carey wong
scenic designer

Biography

Carey Wong has worked for over 40 years as a stage designer and arts administrator in the United States, Canada, and abroad. He has designed sets and/or costumes for nearly 300 productions of operas, plays, musicals, and theatrical entertainments. Currently a freelance designer and theatre consultant based in the Pacific Northwest, he was General Production Manager and Resident Designer of Portland Opera for 8 seasons, and Artistic Administrator and Resident Designer of Opera Memphis for two seasons during the first decade of his career. While at Portland Opera, Mr. Wong designed sets and costumes for 12 new productions including the American premiere of Ernst Krenek's LIFE OF ORESTES (in an English translation by the composer commissioned for this premiere), the world premiere of Bernard Herrmann's WUTHERING HEIGHTS, and a rare staging of Carl Maria von Weber's DER FREISCHÜTZ. Three of his Portland shows were shared by Seattle Opera. During his tenure at Portland Opera, he collaborated with opera stage directors Gian Carlo Menotti, Malcolm Fraser, Ghita Hager, Carlos Alexander, and Frans Boerlage.

Among the regional opera companies that Mr. Wong has designed new productions for are Seattle Opera, Pittsburgh Opera, Kentucky Opera, Opera Carolina, Opera/Omaha, Edmonton Opera, Calgary Opera, San Francisco's Western Opera Theater, New York's Valhalla Wagnerfest, Orlando Opera, Anchorage Opera, Des Moines Metro Opera, Tacoma Opera, Knoxville Opera, Augusta Opera, Piedmont Opera Theatre, Sugar Creek Symphony and Song, Long Beach Opera, and Eugene Opera. For these companies, Mr. Wong has worked with such stage directors as Nick Muni, Ken Cazan, Gina Lapinski, James de Blasis, Patrick Bakman, Albert Takazauckas, Malcolm Fraser, Robert Larsen, Lincoln Clark, David Morelock, Roger Franklin, Robert Swedberg, David Bartholomew, and James Toland. Notable projects for these organizations have included the first production of Carlisle Floyd's revised version of WILLIE STARK directed by the composer for Opera Carolina, the world premiere of Kenton Coe's RACHEL for Knoxville Opera, and two productions of MADAMA BUTTERFLY for Eugene Opera and Tacoma Opera that have traveled widely throughout the United States. Sets that Mr. Wong designed for the above companies have additionally been used by Artpark, Michigan Opera Theatre, Virginia Opera, Fort Worth Opera, Baltimore Opera, Vancouver Opera, Manitoba Opera, Syracuse Opera, Opera/Columbus, Austin Lyric Opera, Dayton Opera, Toledo Opera, Opera Theater of Rochester, Mercury Opera Rochester, Greater Buffalo Opera, Madison Opera, Mobile Opera, Chattanooga Opera, San Antonio Opera, Utah Opera, Utah Festival Opera, Sacramento Opera, Opera New Jersey, Boise Opera, Nevada Opera Theatre, Nevada Opera, Fargo-Moorhead Opera, Skagit Opera, Pensacola Opera, and Royal Opera Canada. Additionally, Carey's production of THE MAGIC FLUTE directed by Robert Swedberg for Orlando Opera traveled to the Macao International Music Festival and Beijing Music Festival in 2003.

Mr. Wong has also done theatre settings for the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, Seattle Repertory Theatre, ACT Theatre, Intiman Theatre, Seattle Group Theatre, Empty Space Theatre, The Village Theatre, Tacoma Actors Guild, Portland Center Stage, Portland Repertory Theater, The Musical Theatre Company, Oregon Children's Theatre Company, Syracuse Stage, Arizona Theatre Company, Phoenix Theatre, Childsplay, Prince Music Theater, and Minneapolis' Hey City Theater. Noteworthy assignments at these theatres have included the world premieres of David Wagoner's FIRST CLASS directed by Kurt Beattie and Lee Blessing's GOING TO ST. IVES directed by Leslie Swackhamer for ACT Theatre; THE GRAPES OF WRATH directed by Linda Hartzell for the Intiman Theatre; THE CHOSEN directed by Aaron Posner for the Seattle Repertory Theatre; the world premiere of Jason Miller's BARRYMORE'S GHOST directed by Rod Pilloud for the Empty Space Theatre; THE MISER directed by Dennis Bigelow for Portland Center Stage's inaugural season; founder Margaret Booker's staging of THREE SISTERS at the Intiman Theatre; and Albert Takazauckas' staging of WHAT THE BUTLER SAW at the Berkeley Rep. He has designed 30 shows for the Seattle Children's Theatre, 19 of which were world premieres including Cheryl L. West's ADDY: AN AMERICAN GIRL STORY directed by Artistic Director Linda Hartzell, and David Henry Hwang's TIBET THROUGH THE RED BOX directed by Francesca Zambello. For Tacoma Actors Guild, where he was an Artistic Associate for 4 seasons, he designed a total of 26 shows including Nagle Jackson's THE QUICK-CHANGE ROOM directed Bruce K. Sevy and 8 Shakespeare plays including THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR directed by Pat Patton.

Carey Wong has designed for television. His set designs for Gian Carlo Menotti's Spoleto U.S.A. production of THE CONSUL (presented during the first American Spoleto Festival in Charleston, South Carolina) were seen nationally when that opera was aired on PBS as part of the "Great Performances" series.

For 17 seasons, from 1984–2001, Mr. Wong was the Resident Designer of Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts where he designed a total of 53 opera and musical productions. He was also the company's Director of Productions. Wildwood Park, located in Little Rock, Arkansas, is a 105-acre park site devoted to the presentation of the visual and performing arts in various indoor and outdoor venues throughout the year. Among the shows that Carey designed for Wildwood were three world premieres—PRECIOUS FEW by Terry Sneed, AS LONG AS A CHILD REMEMBERS by Raymond Pannell, and CLAIR DE LUNE by Libby Larsen. During his tenure at Wildwood, Mr. Wong worked with such directors as Leslie Swackhamer, Albert Takazauckas, Ken Cazan, Patrick Bakman, Malcolm Fraser, Adelaide Bishop, Terry Sneed, Whitfield Lloyd, and Artistic Director and Founder Ann Chotard.

Additionally, Carey Wong has designed environmental and commercial installations for art galleries and non-profit organizations including the American Institute of Architects—Portland Chapter, the University of Oregon Art Museum, the Corvallis Arts Center, the 1992 Anchorage Winter Olympics Organizing committee, and Tacoma's Opera Alley business consortium.

Mr. Wong was awarded a 2006 Artist Trust/Washington State Arts Commission Fellowship. He is a past recipient of a National Institute for Music Theater Training Grant and of a National Endowment for the Arts Bicentennial Exchange Fellowship, which allowed him to spend 6 months in Britain to observe the design and production management components of the Royal National Opera, English National Opera, Opera North, Welsh National Opera, Scottish Opera, and Kent Opera. He also received an Oregon Arts Commission Individual Artist Fellowship that allowed him to travel to Italy to observe the work of Italian stage designers. During his Yale career, he was the recipient of a Connecticut Research Foundation Grant.

Mr. Wong's designs have been included in a number of exhibitions during his career. RE-CREATED WORLDS: THE COLLABORATIVE VISION OF STAGE DESIGN toured throughout North America for 5 years during the mid-1990's and was a retrospective of his first 20 years of theatrical design work. Visual Arts Resources of Eugene, Oregon, developed the show with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts. Carey Wong had work included in the United States' entry for the 1991 Prague Quadrennial—MOZART IN AMERICA: DESIGN FOR OPERA. The exhibition received the gold medal award that year for best national entry, and it was also seen at New York's Library for the Performing Arts in Lincoln Center later the same year. Prior to that, Mr. Wong's designs were included in a number of group shows in the Pacific Northwest. His first one-man show was at the American Institute of Architect's Gallery in Portland, Oregon, and was titled CREATING WITHIN THE BLACK BOX.

Over the years, Carey Wong has authored a number of articles for LIVE DESIGN (formerly, ENTERTAINMENT DESIGN and THEATRE CRAFTS MAGAZINE). His articles have covered an array of design topics—supergraphics for sets and costumes, scenic elements made from fibers, Biedermeier gown appliqués, creatively recycling sets, and building scale models. More recently, his designs and writings have appeared in such publications as STAGE OF THE ART and AMERICAN THEATRE.

Mr. Wong has been an adjunct faculty member of the University of Puget Sound's Theatre Department and Seattle University's Department of Fine Arts where he taught introductory stage design to undergraduates. He also lectures regularly on stage design and opera to civic groups throughout the Pacific Northwest. Carey has designed opera productions for Florida State University, Ohio University, and Portland State University, working with such directors as Tito Capobianco, Lincoln Clark, Michael McConnell, Brenda Nuckton, and William Mouat.

Carey Wong is a Summa Cum Laude graduate of Yale College, where he received his B.A. and Honors with Exceptional Distinction in the Scholars of the House Program. His thesis was an historical reconstruction of Ben Jonson's masque of 1620, NEWES FROM THE NEW WORLD DISCOVER'D IN THE MOONE, in its American premiere. Mr. Wong produced, directed, and designed this production and enlisted as his collaborators conductor John Mauceri, choreographer Mary Kyte, musicologist Alejandro Planchart, and literary advisor Eugene Waith. He received a John Courtney Murray Traveling Fellowship for research and study after graduation in order to travel and study in Britain while writing a series of slide lectures on Stuart court masques. Thereafter, he attended the Yale School of Drama.

For 2017-2018, Carey will design two shows at the Seattle Children's Theatre - THE LITTLE PRINCE directed by newly appointed Artistic Director Courtney Sale and CITIZEN 13559 - THE JOURNAL OF BEN UCHIDA directed by Desdemona Chiang. He returns to ACT Theatre to design KING OF THE YEES, also directed by Desdemona Chiang, and later in the season, he returns to The Village Theatre to do HAIRSPRAY with direction by Artistic Director Steve Tomkins and Timothy McCuen Piggee. Mr. Wong's scenery for THE NUTCRACKER at Ballet Arizona will be seen for a twelfth season in Phoenix., while his exhibition design for a revised and expanded version of BEYOND THE GATE: A TALE OF PORTLAND'S CHINATOWNS will be featured in the new Portland Chinatown Museum located in the city's historic Chinatown district.

For the 2016-2017 season, Carey Wong designed two shows at ACT Theatre - THE ROYALE directed by Ameenah Kaplan and MURDER FOR TWO directed by Daniel Knechtges -- the latter a co-production with Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre. He designed the revival of THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE directed by Artistic Director Emeritus Linda Hartzell for the Seattle Children's Theatre, and he returned to Childsplay to design Founder David Saar's play, THE YELLOW BOAT directed by newly appointed Artistic Director Dwayne Hartford. For The Village Theatre, Mr. Wong designed A PROPER PLACE, Leslie Becker and Curtis Rhodes' new musical based on J. M. Barrie's play, THE ADMIRABLE CRICHTON, with direction by Jerry Dixon. Carey also designed a double bill of Puccini's SUOR ANGELICA and GIANNI SCHICCHI for Portland State University's School of Music. His scenery for Ballet Arizona's production of THE NUTCRACKER was seen for an eleventh season.

For 2015–2016, Carey Wong designed CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG, directed by Linda Hartzell for the Seattle Children's Theatre. He returned to the Village Theatre to do MY HEART IS THE DRUM, a new work directed by Schele Williams with a book by Jenny Redling, music by Philip Palmer, and lyrics by Stacey Luftig. Carey designed the world premiere of PETE OR THE RETURN OF PETER PAN directed by retiring Artistic Director David Saar and written by Dwayne Hartford. Additionally, he designed the Oregon Historical Society's exhibit, BEYOND THE GATE: A TALE OF PORTLAND'S HISTORIC CHINATOWNS curated by Jackie Peterson-Loomis. Ballet Arizona presented his production of THE NUTCRACKER for a tenth season.

In 2014–2015, Carey designed two shows at ACT Theatre—VANYA AND SONIA AND MASHA AND SPIKE and CAT ON A HOT TIN ROOF, both directed by Artistic Director Kurt Beattie. He also designed two world premieres at the Seattle Children's Theatre—Cheryl L. West's MWINDO directed by Linda Hartzell and a new musical version of DICK WHITTINGTON AND HIS CAT directed by Allison Narver. The music and lyrics were by Rich Gray, with the book by Jeff Church. For the Seattle Repertory Theatre, he designed the world premiere of Laura Schellhardt's THE COMPARABLES directed by Artistic Director Braden Abraham. For The Village Theatre, he did AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS directed by David Ira Goldstein. And he returned to Opera Southwest for the American stage premiere of Franco Faccio's AMLETO directed by David Bartholomew. Childsplay revived his production of JUNIE B. IN "JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS" this season, and Ballet Arizona revived his production of THE NUTCRACKER.

For 2013–2014, Carey Wong's schedule included two world premieres for the Seattle Children's Theatre—Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's revised musical version of JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH directed by Linda Hartzell and Finegan Kruckemeyer's THE BOY AT THE EDGE OF EVERYTHING directed by Jonathan Shmidt Chapman. Mr. Wong made design debuts at two companies with AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS directed by David Saar for the Arizona Theatre Company and THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING EARNEST directed by Victor Pappas for the Seattle Shakespeare Company. Carey collaborated with John Langs, ACT Theatre's Associate Artistic Director, on Laura Marks's new play, BETHANY. He returned to Opera Southwest for DON GIOVANNI directed by David Bartholomew and to Portland State University for Benjamin Britten's A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM directed by David Edwards. Revivals included THE NUTCRACKER for Ballet Arizona, MADAMA BUTTERFLY for Tacoma Opera and THE QUILTMAKER'S GIFT for Phoenix Theatre. And adapted his set design for Childsplay's production of THE SUN SERPENT for Minneapolis' Mixed Blood Theatre.

Carey Wong's projects for the 2012–2013 season included three world premieres: Trieu Tran and Robert Egan's UNCLE HO TO UNCLE SAM directed by Mr. Egan for ACT Theatre; Annie Lareau's adaptation of Jamie Ford's HOTEL ON THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET directed by Ms. Lareau for Book-It Repertory Theatre; and Y York's adaptation of Jerry Spinelli's CRASH directed by Rita Giomi for the Seattle Children's Theatre. He returned to the Seattle Repertory Theatre to design two shows: INSPECTING CAROL directed by Artistic Director Jerry Manning and BOEING BOEING directed by Allison Narver. He also returned to Opera Southwest to design MADAMA BUTTERFLY and Rossini's OTELLO, both directed by David Bartholomew. Other projects included LA RONDINE directed by Jon Kretzu for Portland State University and three shows for Phoenix Theatre—THE QUILTMAKER'S GIFT and S'WONDERFUL, both directed by Associate Artistic Director Robert Kolby Harper, and OUR TOWN directed by Pasha Yamotahari. Revivals included JUNIE B. IN "JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS" at Childsplay and THE NUTCRACKER at Ballet Arizona, while his sets for MADAMA BUTTERFLY were seen at Rogue Opera.

For 2011–2012, Mr. Wong designed two world premieres–Robert Schenkkan's adaptation of A SINGLE SHARD based on Linda Sue Park's Newberry Award–winning book and directed by Linda Hartzell for the Seattle Children's Theatre, and Jose Cruz Gonzales' THE SUN SERPENT directed by Rachel Bowditch for Childsplay. During that season he also debuted at Opera Southwest providing designs for THE BARBER OF SEVILLE directed by David Bartholomew, Director of Artistic Planning. Carey Wong returned to the Seattle Repertory Theatre to design SYLVIA directed by R. Hamilton Wright, and to The Village Theatre to design the West Coast premiere of Brian Hargrove and Barbara Anselmi's IT SHOULDA BEEN YOU by Barbara Anselmi directed by Jon Kretzu. He also returned to ACT Theatre for THE PITMEN PAINTERS directed by Kurt Beattie, to Portland State University for DIALOGUES OF THE CARMELITES directed by David Edwards, and to Phoenix Theatre to create both sets and costumes for THE MARVELOUS WONDERETTES directed by Robert Kolby Harper. Additionally, Childsplay remounted his design of LILLY'S PURPLE PLASTIC PURSE directed by David Saar, while his NUTCRACKER appeared at Ballet Arizona and MADAMA BUTTERFLY was seen at Indianapolis Opera.

For the 2010–2011 season, Carey's assignments included two different productions of Charles Way's adaptation of THE BORROWERS, based on the books by Mary Norton. He first partnered with director Rita Giomi for the Seattle Children's Theatre's production in October, 2010, and ended the season paired with director Dwayne Hartford for Childsplay's production in April–May, 2011. Also at Childsplay, Mr. Wong's production of JUNIE B. IN 'JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS' was revived for the holiday season. Carey Wong returned to Phoenix Theatre to design two musicals—Douglas J. Cohen's NO WAY TO TREAT A LADY directed by Richard Roland, and Maury Yeston/Arthur Kopit's NINE directed by Artistic Director Michael Barnard. For Tacoma Opera, he designed the sets for a double bill of PAGLIACCI and TROUBLE IN TAHITI directed by Benjamin Smith. Carey returned to Portland State University to design STREET SCENE directed by Bill Fabris for the newly renovated Lincoln Performance Hall. Mr. Wong's sets for FAUST and DON GIOVANNI were seen at Opera New Jersey, and his MADAMA BUTTERFLY set traveled to the Helena Symphony, while his NUTCRACKER for Ballet Arizona saw its 5th year of performances.

Carey Wong's design projects for 2009–2010 included the Seattle Children's Theatre's holiday musical, PETER PAN, directed by Artistic Director Linda Hartzell. He made his design debut with two companies that season. For Phoenix Theatre in Arizona, Mr. Wong designed sets and costumes for Peter Quilter's GLORIOUS! directed by Managing Director Daniel Schay. And for Seattle's Book-It Repertory Theatre, he created the set for David James Duncan's THE RIVER WHY, adapted and directed by Co-Artistic Director Myra Platt. Carey returned to Childsplay to design two shows directed by Artistic Director David Saar—the world premiere of JUNIE B. IN 'JINGLE BELLS, BATMAN SMELLS' by Allison Gregory based on books by Barbara Park, and the revival of THE BIG FRIENDLY GIANT adapted by David Wood from the book by Roald Dahl. He also returned to Portland State University to design THE MERRY WIDOW, the School of Music's spring opera production directed by distinguished director Tito Capobianco. Carey Wong collaborated with Artistic Director Toni Pimble on a Russian-inspired NUTCRACKER for Eugene Ballet to premiere in a future season. And his LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR set was used by Opera New Jersey, while Carey's MADAMA BUTTERFLY set appeared at Skagit Opera in 2010.

During 2008–2009, Carey's design projects included three shows for the Seattle Children's Theatre—Lori Allen Ohm's adaptation of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD directed by Linda Hartzell, Emil Sher's BLUENOSE directed by Allison Narver, and Dwayne Hartford's adaptation of A TALE OF TWO CITIES directed by Rita Giomi. Mr. Wong returned to the Intiman Theatre to design CRIME AND PUNISHMENT directed by Associate Director Sheila Daniels. For Childsplay he designed Kevin Kling's BUSYTOWN directed by Dwayne Harford, a production that was shared with the Arkansas Arts Center Children's Theatre. And he collaborated with director Tito Capobianco to design Verdi's FALSTAFF for Portland State University's opera workshop.

During 2007–2008, Mr. Wong designed the world premiere of David Wagoner's FIRST CLASS directed by Artistic Director Kurt Beattie for ACT Theatre. He designed two shows for the Seattle Repertory Theatre—Jeffrey Hatcher's MURDERERS directed by Steven Dietz and Cheryl L. West's BIRDIE BLUE directed by Chuck Smith. At the Seattle Children's Theatre, he designed the world premiere of David S. Craig's adaptation of THE NEVERENDING STORY directed by David Bennett and Mary Hall Surface's adaptation of THE HUNDRED DRESSES directed by Allison Narver. At Childsplay, he collaborated with Artistic Director David Saar on the world premiere of Dwayne Hartford's adaptation of A TALE OF TWO CITIES. To commemorate Orlando Opera's 50th anniversary season, Carey Wong designed a new DON GIOVANNI directed by Robert Swedberg set in Spanish Colonial New Orleans during Carnival season. He returned to the Village Theatre to design Elton John and Tim Rice's AIDA staged by Artistic Director Steve Tomkins and Brian Yorkey. For the University of Puget Sound, where he was an adjunct faculty member during the spring of 2008, Carey designed A COLLAGE OF COMEDY, seven one-act plays by David Ives directed by John Rindo. Mr. Wong's scenic designs for ADDY: AN AMERICAN GIRL STORY were seen by audiences throughout the United States during the Seattle Children's Theatre's production tour in early 2008. His MADAMA BUTTERFLY set was used by Eugene Opera. And his set for Nearco Producciones' UNA PAREJA DE MIEDO (THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP) played in Madrid, Spain, where it began an open run in September of 2007 at the Teatro Reina Victoria.

During 2006–2007, Carey Wong designed two shows for ACT Theatre—THE UNDERPANTS directed by Kurt Beattie and A NUMBER directed by New City Theatre Founder/Artistic Director John Kazanjian. For the Seattle Children's Theatre, Carey teamed up with Linda Hartzell on two world premieres—a musical adaptation of THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE by Oyamo with music by Carman Moore, and Cheryl L. West's adaptation of ADDY: AN AMERICAN GIRL STORY. For Tacoma Actors Guild, he designed PROOF directed by Rita Giomi. Carey Wong also designed Artistic Director Ib Andersen's lavish new NUTCRACKER for Ballet Arizona and opera director Tito Capobianco's production of COSI FAN TUTTE for the Portland State University opera workshop.

Mr. Wong's design assignments for 2005-2006 included two shows for the Intiman Theatre—THE GRAPES OF WRATH directed by Linda Hartzell and INTIMATE APPAREL directed by Jacqueline Moscou. Carey designed SLEEPING BEAUTY directed by Rita Giomi for the Seattle Children's Theatre, as well as Pamela Sterling's adaptation of THE SECRET GARDEN directed by Adam Burke for Childsplay. He also designed the West Coast premiere of GIRL OF MY DREAMS by Peter Ekstrom, Steve Hayes, and David DeBoy directed by Steve Tomkins for The Village Theatre, and Tacoma Actors Guild's new production of THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA directed by Kent Phillips. Mr. Wong's MADAMA BUTTERFLY set traveled to Mercury Opera Rochester for its inaugural season in January, 2006, while his LUCIA DI LAMMERMOOR set was seen at Pensacola Opera in March. Carey Wong also made his European design debut with THE MYSTERY OF IRMA VEP for Nearco Produccciones of Madrid. The Spanish production's set was based on his 1994 design for Tacoma Actors Guild. The director was Jamie Azpilicueta.

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