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In Memoriam: Lenore Doxsee

Lenore Doxsee. Photo: Paul Bartlett

Lighting designer Lenore Doxsee died on May 19, of ovarian cancer. She was 52. A graduate of Williams College, she earned an MFA degree in lighting from New York University in 1990. She also served as associate teacher and head of lighting design training at NYU's undergraduate drama program.

Over the course of a career that lasted more than a quarter century, Doxsee designed for theatre, opera, and dance for companies that included New York City Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Dance Theatre Workshop, Spoleto Festival USA, Soho Rep, Centre Pompidou (Paris), Glimmerglass Opera, Opera Montreal, New Georges, and Brooklyn Academy of Music.

Among her early credits are productions for Target Margin Theater, a company with which she was intimately involved, serving as a board member and associate artistic direction. Her final production with the company, a revival of Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, closed on May 20. In a post on the company's website, David Herskovits writes: No one did more than Lenore Doxsee to shape and build the vision that is the best of Target Margin Theater." He adds, "I will spend the rest of my working life seeking a level of collaborative joy to match ours."

Doxsee received an Obie award for her work with Target Margin on Mamba's Daughters and two Bessie Awards for her work with Miguel Gutierrez -- one for Last Meadow and the Visual Design Award for Retrospective Exhibitionist and Difficult Bodies. The committee honored her "For stark, strange, mobile, humorous lighting that became a partner and friend to the performers..."

Chris Jaehnig, associate arts professor and director of production and design studio at NYU, noted that, "More than a generation of students felt the glow of her knowledge, her intensity, and her care. Her instruction was instrumental in the development of hundreds of young theater-makers, designers, and technicians. Whenever an undergraduate lighting designer was in the theater, so was Lenore."

Doxsee was also an associate of Studio T+L, a team of lighting designers and theatre consultants. A statement on the firm's website notes," It's hard to say if Lenore was more of a theatre artist or a theatre teacher because she excelled at both, loved both, and wouldn't give up either. Doxsee is survived by her husband, the lighting designer Paul Bartlett; her father, Irwin Doxsee, of Toronto; her mother, Rosalie Williamson, of Vero Beach, Florida; her brother, Neal Doxsee, of Los Angeles; her stepbrother Paul Williamson, of Montana; and stepsister Amanda Williamson, of Marblehead, Massachusetts.

(31 May 2017)

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