Are we happy that Broadway has finally seen the light and agreed to dim its lights after initially refusing to honor comedy icon Joan Rivers?
There was a huge public outcry after the Broadway League dissed Joan Rivers, who was nominated for a Tony Award for best actress in a play in 1994, by failing to honor her after her sad passing on Sept. 4. Thankfully, Broadway has changed its tune — seven of the famous New York City street’s 40 theaters have decided to dim their marquee lights at 6:45 p.m. tonight, Sept. 9, in honor of Joan.
Broadway: Joan Rivers’ Death Honored As Theaters Agree To Dim Lights
Joan earned rave reviews and a Tony nomination for best actress for her amazing leading performance in Sally Marr … and Her Escorts, which ran on Broadway for 50 performances in May and June of 1994.
The play, which Joan also co-wrote, was based on the life of the mother of stand-up comedian Lenny Bruce, who was a huge influence on Joan’s career.
It’s understandable, then, that Joan’s fans would be so upset over the Broadway community’s refusal to give her a shout-out for her tremendous success on the stage. Even though her award-nominated performance was 20 years ago, Joan clearly still had a presence on Broadway. Tony Award winners Audra McDonald and Hugh Jackman even performed at Joan’s funeral, after receiving special requests from her daughter, Melissa Rivers, 46.
After a committee of the Broadway League decided not to dim the marquee lights for Joan because it believed she wasn’t worthy of the honor, off-Broadway producer Tom D’Angora launched an online petition to protest the decision, which quickly drew more than 1,700 signatures by Sept. 8, according to The New York Times. Fans, including Modern Family‘s Eric Stonestreet, also took to Twitter to slam the committee’s diss. Here’s what some of them had to say:
Broadway execs WON’T dim lights for Joan Rivers. Aww aren’t they so cute with their little meetings on their light dimming power and such.
— Eric Stonestreet (@ericstonestreet) September 9, 2014
— josh lamon (@JoshLamon) September 8, 2014
— Scott Nevins (@ScottNevins) September 8, 2014
Luckily fans’ prayers were answered — largely by Jordan Roth, the owner of Jujamcyn Theaters, which runs five of the seven theaters that will dim the lights for Joan tonight. Jordan took to Twitter on Sept. 8 to declare:
In memory of the legendary Joan Rivers, we will dim the lights of our Jujamcyn Theaters marquees, Tuesday at 6:45pm. pic.twitter.com/j07m1L5gaS
— Jordan Roth (@Jordan_Roth) September 9, 2014
Disney also announced that it will dim the lights of its New Amsterdam Theater, where its musical Aladdin is currently showing. The Helen Hayes Theater, where Joan starred in Sally Marr … and Her Escorts in 1994, will also lower its lights tonight.
We’re so glad these fans helped reverse the Broadway League’s decision and give Joan the tribute she deserves!
How about YOU, HollywoodLifers? Are you glad these theaters are honoring Joan? Do you think more theaters should do the same? Let us know!
— Tierney McAfee