The McNay Art Museum in San Antonio, Texas, is showcasing the work of theatrical scenic designers as part of a new exhibit running through June 30, giving the public an up-close look at the creative process behind the conception, design, and construction of theatrical sets.
The centerpiece of America On Stage is a collection of 15 scale models that capture the detailed work that goes into creating a physical world onstage. Represented are Anna Louizos’ Tony-nominated set for In the Heights, as well as Douglas W. Schmidt’s designs for the original 1973 Broadway production of Grease, Christine Jones’ model for the landmark 2006 musical Spring Awakening, and Tony Walton’s designs for the original 1962 Broadway premiere of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum.
Also included are Robin Wagner’s design boards for On the Twentieth Century, including its dazzling show curtain, and the show’s infamous locomotive; Susan Hilferty’s costume designs for Spring Awakening; and Jo Mielziner’s Bali Ha’i drop designs from the Broadway premiere of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.
The gallery focuses on four central themes: Broadway, Nostalgia, Breaking Tradition, and Social Justice. Each theme is represented by an array of artwork and specially designed soundscape.
A pop-up theatre will show selected scenes from Deaf West's 2015 Broadway revival of Spring Awakening, which featured a young cast of differently abled actors, and incorporated American Sign Language into the script.
American on Stage is organized by René Paul Barilleaux, McNay Head of Curatorial Affairs; and Timothy Retzloff, Tobin Theatre Arts Fund Curatorial Assistant. The exhibition is a program of The Tobin Theatre Arts Fund.