Busy Set Designer Bob Crowley King of the World

Busy Set Designer Bob Crowley King of the World LOS ANGELES -- Bob Crowley is a man who manages to be in three places at once.

LOS ANGELES -- Bob Crowley is a man who manages to be in three places at once.

The Irish-born set designer just put the finishing touches on the Burt Bacharach-Hal David musical What the World Needs Now...A Musical Fable, which opened recently at the Old Globe in San Diego, and on the Broadway-bound London premiere of David Hare's The Judas Kiss starring Liam Neeson.

While bouncing back and forth between London and San Diego, Crowley also started tech rehearsals on the forthcoming West End production of The Iceman Cometh, with Kevin Spacey in the lead.

The Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times recently profiled the 45-year-old Crowley, who admitted that his life "was a bit nuts at the moment," but added that "it's actually rather nice to get on a plane and to be able to sleep without the fax bothering me. I do tend to kind of do too much."

Crowley is considered by many to be among the top set designers working in theatre today. He even received glowing reviews for his work on the Paul Simon musical The Capeman, which just flopped on Broadway. Crowley first came to prominence in the USA for his 1987 Broadway work on Les Liasons Dangereuses. He followed this with the highly praised set for Carousel, directed by Nicholas Hytner. Crowley's set for the Old Globe musical "is a vision of Gotham set askew--skyscrapers, a bridge, a narrow highway packed with cars, the Statue of Liberty, the golden Prometheus of Rockefeller Center. With these icons at various perilous angles above a map-like city grid stage floor, the set evokes the vertigo and awe that characterize a mere mortal's eye-view of Manhattan," said Times writer Jan Breslauer.

Crowley has many new projects coming up as well, including work on a Hytner-directed production of a musical based on Sweet Smell of Success and a new theatre project for Disney. "They want me to originate it with a writer and then a composer, based on a novel by H.G. Welles," the designer said, adding, "Lincoln Center has also asked me to direct and design a workshop for them based on an avant-garde piece. It's very flattering and, I suppose, inevitably, it will lead to whether I should direct my own things."

-- By Willard Manus
Southern California Correspondent