Broadway to Dim Its Lights in Honor of Elaine Stritch
The Great White Way will go dim on Friday, July 18, in honor of four-time Tony nominee Elaine Stritch. The beloved star of stage and screen died on Thursday at the age of 89 in her home in Birmingham, Mich.
At 7:45 p.m. EST, theaters will lower their lights for one minute, an honor bestowed for the passing of a celebrated theater artist. Stritch made her home on the stage, from her Broadway debut in 1946 in Loco to her final bow as Madame Armfeldt in the 2010 revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s A Little Night Music.
“Elaine Stritch’s big personality was matched by her big talent. Collaborating with some of Broadway’s greatest playwrights and composers throughout her lengthy career, her signature numbers and singular style created a memorable legacy,” executive director of the Broadway League Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement. “Elaine Stritch will always be remembered as an important part of Broadway’s rich history, and she will be missed by her many fans.”
Stritch brought down the house in the 1947 musical Angel in the Wings with her rendition of “Civilization,” popularly known as the “Bongo Bongo Bongo” song. Her performance of Sondheim’s “Ladies Who Lunch,” when she played the caustic Joanne in the 1970 Hal Prince musical Company, was a reliable show-stopper.
The one-woman show Elaine Stritch at Liberty won Broadway’s 2002 Special Theatrical Event Tony Award, and it also earned her a Drama Desk prize. The show was re-created for television, for which Stritch collected the second of her three career Emmys. (The first was for a guest stint on Law & Order, and the third was for playing Alec Baldwin’s character’s caustic, overbearing mother Colleen Donaghy on NBC’s 30 Rock.)
She received Tony nominations for her work in Bus Stop (1955), Sail Away (1961), Company (one of the musical’s 14 noms) and A Delicate Balance (1996) and was superb in a 1994 revival of Show Boat. In 2003, she was saluted by New York City as a “living landmark” for her contributions to the Great White Way.