The death last week of Broadway singing coach Barbara Maier Gustern has been classified by New York police as a homicide. Her attacker, who shoved the elderly Manhattan resident from behind has just been arrested.
The NYPD has arrested a woman accused in the death of Ms. Gustern. Lauren Pazienza, 26, of Port Jefferson is charged with manslaughter in connection with the case.
Gustern, 87, was heading toward a cab outside her Chelsea apartment on the evening of March 10 when she was pushed to the ground in what police believe to have been an unprovoked attack by an apparent stranger. Gustern suffered severe head trauma and soon went into a coma. She died at New York’s Bellevue Hospital five days after the attack without regaining consciousness.
Gustern, a singer and vocal coach whose students included Blondie’s Debbie Harry, avant-garde performer Diamanda Galas and the cast of Daniel Fish’s acclaimed 2019 Broadway revival of Oklahoma!, was a longtime fixture on the downtown cabaret scene. She was on her way to the Public Theater’s Joe’s Pub venue to watch the performance of a student on March 10 when she was shoved to the ground and brutally attacked.