Howard Bay, set and lighting designer, theater architect, teacher and consultant. The collection consists of set and costume designs, technical drawings, elevations and whiteprints documenting the work of Howard Bay.
Biographical/historical: Howard Bay was born May 3, 1912 in Centralia, Washington. Both his parents were schoolteachers; his father was an art teacher in particular. Bay's career in set and lighting design began in 1933 and he began working on Broadway productions as early as 1937, He would later be referred to as the "dean of American stage designs".
Howard Bay's set and lighting arrangements were recreated in some 170 Broadway shows in a career spanning over fifty years. Bay won two Tony Awards as a Scenic Designer for his work on Toys in The Attic (1960) and Man of La Mancha (1966). His work also included designs for Carmen Jones (1943), Show Boat (1946), The Would-Be Gentleman (1946), Come Back, Little Sheba (1950), Finian's Rainbow (1955), Pal Joey (1963) and The Music Man (1957). He is remembered for his technique of solving design problems with a practical and realistic approach. Bay designs have been used for operas, films, touring productions, and television productions. He also taught set design at various schools spending most of it at Brandeis University for fourteen years. Bay also contributed articles in his field to various reference books. He was last working on a production of The Music Man to be produced for the Peking Opera House when he died in New York City on November 21, 1986 of a heart attack.
Content: Original designs help to form the bulk of this collection on Howard Bay's varied career as set designer and professor. The collection consists of designs from thirty-six productions, including technical drawings, painter's elevations, rough sketches, set renderings, light plots, detail drawings and preliminary drawings. Almost every play, musical, opera or project Bay worked on is represented. Bay also worked on numerous productions through various universities' theatre departments, often contributing to the formation and curriculum of their programs.
The remainder of the collection consists of correspondence, office files, published articles, clippings and programs providing production information. The photograph series is largely production related but does include some portraits and snapshots of Bay, including one with Donald Oenslager and Laurence Olivier. The collection also includes awards received by Bay for his contributions to various causes and the artistic craftsmanship of his work.