Broadway to dim lights for Joan Rivers after initial thumbs down

Tue Sep 9, 2014 3:00pm EDT
 
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Broadway theaters will dim their marquee lights on Tuesday evening for one minute in memory of the late Tony-nominated comedian Joan Rivers, after theater executives reversed a decision that Rivers did not meet the criteria for the honor.

Rivers, who died last week at the age of 81, was initially excluded from the honor because she had not acted on Broadway in 20 years.

"Joan Rivers loved Broadway and we loved her," said Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of The Broadway League, which represents producers and theater owners.

"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 6:45pm for one minute,” she said in an email.

After the initial decision, Off-Broadway producer Tom D'Angora started an online petition urging the Broadway League to change its decision. He collected more than 4,400 signatures.

Brooklyn-born Rivers, known for her brash style and the catchphrase, "Can we talk?," died last Thursday at a New York hospital after she stopped breathing during a procedure at a medical clinic.

Rivers, who had a long career as a stand-up comedian, TV host, author and reality star, was nominated for a best actress Tony for 1994's "Sally Marr ... and Her Escorts," which she wrote.

She also wrote and appeared in the comedy play "Fun City" in the early 1970s, and more than a decade later in the comedy "Broadway Bound."

(Reporting by Patricia Reaney; Editing by Piya Sinha-Roy)

 
Comedian Joan Rivers arrives for the premiere of the documentary "Joan Rivers - A Piece Of Work" during the 2010 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah January 25, 2010.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson