Creating a Set
"Adventurous theater in Astoria"

-- The New York Times

Creating a Set

When the pre-production process begins on a show, one of the first things that needs to be hashed out is the set design, it can set the location, create a color palette for the other designs, dictate what movement is possible, and tell a story on it’s own.  As we start rehearsals this week and start really diving into this show, we asked Stephen Dobay, set designer, to share his take on this piece and design in general.
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I’m really excited to be back at APAC working with Tom and designing Allegro. Many of the people who are involved in this show also worked on last season’s Blood Brothers, so it’s great to have an established comfort level and sense of trust among the team.

One of my favorite moments working on any show is the first read/sing-through with the cast, because it tells me more about what a show will look like than any model or sketch I could create on my own. And because Allegro is set in a town, the actors who inhabit this world are as much a part of the stage picture we’re creating as any set piece.

A bench to be used in the show.
A bench to be used in the show.

Because Allegro is centered around one character’s life, the design must be reflective of his unique journey and world. From a technical standpoint, this means creating many different locations and set pieces that feel personal and specific. This can be a challenge in a small space like APAC’s, without the conventions of a fly space and wings (like a traditional Broadway house). Addressing these issues in ways that are both creative, and true to the musical itself, is one of the great pleasures of working at APAC. As matter of fact, this is the fifth show I’ve designed here, and I’m proud to say that I still haven’t exhausted the number of stage & audience configurations possible in the space!

Truthfully, when Tom approached me about designing Allegro, I wasn’t entirely familiar with it. But I’ve been lucky enough to work with Tom since he first started at APAC, and I’ve witnessed first-hand what a unique and creative sensibility he brings to every project he does. So that was what initially excited me about working on this show. Then I got to know the terrific music and story, and I was completely sold. I truly think everyone who sees the show will be able to relate to the characters, plot and themes in some way, and I hope to see everyone there!

One Comment


  1. Nancy Jones
    Mar 25, 2014

    Can’t wait to see Allegro. These updates are terrific in building interest for the production & knowledge of your process!

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