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Michael Gottlieb
Lighting Design

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Michael Gottlieb
  Emmy Award winner Michael Gottlieb designs lighting for theatre, opera, dance, television, corporate events and architecture. His approach benefits from work in widely divergent styles, scales of production and theatrical disciplines, and affords him a unique ability to create, with his collaborators, a distinct visual vocabulary for each project.

Mr. Gottlieb's theatre credits range from the classics to over 100 new plays and musicals. His work is most frequently seen in New York City, on commercial Off-Broadway productions such as Class Mothers '68 (starring Priscilla Lopez), The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), Maybe Baby It's You (Soho Playhouse), The Last Session (47th Street Theatre), The Impostor (starring Austin Pendleton and Calista Flockhart), Only Heaven (music by Ricky Ian Gordon, based on poetry by Langston Hughes), and S. S. Glencairn - Four Plays of the Sea (Willow Cabin Theatre Company). Several of these works were recorded for their historical merit by the Theatre on Film and Tape Archive of the Lincoln Center Library.

Active in the development of new work, and a member of the critically acclaimed Adobe Theatre Company since 1999, Mr. Gottlieb is a frequent collaborator with its artistic director, Jeremy Dobrish. Their work is frequently noted in the press for its distinct theatricality.

Mr. Gottlieb's work in opera includes the recreation of Richard Pilbrow’s lighting for Sir Peter Hall's production of The Magic Flute (Los Angeles, Seattle and Washington National Opera companies), with scenic and costume designs by the British cartoonist and illustrator Gerald Scarfe. In New York, he designed the premiere of Jonathan Sheffer's Blood on the Dining Room Floor, based on the life and works of Gertrude Stein, produced Off-Broadway by the WPA Theatre. He also designed Suor Angelica for Rockland Opera, and Rigoletto in Brooklyn's Prospect Park for Maestro Anton Coppola.

In dance, he is a frequent collaborator with choreographer Mark Jarecke. As Mr. Jarecke's resident designer, Mr. Gottlieb toured with the company, whose repertory includes his designs for Endo, Synesthesia, Water Candy Fruit, Auto-Publik and Dendron. Additionally, he has designed for such choreographers as Ani Schaeffer, Paige Martin, D.D. Dorvillier, Laura Staton and the Headlong Dance Theater. For New York's Danspace Project, he designed The Dance X Project, a collaboration between Generation-X choreographers and fashion designers (including Betsey Johnson, Susan Lazar, Cynthia Rowley and Jussara Lee).

Mr. Gottlieb's parallel career in television began in 1995 as lighting director for taped remotes on NBC's Saturday Night Live. Lighting for television in its most theatrical venue, his subjects range from puppets, to Ultimatte effects, to completely produced sketches, featuring celebrities such as Robert DeNiro, Alec Baldwin, Christopher Walken, and Elle Macpherson. He regularly works on Last Call With Carson Daly, The Today Show, NBC Nightly News With Brian Williams, Dateline, and many entertainment and news specials for NBC. He has lit the ice rink in Rockefeller Center, the coverage of the National Puerto Rican Day Parade, numerous musical acts including David Bowie, Peter Gabriel, James Taylor, Lenny Kravitz, Britney Spears, and the senatorial debate between Rick Lazio and Hillary Clinton. His extensive experience in location lighting for video led to his association with the Lighting Design Group, for which he was Supervising Lighting Designer for more than twenty NBC venue commentator positions at the 2004 Athens Olympic Games. He received an Emmy Award for his work on the Olympics, and was additionally nominated for Democracy Plaza (the 2004 Presidential Elections) and Christmas in Rockefeller Center segments featuring Tony Bennett, Kenny Chesney, Christina Aguilera and Sting. His freelance television work also includes network upfronts, commercials, infomercials and corporate training videos.

Mr. Gottlieb's work in architectural lighting includes the box office and administrative areas of New York's Film Forum, where he serves as lighting consultant. He designed lighting for the Soho bar SPY, and worked with the firm Focus Lighting on such projects as the Mohegan Sun Casino (Uncasville, CT) and the All-Star Cafe (NYC). With Lucida Corporation, he worked on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library (Simi Valley, CA)

For corporate and institutional clients, Mr. Gottlieb's credits include benefits, special events, parties, and industrials. Such "one-nighters" featured concert performances by Patti LuPone, Ray Charles, Joan Rivers, and Henny Youngman. Among the organizations and corporations for which Mr. Gottlieb has designed lighting are Morgan Stanley, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Janssen Pharmacia, Novo Nordisk, Pizza Hut, the Gay and Lesbian Community Services Center, the James Beard Foundation, Pfizer, Dean Witter, Avon, Mack Truck, Lotus, Jack Morton Worldwide, and Advanstar Communications.

Mr. Gottlieb's overseas credits include lighting supervision for The Cave, a music-video opera by Steve Reich and Beryl Korot, which premiered in Vienna in 1993 and toured internationally through 1996. Additionally, he supervised the lighting for the European leg of Laurie Anderson's 1995 Stories From the Nerve Bible tour.

Mr. Gottlieb began his career as an assistant to the world's most prominent lighting designers, including Richard Pilbrow, Peter Kaczorowski, Dennis Parichy, Jason Kantrowitz, Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, Jane Reisman, the late Craig Miller, and most significantly, the late Richard Nelson. Over a seven-year period as Mr. Nelson's assistant and then associate, Mr. Gottlieb worked on such Broadway productions as The Secret Rapture, Shimada, The Flowering Peach, and Comedy Tonight, as well as the Off-Broadway shows Return to the Forbidden Planet, Catch Me If I Fall, and Twelfth Night in Central Park, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Gregory Hines and Jeff Goldblum. Mr. Gottlieb was associate lighting designer for the Off-Broadway musical Zombie Prom, Richard Nelson's last design in New York. During rehearsals for this complicated production, Mr. Nelson's illness was discovered, requiring Mr. Gottlieb to assume complete responsibility for the lighting from the second technical rehearsal through the second week of previews. The satisfaction that the director, the management, and Mr. Nelson himself later expressed with the work represents a milestone in Mr. Gottlieb's career.

Mr. Gottlieb graduated with honors from Vassar College, where he received the Molly Thacher Kazan Prize for Excellence in the Theatre Arts, and a Dana Fellowship. He studied design, art, and architectural history at The British and European Studies Group in London, where he apprenticed with lighting designer Benny Ball. After graduating college, he became the youngest person ever to be accepted into the prestigious United Scenic Artists Lighting Design Internship Program. In 1991, Mr. Gottlieb was one of ten finalists for a National Endowment for the Arts/TCG Designer Fellowship. His work has been featured in several production-related articles in Theatre Crafts (now Entertainment Design) and Lighting Dimensions magazines, and he was the subject of a "Tyro Talent" designer profile in the February 1998 issue of Theatre Crafts International. He lives in New York City.
  File updated: 05/07/12, 08:15 PM EDT
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