Wittop was Dutch born and worked in all the grand music halls of Paris between the two great wars; like many of the designers of the period, he moved to the USA with the outbreak of WWII. After a stint in the U.S. army he led a Spanish dance troupe that toured North America but returned to his first career as a designer in the 1960s. His iconic red dress and spray of feathers first worn by Carol Channing when Dolly was welcomed back where she belonged won him a Tony.
Anyone who designed for the Folies found that the restrictions of the stage on Rue Richer - it is only 36 feet deep - meant novel solutions had to be found to produce grand spectacle. Like Marco Montedoro in his Restaurant italian that I featured in a posting last year, Wittop used only a small portion of the stage to present his Grande menu.
The chairs, candelabra and most of the table are a painted backdrop with perhaps a 12 foot wide platform as the front of the table. Fortunately the Folies also had a promenade around the orchestra pit so the action could be moved out - to the delight of the gentlemen in the audience.
The glorious frivolity of it all - and the incredible imagination.
22gennaio - San Vincenzo e Sant'Anastasio