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Artie Siccardi, Backstage Legend of Broadway, Dies at 89


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Artie Siccardi, a backstage legend of Broadway who worked on dozens of shows, from Annie, Ain’t Misbehavin’ and Sweeney Todd to Children of a Lesser God, Cats, Brighton Beach Memoirs and The Color Purple, has died. He was 89.

Siccardi died Wednesday in New York City of complications from pneumonia, his son, Drew Siccardi, announced.

A production/technical supervisor — the person who ensures that the scenery and costumes are built on time, on budget and according to the creative team’s designs — he received an honorary Tony Award in 2012.

Arthur Peter Siccardi was born in Englewood, New Jersey, on Jan. 18, 1931. A son of a fire chief, he was a left-handed pitcher for the minor-league Johnson City Cardinals in Tennessee from 1951-53 before he began his entertainment career as a show carpenter on the original national tour of Gypsy.

He established Arthur Siccardi Theatrical Services in 1975 at the suggestion of Michael Bennett and worked alongside other notable directors like Mike Nichols, Jerome Robbins, Tommy Tune, Gower Champion, Trevor Nunn and Michael Blakemore and such acclaimed set designers as Jo Mielziner, Oliver Smith, Robin Wagner, John Napier, Santo Loquasto and John Lee Beatty.

His voluminous Broadway and touring credits over five decades also included Grease, A Chorus Line, Chicago, Whose Life Is It Anyway?, Sunday in the Park With George, Biloxi Blues, Fences, Lost in Yonkers, Annie Get Your Gun, Kiss Me, Kate, Dreamgirls, Mamma Mia! and Billy Elliot: The Musical.

In a 2012 interview, Siccardi talked about setting up the Winter Garden Theatre for the 1982 Broadway premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats.

“I remember the designer, John Napier, walking around and saying, ‘The theater looks gorgeous, now paint it all black,’” he said. “We really gutted the theater, took the ceiling out and built a crane out on top of the roof.” After the production’s 18-year run, he was called in to put the theater back together for Mamma Mia!

In addition to his son, survivors include his daughter-in-law, Lori; grandchildren Melanie and Cody; and great-grandchildren Emerson and Amalia.

Donations in his memory can be made to Broadway/Cares/Equity Fights Aids; The Wild Center at Tupper Lake; and the Goff-Nelson Library at Tupper Lake (41 Lake St., Tupper Lake, NY 12986).

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