We have been receiving numerous tributes to Tharon Musser, the legendary lighting designer of A Chorus Line and many other seminal Broadway shows who died last week at the age of 84. Below are several more we’d like to share with you.
I went to see the original Broadway production of A Chorus Line a few times, but only once after I became a lighting designer, and noticed for the first time the clarity of vision, shape and beautiful focus of the production lighting by Ms. Musser. Truly inspirational!
Tharon’s generosity was legendary. I never even worked for her and yet I was the recipient of theatre history, lighting insights, food, drink and inspiration from her. She was a person who loved to share. She shared with the world some of the most beautiful lighting ever seen on Broadway. Even more, she would share how she created it with those who were curious enough to ask. Her generosity probably helped to make her such a great collaborator. I remember seeing a dress rehearsal of Dreamgirls and being overcome to the point of tears by the collaboration between Michael Bennett and the team. Let us keep Tharon’s memory by trying to keep her spirit of generosity in theatre and in the world.
Allen Lee Hughes
Lighting Designer/NYU Faculty
A Chorus Line was the first show I saw on Broadway and was awed by the beauty and ease of Tharon's work - theatrical to be sure, but also very organic. And to this day - it remains the best spot work I have EVER seen. I last saw Tharon and Marilyn the opening night of Ragtime. Over drinks, she regaled us with stories - she was funny, acerbic and touching. A true original, a visionary, she will be missed.
I never met Tharon in person, but I do know Steve Terry, and back in the late 80's when I worked at Production Arts I had the good fortune to watch A Chorus Line from the booth run on the computer that [Gordon Pearlman] put together for Tharon. I fondly remember Wally Johnson changing out the 5" disk at intermission to run Act II. I still tell this story in my classes as an example of a historic technical breakthrough in stage lighting and the designer who had the vision to inspire great imagination and technical innovation by pioneering individuals. One peson can change everything. Her impact was far reaching as for all who knew her surely know. My commitment as a educator and designer is to be sure her contributions are recognized and appreciated for years to come. All of my students will always know the work and contributions of Tharon Muusser.
Associate Professor/Lighting Designer
School of Theater and Dance
University of Florida
I'll never forget seeing A Chorus Line while in the theatre teching The Grapes of Wrath and marveling at the simplicity and beauty of Tharon's work. Her work touched me. Thank you, Tharon.