Welcome to episode #40 and today’s show with Lighting & Scenic Designer Justin Townsend. Justin is spearheading a brand new program at Brooklyn College to train Broadway Associates and he’s here to tell us all about it. Cory and Justin also dig into many corners of his design process from the plotting stage, to meetings with directors, to his almost whimsy like process of discovery in the theatre. He also shares his thoughts on the responsibility of the LD to be energy efficient, his stance on the ‘save Tungsten’ debate, the influence of one of his mentors, Chris Akerlind, and his current production of “Hamlet” at Classic Stage Company. And Justin teaches Cory about sailing!
Justin Townsend is an international lighting and set designer whose Broadway lighting designs include Casa Valentina, A Night with Janis Joplin, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, The Other Place, and Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson for which he was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award and a Henry Hewes Award. Off-Broadway: Here Lies Love (Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel), Vanya, Sonya, Masha and Spike (Lincoln Center), Milk Like Sugar (Playwrights Horizons), The Other Place (Manhattan Class Company), Unnatural Acts (Lortel nom.) and Galileo (Classic Stage Company), Lucy Thurber’s Monstrosity (13P), Opus (Primary Stages), Speech and Debate (Roundabout), Eve Ensler’s The Treatment (Culture Project), Food Project (Lightbox), Drums of the Waves of the Horikawa (Theatre of a Two Headed Calf), Beauty on the Vine, Palace of the End and Mahida’s Extra Key to Heaven (Epic Theatre), On the Levee, Luck of the Irish (LCT3.)
Regionally, he has worked at such companies as American Repertory Theatre (Elliot Norton Award for The Onion Cellar; IRNE and Elliot Norton Award for The Blue Flower), Alliance Theatre, Arden Theatre, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, Bard SummerScape, Boston Court, Cincinnati Playhouse, Cleveland Playhouse, Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Folger Shakespeare Library (Helen Hayes nom. for Hamlet), Georgia Shakespeare Festival, Hartford Stage, Huntington Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Kirk Douglas Theatre (Ovation nom. for Apollo), La Jolla Playhouse, McCarter Theatre, The Old Globe, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, and PlayMakers Rep.
Mr. Townsend received an Obie for Sustained Excellence in Lighting Design in 2014. He is a member of the Obie-winning Theatre of a Two Headed Calf. In 2011, his work was featured in four productions in the American Exhibit at the Prague Quadrennial. Mr. Townsend is an Assistant Professor of Theatre at Brooklyn College.