Frank Bayer, Theatrical Production Manager, Dies at 74

By Robert Simonson
28 Sep 2010

Frank Bayer
Frank Bayer

Frank Bayer, a production manager with many Broadway credits, died Sept. 22 at the Actors' Fund Medical Center in Englewood, NJ, according to friends in the industry. He was 74 years old. He had no surviving family members.

Mr. Bayer was born June 29, 1936 in Brazil, IN. He was a graduate of Carnegie Mellon, which was called Carnegie Tech at the time. He began his career in the theatre as an actor, and was part of the Actors Theatre of San Francisco with Amy and Jules Irving, and Priscilla Pointer. That group eventually became the first resident acting company at Lincoln Center. At Lincoln Center, he performed in Danton's Death and The Country Wife. By 1967, he was splitting his time between understudying roles and being stage manager on Lincoln Center shows, and by 1971 he was a production stage manager.

His credits as a production stage manager on Broadway included In the Matter of J. Robert Oppenheimer, The Playboy of the Western World, Enemies, The Plough and the Stars, The Merchant of Venice, A Streetcar Named Desire, Dance of Death, Sherlock Holmes and Stand-Up Tragedy.

In 1980, Mr. Bayer returned to the West Coast to be part of the Center Theatre Group in Los Angeles under Gordon Davidson, essaying the jobs of casting director and then production supervisor. He remained there until 2005, working backstage on more than 125 shows, including the world premiere of QED, prior to its New York City life. "He was a thorough-going theatre baby with a wry, dry sense of humor; a cynical optimist," Davidson said.



In 2001, he returned to his old artistic home, LCT's Vivian Beaumont, in his former capacity as actor, providing one of the recorded voices in the Alan Alda two-hander QED.

Ben Hartley, an actor and friend, told Playbill.com, "Having worked in the theatre his entire life, he became a friend and mentor to anyone who was privileged to meet him. Frank lived an unbelievably full, rich life, and always saw the good in everyone. He had a great of humor and the most amazing faith in the human race. He was brutally honest and never afraid to tell it as it is. If you raise a glass in his honor, please make it a Perfect Manhattan with a twist."

There will be a memorial in December, details to be announced. Donations may be made in Mr. Bayer's name to the Actors Fund.