(Brantley’s article appeared in The New York Times, 11/20; via Pam Green.)

When the lights are dimmed on Broadway Friday night in honor of the director Mike Nichols, who died on Wednesday at 83, the neighborhood where he plied his trade for half a century will feel even darker than usual. Mr. Nichols emanated a luminous glamour that was once commonplace in the theater, but now flickers only fitfully in an increasingly corporate, profit-driven, financially anxious world.

Of course, he possessed a strong commercial instinct in addition to many other invaluable tools necessary to a man of the theater: a bone-deep empathy for actors, a natural-born comedian’s sense of timing (honed during his fabled nightclub routines with Elaine May) and an awareness of the power of lowering the voice when everyone is waiting for a yell. But what he lent to the profession, above all, was luster, the kind of bright glamour that rivals the flashbulbs and klieg lights trained upon its possessors.


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