He’s suddenly everywhere: Wood seems to have become everyone’s lighting designer of choice: Spring Awakening and Fiddler on the Roof at freeFall; Of Mice and Men, Garcia Girls, and A Raisin in the Sun at Stageworks; The Piano Lesson at American Stage (and three shows next season). “To put it simply,” says Wood, “I have at least one show a month booked till next July.” Plus, he’s a faculty member at Blake High School of the Arts and HCC/Ybor in Tampa.
And he’s already made his Off-Broadway debut: Though the USF grad had been designing smaller shows hereabouts (community theaters, Jaeb musicals at the Straz), he says his phone really started to ring after word spread of a gig he snagged last summer in NYC: he designed lights for the Off-Broadway workshop of a new musical, Born Blue, directed by Rent star Anthony Rapp.
But the kid always knew his stuff: As a teenager in Plant City working on the high school musical, he impressed local theatrical equipment vendors with his self-taught knowledge of tech lingo. Those relationships have stood him in good stead at Blake, where he oversaw a half-million-dollar renovation of the main theater’s lighting system.
Music man: He’s a drummer, and treats lighting almost like a musical instrument, connecting viscerally with the charged rhythms of a musical like Spring Awakening. But he enjoys the challenges of non-musicals like Of Mice and Men, too, in which the cues unfold more slowly, as in the opening scene, which gradually goes from dusk to nighttime. “A lot of my changes,” he says, “are not necessarily things you’re going to see but things you’re going to feel.” His designs for both productions were nominated for 2013 Theatre Tampa Bay Awards.
Art and science: “I think to be a good designer you have to have both the artistic skills and the technical knowledge. I need to know exactly what the equipment I’m choosing from can do… and how the eye reacts.” For instance, he says, different sources of light have different color “temperatures,” like the colder, bluer tones of arcs and fluorescents. Knowing that, he can adjust viewers’ perceptions accordingly. “It’s painting with light.”
His ultimate ambition: “I would love to have a show running on Broadway by the time I’m 30.” With Born Blue going into a second round of workshops next year in Colorado, he might just realize that dream.
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