Archives: Press

The lighting design was masterful – and what else can you expect from a show about electricity? A bank of lights on the ceiling was almost another character in the show and were used with precision.

It’s hard to put into words, the way the choreography, spectacular lighting and contagious musical score and vocal arrangements blend in near perfection with the script, but one thing is certain, this is show not to be missed.

Kathleen Phalen-Tomaselli
Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat

The production in general — the set and lighting and sound design — were all top notch.

Andrew Alexander and Jim Farmer
The Temple Bombing

The lighting design by Jake DeGroot has shadows, shades and backdropped tones that soar.

Marcia Caller Jaffe
The Temple Bombing

As always, the Alliance assembles a top-notch design team. Meredith Ries’ sets, Sydney Roberts’ costumes, Jake DeGroot’s lighting, Kendall Simpson’s sound design and original music, and David Bengali’s projections evoke a time of segregated bathrooms, screaming headlines and epochal change. A visual knockout.

Wendell Brock
The Temple Bombing

Greatly assisting the visuals is Jake DeGroot’s versatile lighting, supposedly being controlled by an unseen intern named Ruvi. (He too has a program bio, which notes that after applying for several internships he was assigned this show “due to clerical error.”)

Samuel L. Leiter
Oh, Hello on Broadway

In mistily illuminated memory bites (the lighting is by Jake DeGroot), inspired by Billy Crystal’s “700 Sundays,” Gil and George take us through the decades of their existence there, mayor by mayor, from the 1970s onward.

There’s also some confusion about the lighting credit. Gil and George keep shouting to their unpaid intern Ruvi about the lights but Jake DeGroot is listed in the program. Whoever it is does a fine job. These stars want, and you better believe they get, their spotlights.

Michael Bracken
Oh, Hello on Broadway

Lighting by Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot accentuates the mood and atmosphere in the Crossroads auditorium. Yellow-orange lights are seen at all angles simulating active gunfire. Meanwhile, the general scene begins to look dark and smoky. Everything on stage is in plain view, but it seems engulfed, to great and moving effect, in the murky fog and clashing color of war.

Neal Zoren

Lighting by Jake DeGroot is crucial to an ongoing spat the pair conducts with their off-stage tech-intern, Ruvi Nandan

Above our heads, rough wood support beams, diagonal cabin walls, a taxidermy deer head and an enormous wild turkey hang beside mason jars holding candles. (Jake DeGroot Jeff Croiter, who later give us an unorthodox starry sky.)

Chandeliers and taxidermy compete for space on Jake DeGroot and Jeff Croiter’s maxed-out lighting plot, which creates a surprising number of looks for the limited playing space. In a particularly nice touch, flickering candles in jars hang from the rafters like a country version of the chandeliers at the Metropolitan Opera.

Zachary Stewart
The Robber Bridegroom

The real magic occurs, however, in the lighting, with co-designers Jake DeGroot and Jeff Croiter supplying twinkling stars and flickering lanterns in moonshine jars.

For “The Robber Bridegroom” (a Roundabout Theater Company production), [Timbers] has brought in a designer from both productions, Donyale Werle, who has transformed the Laura Pels… Stuffed fowl and animal heads on the walls and ceiling observe the action, which is illuminated by what look like candles in Mason jars. (Jake DeGroot designed the crucial lighting.)

The Pels has been decked out by Bloody Bloody designer Donyale Werle win a woodsy fantasia that sets the whimsical mood without shoving it down our throats; credit also the drenching light palette from designers Jake DeGroot and Jeff Crofter, and Emily Rebholz’s enchanting clothes.

Jeremy Gerard
The Robber Bridegroom

Oh, Hello, Live! has been given a charming full-dress production on which the nimble director Alex Timbers (“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”) served as creative consultant, with a “Sesame Street”-style set by Connor W. Munion and crucial witty lighting by Jake DeGroot.

One member of the production team must be credited with superb work which helps facilitate the evening. Jake DeGroot’s lighting design always focuses attention on the action, while at times creating the needed moods with the sudden revelation of blue, green or red lights.

Victor Gluck

The director Liz Carlson, the set designer Jason Sherwood and the lighting designer Jake DeGroot have converted the Melville Gallery into various ports and boats and taverns with the aid of ropes and nets and lanterns set with flickering bulbs…It’s all wildly atmospheric.


All the designers deserve attention for the simple but versatile scenic design (Beowulf Boritt), lighting (Rui Rita, Jake DeGroot), and sound design and composition (John Gromada). Fly is as near to an immersive experience as I’ve seen on stage.

Andrea Braun

Mostly, the magic is created not by the story itself, but by the way it is told. It is a beautiful piece of art, weaving an innovative, interactive set (created by Beowulf Boritt) and lights (co-designed by Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot) with actors who soar through the air without ever leaving their Eames navy chairs.

Donna Parrone

Scenic designer Beowulf Boritt, projection designer Clint Allen, and co-lighting designers Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot have taken us to a window on the world we’ve never been, and it’s a stunning achievement.

Lynn Venhaus
Belleville News-Democrat Logo

The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis is presenting a modern masterpiece with their soaring production of Fly … and the technical achievements are spectacular. I’m probably going to run out of superlatives before I finish this review, so bear with me as I gush on about one of the most amazing examples of “action” theatre that I’ve had the privilege to witness.

Chris Gibson

Strictly from a visual standpoint, “Fly” might be the most exciting piece that the Repertory Theatre of St. Louis has ever mounted on the Browning Mainstage…[and] much of the credit for this production’s emotional grip and beauty belongs to director Khan and his gifted team.

Judith Newmark

Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot add dramatic splashes of lighting, that enhance forays into battle, with the key underpinning of John Gromada’s dramatic sound design and original compositions. Toni-Leslie James dresses the men in the outfits of World War II fighter pilots.

Mark Bretz

The lighting is moody and atmospheric, and complemented by video projections that powerfully recreate the feeling of flight, particularly during maneuvers such as rolling, diving, or attacking enemy planes.

Tina Farmer

John Gromada’s sound design and Rui Rita and Jake DeGroot’s lighting are impressive, and costuming by Toni-Leslie James is authentic and sharp.

Christopher Reilly

What makes “Fly” standout, in addition to its excellent, passionate cast and historic story, is it’s very ambitious multimedia staging. The use of video and special lighting design are highly effective.

Harry Hamm

Solid production values abound: Steven Kemp’s set is functional yet evokes various venues quite well. Sarita Fellows’ costumes are appropriate to the time; the boys’ uniforms hearken to the Brown Shirts worn by proto-Nazis a couple of decades later. Jake DeGroot’s atmospheric lighting really sets a mood as it directs our eyes to various parts of the stage.

Audience members stomped their feet in approval for almost a solid minute. Now that’s a reaction…Jake DeGroot’s dramatic lighting made the number even more exciting.

Peter Filichia
Spring Awakening