Rusty has designed over 140 productions for theatre, opera, ballet and television. Recent work includes The Music Man, University of Michigan Department of Musical Theatre; Singin' in the Rain and Charley's Aunt, Huntington University Theatre Company; ComedySportz, Chicago; Death and the Maiden, Centaur Theatre, Montreal; The Nutcracker, RiverPark Center, Kentucky; River of Time, [world premiere opera] Lexington Opera House; The Rake's Progress, University of Michigan Opera Theatre; Quartet, Hudson Village Theatre, Quebec; and Big Ten television programs: The Danny Hope Show, The Matt Painter Show, and The Sharon Versyp Show. He received Chicago’s Joseph Jefferson Citation for Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design for Noises Off at Pegasus Theatre Chicago. His scenic designs are featured on the covers of two popular texts: James W. and Wanda Rodgers’ Play Directors’ Survival Kit, for which he served as graphic designer and illustrator; and, most recently, J. Michael Gillette’s Theatrical Design and Production, 7th edition [shown at left].
An associate professor of stage design at Purdue University since 1998, he served as department chair his first ten years at Purdue and the prior five years at the University of Kentucky. In 2009 Rusty was an invited lecturer at the Beijing Dance Academy and the Central Academy of Drama in Beijing. He is a thirteen-year member of the selection committee and a past chair of Design and Technology for Region III of the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival [KCACTF]. He was awarded the 2004 national scenic design fellowship for the KCACTF Summer Design Intensives at the Kennedy Center, and was honored in 2014 with the Kennedy Center Gold Medallion for his service to KCACTF.
His Master of Fine Arts degree in stage design is from Northwestern University, Evanston IL, USA.