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David Potts


BA 1972, Theatre

David Potts entered Purdue as a civil engineering major, switched to landscape architecture, tried out for a Theatre performance during his sophomore year, and found the field of scenic design. In scenic design, Potts had the opportunity to design the past, present, and future both realistically and abstractly.

Potts’ set design professor while at Purdue, Dusty Reeds, encouraged him to pursue a scenic design career in New York.  After graduating from Purdue, Potts worked as an assistant to Patricia Zipprodt, a renowned New York costume designer. Zipprodt encouraged Potts to study set design under Howard Bay, one of America's most noted set designers, at Brandeis University.

After graduation from Brandeis, Potts returned to New York to begin his career designing scenery for numerous off Broadway and Broadway shows, theatres across the country, and film and television.  At the request of Joe Stockdale, head of the Theatre Program at Purdue (1950-1975) and dean of the School of the Arts, Theatre Arts, and Film at SUNY Purchase (1975-1991), Potts also taught scenic design at SUNY for five years.

Potts received the EMMY Award as Art Director for the HBO series, Deadwood, and a Cable ACE Award nomination in Production Design for 5th of July, a Showtime and PBS Theatre in America production.

Potts is the art director on the HBO television series, John From Cincinnati. He is also working on the set designs for two new theatre productions, the play Under Midwestern Stars, which premiered at the Kansas City Repertory Theatre, and the  musical, Sister Act, which is on Broadway.