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In Memoriam: Howell Binkley, 64

PLSN Staff • News • August 18, 2020

Howell Binkley

JACKSONVILLE, NC – Howell Binkley, a Tony and Oliver Award-winning LD who lit Hamilton and many other top Broadway, Off-Broadway and dance company productions over a career that spanned more than 40 years, died Aug. 14 after a battle with lung cancer. He was 64.

Michael S. Eddy, editor-in-chief at PLSN sister publication Stage Directions, wrote the following tribute on the day of Binkley’s passing:

It is with great sadness that we report on the passing of Lighting Designer Howell Binkley. His death today, August 14, 2020, was confirmed by his family, who noted that he ‘passed peacefully after a long and courageous battle with lung cancer.’ He died in North Carolina. He was 64. Howell’s Tony and Olivier Award-winning eye for lighting design and his Southern charm will be greatly missed.

Binkley, who had 52 Broadway credits, received the Tony Award in 2016 for Best Lighting Design of a Musical for Hamilton and in 2006 for Jersey Boys. He also received the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical for Hamilton and the 1993 Olivier Award for his lighting design for Kiss of the Spider Woman. His current work on Broadway includes Hamilton, Ain’t Too Proud and Come From Away. He had a long collaboration with Hal Prince, including Binkley’s first Broadway credit, Kiss of the Spider Woman, in 1993, as well as Prince’s last Broadway credit, Prince of Broadway, in 2017. He received the first of his nine Tony Award nominations for Kiss of the Spider Woman. During his career he also was nominated for four Drama Desk Awards, was a two-time Henry Hewes Design Award winner as well as five-time Helen Hayes Award recipient.

Binkley, who attended East Carolina University in Greenville, NC, started his career designing lighting for dance. In fact, he was well known for his dance lighting and was a co-founder and collaborator with David Parsons’ Parsons Dance Company in 1987. His other dance credits include Alvin Ailey, Joffrey Ballet and Houston Ballet.

Binkley also worked extensively off-Broadway and in regional theaters across the country, including La Jolla, Goodman, and the Guthrie, among numerous others. He also lit works at the Metropolitan Opera and the Dallas Opera.

A graveside service will be conducted at 2:00 p.m. EDT Thursday, August 20, 2020, at Salem Moravian Graveyard, God’s Acre, Winston-Salem, officiated by the Rev. Ginny Tobiassen and live streamed at vimeo.com/448638913.

Donations may be made to Parsons Dance, 229 West 42nd Street, Suite 800, NY, NY 10036, www.parsonsdance.org or a charity of your choice.

Online condolences may be made at the Hayworth-Miller Funeral Home: www.hayworth-miller.com.

 

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