Bill Brusca, co-founder of New York City’s Irving Plaza and a legendary nightlife figure in the city for more than five decades, died July 26 at home after an extended illness. He was 76.
During his career, Brusca managed and produced shows in some of the most iconic live music venues in New York City. From his early days at The Ritz in Greenwich Village to co-founding Irving Plaza in Union Square alongside Andrew Rasiej, Bill’s contributions to the vibrant music scene were immeasurable.
Brusca went on to work with industry giants and produced unforgettable concerts featuring the likes of Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton, and U2, among many others.
Born and raised in Queens, New York, Brusca began his career in the early 1970’s managing clubs in New York City including The Ritz in Greenwich Village. In the early ‘80’s, he managed the Pavillion Pines on Fire Island.
Brusca co-founded Irving Plaza, along with Andrew Rasiej, and went on to become the famed venue’s general manager. He co-produced off-Broadway theater including “Song of Singapore” at Irving Plaza before going into concert promotion with Delsener/Slater Enterprises. Over the next 15 years, he produced by the top names in live music including Bob Dylan, Eric Clapton and U2, among others.
Brusca then joined The Nokia Theater in NYC’s Times Square as senior vice president and general manager. Following this, he continued as a consultant playing a crucial role in elevating the standard of live music experiences with his expertise in venue management and music business acumen. He was also an AIDS activist and Gay Rights Advocate.
“Bill’s passing leaves a void in the hearts of those who knew and loved him. He will be remembered for his generosity, kindness, brilliant sense of humor, unwavering badass spirit, and big heart,” according to his obituary. “New York City and the music industry has lost a true treasure, but his legacy will endure in the memories of those who had the privilege of sharing a part of his journey. And, his wonderfully infectious laughter will echo through the streets and music clubs in New York City forever.”
A memorial service to celebrate Bill’s life will be planned in the upcoming months.