Legendary Broadway casting director Jay Binder dies at 71

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Friday, April 15, 2022
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NEW YORK (WABC) -- Legendary Broadway casting director Jay Binder died Friday at the age of 71.

Binder, who cast nearly 100 Broadway productions over his four decade career, is said to have died peacefully at home.

Binder's work includes the Tony Award-winning productions of "The Lion King," "A Gentleman's Guide to Love & Murder," "Dames At Sea," "Nice Work If You Can Get It," "Gypsy," "The King and I," "Beauty and the Beast," "Lost in Yonkers" and "Jerome Robbins' Broadway."

In addition, he casted every Neil Simon play from 1990 through 2009.

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Binder was one of the founders and a driving force behind the highly-acclaimed Encores! Great American Musicals in Concert series at New York City Center.

His work casting this series led to the Tony Award-winning revival of "Chicago."

"I worked hand-in-glove with Jay for two decades," said Jack Viertel, who served as the series Artistic Director from 2000-2020. "He was always the most knowledgeable, passionate, and feistiest person in the room. He loved actors and wanted every one of them to succeed. I'll miss that spirit, that optimism and that deep well of knowledge forever."

For television, he cast the Emmy Award-winning series "I'll Fly Away" and was the East Coast Casting Director of Warner Brothers Television for five years.

For film, he cast "Six by Sondheim" (HBO), "Hairspray," "Dreamgirls," "Chicago," and "Nine."

He was an artistic consultant for Disney World and National Artists Management Company and was a creative consultant on the PBS special, "My Favorite Broadway: The Love Songs," hosted by Julie Andrews.

On Broadway, Binder was the associate director of "Lolita" and "Happy New Year."

He directed the premiere production of "Love and Other Fables" at Theatre by the Sea and worked as a director at numerous regional theaters across the country, with credits including Present Laughter at The Acting Company; Rex, Jumbo, and Best Foot Forward at The York Theatre Company; and Say Yes! at the Berkshire Theatre Festival.

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In 2016, Binder Casting was acquired by RWS Entertainment Group. Through RWS, Binder served as the Director of Theatrical Development until his official retirement in July 2020.

Binder was the recipient of 11 Artios Awards, the highest honor in casting, and the 2019 Amas Repertory Theatre's Lifetime Achievement Award.

A native of South Orange, New Jersey, Binder distinguished himself not only by virtue of his longevity, but also by his cunning theatrical instincts.

A memorial will be announced at a later date.


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