25 DAYS OF TONYS: What Is Tony-Nominated Scenic Designer David Korins’ Favorite War Paint Set Piece?

Tony Awards   25 DAYS OF TONYS: What Is Tony-Nominated Scenic Designer David Korins’ Favorite War Paint Set Piece?
The Tony nominee explains his role as a scenic designer and his favorite element of the Patti LuPone-Christine Ebersole tuner.

Last season, Hamilton filled scenic designer David Korins’ Broadway dance card. This season, he designed no less than three sets for Broadway: Dear Evan Hansen, War Paint, and Bandstand. But Korins also works on concerts (Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Andrea Bocelli) and restaurants (his upcoming Bond 45 in the Theatre District), plus opera, television, and film.

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”I pull on all of my different experiences to design everything,” he says. Korins got his start in theatre working for a regional house in Connecticut, where he designed, built, painted, and propped the show by himself.

Following 5,000 studio hours and 500 illustration hours, War Paint boasts 47 automation effects, 40 pieces of deck scenery and furniture pieces, 34 art sculpture reproductions, and 24 reproduced period product labels and packaging.

While he may have moved up to a place where he has builders, painters, and prop masters, as the scenic designer, Korins’ vision comes alive on the Nederlander stage for War Paint. “I think it’s my job to create the world of the show and early on act as a co-conceiver on how the show is going to be presented,” he says.

For War Paint, that world spans the decades-long careers of cosmetic CEOs Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden, played by Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, respectively. One of the most impressive installations is the “bottle wall” at the back of the stage, filled with over 1,800 translucent bottles, jars, and containers that change color to reflect the mood of the moment.

“That wall, in particular, is something I knew if we had enough lighting firepower, we could change with every single beat of the show.”


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