Unknown photographer, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
To commemorate the life of prolific actor, director and cultural icon Sidney Poitier, the Committee of Theatre Owners will dim the lights of Broadway theatres in New York for one minute on Wednesday, January 19 at exactly 7:45PM.
Mr. Poitier’s long and storied career in the entertainment industry included many trailblazing and culturally significant roles. After training with the American Negro Theatre, he made his Broadway debut 75 years ago in a short-lived all-Black revival of Lysistrata. Mr. Poitier went on to create the iconic role of Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking play A Raisin in the Sun, for which he earned a 1960 Tony Award® nomination as Best Actor in a Play. Mr. Poitier reprised his searing portrayal of the play’s proud and ambitious central character in the hit 1961 film adaptation, further cementing the character and the play’s prominent places in the American theatrical canon. In 1968, after becoming the first Black performer to win an Academy Award for Best Actor, Mr. Poitier returned to Broadway to direct Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights featuring Louis Gossett Jr., Diane Ladd and Cicely Tyson.
“Although Sidney Poitier’s brilliance shone on Broadway stages as a performer and director in just a small number of productions, his presence on Broadway was both titanic and influential,” said Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League. “I know that Broadway fans worldwide recognize the incredible impact Mr. Poitier had on our art form. He is a true icon and an inspiration to so very many.”
Mr. Poitier’s Broadway biography can be found on the Internet Broadway Database: