Thank you so much for publishing the Peter Maradudin article that presents a realistic view of the financial realities for LORT designers (“You Can't Afford To Be A Lighting Designer,” ED October, page 41). I am a psychotherapist that treats people in the arts, and I see many young people who have little or no understanding of the financial implications of a career in the arts, whether as a designer, choreographer or performer. I only wish instructors of other disciplines would offer similar views to their students. I find depression and anxiety are often created or exacerbated by the financial strain of a career in the arts, and I believe a more realistic view of what this career choice entails would help young people better prepare for the stresses they will face. Peter Maradudin's students are fortunate to have an instructor who is willing to pass on such valuable information.
Betty Lynd, C.S.W.
I write to commend you for your Oct. 2003 edition of Entertainment Design. Your article, “4 For the Future” was superior in content and valuable information for future designers.
I taught Scenic Design and Lighting from 1968 to 1978 and worked with Howard Bay when he taught at Brandeis University in 1974. He regularly brought his small set models for shows like Man of La Mancha to my classroom when he came to talk to my students. A very generous man.
I left the business in 1979 but I have returned from time to time within the last few years to teach in the San Francisco area. I had every issue of Theatre Crafts but they were lost in a fire during the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake. I considered those issues my “treasures” and doubt I will ever be able to re-build the collection for my library. A great loss to me.
I would like to make a few suggestions if you do not mind. I think it would be extremely valuable to your younger readers to learn about three designers I have always found remarkable. I would like to see an article about Sean Kenny (deceased) and his landmark set for Oliver! back in 1962. If you could acquire photos of his model for this set and background on his motivations and ideas that he applied for this organic and innovative design, I think it would be of great interest.
I would also like to see you feature an article on the following designers: John Bury and his set for The Rothchilds back in the early 1970's, as well as a retrospective of the work of Peter Larkin (Peter Pan) and a very unsung but important designer, Robert Randolph (Bye Bye Birdie) and many other shows, (deceased). His “tree backdrops and Mondrian designs for Bye Bye Birdie won several wards but he never won a Tony in his entire life. If you could find a color photo of his tree backdrop (used in Bye Bye Birdie) it would be of great interest to young designers.
There is one constructive comment I would like to make about articles like the excellent one you just featured on the Richard B. Fisher Center for the Performing Arts at Bard College. Your photo layout was superior but there were no photos of how the theatre looked with the Proscenium Arch and the fly area itself. It would have been most interesting to see a visual of those areas and the same goes for your excellent article “Homes Away From Home.” Many of the Theatres that were discussed did not have interior photos of the stages themselves which I think your readers, including myself would have enjoyed seeing. The photos you did feature were excellent. I realize space and economics is probably a factor in your decision to only show some photos but I thought I would make this suggestion anyway.
Finally, I wish to commend you on the overall high quality of layout, content and beauty of all of your issues of Entertainment Design. You never disappoint me and I recommend your publication to just about every young student of theatre design that I know. You should receive a Tony Award for your very valuable contribution to the Theatre. Thank you for producing such a fine publication that is so needed.
Christopher J. Smith