Turn the page too quickly and you may miss the little details. Professional set designer and miniaturist Anthony Freitas ’13 (right) brought life to Wagner’s iconic Main Hall auditorium through a meticulously constructed paper and foam core ¼’’ scale model. The model and set pieces illustrate the reconstruction of the theater industry following Broadway’s shutdown during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It all comes back to the sense of community that theater builds,” says Freitas. “The idea was our shared experience. When the pandemic started, where did we go? We found ourselves back at the theater, the recreation of that space, our home away from home.” The photographs were captured in Main Hall’s Light Lab, a room as dynamic as the imagination of all those who learned and refined their craft there.
Freitas’s resume includes Wagner’s “Rent” (2013) and “Nine” (2017), several Broadway productions, and a 2019 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award for Outstanding Achievement in Set Design. His true joy comes from collaborating with and contributing to the education of the next generation of theater students and enthusiasts, drawing inspiration from Richard “Dick” Kendrick, who taught Freitas’s first model-building class at Wagner. “He was a formative person for me, allowing me to explore that creative part of my brain that I now use every day. He was just good at that — pushing students toward something they didn’t know they were going to love, and then finding that love.”