Broadway Stage Manager Bob Borod is Dead at 70

Obituaries   Broadway Stage Manager Bob Borod is Dead at 70 Longtime Broadway production stage manager Bob Borod died suddenly after a long illness Aug. 25, at his home on Martha's Vineyard, MA, according to friend Merle Frimark.
Bob Borod.
Bob Borod. (Photo by Photo by Chris Cohen)

Longtime Broadway production stage manager Bob Borod died suddenly after a long illness Aug. 25, at his home on Martha's Vineyard, MA, according to friend Merle Frimark.

Mr. Borod was 70 years old and leaves behind credits from four decades, during which he played the vital role of stage manager — the often unsung hero of productions.

His first show on Broadway was Drat! The Cat! in 1965. He served as production stage manager or stage manager on countless productions on Broadway, in Los Angeles, on national and international tours on stage and on television.

Mr. Borod was trusted by actors obscure and popular, including Angela Lansbury, Anthony Hopkins, Richard Burton, John Lithgow, Ian McKellen, Lauren Bacall, Alan King, Sting, John Gielgud, Ralph Richardson, Harvey Fierstein, Glenn Close, Kim Cattral, Kate Burton, Jonathan Pryce, Patti LuPone, Bill Irwin, Jane Seymour, Michael Crawford, Tim Curry, Christopher Walken, Geraldine Page, Lynn Redgrave, Anthony Perkins, Elliot Gould, Bonnie Franklin, Nancy Marchand, Julie Harris, Jack Klugman, Tony Randall, Joan Rivers, Ann Reinking, Bob Dishy, Ellen Burstyn, Michele Lee, Rue McClanahan and Katharine Hepburn. He had a close personal friendship with Hepburn since the musical, Coco, in 1969.

Mr. Borod's last Broadway production was Taking Sides, produced by Alexander H. Cohen in 1996. His long association with Cohen began with Black Comedy/White Lies in 1967, included 12 productions: Sacrilege, Comedy Tonight, Accidental Death of an Anarchist, Play Memory, Peter Brooks' Carmen, 84 Charing Cross Road, Fun City, Home, Dear World and The Unknown Soldier and His Wife. Cohen enlisted Mr. Borod for his productions of The Tony Awards and "Night of 100 Stars" at Radio City Music Hall. Mr. Borod had said that he tried to retire over the years but Alex Cohen kept calling him back to projects.

Christopher Cohen, son of famed presenter Alexander Cohen, was a stage manager with Mr. Borod over several years, on projects including the Tonys and "Night of 100 Stars." Their friendship forged in the theatre was so strong that Mr. Borod served as Cohen's best man at his wedding last year.

"He was extremely capable and extremely calm and never the type to let anything exasperate him, no matter how large the project," Cohen told Playbill On-Line. "His calmness and caring were appreciated by star talent and by the producers; he was often the buffer between producers and the stars. [In star events such as 'Night of 100 Stars'] it always meant there was an ego that had to be carefully held and nurtured. Bob was perfect for that."

Throughout his career, Mr. Borod worked with the top producers, directors, choreographers, composers and creative teams in the theatre including Harold Prince, Peter Brook, Peter Hall, Michael Bennett, Milos Forman, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Charles Strouse, Betty Comden and Adolph Green, Sheldon Harnick, Jerry Herman, David Geffen, John Kander and John Dexter.

Mr. Borod was trusted in the industry as a watchdog stage manager who would maintain the vision and intentions of the director long into the run of a hit show, Cohen said.

"Directors that had worked with Bob handed him national companies to direct on his own, " Cohen said. "He was extremely specific and detail-oriented. Bob would never let a performance go by where someone changed their performance one iota without speaking to them about it. It didn't matter to Bob whether it was a chorus member or Lauren Bacall, they got a note."

Directors Dexter and Hall trusted Mr. Borod enough to stage the national touring productions of Equus, Amadeus and M. Butterfly. In more recent years, Borod directed a production of M. Butterfly and other shows at The Vineyard Playhouse on Martha's Vineyard.

His credits as stage manager also include Cyrano-The Musical, Three Men on a Horse, La Bête, 3 Penny Opera, Safe Sex, Wild Honey, Your Arms Too Short To Box With God, Clothes for a Summer Hotel, The Crucifer of Blood, Seesaw, The Little Black Book, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, Applause and Coco.

He was born in Providence, RI, and graduated from Brown University in 1954. While at Brown, he performed in the school productions and enrolled in the Air Force ROTC. Upon graduation, he entered the air force, trained as a fighter pilot and was stationed in France in the late 1950s. Following his military service, he returned to Providence and began to work at the Warwick Summer Theatre in production and then came to New York.

Mr. Borod is survived by his nieces Susan Jones of Wakefield, RI, Patti Gibbons of Warwick, RI, Debbi Rose of Seekonk, MA; a grand niece and nephew and several cousins. The funeral is Sept. 1 in Providence. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS.