Broadway Ad Man and Producer Jeffrey Ash Dies at 65
Jeffrey Ash, a prominent theatrical advertising executive who helped revolutionize Broadway advertising with the first live-action television spot for "Pippin" and who later became a successful producer for Broadway, off-Broadway, and London's West End, died suddenly August 8, 2011 at his home in Manhattan. He was 65 and for many years had suffered from inclusion body myositis, an autoimmune disorder.
In a career that spanned five decades, Mr. Ash and his agencies represented the original Broadway productions of "A Little Night Music," "Pippin," "Pacific Overtures," "I Love My Wife," "Side by Side by Sondheim," "Annie," "Evita," "Barnum," "Children of a Lesser God," "Amadeus," "Ain't Misbehavin'," "Sophisticated Ladies," "Merrily We Roll Along," "A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine," "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas," "Dancin," "Deathtrap," "Da," "Woman of
the Year," "Glengarry Glen Ross," "Nine," "La Cage Aux Folles," "M Butterfly," "La Bete," "The Secret Garden," "Falsettos," "Love! Valour! Compassion!," "The Young Man from Atlanta," "The Last Night of Ballyhoo," and "Fool Moon," among many others.
Jeffrey Ash first made his mark on Broadway following in the footsteps of his father, Ingram Ash, an owner of the venerable theatrical ad agency Blaine-Thompson. After graduating from Muhlenberg College in 1967, Jeffrey Ash began work at Blaine-Thompson alongside his father,
handling the advertising for such legendary producers as Harold Prince, Stuart Ostrow, and Alexander H. Cohen. After the elder Mr. Ash's death in 1974, Jeffrey Ash founded the agency Ash/LeDonne, Inc., together with Peter LeDonne, in 1975. When presenting new shows, producers Prince, Ostrow and Cohen all continued to work with Mr. Ash at the new agency, which was an industry leader for a decade. Ash/LeDonne closed in 1985, and the next year Jeffrey Ash became Director of Theatrical Accounts at Grey Entertainment where he remained for fifteen years, again representing shows produced by Mr. Ostrow and Mr. Cohen, among many others. (By then, Mr. Prince had concentrated his efforts more on directing.)
While at Grey, Mr. Ash began his own successful transition to producing, first with the off-Broadway hit "Other People's Money" in 1989. The award-winning play ran for over two years at the Minetta Lane Theatre and later toured the United States. His other productions and co-productions included Edward Albee's Pulitzer Prize-winning "Three Tall Women" (in both New York and at London's Wyndham Theatre starring Maggie Smith); David Shiner and Bill Irwin's Tony Award-winning "Fool Moon" (on Broadway and in Los Angeles); Jon Marans' "Old Wicked Songs," in New York and at the Gielgud Theatre in LonDon Starring Bob Hoskins; the Bock and Harnick musical "The Rothschilds,"; the award-winning New York production and national tour of "Mrs. Klein," starring Uta Hagen; Marc Salem's "Mindgames" at the Westside Theatre; Lowell Ganz and Gary Marshall's "Wrong Turn at Lungfish" starring George C. Scott, Tony Danza and Jami Gertz (in New York and Los Angeles); and the 2002 Broadway revival of "The Crucible" starring Liam Neeson and Laura Linney. His last association on Broadway was with the Tony Award-nominated revival of "Finian's Rainbow" in 2009.
For many years, Mr. Ash served on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of New Dramatists, and he was a founding member of the Board of Directors of Musical Theatre Works. In September 2008, Mr. Ash joined the ranks of the select Broadway industry luminaries to be honored with a caricature on the wall of Sardi's Restaurant.
Jeffrey Ash is survived by three daughters: Nicole Ash, Danielle Ash, and Heather Ash and son-in-law Rene Hidalgo, all of New York City; a brother Steve (Mariah) Ash, a niece Emily Ash, all of Scituate, MA; and longtime companion, Melly Garcia of New York City. A memorial service will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The New Dramatists or to The Myositis Association.