Skip to main content Skip to footer site map

Broadway Reacts - Former Co-Stars, Colleagues and Fans on Roger Rees

It was just back in late-May when we reported that Roger Rees, then starring in The Visit on Broadway opposite Chita Rivera had departed the show on a medical leave. Today, we are sad to share the news that the Tony-winning star passed away on Friday evening after battling a brief illness, at home in New York at 71.

Click here for BroadwayWorld.com's Full Obituary. Click here for our photo special.

We came online this morning to an overflowing inbox of thoughts and rememberances that we present below along with quotes from industry notables on social media. To all those who loved, knew, worked with, or had the pleasure of watching this enormous talent - he will be missed.

Chita Rivera -
The world has lost a great actor, gentleman and soul.
I have lost a beautiful new friend, one I was looking forward to spending exciting valuable time with.
I loved my new and eternal friend, and thank god for lending him to us.
Rest now Rog
We shall continue
you and I.
Chita, your Claire

Trevor Nunn - Roger was inspirational. He had the perpetual boyishness and mischief of a Peter Pan, extraordinary wit combined with a gift for self-satire, and dauntless optimism coupled with deep-rooted belief. All these ingredients went into his acting, and I am sure, into his directing, and gave him an aura of rare, generous spirited humanity. He was always superb at being just 'one of the gang' in the company, while equally deft at leading by example, leading by commitment. All this was sublimated in his Nicholas Nickleby, the giant success of which led him to change his life by moving to America. I spent a magical evening with him in New York only a few months ago. He talked of his illness - with optimism, with wit, with self-satire, and with deep-rooted belief ... and once again, to be in his presence was inspirational.

Adam Chanler-Berat - Part father-figure, part friend, part inspiration, part jester, part champion. I feel so grateful for all the gifts he gave me and everyone he met. We'll miss you, Rog.

Michael Arden - May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! Rest in Peace, Roger Rees.

The Tony Awards (Official Twitter) - Great sadness on the passing of @TheTonyAwards-winning actor Roger Rees. #RIP #RogerRees

Christopher Sieber - It's going to be hard to be funny today...I'll miss you so much Roger Rees...

Julia Murney - Such a beautiful love story about two beautiful men. Roger Rees, the world is better for having had you in it.

Tony Yazbek - RIP Roger Rees. You were quite the actor and a gentleman to everyone around you.

THE VISIT (official Twitter): Our hearts are heavy with the loss of our friend, Roger Rees. Our sympathies go out to his husband and loved ones.

James Corden - Just read of the passing of Roger Rees. An incredible actor and wonderfully supportive man. May he rest in peace x

Michael Urie - RIP Roger Rees, wonderful actor and a gentleman.

Andy Karl - Such a loss. My heart goes out to you Rick Elice and to all who will miss this kind soul.

Lin-Manuel Miranda -
Robin Colcord.
The Winslow Boy.
LORD JOHN MARBURY.
Peter & The Starcatcher.
The Visit.
So many.
Don't you see?
We'll ALWAYS have Roger Rees.

Grieving for Rick Elice, grieving for Kander, grieving for Timbers, grieving for a universe of friends today. Roger Rees. The kindest.

Gillian Lynne - Roger Rees has died &thereby goes one of the freest innovative individual talents that English theatre has been lucky enough to spawn - love. Comedy of Errors RSC 1976 the joy of discovering & working with Roger Rees I will treasure forever

Sierra Boggess - One of the greatest actors and humans I've ever known. You are missed and loved forever. #RIPRogerRees

Lindsay Mendez - So devastated over the passing of my dear Roger Rees. The kindest, most generous and lovely soul on earth. RIP my friend.

Judy Kuhn ‏- Roger Rees. What a loss. I feel profoundly lucky to have crossed his path a year ago. We are all richer for having had him walk this earth.

Tom Kirdahy - Heartbroken. A gentle soul with a giant talent, Roger was one of the most extraordinary people I've ever met. Kind, brilliant, gentle, curious, thoughtful, passionate, rigorous, loving, funny, searching, warm and tender are all words that leap to mind. A person of integrity and class. An artist to the core. A Man of Great Importance.

Ashley Spencer - What a treasure we lost today. #RIPRogerRees

Chris Boneau - Waking up to the news of the loss of the dear Roger Rees. Yes, he was a great man of the theatre. But to know him as a friend was to experience the twinkle in his eye, the forever-young grin and the pure delight you felt when he greeted you. I was lucky to spend a few vacations with him, and every day was an adventure. My heart goes out to Rick Elice and to all of their friends and family. Bob Bucci and I are lucky to have known you, Roger. Godspeed.

Jeremy Gerard - Truly, one of the greats of his generation and an intensely thoughtful man whose performance in The Winslow Boy was as unforgettable as his he has been so long ago in NickNick.

Bob Bucci - My heart is broken over the loss of Roger Rees. He was a very special man and I was lucky enough to spend fantastic times with him and Rick. He will be missed but always remembered for his talent and warmth; he is a true gentleman. Chris Boneau and I will cherish our memories and send love to his family. RIP

Kurt Deutsch - REST IN PEACE ROGER REES. So important in my family's life. We will miss him so.

Nick Wyman - Roger Rees. We shall not see his like again. A true gentleman of the Theatre, despite his lengthy screen resume, he was above all a true gentleman. A really good man. A really good life.
Seventeen years ago I took a seven week break (and an alarming cut in pay) from "Les Miz" to do"The Misanthrope" at CSC for Barry Edelstein with him and Michael Emerson and Mary Lou Rosato and an attractive young woman named Uma something. My first act scene with Roger and MIchael remains one of my favorite moments on stage and getting to know Roger more than made up for the five-figure disparity in income. In his charmingly mischievous yet self-deprecatory way, he coined the term "Trouty Old Clown" for the two of us and our shameless style of acting, and we spent a couple weeks composing and posting on the callboard letters from imaginary outraged patrons who had been enjoying "Misanthrope" and Roger's (or Nick's) performance until the aroma of elephant dung and sawdust had presaged Nick's (Roger's) entrance and the subsequent ruination of the play.


Uma was lovely but it was Roger I had the crush on; and as i re-encountered him in subsequent years, I realized that I was not alone: everyone who knew him -- men, women, young, old, gay, straight -- had a crush on Roger. He was just so delightful. My heart goes out to Rick Elice, who is not only equally delightful and talented but who has had the patience and wisdom to create and maintain a thirty-plus year relationship with someone that everyone falls in love with. I loved you Roger. I love you Rick.


Benjamin Schrader - Absolutely devastated by the loss of my dear friend, mentor, colleague, and captain Roger Rees. I'm speechless and completely heartbroken. Roger was and is who I want to be as an actor and moreover as a person. His wit and gentle encouragement will be sorely missed by so many and I'm sure that I will be joining the chorus of colleagues who will testify that he was one of those great human beings whose energy and passion you only meet once in a lifetime. Working and learning from him has been one of the greatest joys of my life and I will cherish every moment I had in his presence. My deepest condolences go out to Rick Elice and all the people that will mourn the passing of this wonderful man. I love you Roger and I will miss you. - with Roger Rees.

Patrick Page - I am so heartbroken at the death of Roger Rees. The last time I wrote him I said I was thinking of him and wishing him well. His reply (immediate, as always) was: " It's a bit tough at the moment, but once I have the benefit of the next round of radiation, I'll be swimming again. These things are sent to try us, but will not defeat us." I should have known it was Rog's unflappable panache speaking. Or perhaps he knew what I realized when I re-read his words just now--that even death could not defeat a spirit such as his. He was great actor because he was a truly great man. "His life was gentle, and the elements so mixed in him that Nature might stand up and say to all the world: "This was a Man."

Gregory Jbara - We were shooting Roger Rees's coverage as "Peter Quince" for the rude mechanicals' play-within-a-play in Michael Hoffman's film adaptation of William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. The camera rolled, action was called, Kevin Kilne, Max Wright, Bill Irwin, Sam Rockwell and I did our part off camera. Roger's "Peter Quince" stood in the stage left wings while the sounds of the mechanicals' failed efforts unfolded off-screen like a radio play. When Michael finally called "cut", I remember him saying something to the effect, "I don't have to shoot the rest of you guys, I could see everything happening in Roger's reaction!" RIP Roger Rees. Master of storytelling. Kind, generous heart. Beautiful man.
Our thoughts are with you, Rick Elice.

Emily Skinner - One of the loveliest people in the theater. Ever. Impossibly sweet, funny, clever, generous of spirit, wildly creative and kind. A beautiful actor and an even more beautiful human being. My heart broke rather loudly when I read this news.

Harvey Fierstein ‏- Sending out giant hugs to the circle of ROGER REES' loved ones. We lost a true treasure. An artist. A lover. A human being at full potential

Craig Zadan - The loss of #RogerRees is absolutely devastating. A great actor, writer, director & a kind & loving friend. Our hearts go out to #RickElice.

Darren Criss ‏- So sad to hear the news of Roger Rees' passing. He was a marvelous talent. My thoughts go out to his loved ones. I was always a such a fan.

Carolee Carmello - Such sad news. Roger Rees was that rare combination of great talent and lovely man. Sending love to Rick tonight.

Michael Mayer - RIP Roger Rees. A wonderful actor. A wonderful man. He will be missed terribly.

Donna Murphy - What an artist/man!Grasped my heart as Nicholas Nickleby thru @TheVisitMusical RIP dear Roger Rees. Love/blessings to his loved ones.

Laura Benanti - Goodbye dear, sweet, wonderful Roger Rees. Your "star stuff" will always shine on.

Jesse Tyler Ferguson ‏- R.I.P. Roger Rees. A true gentleman. A class act. A genuine man & brilliant actor. He will be missed. All my love to Rick & his loved ones.

Jason Danieley - A dear friend passed tonight. I love you my friend. My heart breaks but you will always be with me and all of us.

Zina Goldrich - Devastated at the news. Roger Rees was not only one of the finest actors on the planet, but also a kind, funny and giving soul. RIP.

Rick Miramontez - Never a bigger theater memory than Nicholas Nickleby on Broadway. Never a bigger talent on our stage than #RogerRees

William Duffy ‏- RIP #RogerRees A pleasure to have met/worked with you on #WestWing Your resume was incredible, but you will always be @Lord_Marbury to me.

Elena Shaddow - He was a dream both on and off stage and we are all lucky to have been in his presence. What a gift he had and what a fine soul.

Will Chase - Sad for all who knew him. A dear man.

Dana Ivey ‏- Beloved Roger Rees- how I will miss you, dear, wonderful person - dear, wonderful comrade on stage. Flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

Caissie Levy - RIP Roger Rees/Robin Colcord, my first real true blue crush. What a legend.

Matthew Bourne - RIP #RogerRees - a lovely, generous & kind man & an heroic & passionate actor. We all fell in love with him in #NicholasNickleby ?? so sad

James Barbour - Roger, dear, dear Roger I will miss you terribly. "Good-night, sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest." RIP Roger Rees

Center Theatre Group - "It's supposed to hurt-that's how you know it meant something!" -Peter and the Starcatcher RIP, Roger Rees

Steve Kazee ‏- One of the truest gentleman I've known. A wonderful artist, a warm spirit, and person who deeply cared about people's lives. RIP Roger Rees.

John Gallagher, Jr. ‏- So sad to hear about Roger Rees' passing. What a sweet man and a great talent. He will be very missed.

Andy Mientus ‏- RIP Roger Rees. I'm so glad I got to see him be terrific to the end in The Visit. That's how you do a life in the theater.

Michael McKean ‏- Goodbye to my friend, Roger Rees.

Jerry Mitchell ‏- God bless the BRILLIANCE of Roger Rees! #fullout Star!!

Kevin Chamberlin - RIP Roger Rees. A great loss for the theater community.

Gideon Glick ‏- Roger Rees was a remarkable man. A remarkable man. Rest in peace.

Michael Arden - May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! Rest in Peace, Roger Rees.

Jennifer Tepper - I'm devastated to hear about the passing of Roger Rees. How brave he was to do "The Visit" each night while so sick. What a legacy he left.

Wesley Taylor - Deeply sad. Roger Rees was one of the kindest people I've ever known.

Photo Credit: Linda Lenzi



Related Articles

More Hot Stories For You