On the Stage, Behind the Scenes and In the Audience
Ming Cho Lee
Hewes Design Awards - 1983
One of the foremost set designers in America today, his extensive credits include work in opera, theatre, and dance. Born in Shanghai, Mr. Lee attended Occidental College and UCLA. He has worked with many leading American dance companies, including Martha Graham, American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Eliot Feld Ballet, Jose Limon and Pacific Northwest Ballet. From 1962 through 1973, he was the principal designer for Joseph Papp’s New York Shakespeare Festival. He has designed sets for opera companies including the Metropolitan Opera, New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago and San Francisco Opera. He has also designed for theatre groups including Arena Stage, Mark Taper Forum, Guthrie Theatre, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Seattle Repertory Theatre, Manhattan Theatre Club, and for Broadway. Internationally, Mr. Lee has designed productions for Covent Garden (London), Hamburgische Staatsoper, Teatro Colon (Buenos Aires), Royal Danish Ballet, Cloud Gate Dance Theatre (Taipei), the Hong Kong Cultural Center, and Buhnen Graz (Austria). His numerous awards and distinctions include a Tony Award, an Obie for sustained achievement, New York Drama Desk and New York and Los Angeles Outer Circle Critics Awards, three honorary doctorates, awards for long-term achievement from 6 major theatre and opera organizations, membership in the Theatre Hall of Fame, and the Mayor’s Award for Arts and Culture from New York City. His work has been shown in two separate retrospectives at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and in Taipei. As an architectural consultant, Mr. Lee designed theatres for Joseph Papp’s Public Theatre and the State University of New York at Purchase. He holds the Donald Oenslager Chair in Design and is the co-Chair of the design department at the Yale University School of Drama. Both through his own work in opera, theatre, and dance, and through his teaching at the Yale School of Drama, Ming has had a greater influence on American scenography than any other contemporary designer.