Seth Gelblum, the entertainment attorney who was widely respected and much admired in the Broadway community, died Aug. 8 at 62 following a long illness.
A partner at Loeb & Loeb, where he was chair of the firm’s theater department, Gelblum was so deeply entrenched in the theater industry that he earned a special Tony Honor as part of the 2016 Tony Awards. He represented directors, producers, playwrights, composers, performers, designers, music publishers, investors and underlying rights holders, earning a reputation as a lawyer who pushed tirelessly to come to agreements and make productions happen, employing his notable expertise in the structures of stage financing and compensation deals.
With a client roster that included directors Julie Taymor and George C. Wolfe and producers ranging from Barry and Fran Weissler to David Binder, he had a hand in a string of major Broadway productions over the last three decades. “The Lion King,” “Chicago,” “The Book of Mormon,” “Angels in America,” “The Producers” and “Jersey Boys” are all among the shows in which he was involved.
“Seth was not only a great lawyer, he was a great lover of theater,” said Taymor, director of “The Lion King” and “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark.” “He was passionate about the people and projects he represented. We were on numerous projects together and went through some very hard times as well as the good ones, and he never wavered in his enthusiasm for taking the high road, taking risks, dreaming about possibilities. I adored him and will miss him terribly.”
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A graduate of Wesleyan University and Georgetown University Law Center, Gelblum worked extensively in the nonprofit and pro bono arenas. He was the board chair at New Dramatists, a support and advocacy group for playwrights and their work, and earlier this year was given an award for his support of Laywers for Children. He and his wife, Orren Alperstein, were founding board members of the Canavan Foundation, which works toward the eradication of a rare genetic disorder.
A private funeral will be held this week, with a memorial service to take place after Labor Day.