**The memorial planned for March 18 has been postponed due to illness in Howard’s immediate family. Details on a rescheduled date will be posted here as soon as they are confirmed.
It is with a heavy heart that we announce that Howard Thies, Technical Director for City Parks Foundation’s arts and cultural programs, died Thursday morning, January 17th, at Lutheran Medical Center in Coney Island, Brooklyn. He was hospitalized the previous afternoon after experiencing difficulties breathing and was heavily sedated for treatment upon admission. Despite intensive efforts by the medical staff, he suffered heart failure the following morning.
Howard was truly the heart and soul of the SummerStage festival. The relationship began in 1987, when he designed the lighting for Ping Chong’s “Astonishment and the Twins,” after
which he was invited to join the festival’s technical crew. In 2000, he was hired as CPF’s first Technical Director for Arts and Cultural Programs. Before the launch of the 2012 SummerStage season, Howard was honored for entering his twenty-sixth year of service to the festival. In his capacity as TD, he was instrumental in producing over a thousand performing arts programs across disciplines in Central Park and in smaller neighborhood parks across all five boroughs which touched the lives of millions of New Yorkers.
Prior to joining SummerStage, Howard was the resident lighting designer for La MaMa and originated designs for several troupes and performers, including Blue Man Group, Ridge Theater, Amy and David Sedaris, Andre Serban and The Great Jones Repertory Co. His many stage credits include the Off-Off-Broadway production of Andre De Shield’s “Harlem Nocturne” and the Broadway production of “Salome,” starring Al Pacino. His work was featured in Lighting Dimensions Magazine, Theater Craft, Architectural Digest and American Theater Magazine. He was the recipient of two Village Voice OBIE Awards, two New York Dance and Performance (Bessie) Awards, and a Foundation for Contemporary Performance Arts fellowship.
Howard will be remembered fondly for his profound passion for the performing arts, his indefatigable work ethic, and his tutelage of a generation of creative technicians.
He is survived by his wife of thirty-three years, Meryl Vladimir; his mother Karin Di Gia; his father, Winthrop Thies; his sisters Brenda Gibney and Melissa Thies; and his brother Danny Di Gia.