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Purchase College To Honor Lake Peekskill Theater Legend Joseph B. Forbes

Joseph B. Forbes
Joseph B. Forbes Photo Credit: Contributed

PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Purchase College, State University of New York’s Broadway Technical Theatre History Project, will present the Sixth Annual Broadway technical “Backstage Legends and Masters Award” to esteemed theater legend and Lake Peekskill resident, Joseph B. Forbes on Monday, April 24,  at the Performing Arts Center on the college’s campus.

Forbes joins previous Backstage Legends and Masters honorees Artie Siccardi (2012), Arnold Abramson (2013), Fred Gallo (2014), Gene O’Donovan (2015), and Pete Feller, Sr. (2016).

As the founder of Scenic Art Studios in 1990, Forbes has been one of the most prolific and influential artists of any time, according a release from Purchase College.

His work is represented in the vast majority of Broadway productions mounted each year. Some of his recent productions include "Waitress," "Beautiful," "Paramore," "In Transit," "The Humans," and "Shuffle Along."

Forbes' anticipated upcoming productions include "Hello Dolly" and "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

“To say that Joseph Forbes is one of the all-time greats is an understatement,” said Dan Hanessian, associate professor at Purchase, who launched the Broadway Technical Theatre History Project in 2011. “Not only is he a master of scenic painting, he is a teacher—dedicated to inspiring and influencing the next generation. We are honored to have Joseph Forbes as a faculty member in our Design/Technology Program, where he shares his superb knowledge and teaches scene painting and rendering.”

Hanessian trains up-and-coming technical directors and production managers in the Design/Technology Program of the Conservatory of Theatre Arts at Purchase.

Forbes studied scene design at the University of North Carolina Greensboro where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts  in scene design.

Upon moving to New York, he attended Lester Polakov's Studio and Forum of Stage Design. He has had a long career as a professional scenic artist working in New York on projects ranging from theatre, ballet, film and television, to theme parks, restaurant interiors and permanent displays.

Forbes started at Nolan's Scenery Studio in 1979 and painted on many of the iconic productions of that era, including "Annie," "Cats," "A Chorus Line," "Evita," and "42nd Street."

His credits in film include "Ghostbusters," "Crocodile Dundee," "The Money Pit," among others. In 1994, Forbes founded Scenic Art Studios, which has become the premier scene painting studio for Broadway shows.

The company has painted  more than 300 Broadway productions, including such shows as "The Producers," "Hairspray," "Spamalot," "Jersey Boys," "Spider-Man," and "Book of Mormon."

Backstage Legends and Masters, founded by Dan Hanessian, is an annual public presentation spotlighting individuals who have been central to the realization of Broadway productions for many years, but are not typically provided recognition through the Tony or Drama Desk awards, the release said.

The free event will begin at 7 p.m. It will be webcast live and archived for future viewing.

For more information, contact Dan Hanessian at or (914) 251-6854.

Purchase College is at 735 Anderson Hill Road, Purchase.

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