Stuart Thompson, the longtime theater producer and general manager of shows including “The Book of Mormon” and the upcoming musical adaptation of “Mean Girls,” died in New York on Thursday of complications from esophageal cancer. He was 62.
A well-liked figure in the Broadway community and the winner of six Tony Awards, Thompson was the co-head of Thompson Turner Productions, which he formed with David Turner in 2015 after more than 20 years as the head of his firm Stuart Thompson Productions. The executive producer of the U.S. companies of “The Book of Mormon” and co-producer of the West End and Australian productions, Thompson was the producer of last season’s Broadway stagings of “Sweat” and “Six Degrees of Separation,” and was also one of the lead producers of the “Mean Girls” musical that will make its world premiere in Washington, D.C., later this year.
“Mean Girls,” on which Thompson had partnered with “Saturday Night Live” impresario Lorne Michaels, remains on track to begin performances at the Kennedy Center Oct. 31. “A true gentleman and a joy to work with,” said Michaels of Thompson. “He led Tina Fey and I through the process of developing our show. We look forward to presenting ‘Mean Girls’ in both Washington, D.C., and New York to the high standard that Stuart has set for us.”
Thompson was born in Sydney, Australia in 1955 and raised in Adelaide, where he studied theater at Flinders University. After a few years of work in the arts in Australia, he moved to New York to study arts administration at New York University.
He remained in the U.S. after that, initially working at the Kennedy Center with Peter Sellars’ American National Theater. In New York, he was mentored by Robert Whitehead and Lewis Allen; his first Broadway credit is as the general manager of Aaron Sorkin’s “A Few Good Men” in 1989.
He formed Stuart Thompson Productions in 1993, managing shows including “Blood Brothers,” “Master Class,” and “Skylight.” He began producing in 1997 with David Mamet’s “The Old Neighborhood” and went on to co-produce, among other shows, “The Tale of Allergist’s Wife,” “Proof,” and “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time,” three of the longest-running Broadway plays in recent years.
His other Broadway producing work includes “King Charles III,” “No Man’s Land/Waiting for Godot,” and “The Present” with Cate Blanchett. In total, he produced or managed more than 70 productions on Broadway and on the West End.
He is survived by husband Joseph Roland Baker III. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and Medicare Rights Center. A memorial service will be planned for a future date.
“In this very small community, Stuart was always a huge figure,” said “The Book of Mormon” producers Scott Rudin and Anne Garefino. “He was a wonderful partner, a beloved colleague, and a profoundly loyal friend. Stuart will be missed by all of us lucky to have known him and worked side by side with him for years.”