Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer papers and designs

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Collection Data

Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer are American lighting designers, working primarily on the Broadway stage. The Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer papers and designs date from 1960 to 2005 and contain the work of Fisher and Eisenhauer both individually and in partnership for theatrical productions, dance performances, concerts, and other live events. Fisher's architectural lighting designs, theatre and auditorium lighting plans, and film option files are also included. The collection contains scripts; lighting plots, lighting sections, ground plans, and other technical drawings; design notes and memoranda; correspondence; and contracts.
Fisher, Jules (Creator)
Eisenhauer, Peggy (Creator)
Dates / Origin
Date Created: 1960 - 2007
Library locations
Billy Rose Theatre Division
Shelf locator: *T-Mss 1979-002
Fisher Marantz Stone
Jules Fisher Associates
Jules Fisher Enterprises
Jules Fisher/Joshua Dachs Associates
Third Eye Limited
Lighting, Architectural and decorative -- Design and construction
Stage lighting designers -- New York (State) -- New York
Theater -- New York (State) -- New York
Theater -- Production and direction
Design drawings
Biographical/historical: Jules Fisher (b. 1937) is a lighting designer and producer on Broadway. Raised in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Fisher took an early interest in stagecraft working on summer stock theatre productions in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. After attending the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now known as Carnegie Mellon University's College of Engineering), Fisher moved to New York City and lit Off-Broadway theatre productions as well as concerts and dance performances. Fisher started designing lighting for Broadway productions in 1963, beginning with Spoon River Anthology. He also continued to work Off-Broadway, with dance companies, and in limited engagement shows and concerts, sometimes lighting up to 15 productions in one year. His best-known early work on Broadway was as the lighting designer for the original productions of Hair (1968), Jesus Christ Superstar (1972), Pippin (1973), and Chicago (1975). Fisher also scaled and adapted these designs for Broadway national tours, bus and truck tours, sitting productions, and international tours and productions. With the 1971 Broadway play Lenny, Fisher expanded his role in the theatre, serving as producer for the show. He produced the musical revues Beatlemania (which he co-conceived, 1977), Dancin' (1978), Rock and Roll: The First 5,000 years (1982), and Elvis: A Musical Celebration (1988), while also designing lighting for the shows. As a producer, one of Fisher's highest-profile productions was the 1984 Kander and Ebb musical The Rink, which starred Chita Rivera and Liza Minelli. Throughout the 1970s, he worked as a production supervisor for concert tours with major musical acts such as the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Parliament, and KISS, as well as for a United States tour of The Who's Tommy. Fisher also worked in film. In addition to lighting concert scenes for Barbra Streisand in the 1976 film A Star is Born, he was involved in the development, sale, and production of spec scripts to film companies in the early 1980s. Though he was credited individually for his lighting work, all stage design, production, and optioning work was administered through his businesses, Jules Fisher Associates and Jules Fisher Enterprises, until his partnership with Peggy Eisenhauer. While working steadily in theatrical lighting, Fisher founded an architectural lighting firm, Fisher Marantz Stone, in 1968. Fisher Marantz Stone's fixtures and large-scale designs are featured in commercial spaces such as the Banque National de Paris' New York branch, in concert halls like the Denver Symphony Hall, and in the homes of private clients. Fisher is also a planning consultant for theatres and other large event spaces with the firm Fisher Dachs Associates, which assisted in the lighting design and layout of venues such as the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York City and the MGM-Grand Hotel in Las Vegas. Since the 1970s, Fisher has offered Master Classes through the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, as well as in New York City-based drama programs. Peggy Eisenhauer, Fisher's longtime creative partner, was first introduced to his work in 1972, when as a young teenager she attended a performance of Pippin on Broadway. Eisenhauer, a native of the Hudson Valley in New York, followed Fisher's path, running lighting in community theatre before attending Carnegie Mellon University. Fisher helped Eisenhauer secure employment with the New York Shakespeare Festival after her move to New York City, and the two designers began collaborating in 1985 with the musical Song and Dance. Fisher and Eisenhauer are partners in Third Eye Limited, providing lighting design for theatre, concerts, dance, and other special events. Throughout their collaboration, Fisher and Eisenhauer have regularly worked with director George C. Wolfe and choreographer/director Graciela Daniele, Fisher's wife, on shows such as Jelly's Last Jam (1992); Angels in America: Millennium and Perestroika (1993); Bring in 'da Noise, Bring in 'da Funk (1996); Ragtime (1998); and the revival of Gypsy (2003). Together, Fisher and Eisenhauer have won three Tony Awards for Best Lighting Design. As of 2013, Fisher individually has earned 19 nominations and 9 Tony Awards, holding a record in the lighting design category.
Content: The Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer papers and designs date from 1960 to 2007 (bulk dates 1967 to 1995) and contain designs by Fisher and Eisenhauer individually and in partnership for theatrical productions, dance performances, concerts, and other live events. Fisher's architectural lighting designs, theatre and auditorium electrical designs, and film option files are also included. The collection contains scripts; lighting plots, lighting sections, ground plans, and other technical drawings; design notes and memoranda; correspondence; and contracts. The bulk of the collection consists of files for theatrical productions, dance performances, films, and concerts for which Fisher and Eisenhauer worked as lighting designers. The collection covers Fisher's earliest work on Broadway, beginning in 1963, and the majority of his solo work; Fisher and Eisenhauer's designs from 1985 to 2005; and a small number of shows for which Eisenhauer was credited individually. The files are identified by show title and may document multiple productions with different iterations of the original lighting design, including Off-Broadway previews, Broadway productions, sitting productions, Broadway national tours, bus and truck tours, international productions, and international tours. Shows files documenting multiple productions include Hair and Pippin. Files for Jesus Christ Superstar contain both Fisher's originating designs for Broadway and international productions as well as Eisenhauer's work for a New Zealand-based revival and tour in the early 1990s. Most theatre productions are represented by a script with follow spot cues or other notations. More complete files include programs, photographs of rehearsals and equipment, reviews and clippings, tour schedules, press information, correspondence, and royalty statements. One score, for the musical Mayflower, is available. Fisher's contracts are found in both individual show files as well as a chronological general file. Designs for each show typically consist of lighting plots, focus charts, board hookup charts, and equipment lists, while larger files contain electrical hanging plans, scenic ground plans and cross sections, templates for custom fixtures and projectors, and go-between optical templates. For some shows staged after 1998, the collection contains design files in both electronic and analog form. Most of the electronic records are duplicated on paper, including lighting plots, follow spot cues, channel hookups, focus charts, spot coordinate photographs, and go-between opticals. Computer-aided design (CAD) architectural files are not currently accessible electronically, but these drawings exist in print form within show files. Files created in lighting console software such as Obsession, Virtuoso, and Lightwright rely on obsolete software and hardware unavailable at the Library. Disk images of lighting console disks are present in the electronic records in place of the inaccessible files. In addition to stage lighting files, design specifications for Fisher's private clients, such as homes, businesses, and theatres for which he designed single fixtures or complete lighting systems, are also found in the collection. These files contain fixture drawings, cross sections, estimates for materials, bids, and correspondence with clients. The most robust files originate from shows produced by Fisher, namely The Rink, Dancin', Rock n Roll: The First 5000 Years, and Lenny. Fisher's production files document the development and opening of shows, from workshops and script revisions, the securing of rights and licensing agreements for musical revues, to contract negotiations with the cast and the recording of cast albums. Individual performances are represented through stage manager reports and audience surveys. While most show files contain some financial discussion regarding Fisher's royalties for his lighting designs, his producers' files consist of thorough documentation of the financial state of the show, from subscriber solicitations to weekly box office reports. General files in the collection contain material related to Fisher's solo work prior to 1985. These files do not focus on individual shows, but discuss multiple ongoing projects and productions. Reviews and Publicity provides broad and scattered documentation of Fisher's theatrical work prior to 1985. Files for Columbia Pictures, Scripts and Properties, and Weekly Reports relate to Fisher's efforts in theatrical production and motion picture development. Correspondence is primarily professional in nature, discussing ongoing projects as well as Fisher's social relationships with prominent members of the New York performing arts scene. His royalty negotiations and work terms are detailed in files for Contracts and Peter Witt, his business manager in the early 1970s. Catalog Requests and Template files detail specific equipment sought out by Fisher and designs that he kept for general reference. The collection contains nine audio recordings, including radio interviews with British theatre practitioner Edward Gordon Craig, and promotional recordings, audio tracks, and sound effects for Dancin', Tommy, and Omnium Gatherum. Inquiries regarding audio recordings in the collection may be directed to the Billy Rose Theatre Division (theatrediv@nypl.org). Audio recordings will be subject to preservation evaluation and migration prior to access. Selected light plots, technical drawings, cue sheets, and other materials related to Fisher's lighting design for the 1968 production of Hair are available online via the New York Public Library and The Lighting Archive's Theatrical Lighting Database at http://lightingdb.nypl.org.
Physical Description
Extent: 46.57 linear feet (97 boxes, 20 tubes); 5.28 gb (1013 computer files)
Type of Resource
Other local Identifier: *T-Mss 1979-002
NYPL catalog ID (B-number): b20027177
MSS Unit ID: 18660
Universal Unique Identifier (UUID): b8a99770-7558-0139-4ed2-0242ac110005
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