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Gerald Bordman dies at 79

Scholar wrote 'American Musical Theatre'

Gerald Bordman, a scholar of the American theater and the author of a standard reference work “American Musical Theatre,” died of cancer in Overbrook, Pa. on May 9. He was 79.

“American Musical Theatre” has never been out of print in the past 33 years. His other books include “The Oxford Companion to American Theatre,” “American Musical Comedy: From Adonis to Dreamgirls,” “American Musical Revue: From The Passing Show to Sugar Babies,” “American Operetta: From H.M.S. Pinafore to Sweeney Todd” and “Jerome Kern: His Life and Music.”

Born in Philadelphia and raised in Wynnefield, Bordman earned a degree in English at Lafayette College. He had a master’s and doctorate from the U. of Pennsylvania. His doctorate was in pre-Chaucerian medieval lit.

Earlier in his life he was a manufacturer of moth balls and preventatives. He was president of the family business, Morris A. Bordman, in Philadelphia until 1974, when he began to crank out his 10 reference books.

Graveside services will be held Friday at 11 a.m. at Montefiore Cemetery, 600 Church Road, Jenkintown, Pa.

There are no immediate survivors.

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