The Broadway League has announced that marquee lights at all Broadway theaters will be turned off for one minute on March 22 at 6:30 p.m. in memory of Philip J. Smith. The Chairman Emeritus of the Shubert Organization died on January 15, 2021 at the age of 89 from complications related to COVID-19.
“Phil Smith was the epitome of class and a true treasure to the community,” Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin said in a statement. “His work on behalf of Broadway has been extraordinary and we have been very fortunate at the League for his 36 years of service where he has made a big difference serving on the League Board of Directors, Executive Committee and Committee work. He was a master storyteller and avid Broadway lover who dedicated his life and career to keeping Broadway vibrant and successful. He left a lasting legacy for New York City and Broadway.
Smith ascended to the position of president of the Shubert organization in 2008, replacing Gerald Schoenfeld after his death. He was co-chief executive, sharing that title with Robert E. Wankel. Smith announced his retirement in June 2020. As head of the theater organization, Smith oversaw 17 Broadway theaters and two off-Broadway theaters, producing more than 60 Broadway shows during his tenure as president, including winning productions from Tony. god of carnage (2009)Once (2012), Hedwig and the Angry Thumb (2014), The curious incident of the dog during the night (2014), skylight (2015), Humans (2016), Dear Evan Hansen (2016), The group visit (2017) and Angels in America (2018).
In 2011, Smith received a Tony Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his extraordinary contributions to the theater industry. In 2015, he was inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame and honored as a Living Landmark by the New York Landmarks Conservancy.