MIKE RIGGS (Lighting Designer)
Mike is a New York based artist committed to the creation of original and innovative theater. He is a founding member of the off-Broadway company One Year Lease, designing all of the company’s twenty-plus productions including Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally (on its way to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this summer), Stockholm, pool (no water), Skin Tight, The Killing Room, The Bald Soprano, and Machinal. Other New York credits include Pylade, Blood Play (Henry Hewes Design Award nomination), Buddy Cop 2, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot, Cape Disappointment, The Eaten Heart, Hostage Song, Red-Haired Thomas, and 6969 (NY Innovative Theater Award nomination).
Mike had the distinct honor of designing the final four endeavors of the legendary opera conductor Anton Coppola before his retirement as the world’s oldest working conductor at age 95: Aida, a double bill of Cavalleria Rusticana and I Pagliacci, La traviata, and the Maestro’s own adaptation of The Merry Widow. Other opera credits include various productions with the opera companies of El Paso, Naples, Omaha, Syracuse, Shreveport, Sarasota, and Tampa.
Mike regularly designs new dance works by noted contemporary choreographers including Chitresh Das, Chris Elam, Jonathan Hollander, Liz Lerman, Cassie Meador, Tony Morales, Brenda Way, and Matthew Westerby. He has served as Lighting Supervisor for MOMIX, Parsons Dance Company, and the Flying Karamazov Brothers; touring four continents and most of the United States. He is the lighting designer of Next Generation Ballet’s celebrated annual production of The Nutcracker; and of Dance Exchange’s How To Lose A Mountain, which won the DC Dance Best Overall Production award for its premiere at Dance Place in Washington. Along with composer Nathan Leigh, Mike developed the “light score” approach to dance lighting, which involves using sensors mounted to musical instruments and/or commands built into a recorded score to trigger lighting events with extreme accuracy.
Mike has designed lighting for special appearances by Plàcido Domingo, Raul Esparza, Denyce Graves, Patti LaBelle, k.d. lang, Liza Minnelli, Brian Stokes Mitchell, Barack Obama, Bernadette Peters, Chita Rivera, James Taylor, Ben Vereen and Frederica von Stade, to name just a few. Standout special events include Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg’s The Art of Film Music with John Williams conducting the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as the Kennedy Center’s historic 2009 birthday salute to Senator Edward M. Kennedy (also with Maestro Williams). He is the associate lighting designer of the current Broadway production of She Loves Me and of the current national tour of Annie.
A graduate of Vassar College, Mike designed Vassar Voices, a theatrical and musical event featuring Meryl Streep, Frances Sternhagen, and Lisa Kudrow, among other notable alumnae/i, which debuted at Lincoln Center’s Rose Theatre and played in cities worldwide during the College's 2011 sesquicentennial.