"There is no pride of ownership. It’s not his or mine. Everything we put out there is instantaneously ours."—Peggy Eisenhauer
The most important collaboration of Fisher's career was his collaboration with fellow lighting designer, Peggy Eisenhauer from 1985-present. Interestingly, Peggy had admired Fisher's work for a while, and decided to go to Carnegie-Mellon in the hopes of having a career as a lighting designer like him. Peggy first met Jules when he came to speak at Carnegie-Mellon, and had decided to pursue him from that time onwards. Jules agreed to take Peggy on as an assistant, but soon began to see her talent as a lighting designer. In particular, he noticed that Peggy's years of training as a classical musician had given her a unique musical sensibility that he did not quite have. This musical sensibility made her capable of artfully solving difficult lighting sequences. Fisher decided to collaborate with Eisenhauer in order to take advantage of her unique capabilities as a designer. About collaborating with Peggy, Fisher says:
"I realized that Peggy had talent beyond anyone I had met before. She has this innate musical ability to capture time with light. I realized that all the work I was doing could be that much better if I worked with her."
Fisher and Peggy have collaborated on countless projects, including: Song and Dance (1985), Rags (1986), Legs Diamond (1988), Ragtime (1998), Gypsy (2003), 2003 School of Rock, Assassins (2004), The Ritz (2007), 9 to 5 (2008), Lucky Guy (2013. As a team, they have won 3 Tony Awards for Bring in da Noise, Bring in' da Funk (1996), Assassins (2004), and Lucky Guy (2013—acceptance speech on left).
As a team, one of their toughest design challenges was with Ragtime (1998). According to Fisher,
"It was a true epic. The years, the decades flowed by. The locations change from a shtetl in Eastern Europe to Harlem to the suburbs of New Rochelle, N.Y. We had to shift between those three very different cultures, and rely on lighting to make the transformation. So we tried to identify those three cultures with three different colors."
By combining their unique perspectives, Eisenhauer and Fisher were able to face and conquer the challenges they faced. These challenges resulted in revolutionary lighting designs that combined seemingly simplistic elements essential to our visual universes, such as color in their work on Ragtime. The visual landscape of a deep orange hue is depicted in an image from Ragtime on the left.
1992-2007 Collaboration with George C. Wolfe
It was during this period of collaboration with playwright George C. Wolfe that led Fisher to explore new aesthetic ideas in lighting design. His work had more of a philosophical basis during this period than ever before. The most important work that Fisher collaborated with Wolfe on was Angels in America. In fact, Fisher even said, "Other than Hamlet, Angels in America is probably the best play I've ever worked on." He later added:
"After so many musicals, I really liked being called back to doing a straight play like Angels in America. I think that straight productions are more narrative in nature and tend to force us into being more inventive with the intensity, angle, color, and juxtaposition of compositions."
Since Fisher was known for his ability to subtly manipulate light, he viewed Angels in America as an opportunity to exercise this skill. An example of these subtle manipulations is manipulation of the color white, as Fisher describes in the quote below:
"It doesn't have to be the color of the bare bulb as it comes fromt he manufacturer. We can alter it to be warmer, nearer to the color of candlelight, or cooler, closer to skylight. Is it like the crip white in San Francisco in March or the languid white in Mexico, as you get closer to the equator? In lighting it is our opportunity and obligation to control every parameter that we can control. So we must pick the color temperature of the basic "white" that the audience perceives as "normal."
As Fisher's career progressed and as he got the opportunity to work on straight plays like Angels in America, Fisher further developed his unique ability to see subtlties in light, and match these subtlties with certain narrative moods.
"A Life in the Theatre: Lighting Designers Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer | Playbill." Playbill. N.p., 2005. Web. 19 May 2016.
Johnson, David. "Coupla Lighting Designers, Sittin' Around Talkin';" Entertainment Design 38.7 (2004): 6. ProQuest. Web. 19 May 2016.
Tugend, Alina. "The Oscars; Let there be Light; Longtime Partners Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer use their Theatrical Lighting Skills to Give 'Em the Old Razzle-Dazzle in 'Chicago.'." Los Angeles TimesMar 23 2003. ProQuest. Web. 19 May 2016 .
Unruh, Delbert, and John Lahr. Jules Fisher. Syracuse, NY: United States Institute of Theatre Technology, 2009. Print.