'Urban Cowboy' co-author planned to make musical

Phil Oesterman, director of the upcoming musical “Urban Cowboy,” died Tuesday of heart failure at his home in Fort Myers, Fla. He was 64.

Oesterman, who co-wrote the book for “Urban Cowboy” with Aaron Latham, was scheduled to helm the show’s world premiere in November at the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Plans were under way to bring the musical, which featured several country-and-Western standards, to Broadway.

“Urban Cowboy” producers Chase Mishkin and Leonard Soloway released the following statement: “We are deeply grieved by Phil’s passing. ‘Urban Cowboy’ has been a passion of Phil’s for many years, and we are totally committed to moving forward as he would have wished.”

Oesterman worked with Tommy Tune on various legit projects in Texas in the early 1960s, and it was Oesterman who brought Tune to New York, where the young actor-dancer-singer soon was cast in his first Broadway show, “Baker Street,” in 1965.

Oesterman was closely involved with four Tune projects. He served as associate director on “My One and Only,” “The Will Rogers Follies” and “The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public,” and was associate producer on “Tommy Tune Tonight!” In addition, he directed the Broadway revue “Let My People Come” as well as Yoko Ono’s Off Broadway show “New York Rock.”

Oesterman is survived by his partner, Nakies Constantinou. Funeral arrangements are pending.

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