Maria Björnson, Set and Costume Designer for The Phantom of the Opera, Dead at 53
Maria Björnson, a two-time Tony Award winner for her set and costume designs for the long-running Andrew Lloyd Webber musical , died on Friday, December 13 in London. The cause of her death was not immediately known.
Born in Paris on February 16, 1949, Björnson was raised in England and educated at the Byam School of Art and the Central School of Art and Design. She designed 13 productions for the Glasgow Citizens Theatre, then later worked with the Scottish Opera and the English National Opera. Cameron Mackintosh took notice of her designs for the Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Tempest and hired her to design the 1986 London premiere of The Phantom of the Opera and the 1987 London revival of Stephen Sondheim's Follies. After recreating her original sets and costumes for the Broadway Phantom, Björnson worked on the Broadway production of Lloyd Webber's 1990 Aspects of Love and continued to design shows at major theaters and opera houses around the world.