Pat Collins, a Tony Award-winning lighting designer and a Broadway mainstay whose work was seen for practically 50 years in performs, musicals and operas, died on March 21 at her house in Branford, Conn. She was 88.
The trigger was pancreatic most cancers, mentioned Dr. Virginia Stuermer, her companion of 64 years and her solely survivor.
Ms. Collins, who received her Tony for Herb Gardner’s “I’m Not Rappaport” in 1986, was the lighting designer for greater than 30 different Broadway productions, amongst them “The Threepenny Opera,” “Ain’t Misbehavin’” and “Doubt,” which earned her a Tony nomination.
“Her lighting was like her character: She was nervy and clever however with a delicate aspect,” John Lee Beatty, a Tony-winning scenic designer and frequent collaborator, mentioned in a telephone interview. “She actually blossomed in tech rehearsals; she cherished to create on the spot.” He added: “She may do typical lighting, however she additionally wished to attempt all the things.”
Ms. Collins introduced an autumnal palette to “I’m Not Rappaport,” about two irascible and inseparable octogenarians who meet on a Central Park bench, and the darkness of looming demise to a 1989 manufacturing in Baltimore of “Miss Evers’ Boys,” David Feldshuh’s play concerning the federal authorities’s withholding of therapy for syphilis to poor Black males. In a 2002 revival of Lanford Wilson’s “Burn This” on the Union Sq. Theater, she remodeled figures onstage into what Ben Brantley of The New York Times called “ambiguous silhouettes.”
She additionally labored at regional theaters all through the USA and with opera firms in New York, San Francisco, Santa Fe, London, Paris and Munich — all the time using light to determine moods, create the phantasm of time passing and point out the place the viewers’s consideration ought to be on the stage.
“Lighting has all the things to do with how you are feeling and the way issues have an effect on you,” Ms. Collins instructed The Submit-Star in Glens Falls, N.Y., in 1975. “Virtually everybody has had the aesthetic expertise of being moved by seeing gentle filtered via bushes within the forest. Multiply that by one thousand and also you’d have some thought of the fixed subliminal impact lighting has on us.”
Michael Chybowski, a lighting designer who labored with Ms. Collins on two productions on the Alaska Repertory Theater within the Nineteen Eighties, mentioned of her: “She understood the purpose of the present and made certain that you simply noticed it. Whether or not it was portentous occasions in ‘An Enemy of the Individuals’ or the sheer enjoyable of ‘Ain’t Misbehavin’,’ her gentle mirrored and communicated that.”
Mr. Chybowski recalled the lighting design that Ms. Collins devised for “An Enemy of the Individuals,” Ibsen’s political drama a couple of scientist who tries to save lots of his city from water air pollution however turns into a scapegoat.
“She went into the studio, labored at my drafting desk for 4 hours, drew up the plan and went off to the airport,” he mentioned. “I mentioned, ‘It may possibly’t be that simple,’ however we placed on the present, and it was essentially the most stunning present we did in my 5 years on the theater.”
Patricia Jane Collins was born on April 3, 1932, in Brooklyn to Jerry and Alta (Hyatt) Collins. Her mom labored in a legislation agency; her father left the household when Pat was very younger.
Ms. Collins attended Pembroke School in Brown College, the place she studied Spanish and joined a campus drama group. After graduating, she spent a 12 months at Yale Drama Faculty — the place she met Dr. Stuermer — however felt it was a waste of time. She went to work as an alternative as a stage supervisor on the Joffrey Ballet, after which as an assistant to Jean Rosenthal, a prime Broadway lighting designer, on the American Shakespeare Pageant Theater in Stratford, Conn.
Ms. Collins labored as a stage supervisor, amongst different jobs, within the Sixties however didn’t hit her stride till Joseph Papp, the founder and director of the New York Shakespeare Pageant, employed her to design the lighting for productions of “The Threepenny Opera” at Lincoln Center in 1976, which earned her a Tony nomination, and on the Delacorte Theater in Central Park in 1977.
“She had fastened any individual else’s present, and he supplied her ‘Threepenny,’” mentioned Mimi Jordan Sherin, a lighting designer and longtime affiliate of Ms. Collins’s. “That put her on the map, and he or she by no means stopped working after that.”
For all that she labored on Broadway, she spent a lot of her time away from it, designing lighting at regional theaters, together with Ford’s Theater in Washington, Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, Berkeley Repertory Theater in California, the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles and the Lengthy Wharf Theater in New Haven, Conn.
For the Hartford Stage Firm’s manufacturing of Shakespeare’s “Cymbeline,” Malcolm Johnson of The Hartford Courant wrote admiringly of “the ever-changing gentle patterns” that Ms. Collins had created with “mirror photographs and stars and moons and comets.”
Ms. Collins, who started listening to opera on radio at age 9, designed lighting for productions on the Metropolitan Opera, the Royal Opera Home in London and the Bavarian State Opera in Munich. She additionally conceived the lighting for Lar Lubovitch’s manufacturing of “Othello: A Dance in Three Acts” on the American Ballet Theater in 1997.
Her other Broadway credits embody “The Heidi Chronicles,” “The Sisters Rosenzweig,” “A Moon for the Misbegotten,” “Good Individuals,” “Orphans” and “Execution of Justice,” for which she received a Drama Desk Award in 1986.
Mr. Beatty recalled being in London one 12 months when Ms. Collins had a double invoice of labor there — Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods” and a efficiency close by on the English Nationwide Opera.
At “Into the Woods,” he mentioned, “the curtain goes down, the music begins” and the lighting was “brilliant and easy, just like the world’s greatest flashbulb had come on. Whoa, in your face!”
“There was a sure joyfulness to that,” he added. “Then, she was down the road, doing an esoteric opera, difficult that director to assume out of the field. It was excellent Pat.”