Rita Kogler Carver

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Rita Kogler Carver (born Rita Ann Kogler) is an American lighting designer, artist, director and teacher. Carver was born in North Tonawanda, NY on January 7, 1963. She currently resides in Upstate New York with her husband and numerous pet animals.


Ms. Carver graduated from Stroudsburg High School in Stroudsburg, PA in 1981.

Ms. Carver immediately enrolled at Cedar Crest College and graduated in 1985 with a BA in Theater. “I was dared to try out for a part in my sophomore year of college, and I got the part. When it came time for set building and technical design, and the builders asked if anyone knew how to use power tools or a screwdriver – because Cedar Crest was a women’s college at the time – so, I volunteered. My dad taught me how to do all that stuff. From then on, I always worked behind the scenes; I caught the theater bug pretty quickly.”[1]

Ms. Carver took a year off before starting graduate school. During that time she studies with Gustav Rehberger at the Art Students League in New York City. She later attended graduate school at New York University, studying under John Gleason in the Tisch School of Arts and graduating with an MFA in Lighting Design in 1989.

Personal life[edit]

Rita Kogler Carver was born Rita Ann Kogler on January 7, 1963, to her parents Albert H. Kogler, Jr., and Rita LoVerme Kogler. She grew up in North Tonawanda, New York, spent one year in Scranton, PA, and then moved to Willingboro, NJ eventually landing in Stroudsburg, PA.

Ms. Carver lived in New York City for almost twenty years after graduate school. After the World Trade Towers fell, she wanted to make a change. She relocated to Tarrytown, NY followed by Poughkeepsie, NY.

From 1992 - 2002 she was married to George Allison. On September 18, 2004, Rita married John Carver. They currently reside in Earlton, New York. She was a member of United Scenic Artists Local 829 and NABET Local 16. Ms. Carver was also a member of IES (Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) ], IALD (International Association of Lighting Designers) and ESTA.


After graduation from NYU, she began work in Theater as a Lighting Designer. She worked on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in Regional Theater, Dance, and Opera. She was fortunate to work both in the USA and Europe.

In 1996 she branched out into television gaining work on news shows and soap operas for ABC Television as well as a variety of shows for VH1 and the Food Network. She then expanded into talk shows such as The Montel Williams Show. She was part of the team that designed the NBC news studios for the 2000 Sydney Olympics, for which she won an Emmy.

Ms. Carver has been teaching for over fifteen years. Schools where she has taught include New York University, SUNY Fredonia, Dutchess Community College, and Westchester Community College. Other teaching opportunities have been at industry trade shows such as the LDI Show. She has also written many articles for the trade magazines Lighting Dimensions and IEEE Multimedia. She was also one of the original moderators for a Pro Lighting Forum on Creative Cow.

  • 2007-2010, Artistic Director, DragonFly Performing Arts
  • 2003-PRESENT, Designer, BearFly Designs
  • 1998–2007, Systems/Lighting Designer, The Lighting Design Group
  • 1992-1998 Associate Lighting Designer, Pat Collins Enterprises
  • 1989-1998 Lighting Designer, Allison/Kogler Designs

DragonFly Performing Arts Center[edit]

She moved upstate to the Catskills, and started Dragonfly Performing Arts in Cairo, NY for students of all ages interested in theater. Dragonfly Performing Arts is a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. “You can walk into a classroom in New York City and have any amount of students who want to learn about theater, but the trouble is that you find it in abundance. I like a challenge. I moved upstate and started DragonFly so that students who do not have the immediate opportunity to learn from Theater professionals like New York City students do, can learn from my past and my experiences. These students are thirsty for knowledge, and I am ready and willing to help them learn as much as they want."[2] DragonFly has produced shows such as Cats, Glass Menagerie, Alice in Wonderland, A Christmas Carol, Phantom Tollbooth, Snoopy!, It’s A Wonderful Life the Musical, A Midsummer Night Dream, and Lost in Yonkers. Classes are also offered throughout the year to students from ages eight and higher.

BearFly Designs, LLC[edit]

Since the early 1970s, “John and Rita Carver have worked separately and together in virtually every type of venue imaginable from outdoor theaters and barns to Broadway to major television networks.”[3] Started in 2003, BearFly Designs was and still is primarily rooted in Weddings and parties, while also accommodating to government fundraisers and other political events.

Broadway and Regional Theater Productions[edit]

      A Small Sampling
Year Show
1989 Feld Ballet
1990 Hamlet (Theater for the Blind)
1992 Guys and Dolls
1993 The Sisters Rosenwig
1994 Rigoletto
1994 Julius Caesar
1995 Pointer Sisters Ain’t Misbehavin’
1996 Elmer Gantry
1996 Once Upon a Mattress
1996 A Delicate Balance
1997 Paper Moon
1997 Titanic
1997 An American Daughter
2008 Ain’t Misbehavin’ National Tour with Ruben Stoddard
2009 Ain’t Misbehavin’ Amhanson Theater Production


Year Show
1996–1999 Discovery News
1997–1999 Good Morning America
1998 PrimeTime Live
1998–1999 Martha Stewart Living
1998–1999 Elmo’s World
1999–2006 The Montel Williams Show
1999 ESPN Sports Century
1999 Saturday Night Fever – television spot commercial

Design Credits[edit]

Time Warner Building in Columbus Circle, Bloomberg World Headquarters, ABC/Disney Times Square Studios, National Geographic Society’s Auditorium


Year Award
1998 Elmo’s World Silver Axiem Award
2000 Sydney Summer Olympics Team Emmy for Lighting Design
2003 The Montel Williams Show Emmy Nomination
2003 The Montel Williams Show Silver Axiem Award


  1. ^ Dobies, Jen (2010). Interview for Advice. Cairo, New York. 
  2. ^ Dobies, Jen (2010). Interview for Advice. Cairo, New York. 
  3. ^ Carver, John. [(http://www.bearflydesigns.com/) "BearFly Designs"] Check |url= value (help). Retrieved 20 April 2011. 

External links[edit]