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5 minutes with a Tony nominee: ‘Water for Elephants’’ David Bengali, Bradley King and David Israel Reynoso

The Tony Award-nominated projection designer, lighting designer and costume designer take Broadway News inside the machinations of their collaboration.

(L-R) David Bengali, Bradley King and David Israel Reynoso 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 new musical “Water for Elephants” re-creates the circus world of the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth — so it better be spectacular. 

The design team, including Tony Award-nominated projection designer David Bengali (recognized in the lighting category), lighting designer Bradley King and costume designer David Israel Reynoso, realized the danger, thrill and vibrancy of the 1930s-set circus as well as the subdued nostalgia of the present day in this memory play. But they — along with Tony-nominated director Jessica Stone, Tony-nominated choreographers Jesse Robb and Shana Carroll, Tony-nominated scenic designer Takeshi Kata and sound designer Walter Trarbach — needed to be in lockstep.

Moreover, Reynoso credited the performers with making their vision coalesce into magic. “Their remarkable talents, combined with stellar direction, choreography, lighting, set design and projections, create an environment where everyone’s work shines because it reflects each other’s glow,” he told Broadway News. Not to mention the teams of artists working with each designer to “breathe life,” as Reynoso said, into “ideas [that] would have remained confined to paper.”

Here, Bengali, King and Reynoso break down their collaboration, reveal the principle that guided the entire vision and choose one moment to look for when audiences see “Water for Elephants.”

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