It might say “lighting designer” on Peggy Eisenhauer’s resume, but that only begins to illuminate her contributions to the field.
Along with partner Jules Fisher, this two-time Tony winner has dazzled audiences with stunning theatrical lighting for more than 30 Broadway productions, including “Angels in America,” “Victor/Victoria” and “Cabaret,” numerous concerts (Whitney Houston, Neil Young, Metropolitan Opera) and half a dozen films (“Chicago,” “Dreamgirls,” the upcoming “Burlesque”).
As a classically trained pianist who infuses lighting design with impeccable rhythm and timing, Eisenhauer brings a Renaissance woman’s talents to the trade. In painterly terms, she melds color theory with optics and electricity.
Eisenhauer grew up in Nyack, N.Y., with parents who supported her early theatrical aspirations. “They took me to see all kinds of things — Broadway, the circus, puppet shows,” she says. She began volunteering at a community theater, where she encountered her first lighting board and became “dazzled by the work.” By age 15, she had designed her first show.
Screen Gems CEO and “Burlesque” producer Clint Culpepper says he tried to save money by not hiring Fisher and Eisenhauer. “People kept recommending them, but I thought, Why are we going to New York to get lighting people when we’re here in the capital of the film industry?” After doing some research, Culpepper saw the light. “They’re the best,” he says.
“We have 15 big numbers in the film and I was just blown away by what Peggy was able to do,” Culpepper continues. “What scares me is that I almost screwed it up by trying to be too logical.”