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En El Tiempo De Las Mariposas

Lighting Designer
Playwright: Caridad Svich
Director: Jose Zayas
Projections Designer: Alex Basco Koch
Scenic Designer: Mariana Fernandez
Costumes Designer: Moyenda Kulemeka
Stage Manager: Nelly Diaz Rodriguez
GALA Hispanic Theatre

The lighting is evocative, though, and without it the shifts between the 1950s and modern day would have been much more jarring. Christopher Annas-Lee’s light design shifts easily from the warm, safe garden at the Mirabals’ house, to the glare of a prison, to the disco lights of a bachata club.
     -Elizabeth Ballou, DC Metro Theatre Arts

History and memory, love and pain blur together in the searing finale, set within a stunning kaleidoscope from lighting designer Christopher Annas-Lee.
     -Ben Demers, DC Theatre Scene

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La Foto

Lighting & Projections Designer
Playwright: Gustavo Ott
Director: Abel Lopez
Scenic Designer: Jessica Cancino
Costumes Designer: Moyenda Kulemeka
Stage Manager: Nelly Diaz Rodriguez
GALA Hispanic Theatre

"The action moves mostly fluidly about Jessica Cancino’s set that looks like plain, contemporary architecture but feels like the inside of an iPad, especially when Christopher Annas-Lee’s subtly distorted projections appear on the walls."
    -Brett Steven Abelman, DC Theatre Scene

"Christopher Annas-Lee’s lighting and projection sets the modernistic tone with dimly lit sets and projection show photos on characters’ phones. Sexts are blurred forms flying off the screens and in the final scene, a collection of the protagonist’s images swirl from one screen to the next."
    -Cecilia Mencia, DC Metro Theatre Arts

 

The Annotated History of the American Muskrat

Lighting Designer
Playwright: Johnny Kuntz
Director: Skylar Fox
Scenic Designer: Adam Wyron
Costume Designer: Corina Chase
Stage Manager: Lida Richardson
Foxy Henriques/Circuit Theatre
ICE Factory Festival, The New Ohio Theatre, NYC

“One startling tableau is as disturbing as it is visually poetic.”
    -Laura Collins-Hughes, The New York Times
 

“The Annotated History of the American Muskrat is an extremely technically ambitious piece, featuring constant light shifts, strobe effects, projection of live streaming camera feeds and constant set and costume changes. [...] The show also boasts one of the most clever and successful depictions of mass gun violence performed on any stage. [...] At times shocking, endearing, terrifying and just plain bizarre, The Annotated History of the American Muskrat is an experience you are unlikely to forget.”
    -Natalie Sacks, Charged


“The play sends the audience on a breakneck whirlwind through dozens of quick scenes, musical numbers, and extravagant lighting. [...] The theater itself is highly intimate, with only about one hundred seats. This makes the play’s vibrant, manic lighting and high-octane performances all the more punchy.”
    -Tommy Partl, NY Theatre Guide
 

 

El Paso Blue

Lighting Designer
by Octavio Solis
directed by José Carrasquillo
GALA Hispanic Theatre
Washington DC

“The landscape often smolders in Christopher Annas-Lee’s dramatic lighting.”
    -Celia Wren, Washington Post
 

“Lights go on and off behind the windows, signalling changes in time and scene. Lighting Designer Christopher Annas-Lee uses spotlights to focus on the story at hand, while darkness protects those who retreat to the shadows, waiting for the past to catch up with the present.”
    -Ravelle Brickman, DC Metro Theater Arts
 

“The bizarre structure reflects whatever color of light shines upon its roof, red, yellow, or blue. Or it radiates glaring white from a naked lightbulb inside. Christopher Annas-Lee (recent winner of the Helen Hayes Lighting award for last season’s Yerma at GALA) provides the lighting design. We’re somewhere that’s nowhere near the Mexican border, called Jornado del Muerto, “route of the dead man,” an extremely dry 100-mile stretch of desert territory—a wasteland.”
    -Rosalind Lacy, DC Theatre Scene
 

Senorita y Madame

Scenic Designer
By Gustavo Ott
Directed by Consuelo Trum
GALA Hispanic Theatre
Washington DC
U.S. Premiere

"The cameraman is played with comic intensity by an actor called Manuex, who writhes every which way as he slithers upstage and down, following the characters around the stage and capturing their faces on video. In a brilliant bit of staging [...] the video is projected simultaneously on a screen at the rear of the stage, so that we can see the magnified faces of the women, just as the television audience would see them. The scenic and projection design is by Christopher Annas-Lee, whose lighting design for Yerma earlier this season has already been nominated for several awards.”
    -Ravelle Brickman, DC Metro Theater Arts

“A gorgeous color coordinated set, replete with elegant parquet floors, magnetize us. (Set design by Christopher Annas-Lee)  Stage right is dominated by the pastels of Rubinstein’s European salons. Whereas stage left is dominated by a bright red door, for Elizabeth Arden’s New York salons. Broken cracks in the walls, covered with wrinkled, creamy beige wallpaper, reveal smears of red and gold underneath the cutaways. The surrealistic scenic design represents the thin veneer of beauty peeling away. In Act I stage-right, cracks are covered with framed posters advertising Rubinstein’s make-up products. Stage-left walls display Elizabeth Arden’s framed pictures of race horses. (Arden claimed to much prefer horses to men. They never let her down. Her horse Jet Pilot won the Kentucky Derby in 1947.) As the play progresses into Act II, all framed pictures are removed and holes in the walls expose deterioration and aging. The surrealistic scenic design represents the thin veneer of beauty peeling away.”
    -Rosalind Lacy, DC Theatre Scene

Yerma

Lighting Designer
by Lorca
directed by Jose-Luis Arellano
GALA Hispanic Theatre
Washington DC

Won six 2015 Helen Hayes Awards, including Outstanding Lighting Design.

“Characters occasionally kneel or crawl in the dirt, which, like the other scenic ­elements, is sometimes dimly lit and sometimes flushed with harsh fluorescent light.”
    -Celia Wren, Washington Post

“Exposed grids for down lights framing the proscenium remind us that Lorca, who wrote Yerma in 1934, in Andalusia, Spain, about the deadening effect of conventional, arranged marriages, tried to erase the line between life and fiction. [...] It’s the way Arellano uses his actors’ physicality, so that we connect kinesthetically with the characters, and sense their pain in our muscles. And it is the way lighting and sound from the technical team integrate organically with the drama. [...] Lighting designer Christopher Annas-Lee makes the surrealistic style conspicuous with four upstage rows of fluorescent light tubes, that flash on and off, timed to the action.”
   -Rosalind Lacy, DC Theatre Scene

Domestic Animals

Lighting & Scenic Designer
by Jennifer Faletto
directed by Linda Lombardi
Capital Fringe 2015
Washington DC
 
Received special award for Best Scenic Design &
Production received Favorite Drama award from DC Metro Theater Arts

“Lighting and scenic designer Christopher Annas-Lee unleashes a dreamy Northern Lights display that transports the audience to the border of reality, and suddenly it’s unclear if Lori’s mind is sound. […] The final scene features […] an atmospheric lighting master class from Annas-Lee. The climax is a fitting ode to the carefully arranged emotional scaffolding that precedes it. […] It’s a rare Fringe show that feels like it could be staged at a major theater tomorrow – and Domestic Animals is just such a show. The [...] transportive lighting and scene design wouldn’t look out of place on the main stage at Arena Stage or Studio Theatre. Here’s hoping it gets a crack at the big time.”
            -Ben Demers, DC Theatre Scene


Straight Faced Lies

Lighting, Scenic, & Graphic Designer
by Mark Williams
directed by Ryan S. Taylor
Capital Fringe 2015
Washington DC
 

“Lighting and Scenic Designer Christopher Annas-Lee makes the most out of the as-mentioned awkward space, conjuring a crumbling living room upon an elevated stage. Working table lamps augment the design and establish the necessary mood. […] The sharp design makes this one of the more polished-looking plays you’ll see in Fringe.”
          -Robert Montenegro, DC Metro Arts

“Scenic and Lighting Designer Christopher Annas-Lee created a versatile, simple set which contributed greatly to the flow of the entire show. The living room provided an excellent template for chaotic moments. Glowing table lamps invited us into many intimate conversations.”

            -Britt Oliver, DC Theatre Scene


The Madwoman of Chaillot

Lighting Designer
by Jean Giradoux
directed by Christopher Henley
Avant Bard WSC
Washington DC

“Lighting designer Christopher Annas-Lee helps realize the play’s dramatic climax.”
            -Celia Wren, The Washington Post

Lighting designer Christopher Annas-Lee and Sound Designer Frank DiSalvo Jr. convey with subtlety and grace the many beauties of the production.”
           -Sophia Howes, DC Metro Theatre Arts


Mariela En El Desierto (2015)

Lighting Designer
by Karen Zacarías

directed by Abel Lopez
GALA Hispanic Theatre

Washington, DC
 
“Lighting Designer Christopher Annas Lee breathes life into the omnipresent desert sky, and together with Sound Designer Brendon Vierra crafts a seamless transition from past to present.”

            -Mia Cortez, DC Metro Theater Arts

Christopher Annas-Lee’s lighting design, which ghosts the 1950s-set sequences with gray shadows and flushes the further past with brightness and brilliant colors, helps both to delineate the flashbacks and to evoke the desert beauty that has proved so bewitching to Mariela and José. “The desert is God’s canvas,” José is fond of saying, but the sounds of blowing wind, barely audible throughout most of the play, drive home the incompleteness of this aphorism.”
            - Celia Wren, The Washington Post

 

Los Empeños De Una Casa (The House of Desires) (2015)

Lighting Designer
by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz
directed by Hugo Medrano

GALA Hispanic Theatre
Washington, DC 

“There is a hilarious mistaken identity scene that takes place in Ana’s darkened bedroom as the characters, who can’t see faces, but hear each other’s voices, effectively pantomime stumbling and groping around in the dark. Kudos to Christopher Annas-Lee for the well-timed dimming-of-light plan that builds to the shocked moment when Celia enters with a candle. The lights come up to full and the characters discover each other.”
            -Rosalind Lacy, DC Theatre Scene

 

How We Got On (2014)

Lighting Designer
by Idris Goodwin

directed by Paige Hernandez
Forum Theatre
Silver Spring, MD
 

"White lines radiate from the tower like a sunburst on the floor in paint and lines radiate from the rig above the tower in colored light. How We Got On utilizes a unique lighting rig, not hiding the stage lights in the fancy ceiling grid, but leaving them exposed on hanging batons, perfecting a homemade feel. Not only do those lines in light and paint give the huge space texture, but they symbolically indicate that all of hip-hop, from Bronx block parties to elaborate tag murals to a suburban kid with headphones, emanates from the art begun by the DJ in the sound system, stretching out to this present-day audience."
            -Alan Katz, DC Theatre Scene


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The Annotated History of the American Muskrat (2014)

Lighting Designer, PE
a world premier by John Kuntz
directed by Skylar Fox
The Circuit Theatre Company
at The Boston Center for the Arts at the Calderwood Pavilion, Boston, MA

"Fox, supported by Adam Wyron’s scenic design and Christopher Annas-Lee’s evocative lighting, really makes this script sing, moving simple set pieces around to create dozens of little worlds, staging appearances by the cast members in all sorts of unexpected places and using lighting to focus attention in specific spots."
    -Terry Byrne, The Boston Globe

"Strong design. [...] Christopher Annas-Lee's shadow-rich lighting enhances the up-down fortunes of the show's muskrats and humans."
    -Jules Becker, My South End

"The production crew’s dedication to detail [...] is impeccable."
    -Kitty Drexel, New England Theatre Geek

"The production is presented on the Wimberly stage in the Calderwood Pavillion, but instead of proscenium style theatre, the audience joined the cast on the stage, so that the vast, empty theater served as the show's backdrop. I love creative uses of space and being able to see the deserted seats was almost foreboding, setting the uncertain and mysterious mood. [...]  There was a beautiful juxtaposition between wildly lit and choreographed movement and thoughtful monologues performed by actors on an empty stage."
    -Alex Lonati, Broadway World

 

The Walk Across America for Mother Earth (2014)

Director, Lighting Designer, PE
by Taylor Mac
The Circuit Theatre Company
at The American Repertory Theater, Club Oberon, Boston, MA

"One large set piece worked as a reminder of the geographical setting of the show, and the lights were instrumental for the occasional tone shifts required for repeated elements."

"If you’ve never been part of a political action, this show will be eye-opening and uncomfortable. [...]   The jokes are fast and furious, certainly coming at a quicker clip than if one was walking across several states. Toilet humor, social justice in-jokes, sight gags, slapstick, and the occasional song and dance contribute to a hyper-reality that seems more cheery than foot-weary. [...]  The seemingly random scenes have a method to their madness, asking deep questions about how people exist in community and why anyone would want to dedicate themselves to social justice especially when it involves other people. What’s wonderful about the show itself is the dramatization of the already dramatic: underneath the laughs and zany antics lie the gloriously good, the hideously bad and everything in between. While keeping a steady pace, Circuit’s production lets each audience member look at one facet of humanity at a time."
    -Noe Kamelamela, New England Theatre Geek

"This cast obviously worked extensively as an ensemble when putting this production together. Led by Director Christopher Annas-Lee, who had a particular knack for comedic timing and brilliantly eccentric moments, the cast maneuvered the choreographed madness with ease. [...] This cast was fearless and excited about their work, which made a world of difference in their performance. [...] This show was a circus, with loud music, crazy lights, and lots of emotions. It was incredibly blunt and I found myself laughing sometimes because what they were saying was so horrible and other times because what they were saying was so true, which is a great (and very different) kind of comedy.""I think what separates the Circuit Theatre from other companies is the magnitude of their ideas. This is not a company that takes no for an answer and because of that, their works are wildly ambitious. [...]  This company has massive, epic plans and utilizes incredibly creative methods to achieve them. As far as I'm aware, there aren't many groups that do what Circuit does, and I am looking forward to seeing what this young company will do in the future."

"Both [Walk and Arroyo's] utilized the space beautifully. The Oberon is a magnificent venue, full of levels and moveable furniture. I personally love an immersive theatre experience, as I feel much more connected to a piece when literally in the middle of it. I think both productions, and the Circuit Theatre in general, really took advantage of this wonderful space and managed to take their audience on a ride, rather than just presenting a play."
    -Alex Lonati, Broadway World

"There are some truly marvelous moments here, especially in a sequence in which Angie is writing a letter describing the group's day to day activities. In a charming sequence that dials down the volume and finds the humanity in the group and their off-kilter mission, we witness vignettes that speak to youthful dreams and hopes sprung from the purest of intentions -- even if everything about the way the group interacts with the practical world is either corrupt or misguided.  [This is] the kind of narrative grace and light touch Mac and director Christopher Annas-Lee bring to [...] the mangy spirit of this raw, forceful, sometimes poignant, and somewhat despairing work."
    -Kilian Melloy, EDGE Magazine

 

Welcome to Arroyo's (2014)

Lighting Designer, PE
by Kristoffer Diaz
directed by Jen Diamond
The Circuit Theatre Company
at The American Repertory Theater, Club Oberon, Boston, MA

"Club Oberon is believable as Arroyo’s Lounge, and producing the show here has many advantages from the dance party lighting which aids in tone shifting to the sound system that can fill the entire space. [...] The actors are giving their lines all they have, and certainly all of the technical elements exist as well."
    -Noe Kamelamela, New England Theatre Geek

"I'm not sure if [actors Caleb Bromberg and Fletcher Bell] were DJing live onstage, or if it was expertly choreographed, but either way I was impressed with their integration of the music."
    -Alex Lonati, Broadway World

 

The Valentine Trilogy (2013)

Lighting & Set Designer, TD, PE, Drummer
by Nathan Allen
directed by Skylar Fox
The Circuit Theatre Company
at The Boston Center for the Arts, Boston, MA

“…an amazingly picturesque environment of light, sound, puppetry...”
            -Michael Cox, Edge Boston, The Top 10 of the Boston Fringe Theatre

“Designer Christopher Annas-Lee’s sets evoke the ramshackle, wooden structures of frontier towns and the expansive, rocky landscapes of the Wild West as well as the paper walls and the calligrapher’s brush-stroked mountains of an imaginary feudal Japan. His use of lighting in Valentine Victorious! recalls the chiaroscuro found in panels from Will Eisner’s classic The Spirit and Frank Miller’s hard-boiled Sin City comics.”
            -Ian Thal, The Arts Fuse

“so bright and beautiful…”
            -Alex Lonati, BroadwayWorld.com

“I watched a marathon run, which meant that I witnessed the end results in real-time of technical wizardry and fast wrangling of the set and cast into an entire other genre. Quick transitions pepped up the physical comedy and energized the mood changes from scene to scene. […] The young and energetic cast and crew took on the challenge of adaptation to different genres capably. The employment of classic stagecraft deserves serious respect, especially in an age of fancy rotating mechanical stages, wirework and so much machinery. 

Much of the low tech workarounds are well-executed, employed puppetry, live unamplified sound. Set pieces and timing kept the shows from dragging.  In a way, the scurrying, carrying (sometimes of each other), resetting and general constant movement of secondary cast and crew during scenes read as its own character:  the frenetic parallel worlds forcing the protagonist to change.  Inventive staging was informed by filmic sensibilities.  The cast and band were directed to create fully realized set pictures which utilized the designs by Christopher Annas-Lee without dominating them.”
            -Noe Kamelamela, New England Theatre Geek

“Liz Oakley’s ingenious puppetry enchants throughout the play, as does Christopher Annas-Lee’s gorgeous, grey, misty mountain range backdrop and craggy walls which open to reveal The Trick Hearts rock band.”
            -Beverly Creasey, Boston Arts Review

 

Time Stands Still (2013)

Lighting & Set Designer, TD, PE
by Donald Margulies
directed by John Gulley
Paper Lantern Theatre Company
at Triad Stage, Greensboro, NC & Hanesbrands Theatre, Winston-Salem, NC

“The set by Christopher Annas-Lee is evocative, allowing a story that spans the globe to be played out in a Brooklyn apartment. Cinderblocks and boards define the space and give a sense of impermanence to Sarah and Richard’s home.”
            -Lynn Felder, The Winston-Salem Journal

 

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She Loves Me (2013)

Lighting Designer
by Joe Masteroff, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick, and music by Jerry Bock
directed by G.T. Upchurch
North Carolina School of the Arts

“Crucial components for the success of this production lie greatly in the visual triumphs of scenic designer Jaclyn Meloni and lighting designer Christopher Annas-Lee. […] The pièce de résistance is the faux leadlight awning that slightly obstructs the view of the second level platform where the orchestra sits backlit with blues and persimmon orange. The theatricality of the set, lighting, and orchestra is enough alone to suffice the sentiment of the evening.”
            -Brandon C. Jones, CVNC