Howell Binkley: He lit up Broadway Stages and every room he was in.
The first time I saw a run-through of “Greased Lightning” from the 1994 revival of Grease was in a rehearsal studio.
I was the Production Assistant . . . and would later Stage Manage, Assistant Company Manage, walk dogs, and learn about AOL chat rooms from Rosie O’Donnell – but that’s another story.
After the number in that fluorescently-lit room was over, I thought . . . “That was fun.”
Flash forward weeks later when I saw it for the first time, lit by Howell Binkley and I thought, “Holy @#$%, that was amazing!”
In fact, I decided that I did NOT want to be a Stage Manager ever again after that show . . . because I never wanted to “call it” – it had so many damn light cues!
And beautiful cues at that.
Almost as beautiful as the kind, departed soul that came up with them.
I was an intern when we first met . . . got him coffee, made sure he had his hotel reservation, etc. Yet he treated me like we had been peers for years.
That’s why I loved every time our paths crossed over the years. “Hey, buddy!” he’d always say, like not a day had passed since the last time we sat down.
In fact, I was talking to him about a new show just weeks ago. And he never knew he was sick, nor did he hint at it.
But that was Howell.
He was all about light.
And all about LIGHT.
Thank you, buddy, for your kindness, energy and your passion for our stages. They’ll forever be dimmer without your work and that great bit grin of yours.