Well, the unthinkable happened today, my lovely people. Theatre legend, Lloyd Nicholson, our musical director for The Drowsy Chaperone, passed away peacefully this afternoon. We don’t know exactly the cause as of yet, though we suspect, heart failure. We are in Ottawa right now and were to have our media call today as well as a dress rehearsal before our first preview tonight. He wasn’t feeling well, so we cancelled the media call and by 1/1:30, our beloved maestro was gone. It was a horrible, sad, touching afternoon filled with tears, stories, and searching.
Stage management and our choreographer were amazing. As were the National Arts Centre company manager and the National Arts Centre staff, from the wonderful Peter Hinton (Artistic Director) on down. Our incredible director, Max Reimer, was in Vancouver taking care of Playhouse business and thank God – he has had to deal with the entire theatre community who has been devastated by this loss. As well as Lloyd’s family and dear friends.
The NAC cancelled the first preview tonight and they looked after us all afternoon, keeping us emotionally safe and “held”. They also went to work while we were grieving at figuring out what we were going to do. We were so lucky that the gentleman who played keyboard in the only other Canadian production of this version of our show was available, and lived in Kingston. He drove to Ottawa and we had a rehearsal with him and the band this evening.
We will have a dress rehearsal with him tomorrow afternoon then our preview in the evening, then open, as planned, on the Friday. So, as always, the show really must go on but we will be thinking of our dear Lloyd every show. He guided our production with such commitment, love and care, while being such a character; telling stories over drinks, marvelling at the most simple beautiful “life” moment. He was an amazing man and he will be missed by this cast, this business, and this world.
May sweet angels play you to your rest, Sweet Maestro!