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Howell Binkley (1956-2020)

The Theater Community mourns a beloved colleague, Howell Binkley, the Tony Award winning lighting designer of Hamilton and Jersey Boys.

August 16, 2020: One of Broadway’s most prominent and well liked lighting designers, Howell Binkley, a two-time Tony winner died on August 14 at the age of 64 after a long battle with lung cancer. His wife, Joyce Storey, confirmed the news. His designs included the Broadway productions of Jersey Boys and Hamilton, both of which earned him Tony Awards. The first award came in 2006 and the second 10 years later in 2016.  He also won the Olivier Award for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s staging of the musical Hamilton in London’s West End. The awards were merely the icing on an illustrious Broadway career that was already well established by the mid1990s. In total Mr. Binkley designed lighting for 52 Broadway shows.

Howell Binkley

The Theater Community mourns a beloved colleague, Howell Binkley, the Tony Award winning lighting designer of Hamilton and Jersey Boys.

August 16, 2020: One of Broadway’s most prominent and well liked lighting designers, Howell Binkley, a two-time Tony winner died on August 14 at the age of 64 after a long battle with lung cancer. His wife, Joyce Storey, confirmed the news. His designs included the Broadway productions of Jersey Boys and Hamilton, both of which earned him Tony Awards. The first award came in 2006 and the second 10 years later in 2016.  He also won the Olivier Award for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s staging of the musical Hamilton in London’s West End. The awards were merely the icing on an illustrious Broadway career that was already well established by the mid1990s. In total Mr. Binkley designed lighting for 52 Broadway shows.

Howell Binkley, Paul Tazewell Best Lighting and Costume Design for a Musical “Hamilton” 2016 Tony Awards, Photo: Barry Gordin

He made his Broadway debut as the lighting designer for Kiss of a Spider-Woman in 1993, earning a Tony nomination for his work on the John Kander-Fred Ebb-Terrence McNally musical set in an Argentine prison. Other Broadway credits include Avenue Q, In the Heights, Come From Away, Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations, all of which earned Tony nominations. He received a total of 9 Tony nominations.

Born in Winston-Salem, Mr. Binkley attended East Carolina University before moving to New York City in 1978. In 1985, choreographer David Parsons and Mr. Binkley founded the Parsons Dance Company, a modern company that has toured all over the world.

In addition to his work in NYC, Binkley did the national tours of Applause in 1996; tick, tick…BOOM! in 2003; and Flashdance in 2012. His work was most recently seen earlier this year in the world premiere of Fly at La Jolla Playhouse.

When news of his death broke, the theater community flooded social media with beloved remembrances of working with him.