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When scenic designers transform entire theaters

Tony Award nominees David Korins and Tom Scutt delve into their processes of designing and remodeling Broadway houses to tell the stories of musicals “Here Lies Love” and “Cabaret,” respectively.

(L-R) The company of Broadway’s “Here Lies Love”; The company of Broadway’s “Cabaret” (Credit: Matthew Murphy, Evan Zimmerman and Billy Bustamante; Marc Brenner)

Two Broadway theaters were radically transformed by scenic designers for musicals this season, and now both are 2024 Tony Award nominees. As part of David Korins’ design for “Here Lies Love” at the Broadway Theater, as well as Tom Scutt’s design for “Cabaret” at what’s now called the Kit Kat Club at the August Wilson, seats were put into storage, new load-bearing structures were installed and Broadway audiences were directed to navigate the space in ways they never have before. 

Making alterations to the layout and architecture of a theater involves a slew of practical considerations, like adhering to safety and accessibility regulations, preserving the theater’s original interior and managing the time and budget constraints of a process that takes longer and costs far more than a conventional onstage set.

Korins and Scutt faced challenges unique to a major theater overhaul and agreed that the changes they made were essential to the artistic concept for each show.

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