Thommie Walsh, Tony-Winning Choreographer, Dead at 57

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17 Jun 2007

Thommie Walsh
Thommie Walsh
Thommie Walsh, the Tony-winning choreographer who was also a part of the original Broadway cast of A Chorus Line, died June 16 at the age of 57.

Playbill.com has learned that Mr. Walsh passed away after a battle with lymphoma.

Mr. Walsh was born March 15, 1950, and according to his official website, began his show-business journey at the age of five as a dance student at the Irma Baker School of Dance. By the time he was 23, he was making his Broadway debut as a performer in the original cast of Seesaw. At that time, the artist who would go on to win two Tony Awards for his choreographic talents, went by the name of Thomas J. Walsh.

Mr. Walsh was also part of the cast of the short-lived Rachael Lily Rosenbloom and Don't You Ever Forget It before he landed a role in the original cast of the Tony and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical A Chorus Line. Walsh originated the role of Bobby in the Michael Bennett musical, the character who breaks into houses, "not to steal anything, just to rearrange the furniture."

Mr. Walsh's next outing was The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, the first Broadway production where he worked offstage rather than on — Walsh was the associate choreographer for the production, which boasted direction and choreography by another Thommie, Tommy Tune. That was the official beginning of a lengthy working relationship with Tune, which also included the Broadway productions of A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine and My One and Only.



For Hollywood/Ukraine, Mr. Walsh was co-choreographer. He and Tune received the 1980 Tony Award for Best Choreography for their work.

Walsh received solo choreography credit for Nine and received his second Tony nomination for Best Choreography. On My Only and Only, he and Tune shared staging and choreography credits and received Tony nominations for both direction and choreography, winning the Tony for the latter category.

Mr. Walsh's other Broadway credits included the musical staging of The 1940's Radio Hour (1979), Do Black Patent Leather Shoes Really Reflect Up? (1982) and My Favorite Year (1992).

Mr. Walsh also directed the Off-Broadway production of Lucky Stiff, the London production of Always and the Goodspeed Opera House mounting of A Broadway Baby. He directed and choreographed the national tour of Whorehouse, which co-starred Gary Sandy and Ann-Margret.

Among the many artists Mr. Walsh directed and staged musical numbers for are Chita Rivera, Sandy Duncan, Whoopi Goldberg, Lorna Luft, Joel Grey and Barbara Cook.

Mr. Walsh also had a long working relationship with Tony winner Donna McKechnie, the singer-actress-dancer he shared a stage with in A Chorus Line. Walsh directed McKechnie’s acclaimed autobiographical concert, Donna McKechnie: Inside the Music.

With Robert Viagas and Baayork Lee, Mr. Walsh penned the tome "On the Line: The Creation of A Chorus Line."