Peggy Clark Kelley


Read a memorial of Peggy Clark Kelley


  • Smith College, BA in Dramatic Arts (1935)
  • Yale School of Drama, MFA (1938)

Assisted numerous designers on and off Broadway including John Koenig, Donald Oenslager, Howard Bay, and Oliver Smith among others. 

Assisted Oliver Smith with the lighting for Our Town in 1944 and first received critical notice.

Employment History:

Lighting Designer on Broadway for 78 productions (1941-1988).  Notables include:

  • Brigadoon                                          
  • Bells Are Ringing
  • Bye, Bye Birdie                                 
  • Flower Drum Song
  • Auntie Mame                                     
  • The Rose Tattoo
  • Three Penny Opera                            
  • Paint Your Wagon
  • Pal Joey (revival w/ George Abbott)
  • The Unsinkable Molly Brown
  • Medea (w/ Dame Judith Anderson)   
  • Peter Pan
  • Kismet                                    
  • Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
  • The Rape of Lucretia                         
  • Dark of the Moon

Instructor, Smith College (1967-1969)

Instructor, Yale School of Drama (1969-1970)


All of Ms. Kelly’s design work and other papers are in the Clark Collection in the Library of Congress.  Editor’s note: Ms. Kelly is considered particularly important in the history of the Broadway theatre not only because she was among the first women to design on the “Great White Way,” she was also instrumental in the development of Lighting Design as a profession.

USITT involvement and offices held:

  • Founding Member
  • Board of Directors
  • Chair, Membership Committee

Awards and Honors:

  • Elected USITT Fellow (1978)
  • President, United Scenic Artists local 829 (1968)  Editor’s note: Ms. Kelly was the first woman to be elected President of the organization.
  • Smith College created the Peggy Clark Kelly Design Prize. This honor is given to outstanding undergraduates that demonstrate extraordinary promise and dedication in the areas of theatrical design.