You currently have six shows running on Broadway — In The Heights, Jersey Boys, Avenue Q, Xanadu, Cry-Baby, and Gypsy — which is quite an accomplishment. Do you have more Broadway shows coming up, and does this busy schedule leave you time to pursue regional, national, or international projects?
It was quite a busy schedule this past season. In the fall, I will be doing To Be Or Not To Be for MTC at the Biltmore, directed by Casey Nicholaw, and then designing the revival of West Side Story, directed by Arthur Laurents, which will be doing a pre-Broadway run at the National Theatre in Washington, DC, coming to Broadway in '09. As for other projects, I found the time to do The Visit at the Signature Theatre in Arlington, VA, and just went to the Philippines to do a Broadway-Asia production of Cinderella in July. In August, I will be designing the production of Memphis, produced by the La Jolla Playhouse in San Diego.
You were nominated for a Tony for your lighting of In The Heights. There is one set which serves for many different locales. How does the lighting help establish the transitions and each of the various scenes?
Gathering a concept for the show, I first of all had to begin a rather thorough research process with the director and choreographer to establish a vocabulary that would fit into the method of lighting it. The director and choreographer were exceptionally helpful to me in diagramming the ins and outs of the vision that had to be translated through the journey that the music and book takes us through. In actuality, having just one set made our visual storytelling and transitions much easier. I feel as though having only one set made our transitions go much faster. We could thread the scenes tightly and efficiently, but I must say the music, the book, and the characters were a major part of each transitional phase throughout the journey of this production.
What is the best professional advice you've been given?
To establish and maintain a very professional and positive work attitude and discipline in every theatre that I work in.
What's the worst?
That is a difficult question to answer. All I can say is that, even from experiences that were not ideal, I always learned something valuable to take on to the next project.
How do you find out about new lighting technology, and what convinces you to try new products in your plots?
As fast as technology is changing and new products are developing, I have found that seeing every show I possibly can is of great value to me in learning about new equipment and how it can work for me or against me. Viewing demos is extremely helpful to me to see how new equipment can work in my designs. Also, speaking with people in the business and getting their input about new products is exceptionally helpful.