Rick McKay, the Broadway historian and documentary film maker behind the award-winning Broadway: The Golden Age, has died at the age of 57. The news was shared by his sister, Sandy McKay, on Facebook.
After a career as a cabaret performer, McKay entered the world of documentary film making with Birds of a Feather, a film about drag queens that began as background research for the late Mike Nichols' film The Birdcage. His later work included a backstage look at the 1998 Broadway revival of The Sound of Music, an episode of A&E's Biography focused on Marlene Dietrich, and the film of Elaine Stritch's solo show At Liberty.
Perhaps his greatest contribution to the theatre community was Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There, a project that McKay began filming interviews for in 1998. The film features discussions with several Broadway legends, including Barbara Cook, Carol Burnett, Bea Arthur, Celeste Holm, Angela Lansbury, Shirley MacLaine, and Jerry Orbach. Their memories and anecdotes together form a first-person picture of the so-called "golden age" of Broadway, from the 1920s to 1959.
After five years of work, Broadway: The Golden Age was released in 2003 to critical and audience acclaim. The film won several documentary awards at such film festivals as New York Film Critics, Palm Beach International Film Festival, San Diego Film Festival, and Starz Denver Film Festival.
At the time of his death, McKay was at work on two sequel documentaries, Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age (which was given a preliminary screening at the 2016 Palm Springs International Film Festival) and Broadway: The Next Generation, along with a film about the life of Fay Wray.