Bob LuPone, Actor Who Helped Found and Lead Off-Broadway’s MCC Theatre, Dies at 76

Bob LuPone, who as an actor earned a Tony nomination in the original series of A chorus line and went on to found and direct the influential off-Broadway theater company MCC Theater for nearly 40 years, has died. He was 76.

LuPone, brother to the Broadway icon Patti LuPonedied Saturday (Aug. 27) after a three-year battle with pancreatic cancer, according to Matt Ross Public Relations.

“The MCC Theater community mourns the loss of our much loved and uniquely inspiring partner, colleague and dear friend, Bob LuPone, who lived fearlessly and with great curiosity, good humor, a boundless passion for connection and a whole lot of heart. We will miss him deeply and always, says the theater company in a statement.

LuPone’s first professional job was in 1966, in the ensemble of the Westbury Music Fair’s production of Pajamas game starring Liza Minnelli. He made his Broadway debut in the 1968 production of Noel Coward’s Sweet potato and later appeared in Minnie’s Boys, The Rothschilds and The magic show.

LuPone was originally cast as Al in A chorus line, but convinced creator and director Michael Bennett to let him play Zach after the original actor left. LuPone would earn a Best Actor Tony nomination for the role.

LuPone was born in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from the Juilliard School with a bachelor’s degree in dance in 1968.

He was teaching an acting class at New York University when one of his students was Bernie Telsey.

Together they would help form the Manhattan Class Company in 1986 – known today as the MCC Theatre.
LuPone and Telsey, along with third co-artistic director Will Cantler, shaped MCC into a theatrical powerhouse that produced such Broadway-bound works as Frozen, Reasons to be Beautiful, Hand to God, Schoolgirls; or African Mean Girls Play, The Snow Geese, The Other Place and the Pulitzer Prize White.

While serving as artistic director of MCC, LuPone also worked as an actor and performed in View from the bridge, True West and A thousand clowns, all on Broadway. He was in the Chicago premiere of Sam Shepard’s The tooth of crime and on TV was inside The Sopranos, Sex and the City, Guiding Light and All my childrenfor which he received a Daytime Emmy nomination.

He also served as director of the MFA drama program at the New School for Drama from 2005 to 2011 and served as chairman of the board of ART/New York.

LuPone is survived by his wife, Virginia; his son, Orlando; sister, Patti; and brother, William

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