How Actress Sherie Rene Scott Brought Farrow & Ball to Broadway

Sherie Rene Scott is an American actress and singer, who is a longtime fan of Farrow & Ball and has even used the brand’s paint and wallpaper in her New York apartment. Her most recent role was in Broadway’s Front Page— the gripping story of a 1928 Chicago newsroom and its coverage of an escaped prisoner. For the role, she decided to bring a little piece of home with her to work through her dressing room design.

During the show’s successful run, Sherie relied on her dressing room as a place to recharge and relax before taking the stage night after night alongside stars like John Goodman and Nathan Lane. Her longtime friends and interior design duo, Etienne Coffinier and Ed Ku of Coffinier Ku Design, designed the ideal dressing room space by using Farrow & Ball Wisteria wallpaper on the walls. To add interest to the countertops in the room, they laid multiple wallpaper samples a patchwork formation. Here, we caught up with Sherie and the designers to hear more about the dressing room and its affect on her performance. Give our regards to Broadway.

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{Sherie Rene Scott in her Front Page dressing room}

The Chromologist: Tell us about your character in Front Page.

Sherie Rene Scott: In Chicago, in 1928 the character of ‘Mollie Malloy’ is a ‘sporting girl’, what we now call a prostitute, and what I like to refer to as a ‘Service Industry Professional.’  Jack O’Brien, the great Director, described her as ‘The Truth Teller’ of the play.  She enters a room of male reporters pleading for them to stop lying about her in the press; it’s hurting her deeply and contributing to an innocent man’s execution. Much like truth-tellers in modern times she’s unheard and mistreated, jumping out a window in Act ll in order to save the innocent man’s life. Even with this storyline, it’s an uproarious comedy, largely due to the great cast, great director and the great producer, Scott Rudin.

The Chromologist: When you’re decorating your dressing room, how does the character you play affect the design?

 Sherie Rene Scott: Now that you ask I think it does effect the design, the colours, theme, even the personal objects one brings into the room. ‘Little Mermaid’s’ sea colours were on stage and in the dressing rooms, with a young, watery feel. ‘Aida’ was more ancient, earthy and mysterious. For ‘Dirty Rotten Scoundrels’ I just wanted my room fresh and clean, as I’d recently given birth to my son.  Actors usually want to be in the world of the show while having something of their true-self to re-connect with in the room. Working in Times Square you need all the peaceful, re-connecting time you can get.

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The Chromologist: What are your dressing room must-haves?

Sherie Rene Scott: Honestly? Rocks. I have a rock collection and I love having rocks around, or just anything from nature that I can get into a dressing room.

 The Chromologist: You have several different Farrow & Ball wallpapers in your dressing room. Is there one that speaks to you the most and why?  

 Sherie Rene Scott: Aside from Wisteria, I hear Orangerie and Silvergate speaking to me. They’re saying, ‘We’re lush and sublimely sexual with a touch of decadent humour. Being around us will soothe you and keep you upbeat.’  If it’s not those wallpapers speaking to me then it must be dream boyfriends from the future.

 The Chromologist: What are your go-to pre-show rituals?

 Sherie Rene Scott: It takes months and months to really learn a show, so in the beginning the ritual is warm-up, hydration, line run-thru—all with a constant background noise in the head of prayers and pleas for help.  Once the show is in your bones, the ritual becomes more about helping your body survive the 8 show a week grind, not to mention all the mandatory socializing.  One thing I always do is contact my son so my mind is at ease, and I can go onstage and play.

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{Sherie Rene Scott with interior designers, Ed Ku and Etienne Coffinier}

The Chromologist: Tell us about yourselves and your design partnership.

Coffinier Ku Design: Coffinier Ku Design is a partnership between Etienne Coffinier and Ed Ku.  Etienne is a trained architect from France and we have an eclectic practice with everything from designing structure and systems for houses to throw pillows.  It’s challenging and fun. And we also straddle the worlds of residential and commercial having designed restaurants, public spaces and private clubs, in addition to apartments and houses.

The Chromologist: How did Sherie’s character in the show inspire the dressing room?

Coffinier Ku Design: Let’s just say that Sherie’s character has had a colourful past, so we felt that it was important to reflect that.  Sherie has been a friend for many years, and she has always loved Farrow & Ball. We’ve used both the paints and wallpapers many times in her residences.  When we saw her dressing room the first time, we all talked about how there needed to be some decadence, some lushness and some fantasy—and we realized that wrapping the dressing room in this dark Wisteria wallpaper would create that perfect mood to allow Sherie to communicate with this character.

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Were there any elements that were designed to help her get in character?

Coffinier Ku Design: Well, it was a challenge because the theatre didn’t want us to directly wallpaper or paint the existing walls.  So, we templated the walls and ordered some boards, which we cut to the appropriate shapes.  Then we gave the boards to our painter, Vincent’s Painting, who has worked for Sherie before in her homes, and he wallpapered the boards.  Then we velcroed the boards into place where they will stay until the end of the run of Front Page.

The Chromologist: How does your approach change when designing someone’s work space versus their home?

Coffinier Ku Design: Every space has a different challenge and it’s always important to know how it will be used.  The function of a dressing room is to help the artist prepare to become someone else for a few hours.  It has to be very efficient because space is tight and you have to have room to sit and apply make-up and change into your costume. But it also has to be something of refuge because you relax in the space between acts or between shows on matinee days.  We love the Wisteria wallpaper in Sherie’s dressing room but it’s certainly strong in this colourway for everyday home use but it would make an amazing powder room.

The Chromologist: You’ve used Farrow & Ball in many of your projects, including the Kips Bay Decorator Show house. Do you have a short list of go-to paint colours and wallpapers from F&B?

Coffinier Ku Design: We seem to gravitate to the old classics like Drag and Crivelli Trellis wallpapers and for paint colours we can never get enough of Cornforth White, Pointing, Blackened, Lulworth Blue (which we’ve used in Sherie’s home), and Railings, which we have on our bookcases and walls in our apartment entry and is so beautiful.

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The Chromologist is a colour whisperer. He understands and knows them better than they know themselves, translating their pleas to be used beautifully for humankind. It's unknown from whence he came. Some say the fraction of space between a prism and a spectrum, others say he toiled in the fabled colour mines of Svalbard for years untold, deep underground, speaking only to the reds and blues, cerises and aquas, bronze and golds...


The Chromologist 2017 | Farrow & Ball

The Chromologist