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Broadway Icon Dies at 51, Hit by Train

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Thomas J. Gates, a highly respected Broadway stage manager, passed away at 51 after being hit by a train near South Orange Station, New Jersey. The accident occurred at approximately 9:12 am on Wednesday, May 8, and is presently under investigation.

The train, operating on the Morris & Essex Line and heading toward Penn Station in New York, was reported by NJ Transit to have collided with Gates. The train had 60 individuals onboard, encompassing both passengers and crew members, with no further injuries reported. The collision resulted in temporary service disruptions on the Morris and Essex and Gladstone Branch railways, as per updates from NJ Transit.

Gates, acclaimed for his contributions to the Broadway show “Illinoise,” was honored by the official Instagram account of the show. The post emphasized his critical role and contributions, stating, “Thom was the center of “Illinoise” on Broadway, a beloved friend and collaborator. We are devastated for his husband Rick, another member of the “Illinoise” community. These two amazing human beings led our company on our journey since the beginning. We dedicate the run of “Illinoise” to Thom and his loving memory.” The show’s performance for the evening was subsequently canceled.

In his career, Gates’ proficiency and commitment brought to life notable productions such as “High Fidelity,” “Brooklyn,” “Newsies,” and “The Visit.” His ability to handle the intricate aspects of Broadway productions garnered him considerable respect in the theater community.

Sara Bareilles, who collaborated with Gates on “Waitress,” expressed her sentiments about his passing on Instagram. She portrayed him as gentle, humorous, soft-spoken, dependable, generous, affectionate, empathetic, and industrious. Bareilles’ homage emphasized the profound loss experienced by those who knew Gates both personally and professionally.

“Illinoise” director and choreographer Justin Peck echoed Bareilles’ tribute on his Instagram Stories, adding, “My heart breaks for this and for him and his family. A truly gentle, kind, and intelligent person… He will be deeply missed in so many ways.”

A GoFundMe campaign has been initiated to provide financial aid to Gates’ husband, Rick Steiger, during this challenging time.

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