Bonacci ’20 Reimagines the Art of Theater During Social Quarantine

By Caitlin Burns | May 21, 2020
Illustration from Hadestown showing Persiphone

By Caitlin Joyce ’20

While theater productions around the country have halted due to the COVID-19 outbreak, B.F.A. in Drawing and Painting graduate Laura Bonacci ’20 has kept the spirit of performance going through live sketches, illustrations, and motion graphics to capture the essence of dance and movement onstage. Her work was even recently featured by Playbill.

Despite having to leave her university studio space mid-semester following the shutdown of the physical campus, the artistic pieces she has produced through this time of social quarantine is launching her Broadway illustration career. In her animated works, she captures the motions and facial expressions of actor Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen, and traces the jubilant dancing of actress Liza Minnelli in Cabaret. Her colorful illustrations include scenes from a wide array of musicals, including Waitress, Hadestown, Anastasia, Falsettos, Oklahoma!, Beetlejuice, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, and Sunday in the Park with George.

“As an artist who thrives on collaborating with live performers, I was scared and frustrated with how isolation would fundamentally change my work. This has been a time of incredible growth and it has taught me a myriad of valuable lessons about staying positive, adapting, and making new connections in unexpected circumstances!”

Laura Bonacci ’20

For her senior capstone project, Bonacci created a series of blind contour drawings which represented the body movements of performers, using Broadway actors and fellow university students as her inspiration. Following graduation, Bonacci hopes to use her creative ability for nonprofit organizations.