Martin Richards, one of the truly legendary Broadway producers, passed away last night. His credits included hits like Sweeney Todd, Grand Hotel, Will Rogers Follies as well as the original production and Academy Award winning film version of Chicago.
A list of titles, however, doesn’t do him justice. I reached out to a former roommate of mine Dan Gallagher, a producer from Richards’ office The Producer Circle Co., and he passed on this lovely, personal tribute:
Marty opened up so many worlds to me that most only ever dream of experiencing. The legendary parties. The fascinating (and famous) people. The groundbreaking shows. The luxurious things in life…private jets to the movie set, Cy Coleman playing piano at a dinner party, my name on an Oscar winning film. I mean the list could go on and on. He gave me a career and taught me about the important things like artistic integrity and not selling out for a commercial fast track. Did you know that every show he produced was an absolute original, usually groundbreaking, often controversial, and always a major risk? He only did one revival in his entire career…and it was of one of his most important shows…La Cage aux Folles. He was one of the last of an old guard that just doesn’t exist anymore. It was a true privilege getting to know him, to have the opportunity to learn the business from him…and to call him my friend.