April 25th, 2013

andrew potter

James Raitt (1953 - April 25, 1994)

James Raitt, the musical director of the productions of "Damn Yankees" on Broadway and "Forever Plaid" Off Broadway, died on April 25, 1994, at his home in Manhattan. He was 41.

The cause was AIDS, said Guy Stroman, a friend.

Mr. Raitt was the musical director and vocal arranger for "Forever Plaid" and trained the casts of more than 30 national and international companies of the show. In addition, he created the orchestrations and musical arrangements of the Off Broadway musical "Pageant" (1991). More recently, he did the orchestrations and vocal arrangements for "Elegies for Angels, Punks and Raging Queens," playing in London.

He was also the dance arranger for the Broadway production of "Meet Me in St. Louis" (1990); the musical director of the 1986 revue "Stardust," and the musical director for solo performances by Gwen Verdon, Chita Rivera, Ethel Merman and Donna McKechnie.

Mr. Raitt, who grew up in Santa Ana, Calif., received a music degree from the University of Southern California in 1975. He taught at U.S.C., New York University, the Eugene O'Neill Institute and Sarah Lawrence College.

He was a cousin of the actor John Raitt and of John Raitt's daughter, the singer Bonnie Raitt.

Source: http://www.nytimes.com/1994/04/28/obituaries/james-raitt-41-musical-director.html

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