Theatre album producer and Oscar Hammerstein II-biographer Hugh Fordin passed away February 26 at his New Jersey home at age 85, according to The New York Times.
Mr. Fordin is best remembered as the founder of music label DRG Records, which he started in 1976. Specializing in theatre albums, the label would go on to release Broadway cast recordings of such shows as The Act, A Party with Betty Comden and Adolph Green, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, March of the Falsettos, Tintypes, Meet Me In St. Louis, Falsettoland, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, State Fair, The Boys from Syracuse, High Society, Kiss Me, Kate, The Music Man, 42nd Street, The Producers, Little Shop of Horrors, Wonderful Town, and Fame—all with Fordin acting as producer.
DRG and Mr. Fordin were also responsible for cast recordings of the Forbidden Broadway series and solo albums from such theatre luminaries as Barbara Cook, Laurie Beechman, Karen Akers, Julie Wilson, Faith Prince, Ann Hampton Callaway, Eartha Kitt, and Dorothy Loudon. The label's most recent release and Mr. Fordin's final album was the 2016 Off-Broadway cast recording of Spamilton.
Mr. Fordin was nominated for Grammy Awards in 1980 (in the Best Cast Show Album category for A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine), 1988 (in the Best Historical Album category for Djangologie/USA), and 1990 (in the Best Musical Cast Show Album category for Black and Blue) and received a double nomination in 2000 in the Best Musical Cast Show Album category for DRG's Broadway revival albums of Kiss Me, Kate and The Music Man and again in 2002 for the same category with Elaine Stritch at Liberty and Guys and Dolls. He earned additional nominations in 2003 for Flower Drum Song and 2004's Wonderful Town. He won the Best Musical Show Album Grammy in 2001 for The Producers.
Also an accomplished author, Mr. Fordin's writing about musical theatre includes many album liner note essays, as well as books on Arthur Freed's MGM movie musicals and an authorized biography of Oscar Hammerstein II titled Getting to Know Him.
Mr. Fordin was born in Brooklyn and attended Syracuse University. He served as Broadway producer David Merrick's director of casting before entering the world of theatre albums.
Mr. Fordin will be buried alongside his brother Carl and their parents, Leon and Annette Fordin.