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Howell Binkley Memorial Video to Air on

PLSN Staff • News • October 16, 2020

NEW YORK – Parsons Dance and Friends and Family of Howell Binkley are pleased to announce that Howell Binkley: A Celebration of Light and Love, a video tribute in memory of lighting designer Howell Binkley created by Suspension Productions, will be available for viewing on beginning Sunday, October 25 at 8:00 p.m. EDT.

The 60-minute tribute, honoring Binkley’s award-winning career, beginning in 1978 until his death on August 14, 2020, features dance and Broadway luminaries discussing his impact on their lives and on their professional communities.

Binkley designed the lighting for 52 Broadway shows. He received 9 Tony Award nominations and won two Tony Awards. His immense success in theatrical lighting is explored throughout A Celebration of Light and Love by those who worked with him and cherished his friendship. Among these are Broadway and West End producers Cameron Macintosh, Jeffrey Seller, and Richard Winkler; directors Thomas Kail and Des McAnuff; choreographers David Parsons and Sergio Trujillo; actors Ariana DeBose, Chita Rivera, and Paul Nolan; and creators Bob Gaudio and Lin-Manuel Miranda. Joining them and others in remembrances of this remarkably talented man are his former assistants, his family, and his friends.

Binkley began his career with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, where he met choreographer David Parsons, then a dancer with the company. “It was an incredible journey, Howell Binkley and I had together,” says Parsons. “I was there to learn from Paul, and he was there to learn from lighting designer Jennifer Tipton. Over the next four decades, we traveled the world, worked extremely hard, and truly experienced the wonders of life.” Binkley and Parsons co-founded Parsons Dance in 1985, and, as its resident lighting designer, Binkley went on to light more than 70 pieces for the company.

Binkley once acknowledged that lighting dance helped him develop the skills necessary for lighting theater. “In dance, you are sculpting the body from all sides in order to give definition to the body as it turns, as it’s lifted, as it rolls on the ground,” he said. “I try in my lighting of plays and musicals to use that same carving tool.” His expertise in using this tool was acknowledged by revered members of the Broadway community, including director Des McAnuff (Ain’t Too ProudJersey Boys) with whom Binkley worked on over 30 productions. Lin-Manuel Miranda, who worked with him on In The Heights and later on Hamilton, for which Binkley received the 2016 Tony Award, stated in tribute to his passing, “Thank you for sculpting in light and elevating every moment you touched.” Appropriately so, A Celebration of Light and Love captures the elevating moments in the life of this gifted man.

Howell Binkley (1956 – 2020). Howell Binkley’s Broadway lighting design credits include Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of The Temptations (2019 Tony nomination), Come From Away (2017 Tony nomination), Hamilton (2016 Tony Award), AllegianceAfter Midnight (2014 Tony nomination), How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (2011 Tony nomination), West Side Story (2009 Tony nomination), In the Heights (2008 Tony nomination), Jersey Boys (2006 Tony, Henry Hewes Design Award, Outer Critics Circle Award), Avenue QThe Full MontyParade, and Kiss of the Spider Woman (1993 Tony nomination, Olivier Award and Dora Award winner). He is a five-time Helen Hayes Award recipient and was given the 1993 Sir Laurence Olivier Award and the Canadian Dora Award for Kiss of The Spider Woman. The proud co-founder of Parsons Dance, Binkley also lit dance works for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, Hubbard Street, and The Joffrey Ballet.

To honor his legacy, Binkley’s family, and colleagues, in partnership with the Hemsley Lighting Programs, have established the Howell Binkley Fellowship Program, a three-month individualized course offering emerging lighting designers the opportunity to learn about commercial and nonprofit lighting design. Led by Ryan O’Gara and Amanda Zieve, two of Howell’s key associates, the program reflects what was Binkley’s ongoing commitment to helping the next generation of designers develop technical skills as well as giving them practical advice on how to navigate the industry at the start of their careers.

Further information and to donate to the Howell Binkley Fellowship Program:

Donations may also be made in Binkley’s memory to Parsons Dance, at:


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