Charles Elson, a theatrical lighting and scenic designer whose work was seen on Broadway, at the Metropolitan Opera and regionally, died March 30 in Armonk, NY, according to The New York Times.
Mr. Elson, who also a college professor and editor of "Stage Design Throughout the World," was 90.
The Chicago native earned degrees from the University of Chicago and Yale, and was a young actor at Hull House Theatre in The Windy City. He played the Dormouse Alice in Wonderland there in 1915.
In 1934, Mr. Elson was art director of the Chase Barn Playhouse in Whitefield, NH, where he designed 10 productions. Between 1936-37 he was a lighting supervisor and art director for the Federal Theatre in Los Angeles. His first designs for the professional stage were for The House of Connelly, for the Federal Theatre presenting at the Mayan Theatre in L.A. Between 1939-1945 he was art director for the Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine and designed more than 40 productions.
His Broadway debut was the set design for Hidden Horizon in 1946, but was previously lighting designer and design assistant to Donald Oenslager for Born Yesterday, Pygmalion, Three to Get Ready and On Whitman Avenue. He was lighting designer and assistant to Oenslager on a number of shows before taking major solo jobs.
His design credits include the London production of Cole Porter's Kiss Me, Kate, and Broadway productions of Private Lives, Out of This World, The First Mrs. Fraser, Duet for Two Hands, The Cup of Trembling, The Deep Blue Sea and many more.
For the Met, he designed The Flying Dutchman (1950) Lohengrin (1952) and Don Giovanni (1953), Madame Butterfly (1958), among others.
From 1951-1969 he designed 14 productions as art director for the North Castle Players in Armonk, NY.
Mr. Elson taught at the University of Iowa, the University of Oklahoma and Hunter College in New York City.
-- By Kenneth Jones