(Allen Mogol’s article appeared in Playbill Online, 6/3; via Pam Green.)

As proven by Dear Evan HansenAnastasia and more, projection design is no longer an onstage bonus, it’s an integral part of design.

Ten years ago, projections on Broadway were viewed with trepidation. What role does such a cinematic device have in the theatre? This has been a watershed season for projections, which have been drawn on to achieve a variety of effects in productions as diverse as Dear Evan Hansen, Anastasia, Oslo, Indecent, Amélie, and Sunday in the Park with George.

“Over the past ten years, the panic has gone away,” says Aaron Rhyne, projection designer for Anastasia. “Projection design is an art form that can add to the theatrical experience and not detract from it. What are we trying to get the audience to feel and think?”

In Dear Evan Hansen, projection design functions as an additional set of characters. In Anastasia, they provide literal backdrops. For Oslo, they offer historical and emotional context while Indecent often uses projections as subtitles. Amélie’s atmosphere relied on them and Sunday in the Park with George’s titular inspiration came to life.

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