Jay Binder (Photo provided by RRR Creative)
Legendary Broadway casting director, Jay Binder, passed away Friday, April 15, 2022, at the age of 71. Binder died peacefully at home.
Throughout his four-decade career, Jay Binder cast nearly 100 Broadway productions, including the Tony Award-winning productions of The Lion King, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love & Murder, Dames At Sea, Nice Work If You Can Get It, Gypsy, The King and I, Beauty and the Beast, Lost in Yonkers and Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. In addition, he was fortunate enough to cast every Neil Simon play from 1990 through 2009.
Mr. Binder was one of the founders and a driving force behind the highly-acclaimed Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert series at New York City Center. His work casting this series led to the Tony Award-winning revival of Chicago.
“I worked hand-in-glove with Jay for two decades,” said Jack Viertel, who served as the series Artistic Director from 2000 to 2020. “He was always the most knowledgeable, passionate, and feistiest person in the room. He loved actors and wanted every one of them to succeed. I’ll miss that spirit, that optimism and that deep well of knowledge forever.”
For television, he cast the Emmy Award-winning series “I’ll Fly Away” and was the East Coast Casting Director of Warner Brothers Television for five years. For film, he cast Six by Sondheim (HBO), Hairspray, Dreamgirls, Chicago, and Nine. He was an artistic consultant for Disney World and National Artists Management Company and was a creative consultant on the PBS special, “My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs,” hosted by Julie Andrews.
On Broadway, Mr. Binder was the associate director of Lolita and Happy New Year. He directed the premiere production of Love and Other Fables at Theatre by the Sea and worked as a director at numerous regional theaters across the country, with credits including Present Laughter at The Acting Company; Rex, Jumbo, and Best Foot Forward at The York Theatre Company; and Say Yes! at the Berkshire Theatre Festival.
In 2016, Binder Casting was acquired by RWS Entertainment Group. Through RWS, Mr. Binder served as the Director of Theatrical Development until his official retirement in July 2020.
Binder received eleven Artios Awards, the highest honor in casting, and the 2019 Amas Repertory Theatre’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
A South Orange, NJ native, Mr. Binder distinguished himself by virtue of his longevity and his cunning theatrical instincts. A memorial will be announced at a later date.