Design Process

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The Pirates of Penzance was one of three shows in rotating rep for a summer festival season. We used the updated 1981 Joseph Papp Broadway version with a revised script and score. This choice freed us to be bigger, brighter, zanier, and unbound to traditional production practice in the staging and production design.

This production came off as fresh, spontaneous, artful and musically exact. Whereas the updated style liberated the visuals to be more stylized, the performers still clearly articulated every tongue-twisting lyric, hit every mark, and capitalized on the inherent satire and clever situational humor.

I used the colorful and decorative 1930’s French artist Raoul Dufy as my chief visual inspiration.


"His scenic designs for the Utah Shakespearean Festival.. captured the aesthetic essence and physical presence required by the text, the director’s point of view, and the collaborative efforts of his colleagues. I have rarely, if ever, seen a record of such consistent ‘aesthetic success’ combined with the virtues of meeting deadlines and staying within budget. I am truly impressed that Umfrid can invariably achieve these ends without responding to formulaic solutions. Rather, he continues to manipulate his aesthetic contribution until it meets all the criteria described above without sacrificing its uniqueness or appropriateness. This (is the) model of a solid working professional…" — Cameron Harvey, Producing Artistic Director, Utah Shakespearean Festival

"Tom possesses the unique qualities which are so important in the theatre. He is an artist first and foremost but one who can draw on a wealth of knowledge in the decorative arts and has the technical know-how to ensure that his designs are both beautiful and practicable…Unlike many other designers, Tom is not afraid to pull back when appropriate and let the actors fill a space almost devoid of scenery..." — Linda Essig, Lighting Designer

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By: Gilbert & Sullivan
Director: Russell Treyz
Venue: Utah Shakespearean Festival
Scenic Designer: Thomas C. Umfrid
Lighting Designer: Linda Essig
Costume Designer: Bill Black
Hair & Makeup Designer:  Ruth Carsch
Technical Director:  Philip C. Haslam
Prop Master: Alex Hilgenkamp
Assistant Designer:  Casey Smith
Stage Manager:  Terence Alexander
Photographer: Karl Hugh