LCP BLOG: Magic in the Lobby

LCP patrons have come to expect informative, innovative, beautiful, and thematic lobby designs when they attend a production. Oftentimes, these lobby displays help enhance the themes of the production, serve as a dramaturgical experience for the patron, and serve as a great backdrop for conversations about the plays. We recently sat down with LCP volunteer Cathy Pfeiler, who creates these stunning lobby designs to learn her secrets on how to create a beautiful lobby display.

LCP has a tradition of decorating the lobby to compliment and enhance the production on stage. How did this tradition start?

I have been associated with LCP for eight years but before that I taught at Arrowhead High School. As musical director, I always decorated the foyer for our shows there and Sharon Jahneke, my dear friend, always decorated the lobby of LCP.  When I retired from Arrowhead, we joined forces. I needed another lobby to decorate.  She welcomed me to the projects!

You've designed and decorated many lobby displays that our patrons love. Do you have a favorite?

I love to do the A Christmas Carol lobby because I get to decorate the Christmas tree. I also like to do the lobby for shows that have to do with American history. Shows like Parade, Bonnie & Clyde, Assassins, and of course, 1776, lend themselves perfectly to that theme.


LCP patrons love A Christmas Carol and the beautiful Christmas decorations in the lobby. How long does it take you to transform the lobby into a winter wonderland?

It takes a full week to assemble all the elements, transfer the decorations from my garage to the Playhouse and assemble the display.  I love the time I spend doing this!  I play Christmas music, chat with Ron, our set builder and Cindy, our set artist and greet Heather, our costume mistress.  These are some of the behind-the-scenes people who make the Playhouse run. I particularly enjoy planning the cast display board.  I am proud of all the people who help make these photos memorable, particularly Sharon Jahneke and Jim Baker. And I love seeing our cast when the project is complete!  It makes it all worth the time.


Some of the shows onstage have had difficult subject matter to draw design inspiration from. Is there a show in particular whose lobby decor was particularly challenging to do

When a show is difficult, always try to find a unifying color scheme or a central idea and proceed from there.  I use books frequently in my lobby decorating and they help unify the idea.


What do you hope patrons gain from your lobby designs and decor?

I am the music director, but I realize that the theater experience is a total one.  We create an atmosphere, we bring our patrons into a magical world and we offer them a few hours away from their own lives and into our story. 

The foyer display starts the magic, the welcoming.  It sets the mood.  The time and effort we extend, indicates how much we care about our show.  Itindicates to our patrons that we value our product and are willing to go to great lengths to insure that all elements our of production are excellent.  That includes the music, the costuming, the set design, the acting, the lights and sound, the refreshments, and yes-  the ambience of a warm and welcoming lobby!