Joseph E. McGuire, II, formerly of Worcester, passed away in New York City on March 10, 2023. He was 66 years of age. Joe was both a gifted performer and creative talent who was drawn to the stage at a young age. As a boy, he organized and directed plays and musicals utilizing friends and neighborhood children in Worcester, Massachusetts where he was raised. Each summer through his teen years in the village of Megansett in North Falmouth on Cape Cod, he would organize productions first on a makeshift stage created in the back of a home and thereafter at the Megansett Yacht Club again casting friends and neighbors. In high school at Worcester Academy, Joe honed his craft acting in numerous shows on the stage at The Warner Theatre with Eta Kappa Alpha the school drama group. Thereafter, he entered the drama program under the direction of Fr. Gilbert Hartke at the Catholic University in Washington D.C.
He performed in a number of productions at the Hartke Theatre during his tenure there. Joe graduated in 1978 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Post graduation, Joe remained in Washington to perform in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat at Ford’s Theatre. He then made the move to New York City paying his dues while trying to break into the business by working a number of non theatre related jobs to include the backstage elevator operator at Radio City Music Hall and as an elf on Santa’s float in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Joe was eventually cast in the road company of “On Golden Pond” costarring with Pat O’Brien. He formed a lasting friendship with Pat which endured the remainder of Mr. O’Brien’s lifetime. Thereafter, he moved for a number of years to Los Angeles during which time he performed in a number of plays to include Miss Margarida’s Way. He was also featured in print work to include Cosmopolitan and in a number of national commercials, one airing during the Super Bowl.
He ultimately returned to New York City which became his home for the remainder of his life. Subsequent to his return he moved behind the curtain to the production side of the business serving as the Production Stage Manager for many off Broadway shows including Toni and Tina’s Wedding, Maybe Baby It’s You, Closer Than Ever, Sight Unseen and Hurly Burly. His favorite however was The Blue Man Group where he became the Production Supervisor just at the time it became a smash remaining with them for a number of years. Thereafter he served as the production supervisor at The La Gran Scena Opera. Joe went on to stage manage the European tour of Phantom of the Opera and the Tokyo tour of Beehive. He served as the resident stage manager at the Westport Country Playhouse and also staged managed at the National Actor’s Theatre, the Yale Repertory Theatre, and the Pirate Playhouse. Later in his career Joe became a freelance production manager at Hemming and Gilman Productions in New York advancing to Vice President in charge of production. In that capacity he planned, designed and managed many events including the opening and closing ceremonies for the New York Yankees, The Ellis Island Awards and the reopening of the Statue of Liberty. He finally established My Friend Entertainment, his own production company. Joe was a member of the Screen Actor’s Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and the Actor’s Equity Association.
Joe unfortunately endured much hardship as a result of the AIDS crisis losing the majority of his friends and many professional associates to the disease. Despite this he remained in the city to continue to practice his art. Joe loved the theatre and over the years came to work with and know many of its luminaries. His tales of the mishaps and misdeeds of the famous and the anonymous on stage are the stuff of family legend. He loved to travel which he did widely mostly throughout Europe and the Caribbean. Although without children he loved his nieces and nephews as his own spending time with them and the rest of the clan at the family home in Megansett on the Cape.
Known as Joey to those who loved him, Joe had an extraordinary sensibility for others and a generous spirit. He would delight and ensorcell most everyone he met. He was quick witted and possessed of a unique sense of humor with the ability to bring a smile to the face of even the most hard-bitten. The family considers Joey to be the happening of a special event in their lives and his loss is immeasurable.
A memorial service will be held on April 15th at 11:00 AM at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 481 Quaker Rd, North Falmouth, MA 02556 with a reception to follow at the Woods Hole Country Club.
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Joseph E. McGuire, II, please visit our Tree Store.