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USITT to Honour Scenic Designer Douglas W. Schmidt with Distinguished Achievement Award, New Book

USITT to Honour Scenic Designer Douglas W. Schmidt with Distinguished Achievement Award, New Book

Set Designer Douglas W. Schmidt is USITT’s 2015 Distinguished Achiever in Scene Design and the subject of its new book, The Designs of Douglas W. Schmidt, to be released at USITT 2015 in Cincinnati.

Schmidt’s six-decade design career includes 58 Broadway credits, dozens of regional theatre productions, two Tony nominations, three Drama Desk Awards, and an Obie special citation, among other accolades.

USITT annually honours performing arts industry heroes with its Distinguished Achievement Awards. Schmidt will receive his award at USITT’s 2015 Annual Conference & Stage Expo March 18-21 at Cincinnati’s Duke Energy Convention Center.

USITT also will unveil the latest in its Designs of … series of books on America’s best living theatrical designers, The Designs of Douglas W. Schmidt by Annie and Barry Cleveland. Conference-goers will get a chance to meet Schmidt at his award session March 20 and at a book-signing with the authors.

To attend USITT 2015 at the lowest rate, register by the Feb. 5 early deadline at

Schmidt will be coming 'home' to get his award and launch the book on his work. He grew up in Cincinnati and got his first professional design gig at Cincy’s Playhouse in the Park while still in college at Boston University, and worked there for six seasons.

After a stint as Ming Cho Lee’s assistant in the 1960s, he became one of Broadway’s most popular designers, working on such hits as Grease (1972), Over Here (1974), and They’re Playing Our Song (1979). In the early ‘80s, he moved to San Francisco and has lived there since with his longtime partner Stephen Martin, who he married two years ago.

Schmidt has designed continuously for regional theatre including the Guthrie Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, The Alley Theatre, Seattle Rep, and The American Conservatory Theatre in his beloved San Francisco. Many of his projects have gone on to Broadway or travelled widely. He also designs for opera, dance, film, and theme parks.

Besides his award and book-signing, Schmidt will participate in USITT’s popular Friday-morning panel of Distinguished Achievement Award Winners in Conversation on March 20, and an exhibit of his work will be displayed at Stage Expo from Thursday to Saturday, March 19-21.

USITT, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology, is the national non-profit serving the backstage industry. Its annual Conference & Stage Expo is attracts 5,000 people and over 260 exhibitors for a celebration and showcase of live entertainment design and technology. For more information, please visit

23rd January 2015

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