They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway. To see these blinking, shining, glowing, neon lights go dim for just a moment you can feel it. Call it a flag half staff, a send off or a heartfelt goodbye for a member of the theatre community. Last night the Hollywood Pantages Theatre dimmed its neon lights for the first time in honor of the late James M. Nederlander.
It is a tradition that dates back to the 1950’s beginning with Gertrude Lawrence. Lawrence died after the matinee performance while starring in the Broadway musical The King and I. Under this tradition all 40 Broadway theatres dim their outdoor lights for a minute just before the curtain on show night. Dimming the Broadway lights is typically reserved for those who have been very active in the theater or synonymous with Broadway.
The grief of the theatre community is felt for that one dark minute and when the warm lights start shining again, the feeling of hope and joy fills the street. They say there’s magic in the air.
Theatres from London to New York, and from Chicago to Los Angeles dimmed their lights for James M. Nederlander. Below, watch as the Hollywood Pantages dims our lights for the first time ever in honor Jimmy