This production involved movable set pieces that put us into the journey through time. We visited a fishing village, a palace, a desert caravan, an officer’s club, a dungeon, and an ancient temple. Scenic Designer Joseph Cummings and Video Designer Vijay Gurow provided plenty of visual scenes, albeit leaving most of the huge stage empty for dances. These settings were colorful and carried us deeper into the Indian culture at every turn.
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The set, designed by Joseph Cummings, flows as swiftly as the cast moves from one scene to the next. Following after the Broadway production’s original set design by David Rockwell, Cummings incorporates the sorority house staircase for the opening number. He then downsizes, using dual-purpose set pieces that rotate to create multiple locations such as the salon, Elle’s dorm room and the Harvard exterior. Connie Hay’s property design elevates Cummings’ ability to create additional locations. Using stand-alone props that are easily wheeled on and off by the actors, the department store, courthouse, and even a bathroom all come to life on stage.
Bonnie K. Daman, Associate Critic for John Garcia's THE COLUMN
Scenic Designer Joseph Cummings worked his magic in this small venue to recreate the feast hall of Camelot, a daunting (and taunting) French castle, a magical lake, a plague-infested middle-age slum, and a very, ahem, expensive forest. Using solid design in limited space along with the power of suggestion was greatly aided with excellent lighting design by Ken Davis. Another element of surprise was several magical projected visual effects by projection designer Nate Davis. These designers created convincing scenes that augmented and never distracted from the action on the stage. This is a challenging goal for any production, and all the more when you are competing for precious proscenium space with a large ensemble cast in a small venue! To sum up, this is a production worth seeing and a must see for sure. From the attention to the smallest detail on the props designed by Connie Mauree Hay, to the quartet of designers: Glenn’s costume design, to the quality of the set design of Joseph Cummings, Ken Davis's lighting design and Nate Davis's projection design, this company embraced excellence. All helmed and tied together with White’s creative direction.
Sten-Eric Armitage, The Column
Joseph Cummings’ simple, powerful set design centers on two rectangular, raked, interconnecting platform elements that actors re-arrange for different effect, scene by scene, and is flanked by sharp-edged vertical flats in monochrome hue. Together they reinforce the production’s somber atmosphere and the play’s themes. Severe but dreamlike, the overall visual concept emphasizes the play’s underlying savagery and haunting mental anguish. Upstage, projected slides rotate slowly behind the action, never distracting in any way, featuring classic artwork depicting scenes from varied “Hamlets”: by Delacroix, Fuseli, Wills, Millais and Cabanel. Cummings’ set design with slide projection, in balance with the haunting music score and shadow-enriched mood lighting (Cheney Coles and Chris Rapp) is one of the most effective, fully integrated set concepts I’ve witnessed in the region. And on a tight budget. I would be remiss if I failed to salute the dedication of work and time expended by construction “crew” Ben Bryant and Jacob Harris. It’s a defining moment, where set, lighting, costume, and both actors’ performances conspire to enliven the text in every horrifying, intended aspect.
Alexandra Bonifield, Critical Rant & Rave
Daffodil Girls, Inspired by David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross (Fun House Theatre and Film): Watch a pre-teen deliver a slightly more age-appropriate version of the “coffee’s for closers” speech and then try to tell me Jeff Swearingen isn’t a genius. Adapting Mamet’s tense, foul-mouthed real estate play for adorable girls selling cookies is a nice hook, but pulling it off with a remarkably talented young cast and a thoughtful set design is definitely something to be praised for.
Lindsey Wilson, D Front Row
Rapp and Swearingen showed off some serious growth by pulling the concept and the script off, aided well by set designer Joseph Cummings and master carpenter Ben Bryant.
Kris Noteboom, Theatre Jones
The set design by Joseph Cummings is so good it made me want a tree house like that of my very own. Outside of the tree house is the local watering hole. In this case it is the local lemonade stand, staffed by the young girls that serve the patrons their drinks. The lemonade stand looks like what you would picture any neighborhood lemonade stand to be. Camouflage -type netting hangs over the down stage right area. The genius of this set design, though, is what is inside the tree house. Picture in your mind the board room or conference room of a high-powered company, in which the over-stressed sales personnel meet to make deals and brag about the deals they have made. Now, replace that vision with a room that includes slogans on the walls, reminding you of less polished versions of motivational sayings in any sales conference room, wall color choices that blend young innocence with the corporate world, and the ironic touch of using stacks of cookie boxes for the desks and furniture.
Joel Taylor, The Column
Cummings' set is a two-level gem, with Jan's apartment looking appropriately 1950s mow-DURN. (Think Fort Worth's Ridglea Country Club.) There's even a huge oil painting of a flower..." It's relentlessly silly. Yet there's an unforced sweetness about it that director Evelyn Davis exploits with alternating subtlety and panache. Clearly, Davis views this story through the same lens as scenic designer Joseph Cummings: '50s camp."
Perry Stewart, Theatre Jones
The set is cleverly designed to allow easy entrances and exits from multiple points spread evenly across the space...
Richard Goulde, Pegasus News & John Garcia's The Column
To start, I was immediately impressed by the work done by Joseph Cummings and Donna Covington in their creation of a simple yet compelling set. They created the perfect small town street for us to watch events unfold. Their cleverness in creating a moving set piece that rotated and transformed our neighborhood of patios and porches into a court of law was impressive, to say the least. Well done!
Sten-Erik Armitage, John Garcia's The Column
"Performed against omelet-yellow scenery designed by Joseph Cummings..."
Elaine Liner, Dallas Observer
The minimalist, egg yolk yellow set by regional professional designer Joseph Cummings, a series of rolling upstage flats in wildly “random” geometric shapes, enhances Mike Chicken’s fantasy world and allows for rapid scene changes, no muss, no fuss.
Alexandra Bonifield, Critical Rant & Rave
Joseph Cummings' set design was excellent. It felt like I could have been looking into a finely apportioned manor sitting room. He paid attention to detail, from the pictures hanging on the walls... to the lion statuettes marking the corners of the room, to the little figurines placed in various locations throughout. Plus, his use of reds and golds added elegance to the setting. Add a fine staircase and the hidden passageway and this was a visually engaging set.
Matt Gunther, John Garcia's The Column
Joseph Cummings’ romantic, period-hinting set reflects an earthy, storybook-like charm and provides imaginative backdrop for the simple proscenium space.
Alexandra Bonifield, Critical Rant & Rave
The costuming was especially brilliant when viewed against the completely anachronistic set (floor-mounted cutouts of Nefertiti serving as backdrops for costumes with wide-legged pants and even wider collars), designed by Joseph Cummings and built by Master Carpenter James Cox.Having before seen sets designed by Mr. Cummings, I was not at all surprised by the intricacy of his design for Joseph. The use of color was paramount to the design of this set, and also to the lighting, designed by Catherine Montgomery and executed by KC Jansson. The curtain backdrop was designed and painted by Mr. Cummings and sewn by Deborah Gerard to mirror the design of Joseph's coat, a
rather simple idea that beautifully tied the set together.
Ashlea Palladino, John Garcia's The Column