David Gallo Biography

David Gallo is an award-winning scenic designer and visual storyteller whose work has appeared in dozens of cities around the world. He has designed over 30 Broadway plays and musicals and is the recipient of the esteemed Tony Award and two Emmy Awards. He also designs media, video, and projections and directs and visually writes shows.

David delivers a unique and mind-blowing visual experience to each project, including innovative and original work for theater, television, concerts, and special events. For the children’s television show Sesame Street, he created the first new set in over four decades, providing a realistic geography, giving the characters a sense of “home,” and modernizing the iconic neighborhood while retaining its lovable familiarity. His work on Season 46, his first as the show’s production designer, was recognized with a Daytime Emmy for Outstanding Art Direction/Set Decoration/Scenic Design. He won again the following year, 2018 and was nominated a third time in 2019.

Broadway credits include First Date, Stick Fly, The Mountaintop, Memphis, Reasons to be Pretty, A Catered Affair, Xanadu, Company, The Drowsy Chaperone (winner: Tony award for best scenic design), and Thoroughly Modern Millie. David has collaborated with notable stage directors and also teamed with a bevy of directors on their first foray into theater including AI Pacino (Hughie), Jerry Seinfeld (Colin Quinn: Long Story Short), and Jerry Lewis (The Nutty Professor). Seinfeld also had David design his 2020 Netflix special, Jerry Seinfeld: 23 Hours to Kill.

As creative director for eight of Phish’s New Year’s Eve epic rock and roll arena concert extravaganzas, he provided a complete vision for every aspect of the experience from concept and creative development to design, choreography, and execution. His work with Blue Man Group has been seen by millions in New York, Boston, Chicago, and Las Vegas, and the Illusionarium he created for Norwegian Cruise Line was a pioneer in immersive entertainment venues. He wrote, directed, and designed Bindlestiff Family Cirkus: Brooklyn Abridged and the short film [fat] life.

Dream Works, Nickelodeon, PBS, Scholastic, and S2BN turn to David to adapt their animated features for the stage by creating living universes for their classic animated characters. Madagascar Live, Yo Gabba Gabba Live, Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues Live, Clifford the Big Red Dog, SpongeBob Squarepants, and Super Why Live all transitioned seamlessly before national and international audiences via David’s vision and expertise.

As a core member of celebrated playwright August Wilson’s creative team from 1996 until Mr. Wilson’s death, David designed the premiere productions of Wilson’s later works including King Hedley II, Jitney, Gem of the Ocean, and Radio Golf, the latter three of which each garnered him Tony Award nominations for Best Scenic Design. David designed the Kennedy Center’s historic tribute production of August Wilson’s Twentieth Century, a “cycle of ten plays chronicling 100 years of the African American experience, featuring more than 30 stars of the stage and screen.” David continues to advocate and support Mr. Wilson’s work with his fellow “Wilsonian soldiers,” as designer for Wilson’s autobiographical play How I Learned What I Learned, as judge for the August Wilson Monologue Competitions, and as designer of the permanent exhibition at Pittsburgh’s August Wilson African American Cultural Center.

David’s designs span the globe. International producers include Disney and Joop van den Ende’s Stage Entertainment throughout Europe and South America, Atlantis Productions in Manila, Seol & Co in South Korea, and Broadway Asia.

David has been the performing arts/design contributing editor at Stated magazine; on the advisory board of LIVE DESIGN magazine, for whom he served as creative consultant for its scenic design master classes; and on faculty at the Manhattan School of Music. In addition to his Tony and Emmy awards, he is the recipient of the Art Directors Guild, Obie for Sustained Excellence in Set Design, NAACP, Drama Desk, Lucille Lortel, American Theater Wing, Hewes Design, Ovation, LA Critics Circle, and numerous other awards. David represented innovative contemporary American set design in the Cooper-Hewitt inaugural National Design Triennial. His paintings for the 1997 Broadway revival of A View from the Bridge are in the Smithsonian Institution archives, the payphone he designed and painted for Jitney has been displayed in the August Wilson section of the National Museum of African American History & Culture, and the hot dog he flew around Madison Square Garden with Phish in it is in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Most importantly, David is the proud and loving father of two daughters, August and Citizen, who inspire everything he does.