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BEST SCENIC DESIGN 

American Buffalo

Critics' Choice

Techies tend to get overshadowed in theater coverage, but scenic design can make or break a production. We're happy to shine a spotlight on Donald Eastman's dynamic and hyper-detailed set for the Kansas City Rep's powerful American Buffalo revival. Eastman's junk-shop set was visually stunning: high shelves and display cases crammed with coins, glassware and broken appliances. But its depth and sharp angles and platforms also kept the blocking interesting and provided the actors and the director with multiple playing areas. Historical accuracy? Eastman had that nailed, too. From the furniture to the shop's neon signage, everything felt period-appropriate. Even the scenic painting was meticulous and metaphorically rich. Act 2's lighting revealed an iridescence to the sets' shabby browns and grays, evoking the play's central image: a tarnished buffalo nickel.

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