Derek Bishop: The Cast Albums

Written by | Entertainment

Fun Home

“I got to design both the off-Broadway and Broadway cast albums for [the 2015 Tony Award winner for Best Musical]. The goal for me was simple: Focus on this family and the darkness that surrounded them while peppering the design with the humor and brightness that sparkles throughout the show.”

La Cage

“I never thought I’d get to design anything as bright and colorful (and gay) as Xanadu. But then along came La Cage and its silhouetted drag queen logo. I wanted to infuse the booklet with as much neon pink as possible. I made sure it not only showed off the show’s flamboyance, but also the heart and beauty of the main characters’ relationships.”

Xanadu on Broadway

“Back in 1980, I was completely mesmerized with Olivia Newton-John and the movie Xanadu. As a nine-year-old boy, I think I saw it 13 times. But I was equally enthralled with the soundtrack’s art direction and packaging. This is the first time I ever truly took note of how interesting and cool album design could be. The album planted the graphic design seed in my head. Twenty-seven years later, I lobbied hard to get the opportunity to design the Broadway cast album. I put everything that I loved about the film’s album into the cast album: I used the same color scheme, I put the ‘muse glow’ around the actors, and I used as many disco balls and rainbows as I could throughout the design. How often as a designer do you get the chance to truly design the gayest thing possible? I loved every minute working on this album. (I think I saw the musical 13 times as well.)”



“I always make sure I see the show before I start the design. In the case of Assassins, I was so blown away by the circus-style stage design, and I wanted to make sure that was referenced throughout the booklet. To me it was equally as important as the characters. I took the big spinning carnival wheel and made it the CD surface art; I featured the massive shoot! win! sign on a spread; and I tinted the entire booklet in warm sepia and red hues. I wanted folks out there who never saw the production to really get a sense of what the show looked like.”

Fiddler on the Roof

“A common problem is to have great photos, great lyrics, but not enough pages. So you have to get extra creative. The way the lyrics of ‘To Life’ lay out on top of the photo feel almost like a painting. It was definitely an epiphany moment.”

Lady Day

“Sometimes I’m inspired by the set design, sometimes by the music. In the case of these three great shows [Lady Day, along with Porgy and Bess and 110 in the Shade, which Bishop also designed] I was inspired by their star: Audra McDonald. These booklets are all so very different, but I was equally moved by Audra’s amazing performances and I just wanted the CD packages to reflect that grandness she brings to each show.”

On the 20th Century

“Sometimes when I’m lucky, a booklet designs itself. On the 20th Century had such vivid colors and beautiful art deco designs, that all I had to do was mirror those a elements to create a CD package that would complement the show and it’s engaging performances.”

Last modified: August 29, 2017