Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, The Wild Party
Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Marie Christine
Competing against themselves this year, the seven time Tony-winning team of Fisher and Eisenhauer are honored again for working with George C. Wolfe, who helped them on to a Tony and Drama Desk win with Bring in 'Da Noise, Bring in 'Da Funk. Other credits with Wolfe include Angels in America, Jelly's Last Jam and Twilight Los Angeles: 1992. Ragtime and Cabaret both netted Eisenhauer Tony nominations (she and Mike Baldassari designed Cabaret), but not wins. The only lighting designers up for Tonys this year who got in on the millennial craze, Fisher and Eisenhauer lit the New Year's Eve 2000 ball drop in Times Square.
Peter Kaczorowski, Kiss Me, Kate
Opera and theatre lighting designer Kaczorowski had three shows on Broadway this season: Kate, Contact and The Rainmaker. Other Broadway credits include Ah Wilderness!, Jackie, Steel Pier ( for which he received an Outer Critics' Circle award) and She Loves Me. A Roundabout regular with 10 productions for the company, he lit their Company, Impossible Marriage and Picnic. Kaczorowski won the Outer Critics' Circle and Drama Desk Awards for Best Lighting for Contact.
Natasha Katz, Aida
Disney has been good to Katz, who received her first Tony nomination for their Beauty and the Beast (another nomination, for Lincoln Center's Twelfth Night, followed). On Broadway, she has lit Barrymore, Gypsy, Someone Who'll Watch Over Me, Aren't We All?, Shogun, Breaking the Code and Pack of Lies as well as the Las Vegas production of EFX, several operas and the television specials of John Leguizamo's Mambo Mouth and Spic-O-Rama.
Analysis: So far, the most recognized lighting designer has been Kaczorowski. There's a small problem -- he's been recognized by everyone, but Tony, for his work on Contact, not Kiss Me, Kate. Katz's pop concert styled lighting for Aida is by far the flashiest of the season, praised by critics alongside Bob Crowley's sets, which she may follow to Tony victory. The subtle work of Eisenhauer and Fisher has been all about what's not being lit, with the dark, ominous worlds of Marie Christine and The Wild Party -- the latter best remembered for its large skylight window through which the lighting design filtered.
-- Christine Ehren