Lee Simonson

was an American architect painterstage setting designer. He acted as a stage set designer for the Washington Square Players (1915ā€“1917). When it became the Theatre Guild in 1919, he became a stage setting staff of the theater. A major force in American scenic design, discovered in his youth what the “painters’ and designers’ vision could do to revivify the theater.” After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard in 1909, he went to Paris hoping to become a mural painter. There he formed friendships with such expatriate Americans as writer and collector Gertrude Stein and painter Stanton MacDonald-Wright. He also attended some of the most experimental European theatrical productions, and when he returned to New York in 1912, he was determined to launch his career as a set designer.

“Modern American Design in Metal” Newark Museum March 19 – April 18, 1929; “Minor Prophecies” New York, Harcourt and Brace, 1927; The Stage Is Set”, New York, Dover Publications, 1932; (with Theodore Komisarjevsky): “Settings and Costumes of the Modern Stage” New York Studio Productions, 1933[3]Isaacs, Edith J.R., editor: “Architecture for the New Theater” Lee Simonson: “Theater Planning” New York Theater Arts, 1935[4]; Part of a lifetime: Drawings and Designs 1919-1940, Duell, Sloan and Pearce, New York 1943[5]; The Art of Scenic Design; A Pictorial Analysis of Stage Setting and its relation to Theatrical Production, 1950.


Guide to Lee Simonson Papers at Houghton Library, Harvard University

Lee Simonson Photographs, 1871-1937 [bulk 1915-1937], held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts

Works by or about Lee Simonson at Internet Archive

Works by Lee Simonson at LibriVox (public domain audiobooks) 





%d bloggers like this: