May 10, 2018

Broadway Lighting Designer Lights Up the Adelphi PAC

Caissie Levy as Elsa in FROZEN on Broadway

On Monday, April 30, Adelphi students got the chance to hear from one of the top lighting designers in the theater world: six-time Tony Award winner Natasha Katz. With more than 50 Broadway shows under her belt—including Cats, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast and The Glass Menagerie—as well as credits in opera and ballet, Katz just finished up her latest project, Frozen, the musical, based on the 2013 Disney film.

Katz spoke to Adelphi theater students in the Performing Arts Center (PAC), diving deep into her design process for Frozen‘s ethereal lighting plot. Students queried Katz about her collaboration with Disney, what tools she uses on set and more.

Later that afternoon, non-theater students, faculty and alumni joined for a Q&A session, where Katz shared stories about her career and the entertainment industry. When one student asked how Katz ended up working as a designer with 14 Tony nominations, Katz admitted that her path wasn’t always clear-cut. “It was only when I started doing lighting that I understood my place in the theater world,” she said.

Touching on her design preferences and issues of creative control, Katz urged students to research who they’d like to work with. “If you could find something about the designer that you like, a tiny door will open much easier into that designer’s life,” she said. “And it’s better for you, too, because you’re working with the designer that you want to work with.”

Students were grateful for the opportunity to learn about the technical side of theater. “It was reassuring that she didn’t figure out what she wanted to do until later,” said junior Jami Glatter. “It always makes me feel better when someone comes in saying, ‘Yeah, I really didn’t know what to do, but now I’ve won six Tonys for it, so it turned out all right!'”

Adelphi trustee Charles Tolbert, an entertainment lawyer, helped arrange Katz’s visit—one of many made possible by Adelphi’s powerful Panther network. “Our proximity to Manhattan makes it easy for us to bring working professionals from all parts of the New York theater scene,” said Blyth Daylong, the PAC’s executive director. “We regularly feature guests in our classrooms, for workshops and as guest artists.” Though the spring semester is winding down, the PAC team is already working on connecting with guest speakers for the fall semester.


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