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Broadway will dim the lights in theaters to pay tribute to the late Hinton Battle, who won a Tony award

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On Tuesday, all 41 Broadway theaters will dim their lights to pay respects to the late Hinton Battle, a renowned actor who won three Tony awards. This decision, made by the Broadway League, comes after an initial plan to have only nine theaters honor Battle received criticism from the theater community. The change was announced by Broadway League President Jason Lacks, who explained that the tribute will take place on March 12, 2024, at 6:45 pm for one minute.

Hinton Battle, famous for his role as the scarecrow in the 1975 musical “The Wiz,” is the only three-time Tony Award-winner for best featured actor in a musical. He won Tony Awards for his performances in “Sophisticated Ladies” (1981), “The Tap Dance Kid” (1984), and “Miss Saigon” (1991).

Traditionally, Broadway dims its theater marquee lights to honor industry legends who have passed away. The Broadway League, a trade association of theater owners and producers, determines who receives this honor. However, there has been ongoing debate within the theater community about the criteria for such recognition.

Chris Peterson, founder of OnStage, a blog covering Broadway industry news, expressed the need for standardized criteria. Peterson believes that iconic figures like Hinton Battle should automatically receive such honors without hesitation. He emphasized the importance of consistent policies to ensure individuals are honored appropriately.

In the past, the Broadway League faced criticism for its decision-making process, such as the case of Joan Rivers in 2014. Rivers was eventually honored after the committee initially declined, citing her non-Broadway career start. Peterson argues that the delay in recognizing Hinton Battle highlights the need for improvement in honoring those who contributed significantly to the industry.

Despite the delay, Peterson is optimistic that Battle will now receive the recognition he deserves, serving as a reminder to better honor individuals who have made substantial contributions to the Broadway community. CNN has reached out to the Broadway League for additional comments on the matter.

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