“I always say Eugene is the only actual genius I’ve worked with.” High praise coming from Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels speaking to the New York Times in 2014. Within the past week we have learned of the deaths of two of Trinity Rep’s pioneering members: Adrian Hall, their founding artistic director; and Eugene Lee, whose multitude of stage credits includes having been the set designer for Saturday Night Live since its inception in 1975. From the announcement in Variety:
Prior to joining the show, Lee was the in-house set designer for Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island.
Lee, a six-time Emmy winner, won consecutive Emmys for Outstanding Art Direction For Variety Or Nonfiction Programming from 2017-2021. He earned a total of 18 Emmy nominations. In addition to his TV work, Lee worked on Broadway designing sets for “Sweeney Todd,” “Wicked” and “Candide” — all of which earned him Tony Awards. He also served as scenic designer for the original productions of “Merrily We Roll Along” and “Seussical.”
All the while, Lee and his family stayed right here in town. From the Times profile:
While much of his work is based in Manhattan, the Lees have never considered leaving Providence, where his career began in 1967 as a designer for the Trinity Repertory Company, an organization he continues to be associated with as the resident designer.
Adrian Hall became something of a local celebrity, creating a buzz wherever he showed up. He helped birth the Providence theater scene while launching the careers of countless actors, writers, and directors. From the Trinity Rep history:
Trinity’s reputation continued to grow, culminating in the company receiving the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater Company in 1981. During the next decade, the theater produced four television productions for PBS, toured India and Syria, and continued to show a strong commitment to the development of new works. In 1989, Adrian Hall passed the torch to Anne Bogart, who spent a year as artistic director before resident acting company member and associate director Richard Jenkins assumed the job for the next four years.
The ProJo has a nice write-up. People of a certain age will remember that cannon. Hall died at his home in Texas at the age of 95.
These wire masks on Fountain Street originally hung on the back of Trinity Rep’s Lederer Theater. This parking garage is adjacent to the little street between the theater and the skate park: Adrian Hall Way.