Marcus Doshi is an international theatre maker who designs lighting and sets for theatre, opera, and dance, and collaborates with artists and architects on a wide array of non-performance-based work. His work is known both for its rhythmic and visual style and for its dramaturgical integration with the source material. He is a frequent collaborator with NYC’s Theatre for a New Audience and Chicago’s Steppenwolf Theatre Company. He is also a tenured Associate Professor of Theatre at Northwestern University, in Evanston, IL, where he teaches design in the MFA programs and is Associate Chair of the department. Marcus was born in 1975 in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Projects with Theatre for a New Audience include A Winter’s Tale, The Skin of Our Teeth, The Father, A Doll’s House, King Lear (2014 Henry Hewes Design Award nomination), The Taming of the Shrew, Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Othello (2009 Lucille Nortel Award for Outstanding Lighting Design nomination), all directed by Arin Arbus, The Broken Heart, directed by Selina Cartmell, and Hamlet (2009 Drama Desk for Best Lighting Design of a Play nomination and 2009 Henry Hewes Design Award nomination) directed by David Esbjornsen.
Elsewhere in New York, Pass Over directed by Danya Taymor at Lincoln Center Theatre, Party People directed by Liesl Tommy at The Public Theatre (2017 AUDELCO ‘Viv’ Award Nomination); Les Mamelles de Tiresias and Der Kaiser von Atlantis in double bill at Juilliard; The Petrol Station with Sulayman Al Bassam at the Gallatin School; A Boy and His Soul at the Vineyard Theatre; Things of Dry Hours for New York Theatre Workshop; the world premiere of Queens Boulevard (The Musical), The First Breeze of Summer (2008 AUDELCO ‘Viv’ for Best Lighting Design) and My Children! My Africa! at the Signature Theatre; The Glass Cage and What the Public Wants at the Mint; the American Premiere of Terrorism for The New Group & The Play Company; Charade and |underscore|, choreographed by Jonah Bokaer; The Obie Award winning productions of Molly’s Dream for Soho Rep and Menopausal Gentleman at the Ohio Theatre; the Civilians’ [I Am] Nobody’s Lunch (International Tour) and Patriot Acts: An American Vaudeville; Impermanent Collection, Without, Mass Particle Number One, It’s My Party and Reusable Parts/Endless Love with Moving Theatre, among many others.
Projects at Steppenwolf include the premieres of Tracy Letts’s Linda Vista, directed by Dexter Bullard, and Mary Page Marlowe, directed by Anna D. Shapiro, the premiere of David Rabe’s Visiting Edna, also directed by Shapiro, Familiar and Pass Over (including the filmed version by Spike Lee streaming on Amazon), both directed by Danya Taymor, BLKS, and You Got Older.
Elsewhere in Chicago, La Traviata for The Lyric Opera of Chicago directed by Arin Arbus, Measure for Measure directed by Robert Falls & Upstairs Concierge directed by JK Sanchez at the Goodman Theatre; Much Ado About Nothing directed by Marti Maraden at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; and The Importance of Being Earnest, Travesties, & The Secret Garden, all directed by Charles Newell, at Court Theatre.
World-wide, his work includes Rituel pour une Metamorphose for La Comédie Française, Paris, where he is said to be the first American to design lighting for the company, a production co-realized with Théâtre de Gymnase – Marseille and Marseille-Provence 2013 Capital Européenne de la Culture; The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee at the National Theater of Sarajevo, National Theater of Mostar, Bijeljina Center for Culture, National Theater of Tuzla, Jajce House of Culture, Bosnian National Theater of Zenica, National Theater of Republika Srpska, Bosnia and Herzegovina; Svadba for the 2015 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, FR, Angers Nantes Opera, Les Théâtres de la Ville de Luxembourg, and Festival Ljubljana, Les Mamelles de Tiresias for Aldeburgh Music, Aldeburgh, UK, 2013 Festival d’Aix-en-Provence, FR, La Monnaie, Brussels, BE and Dutch National Opera & Ballet, NL, La Traviata for Canadian Opera Company (2017 Dora Mavor Moore Award Nomination); Sabab Theatre’s The Speaker’s Progress developed in production at al-Maidan Cultural Centre in Kuwait and Theatre Tournesol in Beirut, Lebanon and subsequently playing the 2011 Next Wave Festival at BAM, Arts Emerson in Boston, the 2012 Carthage Festival in Tunis, Tunisia and D-CAF Festival in Cairo, Egypt and In The Eruptive Mode which premiered at the 2013 Sydney Festival; Most of the Boys at the Royal Opera House Linbury Studio, London; The Devil & Mr. Punch with Improbable at the Barbican in London; the international tours of the Khmer Arts Ensemble’s Pamina Deviand The Lives of Giants, both choreographed by Sophiline Cheam Shapiro, with whom he also designed Samritechak, which was presented to world audiences as part of the 2003 Bienalle di Venezia in Venice, Italy; scenery and lighting for Where Elephants Weep at the Chenla Theatre in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Don Giovanni and Falstaff at the Théâtre Municipal de Castres, France; [I Am] Nobody’s Lunch for the 2006 Edinburgh Festival Fringe & subsequent transfer to the Soho Theatre, London; director Peter Sellar’s production of The Children Of Herakles for the 2004 Wiener Festwochen in Vienna, Austria & the Holland Festival 2004, in Amsterdam, The Netherlands; and the India tour of U.S. based Thresh Company’s full length evening of contemporary dance Strings Unattached, playing the Delhi Habitat Centre, the Museum Theatre in Chennai, The Darpana Academy of Performing Arts and the National Centre for Performing Arts in Mumbai, and the subsequent presentation at the Joyce Soho, NYC.
His designs for works with music include La Traviata, directed by Arin Arbus, and Giulio Cesare, directed by James Robinson, at Houston Grand Opera, Orphic Moments for Master Voices and La Calisto for Juilliard Opera, both directed by Zack Winokur, Don Giovanni at Santa Fe Opera directed by Ron Daniels, El Niño at Spoleto Festival USA 2015 directed by John La Bouchardière, The Soldier’s Tale, La Voix Humane, El Cimmarón, Der Kaiser Von Atlantis & Il Ritorno d’Ulisee in Patria for artistic director Ted Huffman at the Greenwich Music Festival; The Blue Rider: Kandinsky and Music for the Guggenhiem’s Works & Process at the Miller theatre and In the Garden of Dreams at the Cullen Theatre, Houston, both conceived of and directed by Sarah Rothenberg and produced by Da Camera of Houston; Nico Muhly’s Tell The Way for St Anne’s Warehouse; The Hildegurls: Electronic Ordo Virtutum for the Lincoln Center Festival; Elektra with Seattle Opera; Hell (the opera) for PS 122, the premiere of Don Imbroglio at the New York Musical Theatre Festival, La Bohème for Boston Lyric Opera, and work with Florentine Opera, Virginia Opera, Lyric Opera of Kansas City, and Baltimore Opera.
In the United States, numerous designs for theatre at such theatres as Oregon Shakespeare Festival (Love’s Labour’s Lost directed by Shana Cooper, Party People! directed by Liesl Tommy, and The Cocoanuts directed by David Ivers), Intiman (The Skin of Our Teeth directed by Bartlett Sher), Huntington Theatre Company (Ma Rainey’s Black Bottomdirected by Liesl Tommy), Yale Repertory Theatre (The Imaginary Invalid directed by Mark Rucker, Iphigenia at Aulis directed by Rebecca Taichman & Eclipsed directed by Liesl Tommy), Hartford Stage, Company (A Raisin in the Sun directed by Seret Scott, I Am My Own Wife & Mistakes Were Made both directed by Jeremy Cohen, and The Whipping Man directed by Hana Sharif), The Children’s Theatre (Last Stop on Market Street directed by Henry Godinez), Dallas Theatre Center (Twelfth Night, Big Love, My Fair Lady, Of Mice and Men, & Hamlet all directed by Richard Hamburger, with Leon Rabin Award for Outstanding Lighting Design nominations for the latter two), TheatreWorks Hartford, Barrington Stage, Geva Theatre, Ford’s Theatre, Triad Stage, Pittsburgh Public Theatre, City Theatre Company, Indiana Repertory Theatre, The Wagon Wheel Theatre, Milwaukee Shakespeare, Milwaukee Repertory, Great River Shakespeare Festival, Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Tooth & Nail Theater, Berkeley Repertory, California Shakespeare, Sacramento Theatre Company, Portland Center Stage, Seattle Repertory Theatre, among others.
In the art & architecture world, Marcus has designed the lighting for Karaoke Ice, a project by artists Marina Zurkow, Katie Salen, and Nancy Nowacek, which premiered at the 2006 ISEA/ZeroOne Festival, San Jose, CA, in 2006 and subsequently at Los Angeles Contemporary Exhibitions in 2007 (www.karaokeice.com) as well as Above & Below by artist Maya Lin at the Indianapolis Museum of Art. With Matter Practice, he designed the exhibition lighting for the Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum’s 2006 National Design Triennial – Design Life Now, Dormitorium: Film Decors by the Quay Bros. at the Kellen Gallery of the Parsons New School for Design, and With a Single Step: Stories in the Making of America, the permanent exhibition of the Museum of Chinese in America, NYC. Marcus also consulted on the renovation of the stage lighting system for the Harry Dejur Playhouse at the Henry Street Settlement in NYC and was resident special events designer for the Park Avenue Armory where projects included production designs for the Park Avenue Armory’s 2012 Chairman’s Circle Dinner, Citibank Private Banking 200 Year Gala, the Park Avenue Armory’s 5th Anniversary Gala, and lighting design for the 1st Floor Historic Rooms.
In 2001 Marcus was honored with the USITT Barbizon Award for Lighting Design. In 2002, his essay “Edward Gordon Craig: Towards the Art of the Theater of the Future – Influences and Development of the Über-Marionette and Kinetic Stage” was published in the journal ‘Thinking About Theater and Film,’ edited by James Fisher. And, in 2003, he was chosen as a recipient of the prestigious National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group Career Development Program with which he pursued diverse avenues of study; from using musical terminology as a language for lighting designers to the emerging stylistic influence of contemporary Asian-Indian arts on American Theatre.
In his early career, Marcus extensively assisted senior Lighting Designers Jennifer Tipton and Robert Wierzel. With Ms. Tipton theatre and many dances including work with American Ballet Theatre, The Paul Taylor Dance Company, and Pick Up Performance Company; he was also the assistant for Ms. Tipton’s lighting of Artist Robert Gober’s American Pavillion at the 2001 Bienalle di Venezia and her light installation Pandora’s Door which was commissioned and created specifically for the 2006 National Design Triennial: Inside Design Now as well as many other projects. With Mr. Wierzel, numerous theatrical and opera endeavors including work with Chicago Opera Theatre and Opera de Montréal.
Prior to joining the faculty of Northwestern, Marcus was a Guest Critic for Hunter College, City University of New York, Wabash College, New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and the Yale University School of Drama. He has led lighting workshops for performers and designers with the Allaince Française in Chennai, India, the Indo-American Arts Council’s Festival of Indian Dance, and al-Maidan Cultural Centre in Kuwait. He was also sponsored by the Asian Cultural Council, Kelola, The Jakarta Arts Council, and Salihara to teach a workshop on light and movement for choreographers and designers in Jarkarta, Indonesia.
In 1997 Marcus graduated from Wabash College, in Crawfordsville, IN, Magna Cum Laude and with distinction on comprehensive exams with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre with a minor in Art. His work at Wabash was highly praised: he was awarded the Kenneth Kloth Design Prize three years in a row, the Ermine C. Leonardis award for Dramaturgy, the Stephens-Hall Scholarship, and the Phi Beta Kappa Prize for Excellence in a Creative Endeavour for his scenic & projection design of The Visit. In 2000, he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Stage Design from the Yale University School of Drama.