Martin Aronstein, a five-time Tony Award nominee for his lighting design on Broadway, and a busy Los Angeles-based designer since the late 1970s, died May 3 of heart failure in California.
Mr. Aronstein, who was 65, will be remembered at a memorial gathering — or, "celebration of life" — 11 AM June 30 at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, one of the many resident theatres he lighted with his talent. He died May 3 at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys, CA.
Among his approximately 150 lighting design jobs on Broadway were Forty Carats, Promises, Promises, Cactus Flower, George M!, Tiny Alice, How Now Dow Jones, Noises Off, Play It Again, Sam, the 1979 revival of Hello, Dolly! with Carol Channing, Royal Hunt of the Sun (which included exposed lighting as part of its scheme) and the recent Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby.
He was Tony-nommed for Ain't Supposed to Die a Natural Death, New York Shakespeare Festival's Much Ado About Nothing, NYSF's In the Boom Boom Room, Zoe Caldwell in Medea and Wild Honey.
Mr. Aronstein was principal lighting designer for The Public Theater for 20 years (he lighted every single play by the Bard there) and, for the past 10, designed for the MUNY in St, Louis. He was a lighting consultant for many years at theatres such as the Minskoff and venues at SUNY Purchase. In contrast to lighting in a huge space like the outdoor MUNY, he designed at the 99-seat Tiffany Theatre in Los Angeles. He designed lighting for 30 shows at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC and served as lighting supervisor for foreign productions at the Opera House for bicentennial celebration. Dance, opera, concerts and theatre were all part of his resume.
Mr. Aronstein moved to Sherman Oaks, CA, in 1977 and worked at such California theatres as the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum (including seven years of repertory season work, 1981-87), Pasadena Playhouse and La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.
The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle honored him with Distinguished Achievement Awards in Lighting Design for Taper's A Month in the Country (1983) and Passion Play (1984). He also won the 1996 Angstrom Lighting Award for Career Achievement.
Mr. Aronstein was born in Pittsfield, MA, and moved to New York City with his family. He attended Queens College, according to The New York Times.
He is survived by his partner, Larry Metzler, of Sherman Oaks, CA, and a niece, Rosemary Diglio, of Sunrise, FL. Contributions in Mr. Aronstein's name can be made too HIDE Foundation, PO Box 27038, 1980 Ogilvie Road, Ottawa, Ontario, K1J 9L9.