Thanksgiving weekend; a quick bagel with London-UK-based lighting designer Rick Fisher in suburban Philadelphia, where we are both visiting our families for the holiday. What brings Rick to the States: Meeting about future productions of the Tony-Award winning musical, Billy Elliot, for which he won his second Tony for best lighting. With Billy Elliot set to open in Chicago in mid-April, Fisher will be there for a long tech period beginning in late February: with three leads in the role of Billy and triple casts of baby ballerinas, the tech time is multiplied by three. Fisher won his first Tony (as well as Drama Desk Award) for An Inspector Calls in 1994. Interestingly An Inspector Calls is back in the West End where it had a very successful run at Wyndhams Theatre in London this season, along with Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake, another blast from Fisher's past: he lit the original production back in 1995. Both of these productions have been touring as well. What's different after all these years in terms of the lighting? "The design is still the same," says Fisher, "But almost every instrument is lower wattage, the 2K Fresnels are now 1Ks for example." Also on Fisher's plate are two operas for the 2010 Santa Fe Opera festival: new productions of Madame Butterfly and Albert Herring and he continues in his role as chairman of the ALD, UK Association of Lighting Designers, which has recently announced new membership categories including professional member for production electricians, programmers, technicians, projection designers, etc. and a corporate member slot.
Photos: LD Rick Fisher; and Billy Elliot... on its way to Chicago this spring.