Patrick Lee (1959-2010)

Ever since I started blogging, I have been experiencing so many firsts. My first press invite or my first interview. There have been first trips to various theatres, seeing various folks perform and it’s been such a joy. However, today with the sobering intensity of a sucker punch, I experienced another first, one that I wasn’t exactly prepared for: the death of a fellow theatre blogger.

I first met Patrick Lee a little over a year ago when Ken Davenport had what would be the first meeting of the Independent Theater Bloggers Association. Over the course of the year, as I volunteered to help out I got to spend some time with Patrick as we worked to bring structure to the fledgling group. It was to my great shock and sadness to learn of his death of a heart attack, at 51 years old.

Every so often we would all meet up in Ken’s offices for meetings discussion our progress and whatnot. But as is the case with so many of the bloggers, I found myself chatting him up before and after the meetings. There would be times when we would end up talking for a half hour on the sidewalk on 49th Street, catching up on what we have seen. Discussing some of the great flops that interest me (namely 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue), he told me that he used to travel into the city constantly with his father to see theatre when he was a kid, and as a result saw so many shows (such as 1600) that most of the general public would have missed.

I don’t know if there is anyone who went to the theatre as often as Patrick did. Last August, we would jest over the amount of Fringe shows he was running off to see. You could catch his reviews, interviews and features for Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off Broadway theatre on Theatermania, his own blog Just Shows to Go You and Show Showdown. He was a member of the Outer Critics Circle and a juror for the GLAAD Media Awards. Just recently, we announced the 2010 winners of the ITBA awards, with Patrick taking charge of an admittedly thankless task and handling everything with aplomb.

The last time I saw Patrick was, of course, at the theatre. We were heading in to see the Encores! revival of Anyone Can Whistle and were able to chat amiably for a couple of minutes. I do wish I had a chance to know him better, but will be grateful for the conversations we had, online and in person. He will be greatly missed among the theatre blog community.

He is survived by his mother, sisters and other family members.