Robin Wagner (American, b.1933)

Date of birth
Aug 31 1933
Nationality
Related information
Biography
A native of San Francisco, most of Robin Wagner's early work was produced in the Bay Area, and included designs for theatre, ballet, and opera. His first New York assignment was designing the 1959 production of And the Wind Blows; at the same time, Wagner began designing for a variety of musical productions for regional companies in New England.
During the 1960s, much of Wagner's work was accomplished as an assistant to Ben Edwards and Oliver Smith. He went on to become the principal designer at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. In the 1970s, Wagner designed for some of the most important musicals of the decade, including Hair, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line, On the Twentieth Century, 42nd Street, and Dreamgirls.
Wagner's success is due not only to his ingenuity -- demonstrated in On the Twentieth Century, where he created a sleek locomotive in the Art Deco style, with steam issuing from the orchestra pit, pulling in and out of the station, speeding through the night, and luring the audience onto the adventurous ride -- but also in his deidcation to theatre as a collaborative art form. Wagner works closely with his directors, costume designers, and lighting designers; this collaboration leads to the cohesive presentation of a production. In Theater Design and Technology, Wagner stated,"It's the process of merging visions into some kind of oneness. It's like fiber optic strands that eventually throw a great beam of light - but only because they are made of a series of minute little channels of energy focused in the same direction." (Arnold Aronson, American Set Design, 1985, p. 153).

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