Entertainment

Musical theatre actress Lindsay Thomas dies

Canadian actress Lindsay Thomas, who graced stages on Broadway, across Canada and at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, has died at the age of 31.
Lindsay Thomas is seen as Ado Annie, with actor Jonathan Ellul as Ali Hakim, in the Stratford Shakespeare Festival's 2007 production of Oklahoma! ((David Hou/Stratford Shakespeare Festival))

Canadian actress Lindsay Thomas, who graced stages on Broadway, across Canada and at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, has died at the age of 31.

The vivacious up-and-coming actress, dancer and singer died Wednesday after a battle with lung cancer.

"She had a vibrant talent. In addition to being a gifted dancer and singer, Lindsay was an outstanding comedienne with both energy and wit," festival general director Antoni Cimolino said in a statement.

"She will be missed by all who knew her."

Edmonton-raised Thomas moved to Toronto and graduated from Sheridan College's musical theatre performance program in 2001.

The energetic actress's early stage credits included appearing in the Charlottetown Festival's productions of Anne of Green Gables and Somewhere in the World as well a production of Grease at Edmonton's Citadel Theatre.

In 2002, she landed a spot in both the Broadway and Canadian productions of Hairspray, before also nabbing a spot in the show's subsequent U.S. tour.

Thomas debuted at the Stratford festival in 2006, cast for Oliver! and Don Juan, and returning the next year for Oklahoma! and My One and Only. In 2008, she made her mark in The Music Man and Fuente Ovejuna.

She returned to Toronto when she landed a role in the Canadian production of Jersey Boys, but left the cast after being diagnosed with cancer.

Stratford artistic director Des McAnuff, who first met Thomas during her stint at the southern Ontario theatre festival, said he was "thrilled to hire her" and described her as "an electrifying performer.

"Lindsay had more than simply abundant talent; she had a huge heart. Everyone that she came in contact with benefited from her generous spirit. She will be greatly missed by both companies and many, many others."

Last year, benefits were held — including in P.E.I. and Alberta — to raise funds for the young actress, who was being treated at Toronto's Princess Margaret Hospital.

According to friends who organized a Charlottetown event, her cancer diagnosis was particularly upsetting because she wasn't a smoker.

Thomas is survived by her partner, actor Gareth Potter, her parents, Marilyn and Derek Thomas and her brother, Gareth Thomas.

A memorial service and tribute to Thomas will be held in Stratford on Monday.