Best Stage Scenery

Arena Stage
1101 6th St. SW, (202) 554-9066
Whenever I walked into one of Arena Stage’s theaters over the past year, I was always been struck by the sets, many of which I’d like to live in for a day (or forever). This was particularly true of Daniel Zimmerman’s understated and cozy design for Joan Didion’s apartment in The Year of Magical Thinking, which wasn’t much more than a couch, a rug, a bookcase, and a window. But its intimacy set the scene for the very personal one-woman show. Another high point was The Little Foxes, where the most important scenes took place either on set designer Mikiko Suzuki MacAdams’s grand staircase or on the lavish living room couch. And although I wouldn’t want to live on Todd Rosenthal’s design for Carousel or Courtney O’Neill’s for Moby Dick, they were both so creatively rendered, with the hardwood floor spinning like a merry-go-round and Captain Ahab and Ishmael swinging from the rafters, that they became an indispensable part of the storytelling.