Transforming Space Over Time: A New Book By Beowulf Boritt

Beowulf Boritt’s new book, “Transforming Space Over Time,” has just been published by Applause Books. This is a book full of interviews with Boritt’s collaborators such as Hal Prince, Stephen Sondheim, James Lapine, Susan Stroman, and many others. It is not just a memoir, but the tale of an exciting journey through a remarkable career on Broadway and in regional theatre. This is not an opus written by a designer at the end of his career, but of a working professional who has a passion for design and collaboration and imparts that in a fresh and enthusiastic way. He wants us to understand how different and special each collaboration is and what a designer needs in his toolbox to navigate these different personalities. For us to see just how great (or frustrating) these collaborations can be. He has designed some of the most striking and indelible set designs on Broadway and around the country. His set for Much Ado at the Delocorte has a fascinating development from inception to the gorgeous environment that set the tone for this production. His set for Act One at the Vivian Bowman in NYC garnered him a Tony Award, it used a magnificent giant turntable that is detailed in this book.

Transforming Space Over Time

The great thing about this book, unlike so many others on this subject, is that it is not about him. Yes it chronicles his work; his successes and his (maybe) failures. It is about what set design is and how a designer and director can invent a visual language. How they can use set design to transform a space. It is about working and collaborating with the other designers on a project. His major point is that the set is not a static thing, the designer does not walk away at the top of the show. According to him the set is constantly evolving and changing over the time of the show. This is a book about process. It is about his collaborators and the designers that influenced them, and us all. He deftly shows how Boris Aronson, Eugene Lee, Doug Schmidt, David Gallo, and Jo Meiziner. and so many of our legacy designers have influenced his work. You get a sense that what we do as designers is fragile and can be the image that drives the director’s concept.

This is a is a rollercoaster though some of the best recent work on Broadway and in major theatres such as The New York Shakespeare Festival. It has tremendous insights into the working method differences of many of the very best Broadway directors, producers, composers, and playwrights. It reads as a personal journey with his own poignant insights, Beowulf Boritt writes, “But over the years, I’ve hardened to the caprices of show business. I find myself less surprised and damaged by bad reviews. As of this writing, I have designed more that 450 shows and have tried to find something to love in each of them— something about them that excites me to come up with a great set, but the truth is . . .”

Boritt Into The Woods

The subtitle of this book is Set Design and Visual Storytelling with Broadway’s Legendary Directors. I can recommend it as the best book to be written about the designer-director collaboration in many years. Maybe ever. Wonderfully illustrated and with interviews with Broadway greats. it is a must-read.

Publisher: Applause Books

Publish Date: August 15, 2022

Pages: 376

Dimensions: 6.9 X 9.6 X 1.2 inches | 2.1 pounds

Language: English

Type: Hardcover

EAN/UPC: 9781493064847

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