The Broadway League reversed itself on September 9 and chose to get theaters to dim their lights in honor of Joan Rivers.
The league had said on September 8 that Joan Rivers did not meet the criteria for the honor, triggering a controversy when several theater owners said they would turn off their marquee lights on September 9 anyway. An online petition was launched and several celebrities came out in favor of granting the honor.
The organization changed course Tuesday afternoon, saying the lights would dim at 6:45 PM for one minute.
“Joan Rivers loved Broadway and we loved her,” Charlotte St. Martin, the league’s executive director, said in a statement.
“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.”
Joan Rivers, who died on September 4 at 81, was known primarily as a TV actress and comedian, though she was seen as a champion of Broadway and off-Broadway shows and earned a Tony Award nomination.
Before the league’s reversal, 10 theaters out of 40 were set to break with the league and dim their lights. Theater producer Tom D’Angora had started an online petition asking the league to reverse its decision. It had attracted more than 5,000 signatures.
“I can’t believe we can be denied the last chance to show respect and thank her. I also think if you watch her interviews and documentaries, this would hurt her feelings,” Tom D’Angora said.
“Plus, how hard is it to hit a dimmer switch?”
A spokeswoman for the Rivers family said they were in mourning and didn’t want to comment.
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