August 14th, 2019 by Karen Burg

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Special congratulations to Set Decorator John Sparano SDSA & his team for their Emmy® recognition for RENT! [See below]

Congratulations to all the nominees 
for the 71st Emmy® Awards!

Special congrats to SDSA International members nominated...and to Set Decorator John Sparano & team for their Emmy® win!

SETDECOR offers a peek at the Emmy-nominated shows decorated or designed by SDSA International members...



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OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A NARRATIVE PERIOD OR FANTASY PROGRAM (One Hour or More) FOSSE/VERDON FX Alex DiGerlando, Production Designer Anu Schwartz, Art Director Lydia Marks SDSA, Set Decorator The biographical miniseries delves into the relationship and careers of dance icons Bob Fosse, director/choreographer, and actress/famed dancer Gwen Verdon. Their personal and professional lives remained entwined and dramatic, their homes defining a celebrity strata of the time, the sets of their productions equally compelling and edgy. The bio’s design and décor team felt a responsibility to re-create as accurately as possible, including the sets for key films CABERET and SWEET CHARITY, the accompanying backstages & soundstages of the time, and even a Munich brothel visited during the filming of CABARET, Luckily, the couple’s daughter, Nicole Fosse, provided photos of their homes and shared detailed memories...including the walls of their opulent Manhattan penthouse covered in crushed velvet...orange crushed velvet! When the couple eventually separated, Bob moved into a new apartment and compiled a distinctive collection of neon signs, which the team replicated. Favorite restaurants, doctors they had visited, flashbacks to their childhood homes, all were part of the creative reimagining of how their world looked and how it changed from the 1940s to the 1980s. There was no visual research for the beach house, which allowed the team to “channel” the couple with such affinity that old friends “recognized” the place...and Nicole felt at home on the sets...an ultimate compliment! --Michelle Williams, Sam Rockwell. Image ©2019 FX Networks.

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THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL “Simone” + “We’re Going to the Catskills” Prime Video Bill Groom, Production Designer Neil Prince, Art Director Ellen Christiansen SDSA, Set Decorator As we pointed out when the series debuted, everything about THE MARVELOUS MRS MAISEL is indeed marvelous! The story, the performances and especially the sets! In the second season, we are still in the candy-colored, post war idealism of the late 1950s, but whereas Season 1 was a paean to the life and culture of the elegant Upper Westside and the nightclubs of Greenwich Village, Season 2 expands this world, taking us literally much further than NYC, including a jaunt to Paris and mountainside resorts! Midge/Mrs Maisel now has had a number of gigs for her standup comedy, but her budding career is complicated by the fact that her parents are still in the dark...and have bustled the family off to their annual summer vacation in the Catskills, which offers us even more delicious sets and settings! The storyline this season included Midge being demoted from sales floor to the switchboard at the toney B. Altman’s department store...more fascinating sets of the time...and the darker backstories of her friend/now booking manager, the sardonic Susie, and the wealthy comedian who wants to steal her. Then there’s the hugely successful telethon...all must sees...still dazzling in sets and lavish style! --Catskills salon. Photo by Mark Pollard ©2018 Prime.

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A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS “Penultimate Peril: Part 1” Netflix Bo Welch, Production Designer Don MacAulay, Art Director Kate Marshall SDSA, Set Decorator For three magical seasons, the extraordinary Baudelaire orphans have faced trials, tribulations and the evil Count Olaf in their fateful quest to unlock long-held family secrets and keep Olaf from stealing their inheritance. The delightfully dark comedic/tragic tale is narrated by the omniscient Lemony Snicket, who eventually writes a series of books based on the adventures of the Baudelaire siblings and the challenges they face as they investigate their parents’ mysterious death, all the while trying to foil the devious Olaf. Throughout the series, they are sent to live with various unusual relatives...each with a unique environment...they encounter a strange lumber mill, the unpleasant Prufrock Preparatory School, the appropriately named “Vile Village”, a hospital’s Library of Records which Olaf burns down, the dangerous Mount Fraught, abandoned laboratories of Anwhistle Aquatics which leads us to Olaf’s submarine and Briny Beach...and oh so much more, oh my! In this episode of the final season, they head to the The Last Safe Place—The Hotel Denouement as spies disguised as bellhops...and Lemony Snicket meets the Baudelaires for the first time! From the very beginning, Count Olaf tells us to “Stop. Look away...” Thankfully no one has taken heed, and we’ve been intrigued, enticed and drawn in by the look of the series, episode by unique episode, set by set... --Malina Weissman, Louis Hynes. Photo by Eike Schroter ©2019 FX Netflix

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OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A NARRATIVE PROGRAM (Half-Hour) VEEP "Veep" HBO Jim Gloster, Production Designer Andrew Leitch, Art Director Kimberly Wannop SDSA, David Smith SDSA, Set Decorators After a year’s hiatus, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and her VEEP teams returned, obviously determined to make this final season the most outstanding of the series, which pundits and audiences agree, they succeeded beyond everyone’s already high expectations. The compelling shot of Selina having finally made it to the Oval Office & behind the desk...the implicit simplicity of this set, the emptiness, the shallowness of staged perfection, the void...reveals the truth of Selina Meyer, but belies the multifaceted other sets of the season, from masterful chic hotels to myriad new offices and campaign headquarters, to the complex political convention and the stunning presidential library, as only Selina’s could be. Niche after niche of mannequins in her various stunning outfits...her wardrobe is on display as the hallmark of her presidency. For her funeral with the flag-draped coffin center stage, some mannequins have been turned so as to have their backs dramatically to camera, as Selina did to absolutely everyone who knew her. The focus is now on the coffin and the legacy quote inscribed on the alabaster wall behind: “Someone needs to do something about this.” And then there’s the final befitting stumble and awkwardness of trying to fit her coffin into the vagina-shaped crypt as her funeral is overshadowed by bigger breaking news... --Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Image ©2018 HBO. All rights reserved.

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WILL & GRACE "Jack’s Big Gay Wedding" NBC Glenda Rovello, Production Designer Conny Marinos, Art Director Peter Gurski SDSA, Set Decorator After resetting and updating our images of the iconic series when it came to life again last season, particularly Will’s apartment and Grace’s office, why not go all out with the incomparable Jack getting married?!! The extraordinarily chic apartment became unrecognizable in the aftermath of the “Bachelorette” party – no one could possibly match the insane pink palette and the debris, including a propane tank and hibachi on the gorgeous wood floor, next to priceless carpets and furnishings! Picture Jack in his dream wedding in Spain...and, of course, the flight was last-minute canceled! The same design and décor team who has consistently set the bar on high-end style suddenly were tasked with creating a wing of JFK airport, complete with official NYC souvenir shop and...wait for it...an incredibly tasteful airport bar. Who knew there was such a thing? Check out those barstools and then imagine the whole scene suddenly evolving into a flash mob dance party. Happily, Will and McCoy made the commitment as well, so we’re sure to see more fabulous, sophisticated and witty style to come! --Debra Messing, Eric McCormack. Photo ©2019 NBC Universal

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OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A VARIETY, REALITY OR COMPETITION SERIES THE VOICE "Live Cross Battles Part 1" NBC Anton Goss, Production Designer James Pearse Connelly SDSA Associate, Production Designer Zeya Maurer, Art Director Lydia Smyth, Art Director Emily Audible, Set Decorator There are many reasons why JPC and his team get nominated every year for their creative, stylized sets for this reality competition series that includes high concept designed signature rooms for each of the judges in which they work with their chosen mentorees...including that the sets have dynamic visual style and are always fun! With such intense work towards an even more intense competition, the sets offer an uplifting respite. Teamwork is key throughout this series, as well as stretching one’s talent and artistry...and it starts with the audience’s first glimpse of the set... --Photo ©2019 NBC Universal. All rights reserved.

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OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION DESIGN FOR A VARIETY SPECIAL Live In Front Of A Studio Audience: Norman Lear’s ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE JEFFERSONS Sony Pictures Television Bernard Vyzga, Production Designer Richard Rohrer, Art Director Ron Olsen SDSA, Set Decorator Norman Lear seemed to have a lock on television in the early 1970s—he and his teams pioneered the progressive sitcom, giving voice to characters rich in the everyman perspective, both conservative and liberal, black and white, in the now iconic ALL IN THE FAMILY and THE JEFFERSONS. TV host Jimmy Kimmel thought we should revisit the shows, and brought on the design & décor team that had recently brought to life the new version of Lear’s ONE DAY AT A TIME. The shorthand was there, but the challenge anew...re-creating actual episodes from the original series...and perform them LIVE in front of a studio audience, just as had been done decades before. The re-creation of the sets was phenomenal...audiences across America re-connected with the Bunkers and the Jeffersons the moment the lights hit the stage and the concurrent sets. The standout piece, was of course, Archie Bunker’s chair. Thankfully, Set Decorator Ron Olsen SDSA, known for great stylized and sophisticated sets, ironically had prior experience with a funky chair that almost becomes a sitcom character itself, with the series FRASIER! Add in meticulous research, complete with Mr. Lear coming to set...and thus...the Astoria, New York neighborhood of the ‘70s comes alive onstage in 2019... --Photo ©2019 Sony Pictures Televison. All rights reserved.

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RENT FOX Jason Sherwood, Production Designer Adam Rowe, Art Director John Sparano SDSA, Set Decorator The re-visualization of the hit Broadway musical RENT became an expansive television experience, complete with a 360-degree, nearly 27,000 square foot multiple-level stage in which the team created an immersive microcosm of Manhattan’s East Village at the height of the AIDS epidemic. Shot live with 16 cameras...a great part of it literally live during a dress rehearsal [unexpectedly!], with the finale live the day of the presentation...both the in-house audience and the television viewer slipped into 1990s NYC and the personal lives of young artists trying to find themselves and simply, but vividly, survive in the dual specter of abject poverty and the looming crisis which affected many of them directly. The action traveled continuously through the various playing spaces, moving through bustling streets, parks, squatter’s apartments, a church basement, a performance art space and the requisite and vibrant The Life Café/ La Vie Bohème café...an homage to the opera on which it is based. There is an on-camera snowfall and a 35-ft Christmas tree constructed from plastic containers, bottles and bike wheels. Set details for the apartment for which two main characters can’t pay rent include posters and movie-making equipment that define their passions, while graffiti, murals and art installations give insight into this community of artistic and often desperate souls who somehow seem to find ways of connecting...the scaffolding, glass walls and ramps giving both metaphoric visuals and practical sources for movement and expression. --Photo ©2019 FOX. All rights reserved.

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Emmy winner John Sparano SDSA!