Elaine J. McCarthy
Get Elaine J. McCarthy essential facts below. View Videos or join the Elaine J. McCarthy discussion. Add Elaine J. McCarthy to your PopFlock.com topic list for future reference or share this resource on social media.
Elaine J. McCarthy
Elaine J. McCarthy
Portrait of Projection Designer Elaine J McCarthy in 2003.jpg
Born (1966-05-11) May 11, 1966 (age 53)
Occupationvideo designer

Elaine J. McCarthy is an American projection and video designer for theater and opera.[1]

Early life

She was born in Woburn, Massachusetts May 11, 1966 and grew up in nearby Arlington, Massachusetts.

Intending to study Political Science, McCarthy initially attended Catholic University in Washington, D.C. but subsequently left to pursue other interests. She eventually enrolled at New York University where she earned a B.F.A. in Photography & Imaging from the Tisch School of the Arts, Maurice Kanbar Institute of Film & Television.[1]


Early career

McCarthy held an administrative job in the early years of the MIT Media Lab, where she learned about computers. "I was exposed to the most bleeding-edge technology and everybody in that environment had a point of view to add, whether you were a tenured professor, or, like me, a glorified secretary -- it was all part of the mix. That was my first exposure to a barrier-free environment." This experience led her to the MIT Community Players which was her first exposure to the idea of theater as a potential career. After that she worked with an experimental theater company, the Pilgrim Theater Research and Performance Collaborative. While stage managing for them at the Edinburgh Festival it became clear to her that she wished to pursue a career in theater. She eventually worked her way to New York City working as a design assistant to noted projection designer Wendall K. Harrington through whose studio many of today's top projection design practitioners have passed. This is where she saw her varied interests in technology, art, design, photography, architecture, film and theater come together in one discipline, projection design for theater."[2]

She has since gone on to work with a diverse group of notable directors including Leonard Foglia, Michael Greif, Kristin Hanggi, Andrei Konchalovsky, James Lapine, Joe Mantello, Michael Mayer, Dejan Miladinovi?, Mike Nichols, Jack O'Brien, Diane Paulus, Tim Robbins, Peter Sellars, Julie Taymor and John Tillinger.[3]


She has many Broadway productions to her credit including After the Fall (2004 revival), Good Vibrations, The Green Bird, Judgement at Nuremberg,[4] the Tony Award nominated productions of Man Of La Mancha (2002 Revival) [1] and Wicked,[5] as well as the Tony Award winning productions of Into The Woods (2002 Revival), Assassins and Monty Python's Spamalot.[6]


She designed projections for Tan Dun's adaptation of The Peony Pavilion at the Wiener Festwochen[7] as well as Tchaikovsky´s Mazeppa [8][9] and the Andrei Konchalovsky directed production of Prokofiev's War and Peace,[10] both co-productions of the Kirov Opera at the Mariinsky Theater in Saint Petersburg and the Metropolitan Opera in New York City. She recently designed Alfredo Catalani's La Wally[11] and Tchaikovsky's rarely performed Iolanta[12] for The Dallas Opera.

In August 2015 McCarthy designed projections for the world premiere of the new opera Cold Mountain composed by Jennifer Higdon with a libretto by Gene Scheer at the Santa Fe Opera.[13]

In the Fall of 2015 McCarthy returned to the Dallas Opera to design projections for the world premier production of Great Scott, a new opera by Jake Heggie and Terrance McNally directed by Jack O'Brien with Sets and Costumes by Bob Crowley and Lighting by Brian MacDevitt .[14]

McCarthy designed projections for the world premiere of Jake Heggie's new opera It's a Wonderful Life for the Houston Grand Opera December 2016. The production was directed by Leonard Foglia with Sets by Robert Brill, Lighting by Brian Nason and Costumes by David C. Woolard.[15]

Off Broadway and Regional

Late summer 2016 McCarthy designed projections for the New England premier production of Notes from the Field: Doing Time in Education, created, written and performed by Anna Deavere Smith in Boston at the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) then it moved to New York City's Second Stage Theater that fall. Directed by Leonard Foglia with Set design by Riccardo Hernandez, costume design by Ann Hould-Ward, lighting design by Howell Binkley[16]

Recent and planned projects

Fall 2018 McCarthy designed projections for Gloria: A Life, the story of Gloria Steinem at the Daryl Roth Theatre starring Christine Lahti in the title role. It is written by Email Mann and directed by Diane Paulus with scenic design by Amy Rubin, costume design by Jessica Jahn, lighting design by Jeanette Yew and sound design by Leah Gelpe.[17]

McCarthy is a frequent collaborator with Director Leonard Foglia. She designed projections for his Off-Broadway production The Stendhal Syndrome;[18] his Broadway productions Thurgood,[19] and The People in the Picture;[20] and his production of the Opera's Dead Man Walking[21] for the New York City Opera as well as the World Premiere productions of Moby-Dick [22] and Everest[23] for the Dallas Opera and El Pasado Nunca se Termina for the Lyric Opera of Chicago for which she designed both Sets and Projections. "What Elaine is able to do," he says, "is to use my ideas as a departure for her own creativity. She will take my ideas and lift it out to a level I could never have imagined. It's what I pray every designer will do."[1]


McCarthy was formerly an Adjunct Instructor at New York University Tisch School of the Arts and has been a guest lecturer at City University of New York College of Technology, Pace University, University of Maryland and University of North Carolina School of the Arts

She has appeared as a guest speaker at the USITT Conference, Live Design's L.D.I. and Opera America's Opera Conference.


McCarthy's projection design work on Gloria: A Life was recognized with the American Theater Wing's Henry Hewes Design Award Nomination for Notable Effects in August 2019.[24]

In June 2019 McCarthy won a Betty Mitchell Award for Outstanding Projection or Video Design for her work on Everest at the Calgary Opera.[25]

McCarthy was nominated in 2017 for the Drama Desk Award[26] the Lucille Lortel Award[27] and the Henry Hewes Design Award[28] for Outstanding Projection Design for Notes from the Field at Second Stage and for an IRNE Award in the category Large Theater: Best Projection Design for Notes from the Field at the American Repertory Theater.[29]

McCarthy was nominated for Best Video Design for Entertainment Today's Ticketholder Award in 2010 for Thurgood at the Geffen Playhouse.[30]

McCarthy was nominated for the Henry Hewes Design Award in 2009 for Notable Effects[31] for Frequency Hopping produced by the Hourglass Group at the 3LD Arts & Technology Center in New York City for which she designed both the scenery and projections.[32] The production was noted for its use of a fully robotic orchestra as well as McCarthy's utilization of Musion Eyeliner, which is a modern version of the 19th century Pepper's Ghost effect.[33]

McCarthy was nominated for Best Video Design for Entertainment Today's Ticketholder Award in 2007 for the Center Theatre Group's World Premier production of Lisa Loomer's play Distracted at the Mark Taper Forum for which she designed both Sets and Projections[34]

In 2003 she was awarded an Entertainment Design Magazine (now Live Design) Eddy Award for Projection Design Excellence[35]

Personal life

McCarthy is married, has a daughter and lives in Connecticut.[36]


  1. ^ a b c d David Johnson, "The Next Generation of Projection Design", Live Design, May 1, 2003
  2. ^ Steven McElroy, "From Afterthought to Essential", New York Times, May 18, 2008
  3. ^ Elaine J. McCarthy at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ Simi Horowitz, "The Multi Media Is The Message", Backstage, June 6, 2001
  5. ^ Anita Gates, "The Screen's Now Setting Many a Stage" New York Times, March 2, 2010
  6. ^ David Barbour, "The Prevalence of Projections" Archived 2015-07-04 at the Wayback Machine, American Theatre Magazine, December 2011
  7. ^ "The Peony Pavilion (1998)"
  8. ^ Ralph Blumenthal, "Marching Orders at the Met; 'War and Peace' Climax Calls for a Cast of 346 and a Horse", New York Times, February 11, 2002
  9. ^ Ellen Lampert-Greaux, "Still Life: Russian Roulette", Live Design, April 1, 2006
  10. ^ "War and Peace", Metropolitan Opera Archives
  11. ^ Olin Chism "Review: Dallas Opera hits a double", Star-Telegram, January 31, 2013
  12. ^ Catherine Womack "The Dallas Opera Sheds Beautiful Light on the Rarely Performed Iolanta", D Magazine, April 13, 2015
  13. ^ "2015 SANTA FE OPERA SEASON ANNOUNCED: World premiere of Cold Mountain by Pulitzer Prize-winner Jennifer Higdon; five new productions; three "firsts" planned" Archived 2016-03-04 at the Wayback Machine santafeopera.org
  14. ^ "About Great Scott" jakeheggie.com
  15. ^ "It's A Wonderful Life" Houston Grand Opera
  16. ^ "Notes From The Field" American Repertory Theater
  17. ^ David Gordon "Gloria Steinem Bioplay, Starring Christine Lahti, Announces Full Casting", TheaterMania, September 4, 2018
  18. ^ Charles Isherwood, "Review: 'The Stendhal Syndrome'" Variety, February 16, 2004
  19. ^ Frank Rizzo, "Review: Thurgdood" Variety, May 14, 2006
  20. ^ Ben Brantley, "The People in the Picture" New York Times, April 28, 2001
  21. ^ Charles Isherwood, "Review: Dead Man Walking", Variety, September 19, 2002
  22. ^ Steve Smith, "A Role for the Roiling Sea as Ahab Hunts His Whale", New York Times, May 2, 2010
  23. ^ Heidi Waleson, "Tragedy Makes for the Peak of Drama", Wall Street Journal, Feb 3, 2015
  24. ^ Clement, Olivia (August 21, 2019). "2019 Henry Hewes Design Award Honorees Announced". Playbill. TotalTheatre. Retrieved 2019.
  25. ^ Louis B. Hobson, Billy Elliot en pointe with five Betty Mitchell Awards, Calgary Herald, June 24, 2019
  26. ^ "Drama Desk Award Nominations 2017". Variety. 2017-04-27. Retrieved 2017.
  27. ^ "Lucille Lortel Nominations 2017". Variety. 2017-04-04. Retrieved 2017.
  28. ^ "The Band's Visit and Come From Away Designers Among 2017 Henry Hewes Design Award Recipients". Playbill. 2017-12-18. Retrieved 2017.
  29. ^ "The Independent Reviewers of New England Awards: 2017". about the artists. Retrieved 2017.
  30. ^ Travis Michael Holder "The 20th Annual Ticketholder Awards 2010", Entertainment Today, January 25, 2011
  31. ^ Henry Hewes Design Awards Notable Effects
  32. ^ "Frequency Hopping". Hourglass Group. Retrieved 2015.
  33. ^ "'Frequency Hopping' Showcases Screen Siren's Smarts". NPR's Science Friday. Retrieved 2008.
  34. ^ Travis Michael Holder "Ticketholder Awards 2007", Entertainment Today, January 11, 2008
  35. ^ Sarah Rushton-Ried, "EDDY Awards presented at special ceremony in New York" Archived 2015-07-13 at the Wayback Machine, Lighting and Sound International, July 4, 2003
  36. ^ Hannah Kate Kinnersley, "Re:Sources-Elaine J. McCarthy" Live Design, August 1, 2004

External links

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



Music Scenes