John Lee Beatty

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John Lee Beatty is an American scenic designer who has created set designs for more than 110 Broadway shows and has designed for other productions. He has won two Tony Awards, for Talley's Folly (1980) and The Nance (2013), and been nominated for 13 more, and he has won five Drama Desk Awards and been nominated for 10 others.

Life and career[edit]

Beatty was born in Palo Alto, California and grew up in Claremont. His father was dean of students at Pomona College and his mother had also worked in academia.[1] While he was an English major at Brown University, he also directed, wrote, acted and drew posters and scenery for college productions. After graduating from Brown, he entered the Yale School of Drama where he was trained by Ming Cho Lee, as well as Donald Oenslager and Jo Mielziner.[1]

In New York, he began his theatre career as an assistant to Douglas Schmidt. He joined the Circle Repertory Company and then designed the sets for his first Broadway show, Knock Knock (by Jules Feiffer) in 1976.[1] Since then, he has designed sets for more than seventy Broadway productions, including The Apple Tree, Losing Louie, Heartbreak House, The Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Rabbit Hole, The Color Purple, Crimes of the Heart, The Odd Couple, Doubt, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Twentieth Century, Wonderful Town, Dinner at Eight, Morning's at Seven, Proof, Footloose, Ivanov, The Little Foxes, Once Upon a Mattress, Chicago, A Delicate Balance, The Heiress, Redwood Curtain, A Small Family Business, The Most Happy Fella, Ain't Misbehavin', The Octette Bridge Club, Duet for One, Fifth of July, Talley's Folly and The Innocents.

He also has designed for Off-Broadway shows. He received the Henry Hewes Design Award, Scenic Design, for The Whipping Man at the City Center Stage 1 (2011) and was nominated for the Hewes Award for Other Desert Cities (Newhouse Theater, 2011) and Twelfth Night (Delacorte Theater, 2009).[2] He was nominated for an Outer Critics Circle Award for The Mystery of Irma Vep (1989).[3]

Awards and honors[edit]

Beatty won two Tony Awards for his designs for Talley's Folly (1980) and The Nance (2013).[4] He won five Drama Desk Awards for his designs for Talley's Folly (1979), Talley's Folly (1980), Fifth of July (1981), Dinner at Eight (2003) and Twentieth Century (2004).

He has received 13 other Tony Award nominations, for Fifth of July (1981), A Small Family Business (1992), Redwood Curtain (1993), The Heiress (1995), A Delicate Balance (1996), The Little Foxes (1997), Morning's at Seven (2002), Dinner at Eight (2003), Doubt (2005), Rabbit Hole (2006), The Color Purple (2006), The Royal Family (2010) and Other Desert Cities (2012). He received ten other Drama Desk nominations.[5]

He was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in January 2003.[6]


  1. ^ a b c Rothstein, Mervyn. "A Life in the Theatre: John Lee Beatty" Archived 2013-06-02 at the Wayback Machine, October 23, 2008
  2. ^ John Lee Beatty Internet Off-Broadway Database, accessed April 24, 2013
  3. ^ "Awards for 1998–1999" Archived 2008-05-05 at the Wayback Machine, Outer Critics Circle Awards,
  4. ^ Purcell, Carey. "'Kinky Boots', 'Vanya and Sonia', 'Pippin' and' Virginia Woolf?' Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards" Archived 2013-06-11 at the Wayback Machine,, June 9, 2013
  5. ^ John Lee Beatty, accessed April 24, 2013
  6. ^ Gans, Andrew. "32nd Annual Theatre Hall of Fame Inductees Announced; Mamet, Channing, Grimes Among Names" Archived 2014-02-26 at the Wayback Machine,, October 22, 2002

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