Update: All Broadway Theatres Will Dim Marquees for Hinton Battle Following Outcry | Playbill

Obituaries Update: All Broadway Theatres Will Dim Marquees for Hinton Battle Following Outcry

The late three-time Tony winner made his Broadway debut as the original Scarecrow in The Wiz.

Hinton Battle in The Tap Dance Kid Martha Swope

Update, 4 PM March 2: The Broadway League has announced that all Broadway theatres will dim their marquee lights for one minute at 6:45 PM March 12 in honor of three-time Tony winner Hinton Battle, who died January 30 at the age of 67. The news reverses course from a March 1 announcement that the lights of only a select few theatres would dim in Battle’s honor, a decision that was swiftly met with confusion and outcry on social media.

"After further consultation among the Committee of Theatre Owners and reflecting on the impact of Hinton Battle, the Committee has shared with his family that all Broadway theatres will dim their lights in his honor on March 12, 2024, at 6:45 PM for one minute,” Broadway League Interim President Jason Laks said in a new statement March 2. “As we continue to remember Mr. Battle’s remarkable talent and array of roles, the decision was made to dim all lights as the most appropriate way to recognize his legacy on Broadway and within our community.”

The ceremony was initially announced to only be planned for the Shubert, Marquis, St. James, New Amsterdam, Samuel J. Friedman, Circle in the Square, Hayes, Vivian Beaumont, and Todd Haimes theatres. 

"The passing of Hinton Battle has had a profound impact within the Broadway community as we mourn the loss of a true theatrical legend," read Laks’ initial statement. "Hinton Battle will be remembered for his incredible array of roles on Broadway. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans.”

The limited dimming was somewhat of a surprise, news that was not shared when the dimming itself was confirmed by the Broadway League last week. Public calls from theatre fans and Broadway notables for Battle to receive the honor flooded social media after news of a ceremony for Battle did not follow an announcement of the same honor for fellow three-time Tony winner Chita Rivera, who died the same day Battle passed. Marquee lights were dimmed for Rivera February 17, with all Broadway theatres participating.

Marquee dimming is usually done by all Broadway theatres as organized by The Broadway League, though select theatres can elect to do an individual dimming in situations where the League is unable to secure the participation of all theatre owners. The theatres who were initially set to participate in Battle's limited dimming ceremony include some but not all venues owned and operated by The Shubert Organization, The Nederlander Organization, and Roundabout Theatre Company, along with theatres run by non-profit theatre companies Lincoln Center Theater, Second Stage Theater, and Manhattan Theatre Club (Roundabout is also a non-profit theatre company operating on Broadway).

At the age of 18, Mr. Battle made his Broadway debut as the original Scarecrow in The Wiz, receiving momentous acclaim for his energetically-athletic dance style. He would later go on to work with some of the most influential choreographers in the industry, including Bob Fosse in the original production of Dancin' and Michael Bennett in the original production of Dreamgirls.

Mr. Battle received an impressive three Tony Awards for originating three vastly varied roles: in Sophisticated Ladies, The Tap Dance Kid, and Miss Saigon. He won Best Featured Actor in a Musical for all three roles, making him the most-awarded actor in the category's history.

Read Battle's full Playbill obituary here.

The Broadway League is the national trade association for the Broadway industry representing more than 700 members from nearly 200 national and international markets, including theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers as well as suppliers of goods and services to the commercial theatre industry.

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