Rivers, Joan: Broadway Lights Dim, After All

After a minor firestorm from social media, the Broadway League has overturned its decision not to dim Broadway’s lights in honor of Joan Rivers. The League will now oversee the darkening of the theater district’s marquees tonight, in memory of the comedienne.

“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 theaters in New York will be dimmed in her memory tonight, at exactly 6:45 p.m. for one minute,” said the Broadway League’s exec director, Charlotte St. Martin, in a statement.

Dimming the lights for departed members of the Broadway community is a longstanding tradition in the industry. The Street most recently dimmed marquees for Robin Williams and Lauren Bacall, both Rialto alums.

On Monday, Rivers fans took to social media to declare their outrage, ignited by a report that the League, after deliberation, had opted not to dim the lights in honor of late comedienne, since she didn’t launch her career on Broadway nor had she appeared on the boards recently. Soon enough an online petition had started and the hashtag #Dim4Joan caught on, prompting some in the Broadway industry, including Jujamcyn Theaters (the owner of five Main Stem venues) and Disney, to decide to dim their lights despite the League’s decision.

Now the League, persuaded by the vocal response, has changed its mind. The lights will dim tonight just prior to Broadway’s 7 o’clock curtain.

Rivers’ last Broadway credit was in the 1994 flop “Sally Marr … and Her escorts.” She also had a stint in the 1986 staging of Neil Simon’s “Broadway Bound,” as well as a brief run in “Fun City” in 1972.