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Distinguished Alumnus in the Arts

Robert Brill

Robert Brill

Robert Brill is a three-time tony award nominee. His credits include Ain’t Too Proud: The Life and Times of the Temptations, Summer: The Donna Summer Musical, and Assassins, as well as the set and club design for the critically acclaimed revival of Cabaret, at both the Kit Kat Klub and the legendary Studio 54. His other Broadway credits include the recent revivals of Jesus Christ Superstar, Guys and Dolls, A Streetcar Named Desire, Design for Living, Buried Child, and many others.


Last season, Brill designed the first new play to re-open Broadway during the pandemic, Thoughts of A Colored Man, and he is currently in production on our four Broadway-bound musicals: Bhangin It, How to Dance in Ohio, The Ballad of Johnny & June, celebrating the music of Johnny Cash and June Carter, and the revival of Fosse’s Dancin’. During his career, which has spanned more than three decades, Brill’s theatrical designs have also been seen at the Stratford Festival, the Ahmanson Theatre, Old Globe, Radio City Music Hall, Boston Ballet, Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Conservatory Theatre, The Guthrie, Steppenwolf, Goodman, and Lincoln Center to name a few.

His other world-premiere theatrical collaborations include John Steinbeck’s nine-hour epic cycle East of Eden for The Western Stage; Anna Deavere Smith’s Twilight for the Mark Taper Forum, and McCarter Theatre; the premiere of The Laramie Project, presented at numerous theatres across the US including The Brooklyn Academy of Music; and the musical spectacular Frozen, produced by Disney Creative Entertainment. Recently, Brill was also named Artist-in-residence by the nationally renowned La Jolla Playhouse, where his vast array of credits includes the world-premier of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, helmed by long-time collaborator Des McAnuff with music by The Flaming Lips.


Brill is a founding member of the Sledgehammer Theatre, a recipient of the Michael Merritt Award for Excellence in Design and Collaboration, and is professor of Scenic Design at the University of California San Diego. He is honored to be acknowledged as a Distinguished Alumnus in The Arts by Hartnell College and The Western Stage, an artistic home where for nearly five decades, young and emerging artists have thrived abundantly and unconditionally with life-changing experiences and opportunities, proving their mission that “art has the power to transform lives.”

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