At the beginning of every Broadway creative process, all that exists is an empty stage. Using craft, imagination, and theatre magic, theatre designers bring a production to life, transporting an audience to worlds near and far.
It’s a challenging feat for any one production, but for many Broadway designers, a life in the theatre involves re-inventing the wheel again and again, remaining inspired through a vast career. Playbill caught up with Tony-nominated set designer David Korins to unpack his approach to design, his creative process, and to explore his favorite theatre designs.
“I define my role to be that of a storyteller,” Korins explains. “I am inspired to create environments that evoke the arc of a story in a clear, contextualized world for both collaborators and audiences. I apply this approach to every project I take on.
“I begin my creative process by engaging in deep conversations with my collaborators and creative team. In these meetings, we engage in free flowing, instinctive, spontaneous dialogue with the goal of finding the essential themes we must bring to life. We analyze and discuss the audience for the project, asking ourselves: How we can deliver the most effective experience for them? How can we use color, texture, architecture, and perspective to help them attach to the emotional core of the piece? These conversations are what I cherish most about my job—I value honest and open communication with my collaborators above all else.
SEE: Why Beetlejuice Designer David Korins Says This Is His Most Complicated Set Ever
“What inspires me is the collaboration and our collective ability to tell stories. We create worlds where there was nothing before. Every project starts with a blank slate and ends with a fully baked world.”
From the otherworldly Beetlejuice to the historic Hamilton, go inside Korins’ designs for four very different shows.