I first met him at an ad meeting for Blithe Spirit. He, and his equally smile-icious wife, Barbara, were one of the Co-Producers, like me, and I loved them both immediately.
What was it about them?
Well, the smiles, duh . . .
But what really did it was . . . they were both wearing Memphis hats.
This was 2009, mind you, and Memphis was still snaking its way to Broadway. The Freitags had jumped on board to help produce the eventual Best Musical Tony winner, and they were wearing their swag with serious pride. (For those of you who read the Godspell blog, you know that I’ve got a weakness for show caps.)
Every time I spoke to Buddy, I remember how much his love for the theater seemed to take over his whole body. Broadway seemed to fill him up with such joy that . . . well . . . it was as if he had to keep that Memphis hat on to hold it in. And I remember thinking . . . “Boy, when I’m in my late 70s, I wanna be like Buddy Freitag.”
Buddy passed away yesterday and Broadway lost a bright shining smile, as well as a passionate Producer responsible for such shows as Passing Strange, The Miracle Worker, Catch Me If You Can, and three shows this season alone (!), including Nice Work . . . , Porgy and Bess, and End of the Rainbow.
Barbara, my condolences, as well as those of everyone reading this entry, I’m sure.
Buddy, I’m sure you’re lighting up whatever big room you’re in right now. And I’m sure you’re still wearing that hat.
And that thought makes me smile on this sad day.
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