Select Broadway theatres will dim the lights of their marquees September 27 in honor of late Tony Award winner Phyllis Newman, the musical comedy veteran and television star, who died September 15 at 86. Marquees at the American Airlines, Broadhurst, Helen Hayes, Lunt-Fontanne, Lyric, New Amsterdam, Samuel J. Friedman, St. James, and Vivian Beaumont Theatres will go dark for exactly one minute at 7:45 PM.
“Broadway has lost a force of nature who was as much a leading lady offstage as on,” said Broadway League Chair Thomas Schumacher. “Beyond her indelible mark as an actor, it’s impossible to overstate the extraordinary good that Phyllis Newman did over 30 years for our community through The Actors Fund and The Phyllis Newman Women’s Initiative.”
A Tony Award winner for her performance in the 1961 musical Subways Are for Sleeping, Newman appeared on Broadway in Wish You Were Here, Bells Are Ringing, and On the Town, as well as the Neil Simon comedies The Prisoner of Second Avenue and Broadway Bound—earning a Tony nomination for the latter. Her television appearances were numerous, often appearing as a celebrity guest on What's My Line?, Match Game, To Tell the Truth, and The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.
In addition to her theatrical credits, Ms. Newman’s legacy endures through her philanthropic work as an advocate for accessible women’s healthcare. Her diagnosis with breast cancer in 1983 led to the formation of The Phyllis Newman Women’s Health Initiative, which operates as part of the Actors Fund. Her dedicated work as an advocate for accessible healthcare, particularly for women and young children, was recognized by the American Theatre Wing in 2009, when she was named the first recipient of the Tony Awards' Isabelle Stevenson Award for her humanitarian and philanthropic work.