Your earliest memories of the Institute?
I joined USITT in 1983 as a young assistant professor. People like Leon Brauner and Jim Moody were there to mentor me. Leon was especially responsible for my active involvement in the commissions.
I can’t begin to name all of the wonderful people I have met over the years who have enriched my life both personally and professionally.
I’ll never forget the first time I met Richard Pilbrow. His book, Stage Lighting Design, was my first introduction to the art of lighting.
Favorite USITT memories?
As Head of the Lighting Design Commission, I am most proud of introducing hands-on lighting sessions to USITT. I started the first “Light Lab” back in 1989 at the Calgary conference with 4 booms and some Lekos. It is great to see how it has grown over the years!
I also established the “Distinguished Designer Series” in 1997 as a way of providing an in-depth look into the lifetime careers of distinguished lighting designers. Early recipients included Tom Skelton, Imero Fiorentino, Jennifer Tipton, Abe Feder, Ken Billington, and Jules Fisher.
Some of my favorite panels include: the amazing Dance Lighting session with Jennifer Tipton in Boston, where we watched her light a new dance piece performed by a professional company; Video Lighting with Jim Moody; Opera Design with Gil Wechsler, Neil Peter Jampolis and Dawn Chiang; and the special Finnish Lighting Installation: Shadow Takes a Walk.
- Professor of Lighting Design at Carnegie Mellon University
- Design Partner in C & C Lighting, designing for theatre, opera, dance and architecture Member of United Scenic Artists
- Member of International Association of Lighting Designers
- Fellow of USITT
- Major architectural lighting design projects include the Gulf Tower, Fifth Avenue Place, the Hunt Library and the Randy Pausch Memorial Bridge in Pittsburgh.
- Theatrical designs include productions with the Pittsburgh Opera, Baltimore Opera, Opera Columbus, Pittsburgh Ballet, Cincinnati Ballet, Maryland Ballet, Burt Reynolds Jupiter Theatre, Barter Theatre, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, Quantum Theatre, City Theatre, August Wilson Center, Pittsburgh Symphony and Teatro Dell’Orologio and Teatro Vascello in Rome.
- Recipient of three Nuckolls Education grants to teach architectural lighting at US universities.
- Recipient of Henry van de Velde Award for Architectural Education in Antwerp for interdisciplinary design education .
- Featured speaker at a Design Symposium in China, Lightfair International, LDI, Prague Quadrennial.
- Design work displayed at PQ 2007 and World Stage Design in Toronto in 2005.
Short list of your various involvement in the institute:
- OISTAT Education Commission – USITT Representative 2005-2010
- USITT Board of Directors, 1996-2002
- Lighting Design Commission Liaison to the International Committee, 1994-1996
- Head of the Lighting Design Commission, 1989-1994
- Lighting Design Vice Commissioner, 1987-1989
- Lighting Commissioner Ohio Section, 1985-1987
Short list of USITT characters who have made a difference to you:
At the top of the list would have to be Sonny Sonnenfeld followed by Richard Pilbrow, Joe Tawil, Jim Moody, Leon Brauner, Pat MacKay, Bill Warfel, Craig Wolf, and Michael Ramsaur.
About being a fellow?
It is such a great honor to be named a fellow in recognition of my accomplishments and to be in the company of so many other talented people.
What the USITT means to you personally?
Being a part of USITT has enabled me to be connected to the educational theatre community and to meet people I never would have met otherwise.
My lighting designs have been published in:
- Scene Design and Stage Lighting by W. Oren Parker and R. Craig Wolf, editions 1990-2002;
- Scene Design and Stage Lighting by R. Craig Wolf and Dick Block, editions 2002-2014;
- Stage Lighting Fundamentals and Applications by Richard Dunham 2011;
- Lighting the Stage, Art and Practice by Williard F. Bellman, 3rd edition 2000
I have been featured in these publications:
- “Born to Do This,” feature article in Mondo Arc Magazine, April 2015;
- “Architecture Students See the Light” SSL Architecture Magazine, October 2014;
- “Bridge of Shows,” Lighting and Sound America, May 2012;
- “Randy Pausch Memorial Bridge Lighting,” Lighting and Sound America, June 2012;
- “Partners in Light,” Lighting and Sound America, October 2008;
- “5 Remarkable Women in Theatre,” Stage Directions Magazine, March 2006;
- Profile of professional and academic lighting career, Lighting Dimensions Magazine, January 2001
Books that you would recommend:
- Stage Lighting Design by Richard Pilbrow
- Magic of Light by Jean Rosenthal
- The Art of Light and Architecture by Mark Major, Jonathan Speirs, Anthony Tischhauser
- Light Fantastic by Max Keller
- Scene Design and Stage Lighting by R. Craig Wolf and Dick Block
- A Practical Guide to Stage Lighting by Steven Shelley
I am happy to mentor in the area of lighting design or general career advice.