Jean Rosenthal (1912 – 1969)

  • Pioneered the position of ‘lighting designer’ as a legitimate career, when the electrician or set designer ‘did the lights’.
  • Collaborator with Martha Graham.
  • Joined the Federal Theatre Project in 1935, leading to collaborations with Orson Welles and John Houseman.
  • Book, “Magic of Light” published posthumously in 1972.

Some of her major contributions were the elimination of shadows by using floods of upstage lighting and controlling angles and mass of illumination to create contrasts without shadows. She designed over 200 Broadway shows for Martha Graham, New York City Ballet, and the Metropolitan Opera. She also brought to Broadway such famous musicals as West Side Story (1957), The Sound of Music (1959), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962), Fiddler on the Roof (1964), Hello Dolly! (1964), and Cabaret (1966). 

Some of her work has been documented at http://thelightingarchive.org/