Prop Director Jim Guy
Prop Director Jim Guy

There are No Rules - A few questions with Properties Director Jim Guy

Michael Eddy

Jim Guy is now starting his 22nd season as the properties director for the Milwaukee Repertory Theater and for 14 years has also served as president of The Society of Properties Artisan Managers (S*P*A*M), an industry association for theatrical prop artists, designers, and managers. He’s been a prop manager for over 40 years, including a long tenure as prop master for Cleveland Play House and the Cleveland Opera; he also ran his own business, The Prop Guys, for a decade. Guy was head of the MFA Program in theatrical properties management and design at the University of Illinois Champaign Urbana from 1991 to 1998; and he continues to be a guest lecturer at schools, theaters, and USITT events, presenting seminars and master classes on Firearms Safety for Stage and on Props in the Production Process. We caught up with Guy to talk about his prop work and being a ‘prop-evangelist’.

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The Broadway musical Moulin Rouge!
The Broadway musical Moulin Rouge!

A Design that CanCan! Set Designer Derek McLane brings us inside the Moulin Rouge

Ellis Nassour

One thing that the ushers at NYC’s Al Hirschfeld Theatre can always count on when they open the orchestra doors at the new Broadway musical Moulin Rouge! is a volley of gasps and exclamations as ticketholders first glimpse the fully immersive set that encompasses much of the auditorium. Smartphones are out as patrons roam the aisles capturing snaps of the colorful stage with its depth of heart-shaped portals, the 14.6’ replica of the windmill that sits atop the Moulin Rouge in Paris, now mounted in the box at the left, and the 18’ high blue elephant in the box at right.

Moulin Rouge! is by far my largest and most elaborate production,” says Tony and Emmy-winning set designer Derek McLane, who has more than 350 design credits, including over 40 Broadway productions, six Academy Awards designs and four live musicals for NBC. “It’s even more elaborate than my sets for the Oscars. So, it’s really gratifying and wonderful to hear and get feedback on audience reaction to the design elements.”

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