Thomas R. Skelton

Last updated

Thomas R. Skelton (September 24, 1927 [1] – August 9, 1994) was a lighting designer. In a career spanning more than four decades, he was best known for his lighting designs for ballet and Broadway theatre productions.

Lighting designer person responsible for lighting on a stage

A theatre lighting designer works with the director, choreographer, set designer, costume designer, and sound designer to create the lighting, atmosphere, and time of day for the production in response to the text, while keeping in mind issues of visibility, safety, and cost. The LD also works closely with the stage manager or show control programming, if show control systems are used in that production. Outside stage lighting, the job of a Lighting Designer can be much more diverse and they can be found working on rock and pop tours, corporate launches, art installation and on massive celebration spectaculars, for example the Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies.

Ballet form of performance dance

Ballet is a type of performance dance that originated during the Italian Renaissance in the fifteenth century and later developed into a concert dance form in France and Russia. It has since become a widespread, highly technical form of dance with its own vocabulary based on French terminology. It has been globally influential and has defined the foundational techniques used in many other dance genres and cultures. Ballet has been taught in various schools around the world, which have historically incorporated their own cultures and as a result, the art has evolved in a number of distinct ways. See glossary of ballet.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, commonly known as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

Contents

Biography

Born in North Bridgeton, Maine, Skelton graduated from Middlebury College, Theatre Department. He pursued an interest in modern dance after moving to New York, studying dance with Martha Graham and José Limón. His lighting career started as an apprentice to Jean Rosenthal at the American Dance Festival. He worked for Robert Joffrey's new dance company as a lighting designer and stage manager. [2]

Maine State of the United States of America

Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States. Maine is the 12th smallest by area, the 9th least populous, and the 38th most densely populated of the 50 U.S. states. It is bordered by New Hampshire to the west, the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and Quebec to the northeast and northwest respectively. Maine is the easternmost state in the contiguous United States, and the northernmost state east of the Great Lakes. It is known for its jagged, rocky coastline; low, rolling mountains; heavily forested interior; and picturesque waterways, as well as its seafood cuisine, especially lobster and clams. There is a humid continental climate throughout most of the state, including in coastal areas such as its most populous city of Portland. The capital is Augusta.

Middlebury College private liberal arts college located in Middlebury, Vermont in the United States

Middlebury College is a private liberal arts college in Middlebury, Vermont. It was founded in 1800 by Congregationalists, making it the first operating college or university in Vermont. The college currently enrolls 2,526 undergraduates from all 50 states and 74 countries and offers 44 majors in the arts, humanities, literature, foreign languages, social sciences, and natural sciences.

Martha Graham American dancer and choreographer

Martha Graham was an American modern dancer and choreographer. Her style, the Graham technique, reshaped American dance and is still taught worldwide.

By the 1950s he was published regularly in Dance Magazine with his lighting methods. He taught at both Yale University and New York Studio and Forum of Stage Design.

<i>Dance Magazine</i>

Dance Magazine is an influential American trade publication for dance published by the Macfadden Communications Group. It was first published in June 1927 as The American Dancer. William Como was its editor-in-chief from 1970 to his death in 1989. Wendy Perron became its editor-in-chief in 2004. Dance Magazine has multiple sister publications, including Pointe, Dance Spirit, Dance Teacher, Dance 212, and DanceU101. Dance Magazine was owned by Macfadden Communications Group from 2001 to 2016, when it was sold to Frederic M. Seegal, an investment banker with the Peter J. Solomon Company.

Yale University private research university in New Haven, Connecticut, United States

Yale University is a private Ivy League research university in New Haven, Connecticut. Founded in 1701, it is the third-oldest institution of higher education in the United States and one of the nine Colonial Colleges chartered before the American Revolution.

The Studio and Forum of Stage Design was an American training school for theatre designers that was started by scenic designer Lester Polakov in 1958 in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York.

Most of his work was within the world of dance, particularly ballet. He designed lighting for, among others, the American Ballet Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, the New York City Ballet and the Ohio Ballet, for which he was Associate Director. [3] His method was published as 'The Handbook for Dance Stagecraft' between October 1955 and December 1956 in Dance Magazine. [4]

American Ballet Theatre ballet company

American Ballet Theatre (ABT) is a classical ballet company based in New York City. It has an annual eight-week season at the Metropolitan Opera House in the spring and a shorter season at the David H. Koch Theater in the fall; the company tours around the world the rest of the year. ABT was founded in 1939 by Lucia Chase and Richard Pleasant and is recognized as one of the world's leading classical ballet companies. ABT is the parent company of the American Ballet Theatre Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis School, and was recognized as "America's National Ballet Company" in 2006 by the United States Congress.

New York City Ballet American ballet company

New York City Ballet (NYCB) is a ballet company founded in 1948 by choreographer George Balanchine and Lincoln Kirstein. Balanchine and Jerome Robbins are considered the founding choreographers of the company. Léon Barzin was the company's first music director. City Ballet grew out of earlier troupes: the Producing Company of the School of American Ballet, 1934; the American Ballet, 1935, and Ballet Caravan, 1936, which merged into American Ballet Caravan, 1941; and directly from the Ballet Society, 1946.

He also designed lighting for some 63 Broadway productions, beginning with Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad in 1963 until his last production in 1993, Shakespeare For My Father . He also designed lighting for numerous productions at, among others, the Circle in the Square, Yale Repertory Theatre, and the American Shakespeare Festival. [4] Skelton received three Tony Award nominations.

Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad: A Pseudoclassical Tragifarce in a Bastard French Tradition was the first play written by Arthur Kopit.

Yale Repertory Theatre

Yale Repertory Theatre at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut was founded by Robert Brustein, dean of Yale School of Drama, in 1966, with the goal of facilitating a meaningful collaboration between theatre professionals and talented students. In the process it has become one of the first distinguished regional theatres. Located at the edge of Yale's main downtown campus, it occupies the former Calvary Baptist Church.

Tony Award awards for live Broadway theatre

The Antoinette Perry Award for Excellence in Broadway Theatre, more commonly known as the Tony Award, recognizes excellence in live Broadway theatre. The awards are presented by the American Theatre Wing and The Broadway League at an annual ceremony in Manhattan. The awards are given for Broadway productions and performances, and an award is given for regional theatre. Several discretionary non-competitive awards are also given, including a Special Tony Award, the Tony Honors for Excellence in Theatre, and the Isabelle Stevenson Award. The awards are named after Antoinette "Tony" Perry, co-founder of the American Theatre Wing.

According to the New York Times : "Mr. Skelton was equally at home in two very different art forms. His lighting brought extra texture and body and jewel-like color to dance stages in an era when dance lighting usually emphasized airy, open space. His theater designs often added a feeling of light and air to a stage picture while strengthening the dramatic quality of a production." [5]

Work

Broadway (selected)
Ballet

Related Research Articles

Jerome Robbins American theater producer, director, and choreographer

Jerome Robbins was an American choreographer, director, dancer, and theater producer who worked in classical ballet, on Broadway, and in films and television. Among his numerous stage productions he worked on were On the Town, Peter Pan, High Button Shoes, The King and I, The Pajama Game, Bells Are Ringing, West Side Story, Gypsy, and Fiddler on the Roof; Robbins was a five-time Tony Award-winner and a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors. He received two Academy Awards, including the 1961 Academy Award for Best Director with Robert Wise for West Side Story. A documentary about his life and work, Something to Dance About, featuring excerpts from his journals, archival performance and rehearsal footage, and interviews with Robbins and his colleagues, premiered on PBS in 2009 and won both an Emmy and a Peabody Award the same year.

Jennifer Tipton is an American lighting designer. She has designed for dance, theater, and opera.

David Hersey is a lighting designer who has designed the lighting for over 250 plays, musicals, operas, and ballets. His work has been seen in most corners of the globe and his awards include the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design for Evita, Cats, and Les Misérables, the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for Cats, Miss Saigon, and Equus, and the 1996 Laurence Olivier Award for Lighting Design.

Mark Henderson is a British lighting designer who won the 2006 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design for The History Boys.

Joseph Mielziner was an American theatrical scenic, and lighting designer born in Paris, France. He was described as "the most successful set designer of the Golden era of Broadway", and worked on both stage plays and musicals.

Howell Binkley is a professional lighting designer in New York City. He received the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design in a Musical for Jersey Boys in 2006, and again in 2016 for Hamilton.

Natasha Katz is a lighting designer for the theatre, dance, and opera.

Christopher Akerlind is an American lighting designer for theatre, opera, and dance. He won the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design for Indecent He also won the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for Light in the Piazza and an Obie Award for sustained excellence for his work Off-Broadway.

Peggy Eisenhauer is an award-winning American lighting designer for both theatre and films. She has designed or co-designed some 41 Broadway productions and frequently collaborates with Jules Fisher.

Robert Wierzel is an American lighting designer.

Santo Richard Loquasto is an American production designer, scenic designer, and costume designer for stage, film, and dance. His work has included the ballet Don Quixote, the film Don't Drink the Water, Great Performances Dance in America: Fosse, and the television show TriBeCa.

Patricia Zipprodt was an American costume designer. She was known for her technique of painting fabrics and thoroughly researching a project's subject matter, especially when it was a period piece. During a career that spanned four decades, she worked with such Broadway theatre legends as Jerome Robbins, Hal Prince, Gower Champion, David Merrick, and Bob Fosse.

Paule Constable is a British lighting designer. She won the 2005, 2006, 2009, and 2013 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Lighting Design. She was also a nominee for four further productions and for a 2007 Tony Award on Broadway. In 2011 she won the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a play for War Horse.

Roger Morgan is a pioneer in the world of theatre design consulting. He became interested in theatre architecture while a student at Carnegie Mellon University, and worked as an assistant to the scenic designer Jo Mielziner who became the primary influence on his career. He is the Tony Award-winning lighting designer of over 200 plays on and off Broadway and in resident theatres. He founded Sachs Morgan Studio in 1976 to provide comprehensive theatre planning and design services to the performing arts community.

Motley was the name of the theatre design firm made up of three English designers: sisters Margaret Harris, known as "Percy" (1904–2000), Sophie Harris (1900–1966), and Elizabeth Montgomery Wilmot (1902–1993).

Ann Hould-Ward is an American costume designer, primarily for the theatre and dance. She has designed the costumes for 19 Broadway productions. She won the 1994 Tony Award for Beauty and the Beast.

Ronald Bates was an American ballet lighting designer, particularly for the New York City Ballet.

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to stagecraft:

Tony Straiges is a scenic designer for the stage and ballet. He has designed the sets for 17 Broadway musicals, plays and specials. His sets "often have a sparse elegance or sense of fantasy about them." Robert Brustein said of Straiges: "Today, he is considered one of the visual poets of the stage." Straiges attended Yale University.

Kevin Dreyer is an American lighting designer of dance, theatre, opera and film, Associate Professor of Theatre at the University of Notre Dame and resident Lighting Designer for the Notre Dame Shakespeare Festival. Dreyer is also a dance lighting reconstructor for the works of Gerald Arpino, Moses Pendleton and Kurt Jooss.

References

  1. some sources, such as the biography at the New York Public Library, state 1928
  2. "Thomas Skelton Papers, Jerome Robbins Dance Division, The New York Public Library, "Biographical Note" nypl.org, accessed May 26, 2009
  3. Credits at ABT c.org, accessed May 26, 2009
  4. 1 2 Credits and biography filmreference.com, accessed May 26, 2009
  5. Dunning, Jennifer. "Thomas Skelton, Lighting Designer, Is Dead at 66", The New York Times, August 10, 1994

Sources