Thommie Walsh, a Tony-winning choreographer who was in the original Broadway cast of “A Chorus Line,” died June 2 in Auburn, N.Y. after a long battle with lymphoma. He was 57.
Walsh was best known for creating the role of Bobby in “A Chorus Line,” Michael Bennett’s backstage look at dancers’ auditions for a big Broadway musical. The show based on dancers’ real-life stories opened at the Public Theater off-Broadway in April 1975 before moving to Broadway’s Shubert Theatre for a 6,137-performance run.
Using the name Thomas J. Walsh, he made his Broadway debut in “Seesaw,” in 1973, dancing in the chorus of the Cy Coleman-Dorothy Fields musical directed and choreographed by Bennett. The show featured performer Tommy Tune, who later teamed with Walsh on several musicals.
The two co-choreographed “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas” (1978) and then “A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine” (1980), for which they received a Tony Award for best choreography. Tune and Walsh also co-directed and co-choreographed “My One and Only” (1983), a new musical using old Gershwin songs and which starred Tune and Twiggy. It also won the duo a choreography Tony.
Walsh also created the choreography for “Nine” (1982), which Tune directed. Among the other shows for which Walsh did the musical staging were “The 1940s Radio Hour” (1979), “Do Patent Leather Shoes Reflect Up?” (1982) and “My Favorite Year” (1992).
Among his later projects were directing and choreographing the 2001 national tour of “The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas,” starring Ann-Margret.