When Tony winner Derek McLane heard his name called at the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards, his adrenaline rushed at the shock. “I don't generally get nervous talking in front of large groups. But about 15 seconds into speaking, the adrenaline must have kicked in, because I could feel my voice shaking and trembling,” he says.
A four-time Tony nominee for his scenic designs on Broadway, including the 2006 revival of The Pajama Game, the 2010 revival of Ragtime, the 2011 revival of Anything Goes, and his win for 2009’s 33 Variations, Hairspray Live! marked his second Emmy.
Not to mention, Hairspray Live wasn’t exactly an easy gig. “It was one of the most challenging projects I have ever worked on—from a logistical standpoint, the sheer scale of it; from an artistic standpoint, balancing the theatricality of the piece with the realism of the outdoor locations; and from a budget standpoint, as we were constantly challenged to figure out how to do it for less money,” he says. “A tremendously huge group of people, from associate designers to set dressers, carpenters, and scene painters, worked so incredibly hard to pull this show off.”
In the gallery below, McLane shares exclusive sketches from his design of Hairspray Live!’s Baltimore along with commentary about his inspiration, his choices, and achieving the ultimate look to welcome viewers at home to the ’60s.