Monday, November 20, 2006

Santo Loquasto (1944 - )

Photo courtesy of AP Photo Archive

Being a huge fan of the films of Woody Allen and having seen Julia Roberts's Broadway debut in Three Days of Rain this past summer (which included truly remarkable sets), you can imagine my astonishment that the person responsible for the look of these (and numerous other) productions was born and raised in Wilkes-Barre, PA. His name is Santo Loquasto.

Santo Loquasto was born in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania on July 26, 1944. He recieved a B.A. in English Literature from King's College in Wilkes-Barre. He also designed sets and costumes for Showcase Theatre in Wilkes-Barre (now located in Exeter, PA). He earned his Masters of Fine Arts degree from Yale Drama School in 1969.

Soquasto began his professional career as a set designer on Broadway in 1972; ironically, one of the first shows he worked on was the original Broadway production of That Championship Season, written and directed by Scranton native Jason Miller.

For more than 30 years, Loquasto has worked on numerous Broadway productions doing both set and costume design for shows including 1989's Grand Hotel (for which he won the 1990 Tony Award), Neil Simon's 1991 play Lost in Yonkers, 1999's Fosse (Tony Winner for Best Musical) and 2002's Movin' Out (based on the songs of Billy Joel). In 2006, Loquasto was the set designer for the Broadway play Three Days of Rain, which marked the stage debut of Julia Roberts. In addition to his 1990 Tony Award for Grand Hotel, Loquasto also received Tony Awards in 1989 (Best Scenic Designer for Cafe Crown) and 1977 (Best Costume Designer for The Cherry Orchard).

Most of Loquasto's film work as a production designer has been with legendary directory Woody Allen. His work with Allen (a collaboration that includes 21 films) began with 1987's Radio Days and also includes Crimes & Misdemeanors, Shadows & Fog, Bullets Over Broadway, Mighty Aphrodite and Sweet & Lowdown. Loquasto's last film with Woody Allen was 2004's Melinda & Melinda.

His other films include Big, directed by Penny Marshall and starring Tom Hanks, Desperately Seeking Susan starring Madonna, Falling in Love with Robert de Niro and Meryl Streep, She-Devil with Meryl Streep and Roseanne, Bright Lights Big City with Michael J. Fox, and 1981's The Fan with Lauren Bacall.

Loquasto also worked in film as a costume designer for such films as Desperately Seeking Susan, three films by Woody Allen (Stardust Memories, A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, and Zelig), and the 2001 television adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical Fosse.

On June 10th, 2006, Loquasto returned to his hometown of Wilkes-Barre to receive the Governor's Awards for the Arts award.

Loquasto will also be featured in the 2007 documentary World Beyond Wiseguys: Italian Americans & the Movies.

The Lackawanna County Library System has several copies (on both VHS and DVD) of films that include production design by Loquasto including Big, Desperately Seeking Susan, and many of his films with Woody Allen. In addition, the collection includes a VHS of the Tony-winning musical Fosse.