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Anne McMills – Marie and Rosetta


    I believe in producing important stories that reveal well-rounded, informative, and captivating work revolving around the global majority. I have been fortunate enough to work on productions that extend this outlook as a lighting designer.

    Please refer to my website here:

    It is ideal to tell stories of the global majority without focusing on trauma, but instead celebrating all humans as humans with human stories. Casting can be a way to celebrate members of the global majority by normalizing mixed skin tones, races, and ethnicities within a piece. In my website I showcase two productions with open casting approaches: The Last Five Years and Sense and Sensibility. Productions that choose to be mindful about casting promote this value of normalcy.

    Also telling important and forgotten stories is another method of showcasing the global majority, which has been missing in traditional theatre for so long. I was the lighting designer for Marie and Rosetta – a play about two forgotten, black, rock-n-roll icons who largely influenced the emergence of white rock-n-roll. Being able to work on productions like these that celebrate people and cultures that have been largely forgotten creates design as activism. Marie and Rosetta brings awareness to these real, historical icons – Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight – that many have not heard of. Because they are black women, they did not get the same attention as individuals like Elvis and Johnny Cash, whose work they influenced. In fact, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was the first person to stand and sing in front of her band while playing guitar. This is something that has become a staple of the rock-n-roll world, but is typically not recognized as being originated by a black woman. Marie and Rosetta also explores the love affair that these two partners allegedly developed throughout the years. Being able to celebrate a wonderful LGBTQIA+ story in addition to a powerful play about black historical figures cements this play as an important work.

    More work like this needs to continue to be produced. Designing them and bringing attention to them is a form of activism.

    Production Credits

    Cygnet Theatre – San Diego, CA

    Playwright – George Brant

    Director – Rob Lutfy

    Scene Design – Elizabet Puksto
    Costume Design – Chanel A. Mahoney
    Lighting Design – Anne E. McMills
    Sound Design
    – TJ Fucella

    Wig Personnel – Peter Herman
    Props Artisan – Rachel Hengst

    Stage Manager – Matthew Bantock
    Tech Director – Branigan Duguay

    Assistant Lighting Design – Winston G. Limauge

    Actors featured in Photos

    Amaiya Holley
    Noël Simoné Wippler

    Photographer – Karli Cadel Photography
    Photographer – Sean Fanning