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In Memoriam: Neil Peter Jampolis, Award-Winning Lighting, Scenic and Costume Designer and Professor

Stage Directions • Industry News • January 30, 2020

Neil Peter Jampolis

Neil Peter Jampolis, professor emeritus in the theater department at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, and an accomplished lighting, scenic, and costume designer for the stage, died Sunday, December 15 in Los Angeles from leukemia. He was 76.

Jampolis, who was born March 14, 1943, in Brooklyn, NY, and attended high school there, taught at UCLA for 26 years and had more than three dozen Broadway credits on his resume, including productions of Orpheus Descending, Black and Blue, Lily Tomlin’s The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, and The Innocents.

A four-time Tony Award nominee, in 1975, he won the Tony as well as a Drama Desk Award for his lighting design on the Royal Shakespeare Company production of Sherlock Holmes. He also received a Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Award for The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe.

Off-Broadway and around the world, Jampolis designed scenery and lighting for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, Forever Plaid, I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change, and more than 30 others.

His opera productions, including those he directed, were seen at the Metropolitan Opera, Washington National Opera, the Vienna State Opera, the Salzburg Festival, New York City Opera, Seattle Opera, Opera Theatre of Saint Louis, Houston Grand Opera, Santa Fe Opera, and La Scala.

He had served, since 1976, as the principal designer for Pilobolus, a touring modern dance company, and created works for numerous major ballet companies, including the San Francisco Ballet, National Ballet of Canada and the French Ballet of Nancy.

Jampolis’ wife, the late Jane Reisman, was a Tony Award-nominated lighting designer who taught at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture. The couple often collaborated as a design team, most notably on the off-Broadway musical hit Forever Plaid.

Jampolis will be cremated and his ashes will be scattered in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he and Reisman shared a summer home. There are no survivors.

 

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