Gary Gunas, executive producer of such Broadway musicals as The Who’s Tommy, Jekyll & Hyde and Ragtime, died today of pancreatic cancer at his home in London. He was 73.
His death was announced by his husband Bill Rosenfield.
Born in Manchester, CT, Gunas began his career Off Broadway in 1969 as an apprentice company manager for the musical Promenade. In the 1970s he shifted to Broadway productions and tours, working in the office of Marvin A. Krauss Associates as a company manager, associate GM and eventually general manager on many shows including Godspell, American Buffalo, Beatlemania, Dancin’, Woman of the Year, Dreamgirls and Best Musical Tony winner La Cage aux Folles, as well as notable revivals of Gypsy, starring Angela Lansbury; King Richard III, starring Al Pacino; and Death of a Salesman, starring Dustin Hoffman.
During that time period, Gunas also general managed stage performances by such performers as Peter Allen, Ashford & Simpson, Charles Aznavour, Josephine Baker, Count Basie, Shirley Bassey, George Benson, Rodney Dangerfield, Ella Fitzgerald, Patti LaBelle, Bette Midler, Gilda Radner, Mort Sahl, Frank Sinatra and Lily Tomlin.
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In 1985, Gunas began producing with Miles Wilkin and Scott Zeiger at what was then Pace Theatrical Group (later SFX Entertainment, Clear Channel Entertainment and now Live Nation). Gunas partnered on dozens of touring productions, with direct responsibility for tours of Singin’ in the Rain, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Tommy, Jekyll & Hyde, Jerry Lewis in Damn Yankees, Big, Sunset Boulevard, Ragtime and Cabaret.
On Broadway from 1993-2001, Gunas executive produced the original The Who’s Tommy, Jekyll & Hyde, Ragtime (a show he inherited when original producer Livent went out of business), The Civil War and Seussical.
Gunas relocated from New York to London in 2002 and worked for Clear Channel’s UK office for several years. His final producing credits were the world tour of Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, UK tours of Cats and Starlight Express and a European tour of Fosse. He retired in 2005.
Gunas is survived by Rosenfield, a playwright and record producer, as well as two brothers and their families. No memorial service will be held. Contributions in his name may be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.
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