Memorial for Late Shubert Organization Chairman Philip J. Smith Held March 22 at Broadway's Music Box | Playbill

Industry News Memorial for Late Shubert Organization Chairman Philip J. Smith Held March 22 at Broadway's Music Box

The lights of Broadway theatres will also be dimmed March 22 to pay tribute to Mr. Smith's more than 63-year career in the American theatre.

Philip J. Smith

The Shubert Organization celebrates the life of former Shubert Organization Chairman Philip J. Smith—who passed away January 15, 2021, at the age of 89—March 22 at 1 PM at the Music Box Theatre.

The afternoon service is open to the public, and all COVID protocols will be observed.

Shubert Organization Chairman and CEO Robert E. Wankel said in an earlier statement, “Phil Smith was a giant of the American Theatre and a treasured member of our Shubert family for 63 years. We look forward to this celebration when we can honor Phil’s memory with reminiscences and performances, together with his family and his many friends and colleagues in the theatre community.” 

Broadway also pays tribute to Mr. Smith March 22 with a traditional light dimming of theatre marquees for one minute at 6:30 PM.

“Phil Smith was the epitome of class and a true treasure to the community,” stated Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin. “His work on behalf of Broadway was extraordinary, and we were most fortunate at the League for his 36 years of service where he made a great difference serving on the Board of the League, the Executive Committee, and the Labor Committee. He was a master storyteller and a passionate Broadway lover who devoted his life and career to keeping Broadway vibrant and successful. He has left a lasting legacy to the city of New York and to Broadway.”

Mr. Smith’s rise through the ranks of The Shubert Organization began in 1957 when he became box-office treasurer at the Imperial. He went on to gain experience working in operations and management and was named general manager of all Shubert theatres in 1964. He was promoted to Shubert vice president in 1969.

During more than 15 years as executive vice president of The Shubert Organization, Mr. Smith worked closely with President Bernard B. Jacobs and Chairman Gerald Schoenfeld, whose stewardship of the company began in the early 1970’s. Following the death of Mr. Jacobs in 1996, Mr. Smith was named President. He served alongside Mr. Schoenfeld for 12 years.

After the passing of Mr. Schoenfeld in 2008, Mr. Smith became chairman and co-chief executive officer of The Shubert Organization, and Robert E. Wankel, longtime Shubert executive vice president, was named president and co-chief executive officer. Mr. Smith retired and became Chairman Emeritus in 2020.

Read Playbill's complete obituary for Mr. Smith here.

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