor. "Connecticut Guide" The New York Times, December 16, 1984
  15. 1 2 Charles Isherwood (2007-06-19). "Thommie Walsh, Dancer and Tony Winner, Dies at 57". New York Times. Retrieved 2016-06-26.
  16. "Thommie Walsh/Bio" . Retrieved 7 April 2014.
  17. Jones, Kenneth. "Designers, Choreographer and Target Dates Announced for Musical 'Tale of Two Cities'" Playbill, December 16, 2005
  18. " 'A Tale of Two Cities' to Debut at Sarasota's Asolo Theatre in October", March 5, 2007