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Dean’s Seminar Series Welcomes Tony Award-Winning Designer Todd Rosenthal

The McCormick School of Engineering Dean’s Seminar Series welcomes Todd Rosenthal, a Tony Award-winning stage designer and associate professor of theatre at Northwestern University.

Rosenthal will speak to members of the McCormick community on Wednesday, April 25 at 4 p.m. in the ITW Classroom at the Ford Motor Company Engineering Design Center at Northwestern University. His lecture is entitled, “The Perfect Chair: Simplified Realism in Theatrical Design.”

Through a process of distillation, stage designers make evocative choices that support performances, serve the intentions of the writer, and reflect a bold artistic hand. Robert Edmund Jones, the great American stage designer, championed distillation in design for the stage. He wrote that in “one gesture of excelling simplicity, the setting was enlarged into the region of great theatre art.” Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote, “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”

In his talk, “The Perfect Chair: Simplified Realism in Theatrical Design,” Rosenthal will use photographs of sketches, scale models, computer and hand drafting, and production photographs of both theatrical performances and museum exhibitions to discuss the process of distillation in his own work.

Rosenthal designs on Broadway and at regional theaters across the country and abroad. He received the 2008 Tony Award for Best Scenic Design of a Play for August: Osage County. A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Rosenthal is the recipient of the Michael Merritt Award for excellence in design and collaboration, Los Angeles Times Stage Alliance Ovation Award, Los Angeles Backstage Garland Award, and the Joseph Jefferson Award, among others.