Best Designer Minneapolis 2013 - Joel Sass
While Joel Sass is highly regarded — rightfully so — as a director, his design work is just as accomplished. In show after show, when he is either at the helm or is brought in, the set design work is impeccable, clever in its own right, and absolutely appropriate for the production. For Noises Off! last year at the Jungle Theater, Sass made sure the set looked good (the Jungle stage crew has its reputation, after all) but not too good, as this wasn't supposed to be a high-end English home, but a lower-rent interpretation of a high-end English home constructed by an on-the-cheap touring company. The differences were subtle, but added to the texture of the play. At the Children's Theatre Company, Sass provided the set design for Buccaneers, and what glorious sets they were, topped off by a detailed re-creation of the pirate ship at the center of the story. Sass can play it large — filling the Pantages with the massive set pieces for Aida, for example — or small, as he is often called to do in the confines of the Jungle. Simple, subtle, or gloriously overwhelming, Joel Sass's sets always work.