Years ago, when I was mentored by Mr. Joshua Logan, he often spoke of his favorite scenic and lighting designer, Jo Mielzeiner. Apparently, this was the genius who laid a marvelous foundation for scenic and lighting designers to come.
For the first half of my directing career, which began in 1984, I paid little attention to the lighting. I only knew if it worked, or didn’t work. I wholly trusted my designers, and gave them free reign.
In 1996, I directed a wonderful production of West Side Story. I was working with a brand new lighting designer, Timothy Guth.
At our first meeting, Tim asked me what I wanted. I assured him that he had my complete trust. Tim leaned in, across the table, and said, “thank you. But tell me your vision and how you want the lighting to fit in with that vision.”
No lighting designer had ever held me accountable. The professionals with whom I worked simply went about their business. However, Tim was emphatic that we were to work closely together as director and lighting designer.
And, boy did we ever work together.
For my next 16 productions, Tim was my lighting designer.
In 2009, I was encouraged by several professional friends to consider a recent high school graduate for my lighting designer of South Pacific.
Since I’d been to numerous Centerville high school theater productions, I was not the least bit apprehensive about forging a new director – lighting designer relationship with Jackson Gallagher.
Jackson, and one of his successors, David Corson, who is now a lighting design student at the Cincinnati Conservatory of music, continued to impress, expand, and excite me about lighting design.
In the early 1990s, I took some theater courses at Sinclair community college in order to gain further understanding about technical theater. One of the best experiences of that venture was meeting technical director and scenic designer, Terry Stump.
Those days at Sinclair were truly my formative years as a stronger director. I learned more about the other components of a production, supplementing the solid foundation received from Mr. Logan.
I’ve been blessed with so many other important figures – choreographers, other scenic and lighting designers, costumers, props people, stage managers and house managers; however, Terry Stump and Joshua Logan are probably the two most important people in my theater training with a younger generation of Jackson Gallagher, David Corson, Tyson Miller and scenic designer, Adam Koch continuing to inspire me.