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5 minutes with a Tony nominee: ‘The Outsiders’’ Brett J. Banakis and Tatiana Kahvegian

The scenography collective AMP featuring Kahvegian is nominated for the scenic design of the Tulsa-set musical. 

(L-R) Christine Jones, Brett J. Banakis and Tatiana Kahvegian attend the 77th Annual Tony Awards Meet the Nominees Press Event at Sofitel New York on May 02, 2024, in New York City. (Credit: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)

The model of a “design collective” is relatively rare on Broadway. Typically, a producer and director hire a design team that consists of individuals at the head of each department: one costume designer, one lighting designer, one sound designer, etc. Of course, those designers have teams of people with whom they work: associate and assistant designers, sewers and drapers in the world of costume design, painters and carpenters in the discipline of scenic design, etc. But, in the traditional structure, the designer is the sole team leader. 

A couple Broadway design collectives approach this differently. For example, dots is a trio of designers who collaborate to design theatrical sets. Now, AMP has joined the fold. Founded by veteran scenic designers Brett J. Banakis and Tony Award winner Christine Jones, AMP pairs the two experienced artists with an emerging one. In the case of “The Outsiders,” that’s Tatiana Kahvegian. 

The AMP trio was tasked with transporting audiences to Tulsa, Oklahoma, circa 1967, as well as inside the mind of the musical’s protagonist, Ponyboy Curtis. 

Here, Banakis and Kahvegian explain the dramaturgy behind their scenography, the materials used to make it and the way the collective operates.

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