SEBASTIAN – Richard W. Gingrich, Jr., 90 Broadway dancer, has taken his final curtain call on May 21, 2019 in Sebastian, Florida.
Dick was born in Lebanon, Pennsylvania on May 27, 1929. He was the son of the late Richard W. Gingrich and Nedra Schreiber Gingrich. As a teenager, he was interested in the theatre and appeared in several productions at the Mt. Gretna Playhouse. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a BA in journalism from Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
While writing an article about the Cornell University Dance Group’s production of “Folksay,” Dick became interested in dance as another means of expression. After college, he enlisted in the United States Air Force, and as an Airman First Class he was assigned to the entertainment section at Mitchell Air Force Base in New York. He staged two shows a month at the base theatre. While at Mitchell, Dick studied at the New Dance Group in New York City and first appeared on Broadway in American Dance at the Alvin Theatre with Martha Graham, Jose Limon, and Sophie Maslow.
Upon completion of his military service, he pursed a professional dance career, studying jazz technique with Luigi, Matt Mattox and Jack Cole. He was the Lead male dancer in the Minsky Follies, the first nude show in Las Vegas, and has the distinction of being the only dancer ever to appear with the famous Robert Shaw Chorale, depicting in dance the tale of mad beggar “Tom O’Bedlam”. He was also the principle dancer in “The Story of Florida Voice in the Wind” pageant in Ruskin Florida. My Fair Lady, Let It Ride!, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Can Can, Li’l Abner, Kismet, Pal Joey, On the Town, and the international company of Hello Dolly! With Mary Martin in Tokyo, Seoul, Manila and out troops in Vietnam. After returning to the United States, he continued dancing in Hello, Dolly! With Betty Grable at the Riviera Hotel in Las Vegas.
Following his dance career, Dick was a publicist and editor at W.W. Norton Publishers and the New Horizon Press. Returning to Lebanon in semi-retirement, Dick managed Tiber Press, a New York based specialty card company. He was also active in the Lebanon Community Theatre, directing and staging several successful productions including The Pajama Game, Company, the female version of The Odd Couple, and the premiere staging of Up In the Air, Boys. Dick enjoyed working with young people; when good friend Joan Hickey asked for help in staging two musicals for Lebanon Catholic High School, he readily agreed.
Dick moved to Florida in 1997 with his life partner of 62 years, Broadway singer Jim Connor who survives him. Residing in Sebastian and Melbourne, Florida, he remained active, enjoyed yearly trips to London and Paris and worked in the Brevard County Library System for many years.