Aaron Black’s collection of work runs the gamut of disciplines from lighting design for dance, theater and opera to production design and art direction for film and television to thematic large-scale design for leading family amusement parks.
As a lighting designer, his New York credits including the Drama Desk Award winning revival of Black Nativity at the Duke on 42nd St (Audelco Award Nomination for Outstanding Lighting Design), King Lear (Audelco Award Nomination), Waiting for Godot, (Audelco Award Nomination) Funnyhouse of a Negro (Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Lighting Design, Helen Hayes Award Nomination), Trojan Women, Mother Courage and Her Children and Dream on Monkey Mountain (Audelco Award for outstanding lighting design) for the Classical Theatre of Harlem, Hecuba for Friendly Fire Theatre at 45 Below, Bleecker Street theater; the world premiere of Almost Blue at the Flatiron Theatre; No Common Thread and Open Field at the Cunningham Studios; the United States premieres of Pink for the 2004 Summer Play Festival and Crooked for the 2005 Summer Play Festival at the new 42nd Street Theatres; Soar Like an Eagle at the new 42nd Street Theatres; the US premiere of Benedict Mason’s Asko Paradiso, The Fifth Music: Resume with C.P.E. Bach for Alarm Will Sound; Alarm Will Sound at Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall.
His worldwide opera credits include The Beggar’s Opera for the Royal Opera House, La fanciulla del West for Opéra Montréal, A Flowering Tree, Orlando, Don Giovanni and The Return of Ulysses for Chicago Opera Theater, Phillip Glass’ Orphée et Eurydice for Glimmerglass Opera, Ile de Merlin and Louise for the Spoleto Festival USA, The Abduction from the Seraglio for Opera Omaha, Aida for Lyric Opera of Kansas City, Der Frieshütz for Opera Boston, Madame Butterfly for Opera Bilbao, Spain, The Turn of the Screw for Pittsburgh Opera, Mirandolina and Risers to the Sea/A Dinner Engagement for the Manhattan School of Music, The Diary of One Who Vanished for the Bard Music Festival, Future Opera projects include Carmen and The Magic Flue for Canadian Opera Company, The Turn of the Screw for Boston Lyric Opera and Les Huguenots for Bard Summerscape.
Showing a great propensity for diversity Mr. Black’s lighting design credits also include the tour for Princess Superstar, New York Magazine‘s Single White and Famous – the story of a Sicilian-Jewish rapper dance music diva, the United States premiere of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg for the Two River Theatre Company, ART Institute and the world premiere of The Puzzle Locker by the Obie Award winning playwright W. David Hancock at the International Theater Program at University of Rochester. He has designed productions for Second Stage, Theatre Row Studios, The Duke on 42nd Street, American Repertory Theatre, the Repertory Theater and many more. He is currently the Resident Lighting Designer for the Classical Theatre of Harlem, named by The Drama League as “one of the eight to Watch in America”. His association with the company has been recognized with a Helen Hayes Design Excellence Nomination, two Drama Desk nominations, five Lucille Lortell Awards, five Drama Desk Awards, and thirteen Audelco Award for Excellence in Black Theater.
As a production designer and art director, featured projects include the MTV Video Music Awards for Viacom Networks, the Counttry Muisc Awards COUNTRY for CMT, From the Top on PBS, the New York 9/11 Commemorations for the Mayor’s Office of New York City, VH-1 Storytellers: Buce Springsteen and the Fuse Fangoria Chainsaw Awards. Mr. Black has also worked extensively with NBC, redesigning their new WNBC Studio 7E Newsroom at Rockefeller Center and on various other NBC productions including The Today Show, Shainia Twain’s Up-close and Personal and Faith Hill for Oxygen Network, varied music specials including The Wallflowers with Carole King and Trisha Yearwood, as well as CMT and Fuse Networks, MTV Special Events, ABC and various other industrial events. He is the founder and principle of Velocity Design Group, a design consortium that actively seeks to create new design solutions in architecture and event planning including events for Axe, Starbucks, Glade, Huggies, Men’s Journal, Tumi, Estee Lauder, US Food Service and the premiere of The Express motion picture. Additionally close to Aaron’s heart was his involvement in helping thousands of struggling children learn to read with the nationally distributed educational Fletcher’s Place Television Show where he also served as live action director.
In architecture his designs have been observed by millions of people each year who have visited theme parks, wildlife parks, aquariums, toy stores, and museums in the United States and Europe. He has created the interior and exteriors for such projects as Akbar’s Adventure Tours 4D Simulation Ride featuring Martin Short and Eugene Levy for Busch Gardens Tampa, Alpengeist Roller Coaster for Busch Gardens Williamsburg, Shipwreck Café for Sea World San Diego, Journey to Atlantis for Sea World Orlando and other projects for Sesame Place, Sea World San Antonio and Water Country USA. He has created the design for the Harry Potter and Muppet Whatnot Shop for FAO Schwartz’s flagship store on Fifth Ave in New York City.
Mr. Black is a principal designer for Theater Strategies Group, a theater planning company specifically designed to create solutions for new and renovation theater projects. He is a member of the International Thespian Society and the Educational Theater Association, United Scenic Artist 829 and has been a guest lecturer at New York University’s School of Education and Fordham University. His work has been featured in numerous publications and editorials including The New York Times, Entertainment Design Magazine, The New Yorker Magazine, Journal of Lighting Designers and Engineers Association of Japan, American Theatre Magazine, and numerous Roller Coaster / Amusement Park publications. He is a finalist in the OPERA America’s Director-Designer Showcase as the lighting designer for Mourning Becomes Elektra with Andrew Eggert and Anka Lupes.
Mr. Black holds a Certificate from the Pacific Conservatory for the Performing Arts in California, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Conservatory for Performing Arts at Webster University in Saint Louis and a Master of Fine Arts from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University.