Legit producer Herb Rogers died Oct. 4 of cancer-related illness in Honolulu. He was 83.
Born in Seattle, Wash., he began producing touring Shakespeare companies at the age of 21. After a stint traveling the South Pacific with the U.S.O. during WWII, he set up offices in New York. He introduced theater-in-the-round at Chicago’s Tenthouse Theatre and at the Palm Springs Playhouse in the 1950s and helped build and produce at San Francisco’s Hyatt House Theatre.
He produced over 500 plays and musicals in a career that spanned over 50 years with stars including Louis Armstrong, Tony Bennett, Jack Benny and Ella Fitzgerald.
In the 1960s and 1970s he brought Broadway musicals and comedies to the Hawaiian Islands at the Honolulu Civic Light Opera and the Neal Blaisdale Center, often with a show’s original Broadway star. After years in Seattle, San Jose and Long Beach, he opened the La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts near Los Angeles, where he stayed for 17 years. He returned to Hawaii for a final season in 1995.
He is survived by sons Steven Bickel, screenwrtier; Scott, a theater director and acting teacher; and Stuart, a theater director and acting teacher; and three grandchildren.