Rockwell's Nouveau Broadway Turn
Broadway has a new hit on its hands. The Roundabout Theatre’s revival of the 1963 musical She Loves Me, which opened at New York City’s Studio 54 on March 17, scored glowing reviews for its terrific cast, director Scott Ellis—and set designer David Rockwell.
Rockwell, principal of the Rockwell Group, has been designing for the Broadway stage since 2000, bringing architectural sensibility and context to a range of new shows and revivals, including Hairspray, Kinky Boots, Lucky Guy, You Can't Take it With You, and On the Twentieth Century, all of which received Tony Award nominations for Best Scenic Design.
For She Loves Me, a romantic musical that takes place in a “parfumerie,” in 1930s Budapest, Rockwell, who collaborated with Donald Holder on the lighting, employs a central device that wows audiences as soon as the curtain goes up, then keeps the action moving smoothly—without a pause—throughout the performance. Embellished with a playful nod to the city’s Art Nouveau motifs, a jewel-box of a shop sits center stage surrounded by a traditional street scene. As the play progresses, the structure’s external and internal walls pivot and unfold to reveal a charming Mittel-European retail space—with glowing glass cases, a mezzanine with wrought iron flourishes, and circular stair—as well as the stores wood-lined back rooms.
This engaging scene is literally upstaged (briefly) during Act II when two halves of a restaurant track-in from stage right and left, joining at the center as a dome-like skylight flies in from above to create an alluring Hungarian café. For two short scenes that follow, a hospital room and bedroom track in and out as well, before the shop glides back downstage to return for the show’s finale.
Founder and President: David Rockwell
Associate Set Designers: Dick Jaris and TJ Greenway
Staff: Gaetane Bertol, Mike Dereskewicz, Morgan Moore and Jim Waterhouse