×

‘Hamilton’ Lighting Designer Howell Binkley Dies at 64

Howell Binkley and Paul Tazewell at
Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres

Howell Binkley, the Tony Award-winning lighting designer behind “Hamilton,” “Jersey Boys” and “In the Heights,” died Aug. 14 after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 64.

The theater community took to social media after news of Binkley’s death to pay tribute to his artistry, character, and masterful use of light and darkness to accentuate on-stage drama.

“Thank you for sculpting in light & elevating every moment you touched,” “Hamilton” and “In the Heights” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda wrote on Twitter. “Where will I hide now if not at your tech table? I miss your smile & kindness already. Rest easy pal.”

Leslie Odom Jr., the actor who portrayed Aaron Burr in “Hamilton,” offered his condolences, writing “a master lighting designer and a light. Loved the man. RIP good brother.”

Ariana DeBose, who worked with Binkley on “Summer: The Donna Summer Musical,” called the designer “my constant cheerleader,” and wrote, ” His talent was a gift to our community.”

And “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry tweeted, “We will continue to reflect the light you shined on us.”

The official “Hamilton” twitter account wrote, “Our beloved friend and collaborator Howell Binkley passed away today. He painted with light and took us to places and times we could only dream of going. One of the finest lighting designers in the business and an even better human being. We will miss him terribly.”

Binkley was born in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and attended East Carolina University.

His credits also included revivals of “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” and “West Side Story,” as well as “Kiss of the Spider Woman,” “Avenue Q,” “Come From Away,” “Hollywood Arms,” and “Bridge & Tunnel.”

He was nominated for nine Tonys during his decades-long career, winning two. Binkley also earned an Olivier Award and designed the lighting for more than 50 shows.