This past Tuesday, the League of Professional Theatre Women held a luncheon honoring projection designer Wendall K. Harrington with the Ruth Morley Designing Woman Award at Sardi's in the heart of New York City's theatre district.
Theatrical luminaries such as Doug Schmidt, Tony Walton, Kathy Zuber, and Michael Greif were among those who gathered to celebrate Harrington's body of work. In a heartfelt speech, designer Doug Schmidt said of his collaborations with Harrington "she made my designs better." Schmidt and others fondly recounted stories of working with Harrington on productions such as They're Playing Our Song, Catskills on Broadway, The Who's Tommy as well as this past season's Grey Gardens.
Credited by many as the “mother of modern projection design in theatre,” Harrington's career on the Great White Way began in 1978 with the musical They're Playing Our Song. She has since designed projections for over 30 Broadway productions as well as numerous operas, concerts, and sporting events. She also teaches a class in projection design for the Masters program at the Yale School of Drama. Many of today's successful projection designers such as Michael Clark, Elaine McCarthy, and Sage Carter began their careers working with Harrington.
The Ruth Morley Designing Woman award was initiated in 1998 in honor of costume designer Ruth Morley, a leading designer in theatre and film (Annie, Tootsie, Prince of Tides, Deathtrap). Past recipients of the award include lighting designers Natasha Katz, Jennifer Tipton, and Tharon Musser; scenic designers Marjorie Bradly Kellogg and Heidi Ettinger; and costume designers Jane Greenwood, Carrie Robbins, and Willa Kim.