ECU alum wins London’s most prestigious theater award for work in ‘Hamilton’

Howell Binkley (contributed photos)

Binkley (contributed photos)

Howell Binkley, an East Carolina University alum who won a Tony Award for his lighting design of the musical “Hamilton” in 2016, has another accolade to add to his collection.

On Sunday, Binkley won an Olivier Award for Best Lighting Design for “Hamilton.” The Olivier Awards are the UK’s most prestigious stage awards presented annually by the Society of London Theatre. This year’s Olivier Awards saw “Hamilton” take home seven prizes, the most of any show, including best new musical.

Binkley has been a Broadway lighting designer since 1992. He grew up in Winston-Salem, where he participated in both high school and community theater. He went to ECU to pursue a degree in architecture and got involved in the theater program. He studied theater at ECU until 1977, but left before graduating to work in New York. His first Broadway show was “Kiss of the Spider Woman” in 1992. Before “Hamilton,” he worked with the show’s creator and star Lin-Manuel Miranda on a production called “In the Heights,” Miranda’s Broadway debut.

Howell Binkley

Lighting designer and ECU alumnus Howell Binkley joins the cast and crew on stage for curtain call after a production of “Hamilton.”

“ECU totally prepared me for my career,” Binkley told ECU News Services in 2016 before his Tony win. “It gave me a great foundation that took me to where I am now. I’m very proud I went to ECU, and more proud every year as I watch the school grow.”

For several years, Binkley has given a senior theater student from ECU a summer internship with him in New York.

“Hamilton,” an instant Broadway hit, uses rap and hip-hop music to tell the story of Alexander Hamilton and the founding fathers. The lighting design for the show is continuous and helps move the show seamlessly through 50 songs.

 

Related: ECU alum wins Tony award

 

-by Erin Shaw, University Communications