Filmmaker Rick McKay has died.
Filmmaker Rick McKay has died.
(© David Gordon)

Documentarian Rick McKay, best known for his film Broadway: The Golden Age, died earlier this week, according to a post from his sister on McKay's Facebook page. He was 57.

"With deep deep sadness, we share the news of our brother Rick's peaceful passing this week," Sandy McKay wrote. "There was no one like Rick. He was so involved in life....loving, generous, smart, funny. His unwavering example of boundless energy, positive enthusiasm and brilliant humor will continue to inspire all who knew him. The legacy of his historic and fascinating work will always continue to teach and to entertain. A great historian of the theater. Without him, the world is a much darker place today, but, somewhere, he's brought along his ever constant wit and sense of great fun........ and there's a very satisfying, hilarious party going on."

McKay moved to New York City in the 1980s, when he began work as a cabaret singer. His first documentary, Birds of a Feather, served as partial inspiration for Mike Nichols during the filming of The Birdcage, and McKay later produced content for WNEY13's City Arts as well as the Biography series for A&E.

His best-known work, Broadway: The Golden Age, is a compendium of interviews featuring theatrical legends of past, present, and future. First released in 2004, it has won awards at more than 15 film festivals across the country. His dedication to the film, and its planned sequels Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age and Broadway: The Next Generation, was staggering. He converted his home into his own studio and editing bay, with shelves and storage spaces holding tapes with over 600 hours of interviews with over 300 Broadway stars.

McKay and his team of producers felt an enormous responsibility in preserving the work of the artists of the theater community on-screen. As he told TheaterMania in 2013, the film is essentially the "last chance that what they did in their life might end up in something that lives beyond that night."

Pictured from left to right: Rick McKay, Jane Summerhays, Tommy Tune, Donald Pippin, Carleton Carpenter, and Marni Nixon
Rick McKay, Jane Summerhays, Tommy Tune, Donald Pippin, Carleton Carpenter, and Marni Nixon.
(© David Gordon)