Arrow-right Camera

The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Monday, October 19, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
Partly Cloudy Night 53° Partly Cloudy
News >  Spokane

Gigler, local actor, dies while rehearsing musical

Lewis and Clark grad worked in Spokane theater for decades

The Spokesman-Review

Local actor David Gigler died Saturday where countless Inland Northwest residents had come to know him: on stage.

Gigler, 47, collapsed from what appeared to be a heart attack during a rehearsal of the Interplayers Theatre’s “Ruthless! The Musical,” friends said. Paramedics arrived within three minutes but could not revive him.

The show was set to open on Thursday but has been canceled out of respect for Gigler, said Reed McColm, Interplayers art director and producer.

Gigler was a familiar sight on Spokane’s stages for two decades, playing roles at the Spokane Civic Theatre, the Spokane Theatrical Group and Valley Repertory Theatre. His roles ranged from Charlie Brown in “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” to would-be killer John Hinckley in Stephen Sondheim’s “Assassins” in 2007.

He was equally adept at serious drama (the Holocaust drama “I Never Saw Another Butterfly” in 2003), slapstick comedy (“Escanaba in Da Moonlight” in 2010) and musical theater (“Falsettos” in 1996). He won several statewide acting awards.

One of his most memorable roles was as the Cockney father Alfred Doolittle in the Civic’s 2005 version of “My Fair Lady.” The Spokesman-Review’s critic called him “the undisputed star” of the supporting cast.

“He’s been part of the theatrical scene for forever, it seems,” McColm said Saturday.

Gigler, a Spokane native who graduated from Lewis and Clark High School, was introduced to acting as a young adult by his partner Troy Nickerson, close friend Michelle Holland said.

Holland said Gigler had “a presence and a likability” on stage.

“The moment he went on stage, you were drawn to him,” she said.

Gigler also encouraged the best from fellow actors, said George Green, executive art director at the Lake City Playhouse.

“David was always genuine as a human being,” Green said. “He’d tell you if something didn’t look right and if something was stellar. He didn’t sugarcoat anything.”

In “Ruthless!,” which Nickerson was directing, Gigler was cast as Sylvia St. Croix, a gender-bending role for which Gigler had to learn to walk in high heels, McColm said.

McColm said Gigler undertook the role with relish.

“He died doing something he loved,” McColm said.

No services have been announced.

Correspondent Jim Kershner contributed to this report.
The Spokesman-Review Newspaper

Local journalism is essential.

Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.

Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter

Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.

American families feeling the pinch of COVID-19 pandemic

The COUNTRY Financial Security Index asked about 1,330 adult Americans in different income brackets a variety of questions, including how their finances are impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Courtesy COUNTRY Financial)

The year 2020 hasn’t been the most forgiving year for families and their pocketbooks.