Gregg Barnes is a 2008/2009 Ovation Nominee in the Costume Design – Large Theatre category for his work on MINSKY’S at Center Theatre Group: Ahmanson Theatre. He previously received an Ovation Award in this category in 2002 for FLOWER DRUM SONG, and was nominated in this category for THE DROWSY CHAPERONE and THE WIZARD OF OZ.
As an Ovation Award Nominee, LA Stage asked Gregg the following questions:
What was the moment that first inspired you to pursue working in the theatre?
As a child my parents were very good about taking us down to the San Diego Sports Arena (where I grew up) and getting us tickets to see these traveling spectacles…Holiday on Ice and Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus and that sort of thing. Â We weren’t a theatre going family (other than that) but once I got to High School the school arranged a field trip to see a production of AS YOU LIKE IT that Jack O’Brien directed at The Old Globe Theatre. Â That was it for me. Â Brilliantly directed, acted and designed. Â Â I have to admit I still love a good Ice Show however.
What do you feel made the production you were nominated for particularly successful, either overall or for you specifically?
Working on MINSKY’S was a thrill for many reasons. Â It reunited a lot of the team from THE DROWSY CHAPERONE which also started in Los Angeles and was one of my favorite experiences working in the theatre. Â The specific challenges of the design were especially thrilling. Â The range of characters, the spectacle versus the every day world, the acting company, the other collaborators….all of it was invigorating. Â Â It was the first time I came up against how to make a woman look naked and not reveal the structure underneath that allows you to throw yourself around without anything popping out.
What project or projects are you currently working on?
I’m off to London to remount LEGALLY BLONDE on the West End, and in the Spring I have a couple of new musicals to start work on. Â I’ll be collaborating with Casey Nicholaw (MINSKY’S director) this April on a concert version of ANYONE CAN WHISTLE that I’m very excited about.
What do you love most about theatre in Los Angeles?
I am New York based and most of my time is spent there so you get into certain habits and develop a certain comfort zone…shops that you love and certain stores that you depend on. Â Coming to Los Angeles is thrilling because a whole world of new sources opens up before you. Â Amazing vintage, amazing fabric stores, amazing people. Â I love working in Los Angeles. Â I should add that the Mexican Food is also amazing.
What’s your dream project?
I can’t really narrow it down to a certain project or script. Â For me the other collaborators are what make a project fulfilling. Â As long as I am working with people that I admire and that push the envelope and keep life interesting I am happy.
BIOGRAPHY: GREGG BARNES – Broadway:Â Legally Blonde (2007 Tony nomination), The Drowsy Chaperone (2006 Tony Award, Drama Desk Award, Outer Critics Award, Olivier nomination), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Flower Drum Song (Tony nomination), Side Show. New York: Sinatra (Radio City Music Hall), The Wizard of Oz (Madison Square Garden), Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular (Principal Designer 1994-2005), Cinderella and The Merry Widow (New York City Opera), Pageant (The Blue Angel and London’s West End- Olivier Nomination), The Kathy and Mo Show, Eliot Feld’s Behold the Man, Judith Jamison’s ballet Sweet Release (Alvin Ailey). Regional credits include: Mame (The Kennedy Center), Lucky Duck (San Diego Critic’s Award), Allegro (Helen Hayes Award) and many others.Â Gregg was the first recipient of the Theatre Development Funds Young Master Award.
For a full list of Ovation nominees, or for information about the Ovation Awards Ceremony on January 11th, click here!