Peter Foley, a Richard Rodgers Award-winning lyricist/composer, passes away at 54
Last Edit: WaymanWong 06:02 pm EDT 09/19/21
Posted by: WaymanWong 05:47 pm EDT 09/19/21

Peter Foley, the award-winning lyricist/composer of ''The Hidden Sky,'' died Aug. 27 from ocular melanoma, a rare cancer. He was 54.

''The Hidden Sky,'' which Peter co-wrote with his wife, Kate Chisholm, was based on a short story by Ursula K. Le Guin, about a young female mathmetician. It debuted at the Prince Music Theater in Philadelphia in 2000 and made its New York premiere at the Prospect Theater Company in 2010. Peter's music and lyrics earned him the Richard Rodgers Award, the Stephen Sondheim Award and a Jonathan Larson Foundation Award.

Peter wrote the music for ''To Sing'' for Mark Campbell's ''Songs From an Unmade Bed'' at N.Y. Theatre Workshop. And he collaborated with Ellen McLaughlin on ''The Names We Gave Him,'' which was workshopped at the Public. His songs were sung by Melissa Errico and Rebecca Luker, and as a musical director, he worked with Sting on ''The Last Ship'' and was a music preparation supervisor for the Tony-winning ''The Band's Visit.''

On a personal note, Peter also was one of my best friends. I first met him years ago when he was a whiz-kid, Berkeley high school student. He played the piano at singalong parties for Musical Theatre Lovers United in the Bay Area. We became fast friends and bonded over our love of Sondheim's shows. In time, Sondheim became an early mentor of Peter's. In 1985, Sondheim somehow arranged house seats for Peter and I to catch the star-studded ''Follies in Concert'' at Avery Fisher Hall, and we wound up sitting right in front of Hal Prince! ... We also wrangled tickets to the Broadway opening of ''Into the Woods'' (1987) and found a way to crash the cast party, so we could congratulate Sondheim in person.

The last time I saw Peter was two years ago. We really wanted to see ''Hadestown,'' but the tickets were too frickin' expensive. So I volunteered to stand all-day (8 hours!) outside the Walter Kerr in hopes of snagging standing room and did. Peter and I stood at the railing at the back of the orchestra, enjoying the Tony-winning musical. At the intermission, a kindly member of the theater staff offered to move us to empty seats in the second row of the orchestra. There, from where we sat, ''Hadestown'' looked even more heavenly to us, and I'll never forget it.

A memorial service for Peter will be held Oct. 16 at 1 p.m. at the Grace Episcopal Church in Nyack, N.Y.
Link BroadwayWorld.com: Peter Foley, Composer and Lyricist of 'The Hidden Sky,' Dies at 54

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