Longtime Broadway Stage Manager Thomas J. Gates Dead at 51 After Being Struck By Train

The Broadway community is mourning the death of Thomas J

Published Time: 10.05.2024 - 04:31:04 Modified Time: 10.05.2024 - 04:31:04

The Broadway community is mourning the death of Thomas J. Gates, a longtime stage manager who died after being struck by a train in New Jersey. He was 51.

A Morris & Essex Line train struck Gates near the South Orange Station at approximately 9:12 a.m. on Wednesday, May 8, NJ Transit told The New York Daily News, NJ.com, and Patch.com.

The train was due at Penn Station in New York at 9:42 a.m. and had 60 people, including passengers and crew, on board, an NJ Transit spokesperson said in a statement to Patch.com. No other injuries have been reported.

According to an update shared by the NJ Transit system's account on X, formerly Twitter, the incident also caused delays to theMorris and Essex and Gladstone Branch rail service in both directions. PEOPLE has reached out to NJ Transit for comment.

Gates' death was confirmed by the official Instagram account for Illinoise. Gates worked as a stage manager on the show.

"Thom was the center of Illinoise on Broadway, a beloved friend and collaborator. We are devasted for his husband Rick, another member of the Illinoise community. These two amazing human beings led our company on our journey since the beginning. We dedicate the run of Illinoise to Thom and his loving memory," its statement read.

The stage production also canceled its show on Wednesday due to the "tragedy within the Illinoise community."

Some of Gates' other Broadway credits include High Fidelity, Brooklyn, Newsies, and T -

he Visit, per NJ.com.

Sara Bareilles, who worked with Gates on the musical Waitress, mourned his death in an Instagram tribute.

"He was gentle. He was funny, usually without meaning to be. He was soft spoken. Reliable. Generous. Loving. Compassionate. Tired and overworked, but I never heard him complain," wrote Bareilles, 44.

"He was the first one In and the last one out. He has been a stage manager for many shows over the years, and taken care of countless others…but he’s the only one I made my first show with who took care of me," she continued.

The performer called Gates' death "unspeakably tragic for many reasons."

Justin Peck, the director, and choreographer for Illinoise, shared Bareilles' video on his Instagram Stories along with a message that read, "My heart breaks for this and for him and his family. A truly gentle, kind, brilliant human ... He will be deeply missed in so many ways.”

A GoFundMe has been created in support of Gates' husband, Rick Steiger, who was also a Broadway stage manager.

Never miss a story — sign up forPEOPLE's free daily newsletterto stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human interest stories.

"Rick and Thom are so much in our hearts. Setting up this account is a small way of showing Rick our love and support and to ease his mind of some financial worries of the coming months," the description explains.

Related Articles

Follow Us