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2005 Tony Awards Q&A: David Gallo

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David Gallo's set design for the Broadway production of Gem of the Ocean has been nominated for a 2005 Tony Award. Other recent Broadway productions include Thoroughly Modern Millie (also London and North American tour), Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, The Smell of the Kill and King Hedley II. Recent Off-Broadway productions include BARE: A Pop Opera, Mr. Goldwyn, Jitney (also London) and Blue Man Group (Las Vegas, Chicago, NY). Upcoming theatrical projects include the world premiere of August Wilson's Radio Golf and Stageholding's production of Beauty & The Beast in Holland.

What was the Gem of the Ocean experience like for you?

Gem of the Ocean was a rocky road because it took a while to get to Broadway. An August Wilson piece is always a big event, and to be part of it is such a big thrill, but this one in particular, it kind of sputtered out a bit in Boston before it came to New York. At the last minute, another producer came in with some of the dough, and we got to put the show up.

The show had a relatively short run on Broadway, but that didn't stop you from being nominated for a Set Design Tony, are you appreciative of that recognition?

This play was a tricky process, and the fact that it's recognized despite it's 2 month run on Broadway is great. Hopefully, people got a chance to see it. The play, aside from Broadway did play at a number of theaters o it did have a life and an audience aside from its' Broadway version. It was nice though to bring it back home as well where it belongs.

What else are you working on at the moment?

At the moment we're in the middle of working on Radio Golf which is the last Wilson play of the cycle. Just a few more things to work out there, and we're in the process of designing it now for the Taper, which is another stop for the August Wilson universe. The idea is to do the design and staging for the Taper, and then to move it on to New York.

There's been lots of talk in the design world about The Woman in White, which is the first to use video screens in a large scale way instead of sets, do you view that as innovative, or?

I think that anything and any technology, that's appropriate for the play is fine. I've seen only a bit of what Bill Dudney has done, and it looks very interesting, and very different. Large scale video is something that's largely borrowed from the rock and roll world where it's been used for a very long time, and I think it's definitely effective in that area, and those types of shows.

I haven't seen Woman in White, but while I'm somewhat of a younger designer, well maybe not anymore, but I'm somewhat of a traditionalist, so I don't think that images will ever take over the world of theater, and things that you can touch. I'm definitely waiting for a show to come along where I can try it out myself though. What I've seen so far seems very interesting.

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