- November 11, 1950 - March 21, 2015
- Stratford, Connecticut
of Lonnie 's Passing
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Memories & CandlesPrevious
“Still miss you SO much Lonnie ...and treasure our * Las Vegas days * great friendship ...AND teaching you sugarcraft between all our collective shows...Read More »
1 of 9 | Posted by: Adèle Condron-King
“My darling friend Lon....I am beyond devastated to hear that you have left us ....I was telling my beautiful eldest daughter (Chloë Agnew ex...Read More »
2 of 9 | Posted by: Adèle Condron-King - Friend
“Angels attend thee to thy rest.
3 of 9 | Posted by: Patrick Pacheco - New York, NY
“My dear Lonnie, So many memorable times when we met in Las Vegas as I was designing Jubilee and you were dancing in the show. We were close to each...Read More »
4 of 9 | Posted by: Bob Rang - Los Angeles, CA
“I remember him and Louis Burke fondly.
5 of 9 | Posted by: Carol Dobson - New York, NY
“In honor of the memory of a beautiful man and talented artist - the world was a better and happier place when he was here with us .. He brought...Read More »
6 of 9 | Posted by: Miller Lide - New York, NY
“On a whim, I looked up Lon, Louis, and BBP while on vacation to see what they might be up to. I'm so sorry to see that Lon has left much earlier than...Read More »
7 of 9 | Posted by: Melanie Kosar - Vienna, VA
“Rest in Peace wonderful man
8 of 9 | Posted by: Christopher Harrison - New York, NY
I am so sorry I did not get to meet you, but I feel I know you thru Louis.
Any friend of Louis is a friend of mine. Rest In Peace
Your...Read More »
9 of 9 | Posted by: Kevin Wyndham Blackbeard - CA
Lonnie Everett Chase, 64, born 11/11/1950 in Alabama, passed away 03/21/2015.
The start of his career began when he won a scholarship to Harkness Ballet in NYC and studied with them and the Joffrey Ballet until he joined the Broadway production of "Mame". He then toured the USA & Canada before going to Las Vegas where he danced in many of the top shows on the strip, including Casino de Paris, and MGM Grand for several years. He was a Ronnie Lewis dancer, then worked for Nick Navarro, who invited him to dance in his company in Monte Carlo, then later joined the Paradis Latin in Paris where he met South African director/producer Louis Burke, who offered him a position in his company, which he ran together with his wife, Joan Brickhill, the foremost star of South Africa.
Having that same day signed to return to the MGM Grand, Lonnie had to turn down the offer, but vowed to come to South Africa as soon as his contract expired. For the next year he assisted Burke in auditioning dancers in Las Vegas and Reno, and more than a dozen appeared in their new extravaganza "Bedazzled" for Sol Kersner at Sun City, who also built the Mohegan Sun. BBP also brought out major stars like Frank Sinatra, Cher, Rod Stewart, Ann-Margaret, Liza Minelli, Shirley MacLaine, and others, to the 7,000-seat Super bowl. As soon as he completed his contract with MGM, Lon was on the next plane to South Africa, and for the next few years, besides joining the BBP family, became personal assistant to Burke, as well assistant director and assistant choreographer for "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the "Forum", "Barnum" and "The King and I" with a cast of 92.
In 1985 he accompanied Burke to NYC and worked on bringing their first show to Broadway. "Meet Me in St. Louis" opened at the Gershwin Theater in 1989, and was a great success; it was nominated for four Tony Awards before touring for over two years. During this period, they first set eyes on the Shakespeare Theater in Stratford, and moved there in 1993. The state awarded the theater to BBP in 1995, and during the next few years; over 5 million dollars was spent in renovations. It was taken from BBP in 2001 and given to the town, which have yet to open the theater.
During the time they lived in New York, Lon studied make-up with Revlon and was employed at Bloomingdales and Saks as well as Lord & Taylor in Trumbull.
During the last twenty years, he had a series of serious operations for bleeding ulcers, and a few years ago admitted to being an alcoholic. It is difficult finishing work after three shows at 3:00am in the morning, and solace was found in having a few drinks that became a bad habit. He underwent treatment for alcoholism and joined AA which was a great help to his psyche. His rehabilitation was covered in a book that Burke wrote called "Finding Rehab".
He was a great chef, collected over 300 cook books, and enjoyed entertaining friends by giving of himself as always. He was a gentle and caring soul and will be sadly missed by the many who loved and cared for him. Messages have already started pouring in from all over America and Canada, as well as London, Israel, Paris and South Africa.