The Performing Set

The Broadway Designs of William and Jean Eckart

By Andrew B. Harris

Foreword by Carol Burnett

Preface by Sheldon Harnick

978-1-57441-638-1 Paperback
11 x 8.5 x 0 in
256 pp. 521 color illus. Notes.
Pub Date: 03/31/2016


  • Paperback $29.95
George Freedley Memorial Award finalist, Theatre Library Association, 2006 Golden Pen Award, United States Institute for Theatre Technology, 2007
The large-scale Broadway musical is one of America's great contributions to world theatre. Bill and Jean Eckart were stage designers and producers at the peak of the musical, and their designs revolutionized Broadway productions. At a time when sets were meant to remain simply backdrops that established time and place but not much else, an Eckart set became part of the performance on stage, equal at times to an actor. Anyone who has seen Phantom of the Opera or Les Miserables has seen the innovations that the Eckarts brought to the large Broadway-style musical production. They were best known for their designs for Damn Yankees (1955); Once Upon a Mattress (1959), in which Carol Burnett made her Broadway debut; and Mame (1966) with Angela Lansbury.

Andrew B. Harris uses production stills and the Eckarts’ sketches from every show they worked on to illustrate the magic behind an Eckart design. This lavishly illustrated book, with more than 500 full-color illustrations, is a fitting tribute to both the great American theatre and the couple who helped make it great.

Published by University of North Texas Press