G.W. “Skip” Mercier, a prolific set, costume and puppet designer whose scenic work for Julie Taymor’s Broadway production of Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass earned a Tony Award nomination in 1997, died March 11 of pancreatic cancer at his home in Rowayton, Connecticut. He was 66.
Noted for his many designs on Broadway, Off Broadway and in regional theater, Mercier was a frequent collaborator of director Tina Landau, including acclaimed Off Broadway productions of Old Hats starring Bill Irwin and David Shiner, the musical Dream True and Tarell McCraney’s Head of Passes.
Among his designs for nearly 400 shows were the popular children’s productions Rugrats: A Live Adventure, which toured on three continents, and Finding Nemo – The Musical, which has run five times a day at Walt Disney World since opening in 2007.
Born in Methuen, Massachusetts, Mercier graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and earned an MFA from the Yale School of Drama, where he was named an Oenslager Scholar.
His first New York production came in 1985 with Lanford Wilson’s Lemon Sky starring Jeff Daniels and Cynthia Nixon. His collaboration with Julie Taymor on 1996’s Juan Darién at Lincoln Center’s Vivian Beaumont Theater brought a Tony nomination for the scenery and two Drama Desk nominations for scenery and costumes.
As a Resident Designer for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, he collaborated on such works as August Wilson’s Fences. He taught throughout his career, including positions with the O’Neill and at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Mercier’s TV and film credits include production designs for the Nickelodeon series Eureeka’s Castle, the 1998 feature film Southie starring Donnie Wahlberg and Rose McGowan, and Fool’s Fire for PBS’s American Playhouse.
He is survived by his husband Robert Frazier, daughter Molly, son Wil, brother Michael, and grandson Jack Mercier Webb. The family requests donations be made to the Actors Fund.
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