PRESS AND AWARDS FOR BLUE HILL DESIGN
When I Come to Die: Lighting Design nominated for Lucille Lortel Award
The Laramie Project: Lighting Design nominated for Lucille Lortel & SF Bay Area Theatre Critics Circle Awards
Director Thomas Kail (of Hamilton and In The Heights fame) has woven together a lovely multilayered production that focuses on the significance of community, blended with a signature urban vibe. Betsy Adams’s lighting and Donyale Werle’s scenic design are both very well-executed, lending an appropriately dingy, but warm playing space for the story to unfold within.
Hudes has a fine grasp of the friction created by the social tectonic plates that shift according to the waves of gentrification and governance. Each of these characters is good company — there’s a distant echo here of Rent, and not just because of Rubin-Vega’s welcome presence. It’s all beautifully calibrated under the direction of Thomas Kail (Hamilton) in Donyale Werle’s terrific environmental set, atmospherically lit by Betsy Adams.
Scenic designer Donyale Werle has provided a perfectly weathered bar and Betsy Adams lights it with just the right seedy tones. Mr. Kail’s direction is seamless and—no surprise— Quiara Alegría Hudes’ writing is wonderful.
Sarah Lambert’s set (collapsible Erector-set-like posts, steel decks and tables and chairs that become the essential elements of disaster) is a minimalist marvel, with Betsy Adams’ evocative lighting, Mike Tutaj’s projections, Andre Pluess’ sound and Rachel Laritz’s costumes combining to turn a slow burn into a full conflagration.
Directed by the playwright herself, Leigh Fondakowski has staged her drama in a gritty, gut-wrenching production that’s in your face and takes no prisoners. TimeLine’s usual mission to bring history to life seems even more vital, with the director staging her cast often only inches away from the audience. At times, her actors literally scale the heights, mounting high above in balconies and playing areas set all over the theatre. The director keeps her company in continual motion, with each of her nine top-notch actors portraying multiple characters. Ms. Fondakowski understands the power of her play and she knows how to effectively direct and redirect the theatergoers’ focus within a split second. Her technical team unite their talents beautifully to create an artistic environment of sight and sound to support this story. Sarah Lambert’s astonishing collapsable and reconstructable scenic design, lit with emotion and finesse by Betsy Adams, enhanced by Mike Tutaj’s superbly created moving projections and colored in a deafening soundscape by Andre Pluess, all blend together to make this story live.
The incredibly talented ensemble cast of “Spill” (Caren Blackmore, Tim Decker, Kelli Simpkins, Craig Spidle, Justin James Farley, David Prete, Chris Rickett, Christopher Sheard, and Justine C. Turner) --often switching roles in less than a blink-- and the phenomenal set design (Sarah Lambert), lighting (Betsy Adams), sound design (Andre Pluess), and overhead projections (Mike Tutaj) and staging make “Spill” a powerful and moving account of a story that needs to be told.
When I Come to Die
Excerpt from John Simon’s review in Yonkers Tribune:
There is detailedly authentic scenery by Robin Vest, precise costuming by Emily Rebholz, and condignly dramatic lighting by Betsy Adams. (Nice that the designers for this mostly male play are all women.) But, I repeat, it finally comes down to, and rises to transcend everything, in Chris Chalk’s performance. It would not surprise me if it companioned us to when we, too, come to die.
The People’s Temple
Excerpt from SF Chronicle
The story unfolds chronologically and is staged with stark simplicity by Fondakowski in a somber forest of racks full of hundreds of cardboard boxes, like a cross between a library and a morgue (the stunning set is by Sarah Lambert, with eloquent lighting by Betsy Adams). The 12-person cast, moving with ceremonial respect, retrieves artifacts and clothing from the boxes for the different characters' stories, with Gabriel Berry's costumes closely replicating the clothes in archival photographs.
Excerpt from newtheatercorps.blogspot.com
The production is also excellently designed with a gorgeous set by Lauren Helpern and lighting by Betsy Adams that is subtle and poetic.
Excerpt from www.theaterscene.net
Designer Betsy Adams, who knows just how to embrace Neil Patel's functional set, has beautifully lighted the show. Costumer Paul Tazewell does smartly with the earth tones accented in Act I and dressing the ensemble in formal all white for Act II.
Excerpt from www.musicals101.com
Neil Patel's set starts out as a giant cathedral radio that turns around to reveal a slick art deco bandstand. Paul Tazewell's costumes are a bit understated at first, but his second act designs pack a dazzling punch – assisted by some first-class lighting courtesy of Betsy Adams.
The Laramie Project
Excerpt from Variety review of the La Jolla production
"And to be frank, the performances themselves are not actually the strength of "The Laramie Project." The cast does a good job in distinguishing the principal figures -- with significant help from Moe Schell's excellent costume design and Betsy Adams's fine lighting ..."
Gross Indecency: The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
Excerpt from BACK STAGE WEST at the Mark Taper Forum
There is more to Gross Indecency, Moises Kaufman's playful and pointed parsing of letters, writing, and records of the grinding humiliation suffered by Oscar Wilde at the hands of the English courts in 1895, than liberal-hindsight docudrama. If this startling account of institutional homophobia at times feels a bit like one of those TV movies about the bad old days of segregation or McCarthyism or a fill-in-the-blank evil we can congratulate ourselves we now know better about, it is not for lack of theatricality.
The action plays out fluidly in front of vast red velvet curtains, with the barest hint of a courtroom setting--tables either side of a podium, another long table on a lower level downstage, at which a versatile four-member chorus sits facing out, not in--and only later, in Act Two, expands upstage over and above a curtain rod, on a raked platform, and at the sides of the stage (the expansive sets are by Sarah Lambert, the dramatic lighting by Betsy Adams).
Excerpt from TalkinBroadway.com
Sarah Lambert's set design is wonderfully simplistic and adds greatly to the dramatic atmosphere of the production. Kitty Leache's costumes are accurate and set the tone of the play. And Wayne Frost's sound design brings fantastic tension to the piece. The most astounding aesthetic contribution of this design team is Betsy Adams' incredible lighting design. Her ability to transform a simple stage with heavy color saturation, as well as soft and austere bright lighting is breathtaking.
Excerpt from SF Chronicle
As the trials shift focus, so does Lambert's set, with a green curtain drawn across the middle of the stage or the big red drapes opening to reveal the concrete wall of the theater. Betsy Adams' lights sharply reflect the shifting realities, as the script moves from external reality to focus increasingly on the trial playing in Wilde's mind.