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The design team of ‘New York, New York’ reveals what it took to create the Big Apple onstage

Before the musical closes, Beowulf Boritt and Ken Billington reflect on the craft required to evoke the feel of the metropolis.

“New York, New York” on Broadway (Credit: Paul Kolnik)

“It is the biggest set I’ve ever done and probably one of the bigger sets ever done on Broadway,” said scenic designer Beowulf Boritt of his Tony Award-winning creation for “New York, New York.” “The musical has a sprawling ambition, so the design had to match that.”

Boritt, along with the production’s Tony-nominated lighting and sound designers, Ken Billington and Kai Harada, respectively, created NYC of 1946 on an approximately 41-by-40-foot  proscenium Broadway stage. “It’s attempting to take you on a trip through New York City,” Boritt explained. To accomplish that for an audience of New Yorkers took a year of conversations between director-choreographer Susan Stroman and her design team.

“There was an incredible amount of research into what was here at the time, but also doing it in a way that would resonate with modern New Yorkers,” Boritt added. “New York, New York” portrays 70 locations (“A normal musical has 10,” Boritt said).

(L-R) Colton Ryan and Anna Uzele in “New York, New York” on Broadway (Credit: Paul Kolnik)

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