Yale's School of Architecture and School of Drama Present STAGE DESIGNS BY MING CHO LEE, 11/21-2/1
New Haven, Conn.- Yale's School of Architecture and School of Drama are teaming up this fall to present "Stage Designs by Ming Cho Lee," a retrospective of the award-winning designer and Yale professor's work in theater, opera, and dance. The exhibit, free and open to the public, will be on view Nov. 21-Feb. 1 in the Yale School of Architecture Gallery, 180 York St., in New Haven.
Since the 1960s, Lee has been one of the world's most celebrated and influential set designers, particularly during his tenure with the New York Shakespeare Festival and at the New York City Opera. He is renowned for his meticulous attention to precision and detail, and his models have been described as works of art in themselves. Organized by the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, "Stage Designs by Ming Cho Lee" will showcase some 65 of these models, along with sketches and photographs selected from the nearly 300 productions he has designed.
"We are delighted to collaborate with the School of Drama in bringing this exhibit to Yale. Over the years, many architecture students have elected to study with Ming, attracted by the extraordinary architecture of his stage craft," says Robert A.M. Stern, dean of the Yale School of Architecture.
Widely regarded as the "dean of American set design," Lee has influenced generations of students. For more than four decades, he chaired or co-chaired the design department at Yale School of Drama, where he has taught hundreds of design students since 1969.
"Ming Cho Lee's contributions to the art of theatrical storytelling, as a designer and as a teacher, are far-reaching," said James Bundy, dean of Yale School of Drama. "This retrospective is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for all of us at Yale, and all of us in the field, to celebrate his distinctive artistry - a legacy which will undoubtedly inform, instruct, and inspire generations to come."
Lee introduced a new architectural vocabulary to American set design. His innovations included scaffolding, steps and platforms, collage, and non-traditional materials. He also popularized the fully painted scenic model as an instrument for exploring space, color, and light.
In addition to more than 20 Broadway productions, Lee has designed sets for the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Martha Graham, Pacific Northwest Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (Taipei), the Public Theatre (New York Shakespeare Festival), major opera houses around the world, including Covent Garden (London), and most of the major regional theaters in the United States, in particular the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C., and The Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.
Lee has also been an architectural consultant for resident theaters, including the modifications of the Yale Repertory Theatre on the historic site of the former Calvary Baptist Church, and the Iseman Theatre, the School of Drama's black box theatre; the PepsiCo Theatre, the opera house, and the blackbox theatre at the State University of New York at Purchase; the Patricia Corbett Theater at the University of Cincinnati; and The Public Theater.
Throughout his career, Lee has received numerous awards for his work, including Tony and Drama Desk awards for outstanding set design, an OBIE Award, the Helen Hayes Award, and the National Medal for the Arts in 2002, the highest official arts honor given to Americans. He was inducted into the American Theatre Hall of Fame in 1998 and received a Tony Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.