Lary Opitz

Queens College, City University of New York
Studio & Forum of Stage Design, New York City
Member of Actors’ Equity Association and IATSE, United Scenic Artists #829

Courses taught:
Introduction to Theater
Introduction to Acting
Intermediate Design: From Page to Stage
Stage Lighting
Special Studies in Design and Technical Theater
Scenic Design
LS2 Art and Politics in Weimar Germany
Acting Shakespeare
Senior Seminar
Audition Workshop
Scribner Seminar (Shakespeare was Jewish?)

It is with great pride that Lary Opitz calls himself a "total theatre artist." Since his first Off-Broadway credit in 1967, he has worked as actor, director, playwright, designer, producer, stage manager, technician, and consultant on countless productions in hundreds of theatres throughout the world (Broadway, Off-Broadway, regional, stock, touring and academic productions). A graduate of Queens College (CUNY) and Lester Polakov's renowned Studio and Forum of Stage Design, in 1980 he was one of only five lighting designers inducted into Local #829 of United Scenic Artists (IATSE) when there were only one hundred lighting designers in this professional organization governing design practices on Broadway. Resident designer for the world-famous José Limón Dance Company for nine years, his work has been seen in over thirty countries and throughout the United States, and include many New York and world premières for such choreographers as Alwin Nikolais, Meridith Monk, Sophie Maslow, Carla Maxwell, Lucas Hoving, Heinz Poll, Carlos Orta, Sarah Stackhouse, Jean Cebron, Susanne Linke, and Anna Sokolow. Capital District audiences have enjoyed his many theatre and dance designs at Skidmore Theatre, Capital Repertory Company, Proctor´s Theatre, The Saratoga Performing Arts Center, and the Egg.

Mr. Opitz has designed and been consultant on many major performance facilities including Capital Rep´s Market Theatre, the Empire State Performing Arts Center, Queens Playhouse, and the Janet Kinghorn Bernhard Theatre on the Skidmore campus. He and David Yergan created a new fully-equipped modular theatre space for the Saratoga County BOCES New Visions Theatre Arts Program and developed plans for a similar facility for the Warren County BOCES. Mr. Opitz was technical editor and feature writer for Theatre Crafts Magazine (TCI and Entertainment Design), the foremost periodical dealing with theatre design and technology.

An actor since 1965 and a member of Actors Equity, he has returned to the boards in recent years performing Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Sir Toby Belch in Twelfth Night, Peter Quince in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Aegeon in The Comedy of Errors, Ferapont in The Three Sisters, Marcus Andronicus in Titus Andronicus, Gremio in The Taming of the Shrew, Duncan, Porter and Scottish Doctor in Macbeth, Gonzalo in The Tempest, David in Blood Relative, and Friar Laurence in Romeo and Juliet. He is an active member of The Saratoga Shakespeare Company and New York's Instant Shakespeare Co. He had a featured role in the independent film Disoriented, and can be seen in Seabiscuit, The Skeptic (in production) and a documentary of What I Heard About Iraq (in production). He performed in What I Heard About Iraq Off-Broadway and on tour (NY and Canada). Last summer he performed in a development workshop of Diaghilev directed by Sheryl Kaller.

At Skidmore he has developed and taught many courses in the Theatre Department (acting, design, management, seminars, etc.), the Liberal Studies program (Arts and Politics in Weimar Germany), as well as a recent Scribner Seminar (Shakespeare was Jewish?). He has designed scenery, lighting, properties, sound and costumes for well over one hundred Skidmore Theatre productions. His most recent scenic designswere for Fefu and Her Friends and Macbeth. He regularly offers internship, career planning and audition workshops to students. Chairperson of the Theatre Department, he has been active on most of the major college committees and recently served as chairman of CAPT (Committee on Appointments, Promotions and Tenure). He created and maintains the Skidmore College Theater Webpage and currently serves as the college parliamentarian.

In 1988 Mr. Opitz began writing and directing. He has developed and directed five major adaptations: Woyzeck in Auschwitz, The Threepenny Opera, Bloomsday: 16 June 1904 (based on Ulysses by James Joyce), The Trial, The Merchant of Venice; as well as Arcadia, The Comedy of Errors, Macbeth (set in a South African Township), and RAB, a one-man show dealing with the life and works of Robert Burns. Intrigued with the idea of training the "total theatre artist," he continues to explore projects for which he serves as writer, director,designer and, occasionally, actor. In the spring of 2004 he directed the Skidmore Theatre production of Shakespeare's Macbeth (set in a South African Township). Last spring he directed BLOOD RELATIVE a new play dealing with Israeli/Palestinian issues. He recently wrote a new play with Ryan Emmons entitled Shakespeare of a Certain Age.

Mr. Opitz and Barbara Opitz developed The Shakespeare Programme, a respected study-abroad program based in London and associated with The British American Dramatic Academy. In 2003 he was a Scholar-in-Residence at New York University. While in New York and England, he developed a new course entitled Acting Shakespeare and had opportunites to work and meet with with Louis Scheeder of NYU's Classic Studio, Sir Peter Hall and John Barton, founders of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and Patsy Rodenburg, vocal coach of the Royal National Theatre. He most recent lighting design was for the world and New York premiere of Marathon, by Edoardo Erba, newly translated by Israel Horovitz.