BLMC: Spotlight On Jules Fisher

One of the most celebrated lighting designers on Broadway over the past four decades, Jules Fisher has been the creative consultant for the Broadway Lighting Master Classes since their inception 15 years ago. On his own, and with Peggy Eisenhauer (his design partner in Third Eye Studio for the past 21 years), Fisher has won more Tony Awards for his work than any other LD in the history of Broadway: a challenge to his many protégés! Fisher’s first Tony was in 1973 for Pippin’ and he went on to win again in 1974 for Ulysses in Nighttown—“unusual for a straight play to win at a time when the Tony almost always went to lighting for a musical,” he says, noting that today there are two Tonys for lighting—one for a play and one for a musical, “making it twice as easy to win, he jokes. The next Tony came in 1978 for Dancin’—The Bob Fosse musical that Fisher is currently redesigning for a revival scheduled for the spring of 2009—and Fisher’s record number of Tony wins continued in 1990 for Grand Hotel, 1991 for Will Rogers Follies, 1992 for Jelly’s Last Jam, 1996 for Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk, and 2004 for Assassins. In addition to the revival of Dancin’, Fisher has recently completed relighting Le Reve at The Wynn Resort and is working on the revival of Pal Joey, slated to open in December 2008.

In presenting his keynote, An Approach To Lighting, at the BLMC each year, Fisher takes the time to “look at the lighting over a key period in my career,” he says. “How has it evolved, what do I know about lighting that other people want to hear. What is it really all about? A beam of light, a color, visual pictures. I step back each time and question it, like when I light a play or a musical. I keep exploring and finding new approaches.”

Fisher cut his theatrical baby teeth on the straw-hat circuit, working first at Valley Forge Playhouse then Playhouse In The Park, both near his home outside of Philadelphia. “I did summer stock for nine seasons in a row,” he recalls. “I worked on 10 to 12 shows a season, it was great experience.” He then went to New York and started doing Off Broadway, Off Off Broadway, “anything that had light,” he says. "My childhood interests were in magic and science. I always wanted to know how the toaster worked or why wheels have inertia,” he adds. “That combined into my interest in the ephemeral art of lighting—part science, part magic.”

Fisher hopes that his words of wisdom, as well as the presentations by the roster of top designers he invites to speak at the BLMC will provoke a new way of looking at light and help make light something that helps make the theatre more communicative.

Fisher’s Selected Broadway credits:

The Ritz
Chita Rivera, The Dancer’s Life
Laugh Whore
Caroline, Or Change
Elaine Stritch At Liberty
Jane Eyre
The Wild Party
Marie Christine
Street Corner Symphony
Bring In ‘Da Noise, Bring In ‘Da Funk
Chronicle Of A Death Fortold
The Best Little Whorehouse Goes Public
Twilight: Los Angeles 1992
Angels In America
The Boys Choir of Harlem and Friends
Tommy Tune Tonight
My Favorite Year
Jelly’s Last Jam
Death And The Maiden
Two Shakespearean Actors
Nick & Nora
Catskills On Broadway
The Will Rogers Follies
Grand Hotel
Dangerous Games
Legs Diamond
Canciones de mi Padre
Big Deal
Song and Dance
The Rink
La Cage aux Folles
Rock’n Roll! The First 5,000 Years
The Queen and the Rebels
American Buffalo
Rockabye Hamlet
Man On The Moon
Ulysses in Nighttown
The Iceman Cometh
Rachael Lily Rosenbloom and Don’t You Ever Forget It
Full Circle
Uncle Vanya
Mourning Becomes Elektra

Suggested Articles:

GearSource Holdings announced the launch of its new G3 Marketplace.

Under The Deep Blue Sea from the UK's National Theatre is a must see...

Listen to "A Conversation On Diversity And Anti-Racism In Entertainment Design," co-hosted by Live Design and USITT and moderated by David Stewart.