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In Memoriam: Pat Collins, Lighting Designer

Michael S. Eddy • Industry NewsTheatre Buzz • March 22, 2021

Pat Collins. Photo by Michael Gottlieb

Stage Directions has learned of the passing of lighting designer Pat Collins on Sunday, March 21, 2021. We send our sincere condolences to her family, friends, and theater colleagues.

Collins was a prolific designer, designing the lighting for theater and opera, both nationally and internationally. She designed 30 productions on Broadway, numerous Off-Broadway and for many productions at regional theater companies around the country. Among her regional credits include Berkeley Rep, Arena Stage, Baltimore Center Stage, McCarter Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre Company, Manhattan Theatre Company, Lincoln Center Company, The Old Globe, Alley Theatre, Goodman Theatre, Hartford Stage Company, Ford’s Theatre, and others. Most recently, Collins lit the Loa Angeles and Off-Broadway productions of Skintight in 2019, starring Idina Menzel along with Fulfillment Center in 2018 and Orphans in 2017. Collins also lit the West End productions of Into the Woods, and Ain’t Misbehavin’.

Collins made her Broadway debut with a 1976 revival of The Threepenny Opera. And would go on to design 30 productions on Broadway. Some of her New York City credits include Ain’t Misbehavin’, Orphans, Good People, King of Hearts, I’m Not Rappaport, Execution of Justice, The Heidi Chronicles, Conversations with My Father, The Sisters Rosensweig, Proof, Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, and Doubt.

Pat Collins during tech of “Cymbeline” at Hartford Stage, 1997. Photo by T. Charles Erickson

Collins was an award-winning lighting designer. In 1986, she won the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design for I’m Not Rappaport and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design for Execution of Justice. She was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Lighting Design: Richard Foreman’s production of The Threepenny Opera, her debut on Broadway, in 1976 and Doubt in 1995. Collins was also nominated for two Drama Desk Awards for Outstanding Lighting Design for Penguin Touquet in 1981 and Woman in Mind in 1988. In 1996, Collins was awarded the Michael Merritt Award. Her longtime lighting design associate was Mimi Jordan Sherin.

She worked extensively in opera, designing over 100 productions for such companies as The Metropolitan Opera, The San Francisco Opera, Santa Fe Opera, The Royal Opera House, (Covent Garden), The Paris Opera, The Bayerisches Staatsopera (Munich), the Washington, Boston, and Houston Operas, The English National Opera, and the Netherlands Opera and others.

Collins graduated from the Yale School of Drama in 1958. She inspired many of collaborators throughout her career. John Lee Beatty (Yale ’73) remembers her as “a bright, nervy lady with a sensitive side—a description of her and a good description of her lighting as well: Intelligent, nervy, sensitive.”

Requiescat in Pace, Pat Collins.


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