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BINKLEY REFLECTIONS: A Tribute To Howell Binkley
On August 14, 2020, the theater community lost a titan of lighting design as we learned of the passing of Howell Binkley at the age of 64. A perusal of Binkley’s résumé of Broadway credits reads like a “best of” list from Broadway’s past three decades. Yes, there was Hamilton, but there was also Avenue Q, The Full Monty, Parade, Jersey Boys, In the Heights, Memphis, Honeymoon in Vegas and Come from Away. Binkley has 52 Broadway credits in all, which garnered him nine Tony Award nominations along the way.
Two of his designs, Jersey Boys and Hamilton, won the Tony, and his work on Kiss of the Spider Woman and Hamilton both earned him the Olivier. Those of us in the lighting design community that have seen Hamilton on Disney+ recognize how his lighting helped lift that story off of the stage and into our living rooms.
Howell used R77760 to create a downstage angled special in Hamilton.
The preshow look of Avenue Q features R77760 as a full-stage abstract breakup
Howell’s Love For R77760 Internal Reflections
Shortly after he passed, Broadway Production Electrician Jimmy Fedigan posted a simple tribute to Howell on Facebook — a sandwich-style gobo holder loaded an R77760 Internal Reflections gobo. The reactions and comments on his post were very touching. It was humbling to see how much this one Rosco pattern had meant to Howell and his collaborators.
R77760 has been a stalwart of Howell’s designs, and a signature component of his artistry. It became well known that if you worked on a show with Howell, you could count on Internal Reflections being a large part of his design.
A short time later, a new image began appearing on Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites. Projection Designer Jason Thompson had created a collage of photos of Howell viewed through the soft focus of an R77760 pattern.
Collage created by Jason Thompson, with photo credits to: Amanda Zieve, Rhett Butler, Andrew Dye and Leila Nelson O’Sullivan.
Introducing R77760 Binkley Reflections
Rosco was inspired by how people were using this gobo to express their affection for Howell Binkley. The team at Rosco realized that bestowing his name on this pattern was the best way to honor his career, the impact his work has had on the lighting design industry, and his love for this particular gobo. Therefore, Rosco is pleased to announce that Rosco Gobo # R77760 from this day forward will be named “Binkley Reflections.”
R77760 has been in Rosco’s gobo catalog for decades. It was originally designed by Lighting Designer Dennis Parichy. The first thing Rosco did when they decided to rename the pattern was ask Dennis for permission to rebrand his gobo design. Parichy graciously and immediately agreed. “I met Howell when he was just starting out,” Parichy recalled. “He was such a nice man.”
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