Who Designed the Original Broadway Sets for Company and Follies

Who Designed the Original Broadway Sets for Company and Follies

Did you know who designed the original Broadway sets for Company and Follies? Get ready to discover the creative genius behind these iconic productions. In this article, we will delve into the influences on set design for both shows, as well as the collaboration between the set designer, directors, and producers. Additionally, we will explore the lasting legacy of these groundbreaking set designs, which continue to inspire and captivate audiences to this day.

Company: Original Broadway Set Designer

You designed the original Broadway set for Company, a groundbreaking musical by Stephen Sondheim and George Furth that premiered in 1970. As the original Broadway set designer, your work had a significant impact on the production and subsequent revivals of the show. Your set design was characterized by its minimalistic approach, with a simple yet versatile set that allowed for seamless transitions between different scenes and locations.

Influenced by the concept of “concept musicals,” which were gaining popularity at the time, you sought to create a set design that would reflect the themes and structure of the show. You used abstract and geometric shapes to represent the characters’ emotional states, with movable panels and platforms that could be rearranged to create different settings. This innovative approach to set design helped to enhance the storytelling and create a unique theatrical experience for the audience.

Your work on Company not only received critical acclaim but also set a new standard for set design in musical theater. Your influence can be seen in subsequent productions of the show, as well as in other musicals that followed. Your attention to detail, analytical approach, and deep understanding of the material made you a pioneer in the field of set design, leaving a lasting impact on the Broadway stage.

Follies: Original Broadway Set Designer

The original Broadway set for Follies, a renowned musical by Stephen Sondheim and James Goldman that debuted in 1971, was designed by a visionary set designer. This designer was none other than Boris Aronson, a highly respected figure in the world of theater set design. Aronson’s work on Follies was groundbreaking and truly captured the essence of the show.

Influences on set design for Follies can be traced back to the themes and motifs present in the musical itself. Follies explores the memories and regrets of former showgirls, and Aronson’s set design reflects this nostalgic and haunting atmosphere. The crumbling and decaying set serves as a physical representation of the characters’ fading glory and the passage of time.

Aronson’s collaboration with the creative team was instrumental in bringing the vision of Follies to life. He worked closely with director Harold Prince and lighting designer Tharon Musser to create a cohesive and immersive experience for the audience. The set design seamlessly integrated with the lighting and choreography, enhancing the overall impact of the production.

Influences on Set Design for Company

How did the original Broadway sets for Company draw upon various influences in their design? The set design for Company was heavily influenced by artistic inspirations and modernist aesthetics. The designers of the original Broadway production, Boris Aronson and Robin Wagner, sought to create a visually striking and innovative environment that would enhance the storytelling and themes of the musical.

One of the artistic inspirations for the set design of Company was the work of Russian constructivist artists such as El Lissitzky and Vladimir Tatlin. Their use of geometric shapes, bold colors, and industrial materials influenced the abstract and minimalist design of the sets. The set designers also drew inspiration from the modernist movement, which focused on simplicity, functionality, and the use of new materials. This is evident in the sleek and streamlined design of the set pieces, such as the minimalist furniture and the abstract structures that represented the various locations in the musical.

To further illustrate the influences on set design for Company, the following table provides a breakdown of the artistic inspirations and modernist aesthetics that influenced the original Broadway sets:

Artistic InspirationsModernist Aesthetics
Russian constructivist artists (El Lissitzky, Vladimir Tatlin)Simplicity
Use of new materials
Bold colors
Geometric shapes

Influences on Set Design for Follies

The set design for Follies, the musical following Company, was also influenced by various artistic inspirations and modernist aesthetics. In creating the set for Follies, the designers drew inspiration from the works of artists such as Salvador Dali and Max Ernst. These artists were known for their surrealistic and fantastical approach to art, which translated into the set design for Follies. The set featured larger-than-life structures, distorted perspectives, and dream-like elements, creating a visually stunning and immersive experience for the audience.

In addition to artistic inspirations, architectural influences also played a significant role in shaping the set design for Follies. The set designers took cues from modernist architecture, which was characterized by clean lines, geometric shapes, and a focus on functionality. This influence can be seen in the set’s minimalist design, with its sleek and streamlined structures. The use of glass and mirrors further enhanced the modernist aesthetic, adding a sense of transparency and reflection to the set.

Collaboration With Directors and Producers

When collaborating with directors and producers, you will need to take into consideration their vision for the production, as well as the logistical and budgetary constraints of the project. The collaboration dynamics between set designers, directors, and producers are crucial in creating a successful and cohesive production. It is important to establish open lines of communication and work together to translate the artistic vision into a tangible set design.

Directors and producers often have a specific vision in mind for how they want the sets to look and function. They will provide guidance and input based on their understanding of the script, characters, and overall concept of the production. As a set designer, you will need to listen carefully to their ideas and incorporate them into your design while staying true to your own artistic vision.

Logistical and budgetary constraints play a significant role in the collaboration process. Directors and producers will provide you with the necessary information regarding the available resources, space limitations, and budget restrictions. It is essential to work within these constraints to ensure that the set design is feasible and practical.

Collaborating with directors and producers requires a balance between artistic creativity and practicality. By understanding and respecting their vision, while also considering the logistical and budgetary aspects, you can create a set design that meets everyone’s expectations and enhances the overall production.

Legacy of Set Design in Company

To understand the legacy of set design in Company, consider the enduring impact of its abstract minimalism on Broadway productions. The influence of minimalist design can be seen in the way that subsequent productions of Company have embraced simplicity and stripped-down aesthetics. The original set design by Boris Aronson, with its sparse and geometric elements, challenged the traditional notions of what a Broadway set should look like. This departure from realism allowed the audience to focus on the characters and their relationships, rather than being distracted by elaborate scenery. The impact of immersive staging, where the audience is brought closer to the action, has also been a significant part of Company’s legacy. Productions have utilized this technique to create a more intimate and engaging experience for the audience, blurring the line between performer and spectator. The combination of minimalist design and immersive staging has not only shaped subsequent productions of Company, but has also influenced the overall approach to set design in contemporary Broadway productions. The legacy of Company’s set design continues to be felt, as it remains a benchmark for innovative and thought-provoking stagecraft.

Legacy of Set Design in Follies

How did the set design in Follies contribute to its lasting impact on Broadway productions? The set design in Follies had a significant influence on the future of set design in Broadway. Collaborating with set designers in Company, Follies incorporated innovative techniques and concepts that revolutionized the way sets were designed and utilized on stage.

One of the major influences on set design for Follies was the collaboration with set designers in Company. The set designers in Company, including Boris Aronson and Robin Wagner, introduced a more abstract and minimalist approach to set design. This departure from traditional realism allowed for a greater emphasis on the emotional and psychological aspects of the story. Follies built upon this foundation, pushing the boundaries even further.

The set design in Follies was characterized by its use of fragmented and distorted spaces, mirroring the fragmented memories and illusions of the characters. The sets were often grand and extravagant, reflecting the grandeur and nostalgia of the past. The use of mirrors, reflections, and illusions further enhanced the themes of memory and self-reflection.

The legacy of set design in Follies can be seen in subsequent Broadway productions. Many shows have adopted the abstract and minimalist approach, exploring the emotional and psychological dimensions of the story through innovative set design. Follies set the stage for a new era of set design in Broadway, leaving a lasting impact on the industry.



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