Ohio State nav bar

Mary Tarantino

Mary Tarantino

Mary Tarantino

Professor Emeritus


Areas of Expertise

  • Lighting Design and Technology
  • Theatre Collections Research


  • MFA University of Massachusetts
  • BA Marquette University

Mary Tarantino was Resident Lighting Designer and Professor of Theatre at The Ohio State University as well as Director of the Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee Theatre Research Institute until her retirement in 2019. Professional lighting design credits include CAPA (the Shubert and Southern Theatres), the Virginia Arts Festival and Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra, Hartford Stage Youth Theatre, The Children's Theatre of Massachusetts, Karamu House of Cleveland, Players Theatre Columbus, Contemporary American Theatre Company (CATCO) and others. Selected productions designed at Ohio State from 1991 include The TrialAngels in America (Peristroika and Millenium Approaches), Dangerous Corner, A Song for Coretta, Romeo and Juliet, MacbethThe House of the Spirits, One Man Two Guvnors, Dog Act, and Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Collaborations with the School of Music include: A Little Night Music, Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni, Peer Gynt, and Candide. World premieres and devised works for the Department: Interior Day (1997), Pangea (2008) and The Camouflage Project (2011) which toured to Maryland in 2012. Selected publications include “The Angels of History: Memorializing the Women of the Special Operations Executive,” (with Lesley Ferris) for Working Memory: Women and Work in World War II,  "Beyond the Produced Design: Teaching Lighting Design Through Archival Research" in Documenting: Lighting Design (Performing Arts Resources), "Uncovering Gems: Theatrical Design Collections at the Wisconsin Historical Society" (Theatre Survey), and a biographical essay of Gilbert Hemsley in “Late & Great: American Designers 1960-2010.” Tarantino has presented at conferences including USITT, SIGGRAPH, Show Light, IFTR, and at the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study (Wassenaar). In 1995 Tarantino received a Battelle Engineering, Technology and Human Affairs (BETHA) Endowment Grant establish a Moving Lights Laboratory in the Department of Theatre. In 2011 she received a second BETHA grant for “Re-visioning Light in our Lives: Holistic and Sustainable Approach.”