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The Broadway community will honor the legacies of Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds Friday night. Lights across theater marquees will be dimmed for one minute at 7:45 p.m. ET in memory of the mother and daughter who died just one day apart, on Dec. 27 and 28.
Both women made their Broadway debuts in the 1973 musical comedy revival Irene, with Reynolds receiving a Tony nomination for her performance in the title role of an immigrant shop assistant introduced to Long Island’s high society. Fisher appeared as a debutante in the ensemble of the show, a hit that ran for 594 performances. Coincidentally, beloved Broadway veteran George S. Irving, who won a Tony Award for the same production, died on Dec. 26, one day before Fisher.
Reynolds returned to Broadway in two subsequent productions, bringing her song-and-dance act, Debbie, in 1976, and stepping in as a replacement in the lead role of TV news personality Tess Harding in the 1981 musical Woman of the Year. Lauren Bacall had originated the role, with Raquel Welch replacing her until Reynolds joined the company.
In addition, Reynolds toured successfully in the Broadway musicals Annie Get Your Gun and The Unsinkable Molly Brown; the latter was also one of her signature screen roles.
Fisher appeared on Broadway in a short-lived 1980 musical comedy called Censored Scenes From King Kong and was a replacement in the title role of Agnes of God during that 1982 play’s 18-month run.
However, Fisher’s most memorable Broadway work was in her 2009 solo show, Wishful Drinking, a wry account of growing up as a child of Hollywood and being catapulted into the Star Wars firmament, which also dealt candidly with her struggles with addiction, depression and bipolar disorder. The show was published in book form and turned into a documentary for HBO.
A more recent documentary about Fisher and Reynolds, Bright Lights, will debut Saturday on HBO.
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Melvin Van Peebles