The Kenneth Foy papers date from 1947 to 2014 (bulk dates 1990-2008) and consist of design files, drawings and sketches, paintings, photographs, and research files spanning the career of scenic designer, Kenneth Foy. The materials pertain exclusively to Foy's artistic output, predominantly showcasing his set design work in theatre and opera.
Biographical/historical: Kenneth Foy received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Cooper Union in New York City, and worked as a scenic designer for theatre, opera, dance, and circus performances from 1965 to 2014. He has designed the sets for such productions as 9 to 5, Annie, Carmen, Doctor Doolittle, High School Musical, the King and I, My Fair Lady, Madame Butterfly, Porgy and Bess, Romeo and Juliet, The Sound of Music, Tarzan, and the Tony award winning, Gypsy. Foy has also worked as production designer for Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus, and art director for the Emmy award winning documentary, Moment of Impact. His other work includes video animation for Mariah Carey's Charm Bracelet tour, and set designs for special events at the Busch Gardens and Six Flags theme parks. Foy was regarded for his ability to adapt large Broadway production designs for successful national tours. He was a member of the Metropolitan Opera's scenic department for twenty five years, and was noted for being on the forefront of utilizing computer generated technology in his design work.
Kenneth Foy died in February 2015.
Content: The collection dates from 1947 to 2014 (bulk dates 1990-2008), and chronicles the scenic design career of Kenneth Foy through his digital designs and prints, drawings, ground plans, paintings, photographs, prop lists, sketches, and research files. The materials reveal the visual elements that are considered in staging a theatrical production, illustrating the process from early sketches to the final set design.
Much of the collection is comprised of Foy's design files, which include digital designs and prints; equipment estimates; fabric swatches; ground plans; paintings; photographs of sets and performances; posters; programs; props spreadsheets; renderings; and scripts. Some of the files include bid designs, and others contain information regarding contracts and royalties. The design files convey the scope of Foy's design work, covering theatre productions, opera, and special events, most notably with Busch Gardens, Radio City Music Hall, and the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus. Many designs exist in multiple formats and iterations, such as a hand drawn sketch that is also represented as a digital design print and production photograph. Also included among many of the design files are ground plans, some of which are part of a design bid, and then appear in a much larger format with a greater level of detail. These later renderings address considerations such as lighting design, theatre architecture, and prop dimensions.
There is a considerable assortment of drawings, sketches, and animations that are undated and unidentified. While some of these bear a resemblance to items contained within the design files, it is often unclear if the design was utilized for a specific production, is an early draft, or was created for personal use. Some designs are annotated with handwritten notes, while others lack notation linking them to a specific production or project.
The paintings that Foy retained demonstrate the diversity in tactics he employed in his work. While there are paintings that are labeled with production titles for The Yearling, Night of the Iguana, and My Fair Lady, there is a small set which lack labels and thus cannot be attributed to a specific project. The paintings are less prominent than the digital designs, since Foy did much of his design work electronically, and because the collection more strongly documents the latter portion of Foy's career.
While the design files include photographs of productions Foy worked on, the collection also holds additional unlabeled production images. There are also two albums of photographs which portray New York City street scenes, as well as some shots inside the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the early to mid -1990s. The photographs are of interest for their subject matter, and for a glimpse into Foy's pursuit of various artistic mediums.
Foy also retained a small collection of research subject files that include thematically filed clippings, photographs, and design booklets.