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At left, Ming Cho Lee accepts the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award in Education. He and Paul Steinberg will be highlighted at the upcoming Prague Quadrennial.
Photo/R. Finkelstein

by Sandy Bonds
VP International Activities
with excerpts from Design USA Catalog by Jody Blake and Bobbi Owen


PQ to Honor Two Designers

The program for the Scenographer's Forum at Prague Quadrennial 2007, sponsored by the Scenography Commission, will feature honored designers from each of the PQ participating countries. The two designers chosen to represent the USITT PQ USA 2007 Exhibit are Ming Cho Lee and Paul Steinberg.

Ming Cho Lee

A familiar presence at USITT Conferences, Mr. Lee is a master teacher and remarkably original designer for theatre, opera, and dance. He was born in Shanghai and studied painting at Occidental College, where he received his BA in 1953. Working in a way he refers to as "presentational, rather than representational," his career has spanned more than four decades and influenced countless students at the Yale University School of Drama, where he has taught since 1969.

His numerous awards include a 2003 National Medal for the Arts, a 1990 Distinguished Career Achievement Award from the National Endowment for the Arts, an American Theatre Wing Special Award in 2000, three Drama Desk Awards, two Maharam Awards, a Tony Award for K-2, a Guggenheim, and a USITT Distinguished Achievement Award for Education in 2006.

His set designs for Lorenzaccio, at the Lansburgh Theatre in Washington, D.C., and Stuff Happens, produced at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles, are included in the exhibit.

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Paul Steinberg

Mr. Steinberg is a scene designer for theatre and opera from Brooklyn, who studied environmental design at Pratt Institute, where he earned a BFA, and art at the Central School of Art and Design in London, receiving an AD diploma. A member of the faculty of the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University since 1996, he has extensive credits in the major opera houses of the world including productions in Tel Aviv, Antwerp, Munich, Cologne, London, and Houston.

He has designed five Baroque operas for David Alden at the Bavarian State Opera in Munich and is a frequent collaborator with JoAnne Akalaitis (The Birthday Party, The Trojan Women, The Iphigenia Cycle).

Honors include a grant from the Arts Council of Great Britain and designation as a Fellow of the American Academy in Rome.

Five of Mr. Steinberg's designs appear in the exhibit, La Calisto and Orlando, produced by the Bavarian State Opera; Rodelinda, performed at the War Memorial Auditorium in San Francisco; Il Trovatore, designed for the Seebuhne Theatre at the Bergenz Festival in Austria; and The Valkerie, for the Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts in New York City.

Each of the 60 countries involved in PQ07 was invited to nominate two designers from among those included in its National Exhibit. Three or four of those designated as honored designers will give presentations at the forum reception on June 17, and a DVD will be made featuring the designs of all of those selected. In addition to the recognition in Prague, the designers will be invited to the International Section of Honor at World Stage Design 2009 to be held in Seoul, Korea.

Below is Mr. Steinberg's design for Il Trovatore at Seebuhne Theatre at the Bergenz Festival in Austria, courtesy of Mr. Steinberg.

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