You've seen the top 10, now check out the other 40 powerful people on our list
11. Kevin Adams
No hidden sources here: in a handful of productions—Spring Awakening (pictured), Passing Strange, Next To Normal, Hair, and American Idiot—Adams has retooled the look of musical theatre by plugging into neon, LED, fluorescent, A-lamps on cords, and other wild choices to create a new paradigm in stage lighting. He picked up back-to-back Tony Awards in 2007 and 2008, and it’s no wonder based on the killer visual impact of his approach to lighting as art and art as lighting.
12. Richard Belliveau
Chief Technology Officer, High End Systems
If you don’t recognize Belliveau as one of the smarter folks in our biz, then you haven’t been paying attention for the last 20 or so years. Remember the Laser Chorus, High End’s first intelligent light? Richard. How about Intellabeams? Richard. Studio Colors? StudioPix? ShowPix? You see where we’re going with this. He says he’s always been “that mad scientist kid,” tinkering with everything from customizing guitars and repairing car stereos to being a DJ. Now, he’s named inventor on more than 20 patents and holds a Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award (2005).
13. Leroy Bennett
Bennett has been on our radar for years, and he’s still going strong with unique production and lighting designs that have included tours for Kelly Clarkson, Paul McCartney, Madonna, Nine Inch Nails, Josh Groban, and Tim McGraw/Faith Hill. Never one to shy away from going against the grain, in an ever-increasing era of stages incorporating video, Bennett’s recent design for Rammstein (pictured) had no video at all, only some moving lights, and the rest was fixed-focus with strobes, fluorescents, LEDs, PARs, and loads of pyro.
14. Jake Berry
Production Director, Fader Higher
The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Madonna, Mötley Crüe, U2, AC/DC, Walking With Dinosaurs, The Wiggles, and yes, even Barney—seen a show with any of the above in the last 30 or so years? Then chances are, Berry was there too, keeping things in working order, from lighting, video, and sound to transportation. He has been the go-to guy for successful tours around the world, and while he’s been threatening to retire, we’ll believe it when we see it.
15. Bob and Colleen Bonniol
Principals, Mode Studios
Masters of the projection universe, The Bonniols run the multimedia and interactive design program at California Institute of the Arts, serve as creative consultants for the Live Design Projection Master Classes at LDI, and output tons of media for tours, including a recurring gig with Nickelback (pictured). Intrepid problem-solvers, they have propelled visual design and technology into realms previously unheard of for theatre, opera, concerts, and events. They rock, they roll, their design work is innovative, and hey, they even have time to be parents.
16. Marc Brickman
Perhaps best known for years of production and lighting design work for several massive Pink Floyd and Roger Waters tours, Brickman has most recently taken on Cirque du Soleil’s new resident show at CityCenter’s Aria, Viva Elvis. In 2009, he added one more accomplishment to his list of achievements: a new bouncing baby girl.
17. Michael Brokaw
What do you do when you have so many job offers, you can’t manage your own work schedule, and you don’t have the time—or inclination—to negotiate your own terms? You hire and agent, just like in any other business, and Brokaw seems to be the guy to call. Let’s put it this way: He represents 10% of the list you’re reading, so he’s doing his job pretty well.
18. Albert and Berenice Chauvet
Chauvet’s story begins in the 1980s, when Albert set out to sell rope lights to US distributors, a one-man operation he ran from a warehouse in North Miami Beach. Today, Albert and Berenice own and manage Chauvet & Sons, Inc, the parent company of Chauvet and Iluminarc, its new architectural division. Except for 2009 due to the weak economy, the company has maintained double-digit growth year over year since its inception, culminating in 2008 at 30%. Construction of the company’s 75,000sq-ft. headquarters in Sunrise, FL is due for completion in the first quarter of 2010.
19. Tom Clark, Mark Menard, Nevin Steinberg
ACME Sound Partners
This partnership has a strong footing on Broadway, where sound went tribal last year when the moon rose in the seventh house for the Tony Award-winning revival of Hair, and the clarity of the vocals sent shivers down your spine. The partners have also moved into permanent installations and creating interactive environments, proof this trio continues to be at the acme of its career. Look for them to get creepy and kooky this spring with The Addams Family on Broadway.
20. Steve Cohen
How many folks do you know with that title? Not lighting director—we mean director director, a duty Cohen performs admirably alongside lighting and production design duties (see “The Treble Alliance,” p. 30 for his latest). And he didn’t start small. After starting lighting company Troup-a Theatre in 1974, his first two clients were Earth, Wind, and Fire and Billy Joel, and he’s gone on to do a staggering 20 world tours with Joel. He has far too many credits to list (and it’s a pretty darned impressive list), but he’s currently working a tour for Sugarland, and the current Billy Joel/Elton John Face to Face tour features his direction and design.
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21. Spike Brant and Justin Collie
Performance Environment Designers
These two head up Performance Environment Design Group, also known as Artfag, designing complete performance environments from lighting and set design to video and production composition. In the last year, they have designed the NFL Kickoff, the Robin Hood Foundation Gala, Z100s Jingle Ball, and touring shows and TV performances for Maxwell, Green Day, Mary J Blige, and Beyoncé. In 2010, they’ve already completed the Pepsi Fan Jam 2010 and NFL Super Bowl Saturday Night, and we can expect to see their new tour for Bon Jovi. They’ve also grown the company to include associate designers, assistants, and key staff members in décor, electrics, and rigging.
22. Scott Davies
General Manager, American DJ Group
Twenty-five years ago, brothers Scott and Chuck Davies ran a two-man outfit providing lighting to mobile entertainers. They’ve come a long way. Scott’s vision to expand to the concert, touring, theatrical, and houses of worship markets led to the launch of Elation Professional, and he’s achieved that vision (with gear on Jay-Z and AC/DC, to name a couple, in 2009). But he’s no hands-off GM: he has operated lights as a DJ and installed lighting systems himself. He’s proudest when his team is recognized, such as when Elation took the LDI2009 Award for Best Large Booth.
23. Jonathan Deans
You almost need a seatbelt in some of the Cirque du Soleil venues, where Deans has put speakers in the seats to trick your ears with amazing aural sensations. From his early days FOH in London to becoming a pioneer in digital audio design, he is an out-of-the-box thinker who is just as likely to send arrows whizzing through your head as he is to create the sound of feet tapping around the theatre. You’d swear someone was standing on your shoulder singing as well, but it is just Deans tricking us again (he is pictured with Sir George Martin, right).
24. William Dudley
Even though his career began in the mid-1960s, Dudley was one of the first set designers to totally embrace the projected image in a cinematic way on stage. He did it in Tom Stoppard’s trilogy, The Coast of Utopia, in London, and then took it even further with his controversial design for The Woman In White in the West End and on Broadway. Last summer for Peter Pan (pictured), he showed us 360° panoramas of Neverland and treated audiences to soaring bird’s-eye views of historical London.
25. Christian Engsted
President/CEO, Martin Professional
Christian Engsted has overseen Martin’s transition from a manufacturer of entertainment lighting and smoke products to a more broad-based visual solutions company. Only 41 when he started with Martin in 2005, the company credits Engsted with infusing a new level of energy and initiative that has expanded the company to include entry into LED lighting. Commenting on what he is most proud of in his tenure at Martin, he has mentioned the respect the company has garnered in both entertainment and architectural lighting, citing the Beijing Olympics Ceremonies and Grand Mosque as examples.
26. James “Winky” Fairorth
President, Tait Towers
Tait Towers sets and stages have been on 18 of the top 20 highest grossing tours of all time. At the helm is Fairorth, who served as the company’s GM for 17 years before becoming a full-fledged partner to founder Michael Tait in 2006. If you haven’t seen an actual Tait Tower (yes, there was such a thing in the early 1970s— the first self-contained lighting towers out there), then surely, you’ve seen a set built by Tait Towers. Try U2, Black Eyed Peas, Lady Gaga, and the upcoming Bon Jovi tour. And the company promises to add more to that list in its joint venture with Frederic Opsomer, the newly formed Tait Technologies.
27. Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer
Lighting designers, Third Eye Ltd.
This duo holds a passel of Tony Awards between them (nine for Fisher, two shared with Eisenhauer). With hundreds of productions under his belt, Fisher is one of the doyens of Broadway lighting, and he still finds time each year to act as creative consultant for the Broadway Lighting Master Classes. He has been in partnership with Eisenhauer since the mid-1980s, and together, their work has strayed from stage to screen in such films as Cabaret and Dream Girls, and they made a splash in Las Vegas with the relighting of Le Rêve (pictured)at The Wynn Resort.
28. Rick Fisher
Two-time Tony winner Fisher is an American living in London yet working consistently on both sides of the pond. This year offers a best-of compendium of his work, with Billy Elliot (pictured) continuing to pack houses worldwide, the all-male Swan Lake he lit for Matthew Bourne, and a revival in London of his first Tony win, An Inspector Calls. Most summers find him in Santa Fe communing with nature and lighting an opera or two.
29. Scott Fisher
CEO, Fisher Technical Services, Inc.
When he’s not racing motorcycles, Fisher is making some pretty fantastic toys, from flying chandeliers in Las Vegas to automated effects for Hollywood films. The bigger, the better for projects that call upon his special skill set to solve the technical challenges inherent in designing stage automation and control systems. He’s a master engineer when it comes to the winches, elevators, lifts, carousels, and turntables that keep the industry moving.
30. Holger Förterer
Interactive Projection Designer
Förterer combines art and technology, mathematics and algorithms, machines and emotions, to create truly stunning images that go beyond ordinary projections. As seen in Cirque du Soleil’s KÀ, he can make the stage determine the placement of the performers and respond visually to their movement. He made his Metropolitan Opera debut with Robert Lepage’s La Damnation de Faust, and opera fans are on the edge of their seats waiting to see what he has up his sleeves for the upcoming Ring Cycle.
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31. David Gallo
Gallo’s work can be seen daily in more than a dozen cities and even at the national archive in the Smithsonian Institute. His repertoire ranges from Blue Man Group to Memphis on Broadway to collaborating with Phish for a reunion tour. He was the first designer to tackle Tony Kushner’s Angels in America: Parts I and II as a single theatrical experience for a national tour, and he holds the 2006 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Musical for The Drowsy Chaperone.
32. Bob Gordon
President/CEO, A.C.T Lighting
If Eugene O’Neill had met Gordon, he’d surely have been inspired to write a sequel called Success Of A Salesman. An industry stalwart, Gordon has been around the block enough times to know a good product when he sees one and then how to market it right to the head of the class. He’d even sell you his own grandMA if MA Lighting didn’t keep making them for him.
33. Mark Holden
Principal Acoustician, JaffeHolden
Engineer, physicist, and jazz musician, Holden has what it takes to create some of the best acoustic environments in the world. Anyone who doubted his prowess must have been convinced when his renovated acoustics for Alice Tully Hall met with rave reviews, even in The New York Times: “Musicians hear heaven in Alice Tully’s new sound.” The celestial angels praise his glory in this new heaven on earth.
34. Natasha Katz
Katz won her first Tony Award in 2000 for AIDA and her second in 2007 for The Coast of Utopia/Salvage (she was also nominated twice before for Twelfth Night and Beauty and the Beast). Designing lighting for theatre, opera, and dance, she’s a staple on Broadway, grabbing at least a show or two each year since the 1980s (Impressionism, pictured, and Hedda Gabler in 2009). This year, she’ll take on The Addams Family in Broadway’s Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, set to open late March.
35. Tom Kenny
Kenny started 2009 lighting the Youth Ball for the Obama Inauguration and ended the year lighting the National Christmas Tree celebration at the White House. His roster of clients has included David Bowie, The Who, Page and Plant, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Elton John, Martin Scorsese, Shakira, John Mayer, Paul Simon, and Jennifer Lopez, to name but a few. He has lit MTV’s Unplugged, VH-1’s Storytellers, The Fuse Presents, and MTV’s Video Music Awards. His 2010 schedule begins with a unique awards show in Los Angeles, a massive global event in New York, and a very special intimate performance by The Who.
36. John Lee Beatty
In a career spanning four decades, he has designed more than 100 productions on and off Broadway, and his habitats quite often meet with applause the minute the curtain goes up. Most of his sets are so perfectly designed and decorated, you almost expect a real estate agent to be waiting in the wings with keys so you can move right in. He’s not shy about using stuff from his own house when it’s needed on stage, such as for the recent revival of Brighton Beach Memoirs, with a Brooklyn house so realistic, you could smell the pot roast in the kitchen.
37. Scott Lehrer
Pump up the volume for Lehrer, who broke the sound barrier on Broadway in 2008 as the first Tony Award-winner for sound design on a musical…ever! The timing was perfect, as his majestic sound design for Lincoln Center Theatre’s knockout revival of South Pacific sure got the voters to sit up and listen. His skills range from theatrical design to system installation, music engineering, and corporate media, and he still finds time to teach music recording and sound design at Bennington College.
38. Steve Lieberman
Lieberman is the go-to guy for nightclub design in the US, with a list of clients that spans the country from Playhouse and Voyeur in Hollywood, to LIV in Miami, to Provacateur, Crobar, and Mansion in New York, to RokVegas, Cherry, Privé, and TAO in Las Vegas. He’s also delved into the festival world, designing lighting for Ultra Music Festival, Electric Daisy Carnival, Nocturnal Festival, Monster Massive, Together As One, and Love Festival. Add to that list his gig as band LD for MIA and MSTRKRFT, and this is one designer who reports he hasn’t suffered in this economic climate.
39. Bob McCarthy
President, Alignment and Design Inc.
If you need to solve phase problems in relation to waveform amplitude and frequency response—and really, who doesn’t?—this is the guy to call. If you don’t know what that means, check out his book, Sound Systems: Optimization and Design, and he’ll tell all. Seriously, McCarthy knows how to harness your physical acoustics and process your signals to make your venue sound truly fabulous.
40. John Meyer
CEO, Meyer Sound
For over 40 years, John Meyer has been influencing the way audiences hear sound, starting in 1967, when he assembled a high-fidelity amp system for Steve Miller’s performance at the Monterey Pop Festival. In the years following, he invented loudspeaker systems, helped establish an acoustics lab at the Institute for Advanced Musical Studies in Switzerland, and—oh, yeah—founded Meyer Sound Laboratories, Inc. with his wife, Helen, where he continues to oversee research and development. Under his belt are 38 patents and a boatload of innovations for live and cinematic applications.
41. Stan Miller
President/CEO, Rosco Laboratories
Upon Rosco’s 100th anniversary this year, one can’t overlook the fact that, for half that span, Miller has been its president and CEO. When he and his late partner bought the company in 1958, it was a storefront in Brooklyn. Today, with wholly-owned subsidiaries in Canada, Brazil, England, Spain, and Australia, as well as employees in Germany, Italy, Holland, Belgium, Mexico, Japan, and Beijing, the company boasts a technical Emmy and four technical Academy Awards, all received under Miller’s leadership.
42. Stephane Mongeau
Executive Producer, Cirque du Soleil
You might not find him swinging from the rigging at KÀ or diving 90' into the pool at “O,” but Mongeau is the guru for excellence in production and head of all things technical at Cirque du Soleil, where his discerning eye takes in every detail and oversees making everything work. His most recent focus has been shaking things up for Viva Elvis!, Cirque du Soleil’s seventh resident show in Las Vegas, bringing the King back into the house.
43. Richard Pilbrow
Lighting Designer, Theatre Consultant, Author
Founder and chairman emeritus of Theatre Projects Consultants, this esteemed practitioner claims to be retired, but his workload suggests otherwise. His recent collaboration with architect Norman Foster proves it takes two talented Brits to build the first new opera house in the US in decades, the Winspear Opera House in Dallas, a fitting crown to Pilbrow’s 50-year career.
44. Bruce Rodgers
Production Designer, Tribe Inc.
Rodgers creates some of the grandest events each year. In 2008: the Democratic National Convention and President Obama’s Nomination Speech; in 2009: Obama’s Election Night Acceptance Speech. He’s tackled four Super Bowl Halftime performances (Prince, Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, and The Who) and designs for Leonard Cohen, Bruce Springsteen, Walt Disney Imagineering, the NHL, and 2009 and 2010 Country Music Awards. Already on tap for 2010 are tours for Tim McGraw, Black Eyed Peas, Dave Matthews Band, and Rascall Flatts.
45. Abigail Rosen Holmes,
Rosen Holmes creates lighting, media, and production designs spanning many disciplines, and now, she can add one more title to the list: professor. Having recently joined the faculty of Carnegie Mellon University to teach design, she has an innate ability to translate the art, music, and moods of her clients—from Shakira, The Cure, Martina McBride, Peter Gabriel, and Janet Jackson to Jean Michel Jarre and The Dallas Symphony Orchestra—into evocative visual imagery.
46. Susan Tesh
Director of Lighting Division, VER
This is a woman who knows how to wrangle the biggest lighting rigs and tame the fiercest top-name designers. She has parlayed decades of experience supplying gear for a who’s who in concerts and television into running a global lighting division with an emphasis on convergence of lighting, LEDs, and DMX media/content delivery systems. Now that’s creative!
47. Bob Usdin
Owner, Showman Fabricators
Usdin is a man on a mission, and that mission is “green.” And he practices what he preaches, taking the bull by the horns and making a statement in an industry that was slow to adopt green practices. With his help, production is catching up. His concern for the environment deserves kudos and will help ensure that many future generations can get into this crazy business.
48. Colin Waters
Who hasn’t been entranced by the unmistakable TMB black-and-white, graph paper theme at any given trade show? Must be the people; must be the products; must be the bar. But seriously, TMB has the stuff to back it all up. Around since 1983 and one of the first one-stop shops for touring folks, the company now has offices in Los Angeles, London, New York, Toronto, and Beijing, 150 employees, $50 million in annual revenue, and a helmsman who has been in the biz since the tender age of 16, when Waters drove a van and set up gear for touring rock band Quiver.
49. Josh Weisberg
President/COO, Scharff Weisberg
With 34 years working in media technology (30 with Scharff Weisberg), Weisberg splits his time between managing the company and collaborating with clients on creative uses of technology. He recently led the company through a merger with West coast Video Applications and a new corporate relationship with Steve Gilbard of TCI and coolux International. His team designed and installed the projection system for the media-intensive installation Butchers, Dragons, Gods & Skeletons by Philip Haas in Fort Worth, Texas, named one of Time magazine’s Top 10 Art Exhibits of 2009.
50. John Wiseman
Partner, Chaos Visual Productions
Wiseman began his career in production in 1979 as the concert chairman at California State University, Sacramento. While he’s managed bands and even produced an album, he settled into the world of automated lighting in the mid-1980s. In late 2008, he launched his own video production company, now working alongside partner Nick Jackson, another heavy-hitter in this industry. After just a year, Chaos claims vendor credits on Beyoncé, Green Day, and Keith Urban, and the company landed Michael Jackson’s last tour before the artist passed. Next up: Chaos opens a UK office this Spring.