Six-Time Tony Award-Winning Lighting Designer, Natasha Katz Honored With 2018 Apple Award

Natasha Katz received the 2018 Apple Award (with John Wolf, Chair)
Natasha Katz received the 2018 Apple Award (with John Wolf, Chair)

At a reception on Thursday, April 19 at the Fisher Theatre, John Wolf, chair of the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance, a department within the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University, presented the 2018 Apple Award to legendary, six-time Tony Award-winning lighting designer, Natasha Katz.

Ms. Katz, who’s prolific career has spanned the globe and the performing arts, spoke with the group about her appreciation for being honored by Wayne State University. Following the reception, Ms. Katz, John Wolf, the students and faculty, attended the Broadway in Detroit touring production of School of Rock, for which Ms. Katz designed the lighting.

On Friday, April 20, students and the public were invited to join Ms. Katz at the Studio Theatre at the Hilberry, where she reflected on her incredible career and shared wonderful insight into what it means to be a successful, working artist in the theatre.

View the discussion below via our Facebook Live feed.


About Natasha Katz

Natasha Katz is a lighting designer who works extensively in the worlds of Broadway, Opera, and Ballet. She was recently nominated for a 2017 Tony Award for Hello, Dolly!, and a 2017 Olivier Award for her work on The Glass Menagerie. She won the 2016 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Play for her work on Long Day’s Journey Into Night. She has six Tony Awards, with 14 nominations.

Among over 50 Broadway credits include designs for Frozen (February 2018), Springsteen on Broadway (2017), Meteor Shower (2017), Cats (2016), School of Rock, An American in Paris (Tony Award), Gigi, Skylight, Aladdin, Motown, Once (Tony Award), Follies, Sister Act, Elf, Collected Stories, The Addams Family, Impressionism, Hedda Gabler, The Little Mermaid, The Coast of Utopia: Salvage (Tony Award), A Chorus Line (revival), The 25th Annual Spelling Bee, Tarzan, Aida (Tony Award), Sweet Smell of Success, Twelfth Night, Dance of Death, Beauty and the Beast, The Capeman, Gypsy. She has subsequently recreated her designs for many of these productions around the world.

She has lit such luminaries as Zachary Quinto, Jake Gyllenhaal, Mike Tyson, Jessica Lange, Helen Hunt, Mary Louise Parker, Christopher Plummer, Elaine Stritch, Cathy Rigby, Nathan Lane, Bernadette Peters, Claudette Colbert, Rex Harrison, and has designed concert acts for Shirley MacLaine, Ann-Margret, and Tommy Tune.

In the world of Dance, Natasha is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Christopher Wheeldon, with projects including The Winter’s Tale, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Cinderella, and Tryst, all at the Royal Opera House in London. Other collaborations with Mr. Wheeldon include Continuum (San Francisco Ballet), Carnival of the Animals and An American in Paris (New York City Ballet). Her other dance work includes American Ballet Theatre’s production of “Don Quixote” and productions with companies including San Francisco Ballet, Dutch National Ballet and National Ballet of Canada.

For the Opera stage, her credits include Die Soldaten for the New York City Opera, two productions of Norma for Joan Sutherland: the Opera Pacific in Costa Mesa, California, and the Michigan Opera Theatre in Detroit, Michigan, She has also worked with The Royal Opera on Cyrano de Bergerac, directed by Francesca Zambello.

Her film work includes Barrymore starring Christopher Plummer, and Mike Tyson: The Undisputed Truth. She has also lit the HBO Television specials Mambo Mouth and Side-O-Rama.

Her permanent audio-visual shows include The Masquerade Village at the Rio Casino, Las Vegas, and Big Bang at the Hayden Planetarium in New York, and for Niketown in New York City and London.

A New York City native, Natasha trained at Oberlin College, and early in her career was mentored by Roger Morgan.

About the Apple Award

The Apple Award, named for Sarah Applebaum Nederlander, is given by the Maggie Allesee Department of Theatre and Dance at Wayne State University on behalf of the Nederlander family. In 2001, the Nederlander family formed a partnership with the College of Fine, Performing and Communication Arts at Wayne State University, establishing the Sarah Applebaum Nederlander Award for Excellence in Theatre; an annual theatre award and visiting artist fund in their mother’s name.

The Apple Award brings a nationally prominent theatre professional to Detroit and the Wayne State University campus as a guest lecturer to interact with and educate the rising stars of the Department of Theatre and Dance through master classes and a question-and-answer style forum. Previous Apple Award winners include Garth Fagan, Neil Simon, Carol Channing, Stephen Schwartz, Mandy Patinkin, Patti Lupone, Marvin Hamlisch, Elaine Stritch, and Tom Skerritt.

We’re excited to welcome guest artist, Gelsey Bell to Wayne State University

Gelsey BellWe’re thrilled to have performer and vocal artist, Gelsey Bell to Wayne State University this week where she’ll lead workshops in Voice and Movement and Performing on Broadway with our current students.

Gelsey Bell is a New York City-based singer, songwriter, and scholar. Her performance creations have been presented internationally. She has released multiple albums. She was a 2017 recipient of the Foundation for Contemporary Arts Music/Sound award and she is currently the Exploring the Metropolis Ridgewood Bushwick Composer-in-Residence. She is a core member of new music ensemble thingNY, performance collective Varispeed, and improv trio the Chutneys. Her works include ScalingOur Defensive MeasurementsThis Takes Place Close By (with thingNY), and Prisoner’s Song (with Erik Ruin). She originated the role of Princess Mary for Dave Malloy’s Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812 (from Off-Off-Broadway to Broadway) and Pearl in Ghost Quartet. She is also known for her performances in Robert Ashley’s Crash, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler’s River of Fundament, John King’s Micro-Operas, Yasuko Yokoshi’s BELL, Kate Soper’s Here Be Sirens, and Gregory Whitehead’s On the Shore Dimly Seen, which incorporated her original vocal improvisations. She has a PhD in performance studies from New York University and is the Critical Acts Co-editor for TDR/The Drama Review and the Reviews Editor for The Journal of Interdisciplinary Voice Studies. She is currently finishing a book on American experimental vocal music in the 1970s.

Want access to amazing guest artists?  Consider furthering your education and training with a degree in Theatre or Dance from Wayne State University. Learn more.