Oliver Smith Menu
Oliver Smith, set designer. Set design for Rodeo, choreographed by Agnes de Mille for Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, 1942. (Oliver Smith Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress.) Works of Oliver Smith are © Rosaria Sinisi. All Rights Reserved.
Oliver Smith (1918-1994) was acclaimed as a designer of musical comedy, ballet, opera and film, and served as co-director of American Ballet Theatre (ABT, formerly Ballet Theatre) from 1945 through 1980, and from 1990 to 1992. His visual style distilled essences to give an immediate sense of place, frequently American, while opening up uncluttered floor space for dancing. Smith was a major contributor to establishing the eclectic nature of ABT's repertory. He first departed from watercolor painting to stage design in his work for Leonide Massine's Saratoga (1941) for the Ballet Russe de Monte Carlo, and gained a major success with his set for Agnes de Mille's Rodeo in the following year. Among Smith's many dance designs are Fall River Legend, Fancy Free, Interplay, Les Noces, Giselle, Swan Lake, The Wild Boy and The Catherine Wheel. The winner of eight Tony Awards, Smith accumulated credits for such Broadway blockbusters as On the Town, My Fair Lady, West Side Story, Camelot, and Hello, Dolly!. His designs for more than 200 productions include the films Guys and Dolls, The Band Wagon, Oklahoma!, and Porgy and Bess.