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Shining Bright on the Biggest Stages

Shining Bright on the Biggest Stages
Thanks to a well-earned reputation, Dennis Size ’76, a renowned lightning designer, works with televisions stars and musicians such as Dick Clark (pictured), Oprah and Lady Gaga.
While millions across the globe watched the pomp and circumstance surrounding this spring’s Royal Wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton in London, Dennis Size ’76, too, was overcome with emotion.

It was hay fever season in England, and a relentless sneeze and cough were making his 18-hour workdays even more fatiguing.

As vice president of design for the Lighting Design Group (LDG), the United States’ largest broadcast lighting design company, Size was in Great Britain with Steve Brill, president of LDG, overseeing a crew of 30 and setting up more than 20 television studios throughout London.

Barbara Walters, Diane Sawyer and Robin Roberts were among the onscreen personalities Size and his team lit. Essentially, if a television program appeared on ABC or Comcast’s bevy of networks, the LDG handled its wedding coverage.

“Unfortunately, working the wedding wasn’t as romantic as it sounded,” Size laughs. “It was a mammoth undertaking, right when London was going through one of the biggest heat waves in its history.”

But as they say in the theater, the show must go on.

For Size, his three-week commitment to the Royal Wedding was just one of a series of notable productions he’s tackled this year. Thanks to a well-earned reputation – he’s a three-time recipient of the Emmy Award for Outstanding Lighting Design – Size and his staff had a jam-packed summer lighting events such as the Ames Iowa Straw Poll, Good Morning America’s Summer Concert Series in Central Park, ABC’s new daytime show The CHEW, and the Republican Presidential Debate in Orlando, Fla.

In addition to lighting most of London this spring, Size illuminated superstars Beyonce and Lady Gaga and presidential hopefuls Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul.

Having worked on hundreds of television productions throughout his career, including Oprah and Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve, Size wouldn’t have it any other way.

“As I’m fond of telling people, you can’t turn on your television at any time of the day or night and not see a show that we do,” he says. “Plus, I love what I do, and I don’t want to get bored staying too long in the same place.”

Since his break into television production more than three decades ago as a vacation replacement on the daytime drama Ryan’s Hope, Size has always enjoyed the challenge of “setting up the picture of the stage.”

“Dennis never ceases to amaze me with his boundless energy and enthusiasm for whatever he is working on,” says Rich Larsen, professor of English and theatre at Scranton.

Larsen recalls that when Size returned to campus to work on a University production years ago, the students took to him immediately. “Dennis really impressed them with his wit, talent and accessibility,” Larsen recalls. 

The bright lights of the entertainment industry are a far cry from what Size set out to do upon enrolling at Scranton. Initially a pre-med student, Size soon realized it was theater production in his future, not medicine.

“It wasn’t until years later that I understood if it wasn’t for Scranton, I wouldn’t have realized what I really wanted to do,” he explains. “My courses at Scranton didn’t prepare me for what I do today, but what the University did offer me was a lot of experience – and a lot of life lessons.”

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