First Posted: 5/17/2012 2:14:38 PM | Last Updated: 5/17/2012 2:28:41 PM
The Cincinnati Arts Association, the Music Hall resident arts organizations, and friends and family of Music Hall mourn the loss of Roger Adams, Music Hall’s beloved Technical Director since 1994. Roger died at his home on Monday, May 14.
Born on New Year’s Day in 1944, the youngest of five children, Roger was the son of a stone mason, who apprenticed to learn his father’s trade. In January of 1960, he began working with Cincinnati’s stagehand Union (IATSE Local 5), a decision that would lead to a life-long career in the entertainment industry. An active member of Local 5, Roger served as an officer and executive board member, and under his stewardship the Union established its health and welfare fund.
His years as a journeyman included work at most of the city’s concert venues (including the since demolished Albee and Palace Theaters) and the now legendary Cincinnati Opera performances that were held at the Cincinnati Zoo Pavilion, where he fondly recalled the often chaotic mix of classical music and wild animals. He spent several years at Cincinnati’s Playhouse in the Park as a carpenter, but Music Hall was the place he most enjoyed working, and where he perfected his skills under then Technical Director Roy Hopper. From set and scenery construction to countless creative projects for Music Hall’s resident companies, Roger was a talented carpenter with a reputation for being able to fix any problem, often under time constraints that seemed insurmountable. Behind the scenes, Roger was the real “star of the show,” coordinating load-ins, stage setups, crews and load-outs for virtually every show – from Opera, Symphony, May Festival, and Ballet productions to Bruce Springsteen, Prince, the White Stripes, and Garrison Keillor, to name just a few.
An avid gun collector and hunter, Roger also enjoyed participating in the popular “ghost tours” of Music Hall. Like the late Maestro Erich Kunzel, he firmly believed that Music Hall was haunted, based on his firsthand experiences while working in the theater. He was featured in several programs about Music Hall, and was generous in sharing his recollections about the theater’s history. Roger will be remembered as a dedicated employee, talented craftsman, and loyal friend by the building staff and resident companies he served so well during his tenure as Technical Director, and by countless other people he worked with over the years.
Roger is survived by his wife Diana Vandergriff Adams, son Roger G. Adams, brother Edward Adams, sister Florence Long, and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions be made to: Society for the Preservation of Music Hall, 1241 Elm Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202.
A memorial service is scheduled for Saturday May 19, 2012 at Music Hall Lobby from 2:00pm to 4:00pm.