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Icon of Broadway Shows Hit By Train

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On Wednesday, May 8, Thomas J. Gates, a respected Broadway stage manager, lost his life at age 51 when he was hit by a train close to South Orange Station in New Jersey. The event occurred around 9:12 in the morning and is currently being investigated.

According to NJ Transit, the train involved was traveling on the Morris & Essex Line towards Penn Station in New York when it struck Gates. The train had 60 individuals on board, including both passengers and crew members, with no additional injuries reported. The incident resulted in temporary service disruptions on the Morris and Essex and Gladstone Branch rail lines, based on updates from NJ Transit.

Gates was renowned for his involvement in the Broadway play “Illinoise.” The official Instagram account of the show paid tribute to him, highlighting his critical role and input. The post read, “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.” Consequently, the performance scheduled for that evening was called off.

Throughout his professional journey, Gates’ competence and commitment brought to life various productions such as “High Fidelity,” “Brooklyn,” “Newsies,” and “The Visit.” His ability to handle Broadway’s demanding nature earned him considerable respect among theater professionals.

Sara Bareilles, who collaborated with Gates on “Waitress,” shared her sentiments on Instagram about his passing. She portrayed him as gentle, humorous, soft-spoken, dependable, generous, loving, compassionate, and industrious. Bareilles’ tribute underscored the substantial loss felt by those who were acquainted with Gates both personally and professionally.

Justin Peck, who directed and choreographed “Illinoise,” reposted 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.”

To provide financial aid during this challenging period, a GoFundMe page has been set up to support Gates’ husband, Rick Steiger.

The Broadway community, including a vast network of artists, technicians, and fans, is uniting to memorialize Gates and support those he has left behind.

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