Following fan protests, the Broadway League elected to dim marquee lights on the Great White Way last night (Sept. 9) in honor of late comedienne Joan Rivers for her contributions to theatre.
What Broadway looked like at 6:45 tonight. #Dim4Joan pic.twitter.com/t6MFH34CG7— Jonathan Mandell (@NewYorkTheater) September 10, 2014
What Broadway looked like at 6:45 tonight. #Dim4Joan pic.twitter.com/t6MFH34CG7
The organization, made up of theater producers and owners, initially decided they would not pay tribute to the 81-year-old because she did not meet the league's criteria for the honor.
“People need to have been very active recently in the theater, or else be synonymous with Broadway — people who made their careers here, or kept it up,” executive director Charlotte St. Martin explained to the New York Times on why they didn't include Joan.
Although the performer had not appeared on Broadway in 20 years, she was a Tony nominee for the 1994 play, "Sally Marr...and her escorts."
The entertainer's avid fans, including a few Broadway veterans, took to Twitter with the hashtag #Dim4Joan following the original announcement, hoping theater bosses would reconsider.
#Dim4Joan plain and simple. She deserves it.— Audra McDonald (@AudraEqualityMc) September 9, 2014
#Dim4Joan plain and simple. She deserves it.
The lights on Broadway should be dimmed for #joanRIVERS She supported the theater more than any other celeb and was a Tony nominee. Very sad— Cyndi Lauper (@cyndilauper) September 9, 2014
The lights on Broadway should be dimmed for #joanRIVERS She supported the theater more than any other celeb and was a Tony nominee. Very sad
@TheBwayLeague not even a response to the calls to #Dim4Joan? Public sentiment clearly not in your corner. I love you guys but seriously…— Steve Kazee (@SteveKazee) September 8, 2014
@TheBwayLeague not even a response to the calls to #Dim4Joan? Public sentiment clearly not in your corner. I love you guys but seriously…
A number of venues also announced they would go ahead and dim their lights regardless. But due in large part to the public backlash, the organization ultimately reversed its decision.
"Joan Rivers loved Broadway and we loved her. Due to the outpouring of love and respect for Joan Rivers from our community and from her friends and fans worldwide, the marquees of Broadway theatres in New York will be dimmed in her memory tonight, at exactly 6:45pm for one minute,” St. Martin said Tuesday.
We're thrilled Joan got the recognition she deserved!
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