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Cover for Setting the Stage

Setting the Stage

What We Do, How We Do It, and Why

David Hays


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The life and work of a stage designer who worked with Kazan and Balanchine

David Hays, elected to the Theater Hall of Fame in 2014, created an exciting and successful career designing scenery and lighting for plays and musicals on Broadway, in London, and in Japan. Told with passion and wit, this book takes readers behind the scenes of the theater world to show how a stage designer collaborates with directors and producers to create great works of theater and dance. A designer who collaborated with the great directors of his time--Arthur Penn, Garson Kanin, Tyrone Guthrie, Elia Kazan, Jose Quintero, and Joe Layton--shares anecdotes that integrate technical insight with life lessons. He designed sets for the Metropolitan Opera, for Lincoln Center, for Martha Graham, and thirty ballets for George Balanchine. This colorful account of theater life is for scholars, practitioners, and theatregoers interested in how it all works.

Publication of this book is funded by the Beatrice Fox Auerbach Foundation Fund at the Hartford Foundation for Public Giving.

Wesleyan University Press, 9780819577214, 192pp.

Publication Date: June 6, 2017

About the Author

DAVID HAYS has taught at New York University, Columbia, Boston University, and Harvard. He then directed the National Theatre of the Deaf for thirty years. He is the author of Today I Am a Boy and coauthor with his son, Daniel, of the New York Times bestseller My Old Man and the Sea. He lives in Chester, Connecticut.