One of the original "Jekkies" (a term Newsweek magazine dubbed the many fans of Jekyll & Hyde, the Musical); Richie had followed the show from the concept recording to the original Houston productions to the original Broadway production and the many incarnations thereafter. He was excited for the upcoming revival of the show.
The theater world has lost an amazing guy, Richard E. Schwartz (“Dr. Richie”) of Marlton, New Jersey passed away on Saturday April 21. Much like Jekyll/Hyde he had a split career so to speak; a wonderful pediatric dentist by day and super “jekkie” by night. Richie and his constant companion and wife Debbie traveled near and far for a production of Jekyll and Hyde as well as many of composer Frank Wildhorn’s shows as well as enjoying several concerts featuring Jekyll & Hyde stars Rob Evan, Linda Eder, Christiane Noll and many more.
Jekkies" will remember Richie as one of the organizers of many "net-togethers" - fan-based gatherings in New York City and across the country, organized via an internet mailing list, where fans and cast members of Jekyll & Hyde, as well as other Frank Wildhorn musicals, would unite to celebrate milestone events of the musical. Through many raffles and fund raising efforts, the Jekyll & Hyde Fan Club was able to donate over $3,000.00 to BC/EFA. Contributions can be made in his memory to this worthwhile organization.
Jekyll & Hyde composer Frank Wildhorn has this to say about Richie; “I think one of the beautiful things about our journey with Dr. Richie was how he was always there for us every step of the way, both for my shows and Linda's concerts. He was always in Jekyll & Hyde paraphernalia, which he had more of than I do! He always wore it so proudly.
I just love how he and Deb became a part of our family, beloved by the creators and performers alike. Jekyll & Hyde has always been like that, and Richie was a big part of that. We will miss him beyond measure.”
Stars of the Broadway production also shared their comments; “Live Theater is a wonderful place. Audience and performer are brought together for a brief time yet the effects of that encounter can last a lifetime. I always feel so blessed and grateful to see friendly familiar faces in the audience. There is a joy in that recognition. Few understood or appreciated that connection more than Dr. Richie.There was a reason we knew Dr. Richie. For one, he was always in the front row! He was a generous, out going, supportive, respectful and passionate man. I feel so fortunate to have known him. It has been a joy to see him in the audience these many years. I always loved catching up and hearing about his ever growing family of which he was so proud. His kindness to me when my own father passed was so appreciated if unexpected. I am grateful to have been a part of the theater world of which he was so passionate. He will be missed and his passing came way too soon.” ~ Christiane Noll ( Emma, Broadway's Jekyll and Hyde)
Jekyll & Hyde’s Linda Eder (Lucy) shares this: “Even though he never walked the stage or spoke a line from the show, Richie Schwartz is as much a part of Jekyll & Hyde as any cast member, creator, musician or stage crew that ever had a hand in it. His face, his smile, his presence in the front row and at the stage door will live on forever in the minds of all who got to see him and to know him. His unconditional support in good times and bad was humbling and priceless."
Broadway’s Jekyll/Hyde Rob Evan remembers Richie; "One of my first and fondest memories of Dr. Richie Schwartz was 16 years ago when I had first become Jean Valjean in Les Miserables. I remember seeing this man with a bushy mustache across the street from the theater running to greet me as I approached. We had met briefly during the pre-Broadway tour of Jekyll & Hyde. He ran toward me, twirled around quickly to show me his J & H show jacket that he wore with great pride. He was truly a Jekkie and probably one of if not the very first of that great breed of theater goer. But Dr. Richie did not follow you blindly, I can promise you that. You had to earn his respect and admiration both on and off stage. He, along with his "entourage" (Dashing Frank, Lovely Renita, and my dear sweet Debbie) came along and took part in "moments" during most of my theater and concert career. I would frequently "check-in" with him from the stage during a song to see how I was doing. I also came to him for honest advice when I needed feedback on a new project. Most of my best joke material came from the Doc and the majority of it was highly inappropriate. He loved life and lived for the escape that we as performers are so blessed to be able to provide. Not to see his beaming smile out there anymore is very strange. I guess he just has a much better seat now." With love and gratitude, Rob Evan