CMU School of Drama

Friday, September 21, 2018

Three Broadway Musicals Closed Last Week. What Happened? Closing a show on Broadway is always painful - on the heart and on the wallet. Each one is essentially a multi-million dollar startup venture, with high risks and the potential for high rewards, driven by passion.

This week was particularly rough, as a trio of musicals - 1/10th of the entire Broadway market - took their final bows. Each was quite different from the next: one was a traditional revival, one had the backing of a multi-billion dollar corporation, and one began life as a series of improvised workshops in New Jersey.

7 top project management methodologies: Which is best? Kanban, PMBOK, Scrumban…no, these aren’t the names of villains in the newest Star Wars movie, but are rather some of the world’s top project management methodologies.

We’re not fans of clunky project management tools. Many of these products treat people as a resource, a byproduct, or a secondary consideration that gets lost in a web of hierarchies, dependencies, and endless subtasks. That’s a grave mistake—you don’t manage projects; you only ever manage people.

This Play Is About More Than Autism

Theatre Development Fund – TDF: "I didn't set out to write about autism," says Catya McMullen about her world-premiere play Agnes at 59E59 Theaters. When she started on the script in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, she wanted to explore the drama that could ensue when characters with complex relationships were stuck together in close quarters to wait out a storm. Only later did she realize that one of those characters was on the autism spectrum. "I don't start with an idea," says McMullen of her creative process. "I start with a person."

Q&A: With two plays in Atlanta, playwright Carla Ching stays true to her heritage

ArtsATL: “Have you blown anything up lately?” This is not the typical greeting for old friends, but for Diana and Max, it’s most appropriate. From blowing up snowmen as children to blowing up each other’s lives as adults, in The Two Kids That Blow S*** Up, Carla Ching dissects their arrested development and unmet expectations. This is a theme throughout her work as well as uncovering the love and loss that draws people together to form a family.

How to Optimize Your Résumé for Online Job Boards While you’re perfecting your résumé and cover letter with the hiring manager of your dream company in mind, you may be interested to know that they may never even read your application, because a robot will have discarded it before they had a chance.

Where Are the Black Female Characters in Teen Dramas?

The Mary Sue: The other day, after I binge-watched my all-time favorite television show, One Tree Hill, for the 20th time, something hit me. Out of the nine seasons and 187 episodes, there was only one episode where a Black woman was present—only one. This made me begin to reexamine all of the teen dramas that I have watched over the course my life, realizing that they all have the same pattern of leaving Black women out. They are invisible and underrepresented in this massive genre.

How Ralph Breaks the Internet's Princess Scene Got Made It all began at the D23 Expo last year. That was where Disney first played a scene from the Wreck-It Ralph sequel, Ralph Breaks the Internet, in which Vanellope von Schweetz meets 14 iconic Disney princesses at once. The clip crushed the audience of Disney super fans and has since been glimpsed here and there as moviegoers wait for the final film in November. However, at a recent press event, Disney pulled back the curtain to reveal how the scene came to be.

How to solve complex problems (by not focusing on them) Simple decisions are best made using cold, hard logic. This way, we can work through the incremental steps that lead to an answer. But the same isn’t true for complex decisions, ones that require more creativity in meshing together a web of interconnected ideas. These decisions can be impossible to work through with logic and reason alone. That’s why we need to tap into the proven power of our subconscious mind.

The Value of a Human Life: A Director's Perspective on Pass Over

Breaking Character: Directing is elusive. There is something ephemeral and fleeting about the art of directing. You can’t read it, hold it in your hands, or e-mail it. It must be felt. Direction lives in the thin space between the play and the audience—the exchange of performer and spectator. It lives in the freedom and rigor of the physicality of the performers and in the detail of the design world that ensconces the text. Directing lives in the tone of the play and in the perspective by which we view the play.

What's it like being a 'Stuntman'? Eddie Braun doc gives insider look It’s a stunt performer’s job to bolster an actor’s performance, add pizzazz to an explosion, dramatize a fall. As Eddie Braun says in the first line of his documentary “Stuntman,” which premieres Sunday at Los Angeles Film Festival, “I’m the face you never see.”

Until now.

SAG-AFTRA Strikes Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

Variety: SAG-AFTRA has called a strike against advertising agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the union’s national board unanimously voted to issue a strike authorization.

The union instructed its 160,000 members Thursday to not accept any work for BBH, which has been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly announced that it had withdrawn from the contract, asserting that the agreement is outdated and accusing the union of being inflexible.

Cirque du Soleil to mark Saudi National Day To mark Saudi National Day on the 23rd of September, the General Entertainment Authority presents one of the largest custom-made events by the world-renowned company Cirque du Soleil, organized by MBC Group. The record-breaking performance – which will feature Cirque du Soleil’s largest number of circus artists ever assembled for a special event – will get underway in a visually stunning world to celebrate the 88th Saudi National Day and a future ‘Beyond the Horizon’.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

A Designer's Eos Toolkit: Why build a template file?

et cetera...: Being a freelance Lighting Designer can often feel like being a mountain climber. Every month (or couple weeks, if you’re a workaholic), you’re walking into a theater that you may or may not have worked in before, with people you may or may not know well, and attempting to put up a show in, usually, no more than a week. Hopefully you reach the summit, you celebrate a well deserved opening, and – not long after – you find yourself behind another tech table, at the base of another mountain, staring up at the peak, starting a new climb all over again.

“The Father” at Kinetic Theatre Company

The Pittsburgh Tatler: In his Hamburg Dramaturgy, the 18th-century German playwright and critic Gotthold Ephraim Lessing claimed for theater, above all other arts, the capacity to arouse in an audience member a feeling that he termed Mitleid. That word, if you were to translate it literally, would be something like “suffering with”; Lessing theorized that drama achieved its greatest effect when spectators found themselves in a state of Mitleid with the character or characters in the play.

GUEST BLOG: So, What Does a General Manager Do, Anyway?: Part Two by Peter Bogyo

The Producer's Perspective: More than any other function, a GM’s primary responsibility is that of financial overview – the quantification, management, and forecasting of the show’s finances. During the production period, this involves keeping track of estimated budget expenses as they become actualized, and determining the net effect of all those variances on the budget’s reserve fund, which needs to be available not only by the first preview but also as of Opening Night. A cash flow chart is most useful for tracking these expenses.

Theatre's Part in the Quest to Save Public Land

HowlRound Theatre Commons: My organization, Notch Theatre Company, seeks to engage communities that our brick and mortar theatres are not reaching—connecting in their neighborhoods, in their language, and around the issues that matter to them. Our nation seems stalled in an ever-polarizing inability to engage in productive dialogue, and I believe this requires us artists and cultural workers to find ways of being in proximity to communities with which we might not normally interact. This includes bringing the theatre experience to geographically marginalized and rural communities.

The Shaw Festival's "Henry V": Does Shakespeare Deserve Such Treatment?

The Theatre Times: Nearly a century ago, Winnie-The-Pooh creator A.A. Milne wrote a now-forgotten one-act play called The Man In The Bowler Hat. It dealt with the disruption of a conventional middle-class household by a sequence of melodramatic events that in performance could be done for real or, more commonly, take on the texture of a Monty Python spoof.

Ticketmaster Accused of Colluding With Scalpers

Variety: Ticketmaster is essentially accused of colluding with scalpers — and collecting double fees in the process — in a bruising weeks-long investigation published by CBC and the Toronto Star Tuesday and today. The outlets sent two undercover reporters to a live-entertainment conference in July, where representatives for Ticketmaster pitched them on TradeDesk, the company’s invite-only proprietary platform for reselling tickets.

#MeToo anniversary: 8 insiders share their stories, one year later Sexual misconduct survivors shed light on abuses in Hollywood in October 2017 and the world took notice — the stories of a few were quickly echoed and amplified by millions who catapulted the #MeToo viral hashtag into a cultural movement.

Ahead of the one-year anniversary, USA TODAY wants to continue the conversation by sharing the voices of people who have experienced sexual harassment and assault in the entertainment industry.

The Revolutionists

Pittsburgh in the Round: What dictates the machinations of change and progress? Is it fear that churns into action; indefatigable ethos that never relents, heedless to danger or repercussions; or the unwitting resilience of a simple pluckiness borne of a blindly resolute spirit and an uncompromising, self-possessed character? Who is responsible for witnessing and documenting the machinations of change, and does serving as a composer or transcriber of the change and upheaval that defines history afford a sort of immortality? Do our stories make history, or does history make our stories?

Destinos festival expands to showcase more Latino theater A year ago, the Chicago Latino Theater Alliance debuted Destinos, a theater festival featuring productions by local, national and international companies. More than 9,000 people attended, taking in a roster of intriguing performances staged at local Latino and mainstream theaters.

Senate passes copyright bill to end 140-year protection for old songs

Ars Technica: For the last decade, the Congressional debate over copyright law has been in a stalemate. Content companies have pushed for stronger protections, but their efforts have been stopped by a coalition of technology companies and digital rights groups.

Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts

Entertainment Central Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh has produced many amazing firsts including the Salk polio vaccine, the Ferris wheel, and first movie theater. The city has continued to generate new firsts including those of the arts and entertainment variety since 2004 with the first Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts. Since then the Festival has also occurred in 2008 and 2013, attracting over a million visitors to each one.

Illusion to Reality

PLSN: Is there a “normal” way to interpret Shakespeare in 21st century theater? The days of recreating Elizabethan England seem to be behind us, as today’s directors place their productions anywhere they like and use the Bard’s intricate language and story lines to create a new take on centuries-old material. In recent memory, we’ve seen an all-female production of Twelfth Night set in the roaring 1920s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream on post-apocalyptic Earth, and The Taming of the Shrew as part of a traveling circus… and that’s just in theaters around upstate New York.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

‘Fear The Walking Dead’s’ Colman Domingo to Deliver Keynote at Mipcom

Variety: With Issa Rae as its Personality of the Year, Mipcom will also aim at shining a light on diversity and women in the industry during its next edition.

“The big shift” will be the running theme of this Mipcom to “reflect the global movement towards equality behind and in front of the camera,” said Reed Midem, which organizes Mipcom and MipTV.

The Birth of a Climate Commons

HowlRound Theatre Commons: On a weekend in June, I sat in a blackbox theatre for three days with a group of mostly strangers.

We talked. We ate. We laughed. We challenged. We listened.

I heard the same refrain over and over again those three days. Wow, I’m so happy to be with others for once. It’s nice to be… un-lonely.

Theatre reviews, decoded

Exeunt Magazine: Putting your experience of a show into words is a messy business. A mass of feelings and memories and criticisms has to be poured into the modest vessel of a theatre review, and a lot gets spilled. Critics often fall back on neat phrases to gesture at flaws they’re reluctant to spell out, or to wave impotently at a whole mass of ideas that would take a PhD thesis to explore.

What to think about before being honest Giving someone negative feedback, even when it’s requested, can be uncomfortable. You never know how well your input will be received, and you don’t know what the person will do once they have the information. But people can’t grow unless they know where their gap areas are, says Cheryl Hyatt, partner at Hyatt-Fennell Executive Search.

Which artists should SpaceX send to the Moon?

The Verge: Yesterday, Elon Musk announced that SpaceX would send Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa to the Moon. Maezawa then announced that he would not be going alone. The founder of the Japanese online retailer Zozo, Maezawa is also a famed art collector who once paid $110 million for a painting by Jean-Michel Basquiat. “I choose to go to the Moon with artists,” he said.

7 Women of Theatre History You Should Know: Part Five

The Interval: I find it so heartening to learn about the accomplishments of women in theatre history, so with the fifth installment of “7 Women of Theatre History You Should Know,” I’m pleased to showcase seven more women who shaped the theatre landscape as we know it today. Some overcame gender or race discrimination but persevered at a time when the field was not welcoming. Some founded theatre companies, or created iconic design elements, or wrote pieces from a perspective not often shown on the Broadway stage. As I have previously noted, reading about one woman leads to another woman, and another, and another.

The 2018 Emmys broke diversity records — quietly, with no one watching

The Verge: Last night, the biggest winner of the Emmys, sweeping up five awards, was The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. The director, cast, and show all won Emmys, edging out the cast and creators of diverse shows like Insecure, Killing Eve, black-ish, and Atlanta. #EmmysSoWhite reappeared on social media last night, and it wasn’t just because James Corden cited it as a recycled joke. People of color were winning awards and the Emmys still made history twice, but it simply wasn’t captured on prime time.

Stefani Robinson on Being Only Woman in Atlanta Writers Room At just 24, Stefani Robinson is holding it down as the youngest writer and only female writer in Atlanta’s writers room, but Robinson said she’s yet to womansplain anything to her male colleagues of the award-winning series.

The 2018 Emmys gave us front-row seats to Hollywood’s slow emotional breakdown

The Verge: There have now been 70 Emmy Awards ceremonies. That was made abundantly clear throughout this year’s telecast, with jokes like, “Things were very different back [in 1949, when the awards launched] — gas was 17 cents a gallon, a new home cost $7,000, and we all agreed that Nazis were bad.” Certainly over the course of those 70 years, the Academy has made some embarrassing decisions. The Wire never won an Emmy, for example. Neither did Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Star Trek: The Next Generation, or Hannibal. Two and a Half Men, meanwhile, won nine of them. The first Emmy Awards gave one of its six trophies to a ventriloquist! And that’s all before getting into the systematic devaluing and ignoring of stellar performances from people of color for the better part of a century now.

WCA skill standards at MiLL help document student progress

Woodworking Network: The Manufacturing Industry Learning Lab, known as the MiLL, opened last fall.

The national training center for the woodworking industry features more than $3 million worth of equipment operating under power in a 46,600-square-foot building. The MiLL offers woodworking instruction to students by day and adults at night.

At the core of the MiLL’s diverse training courses are the Woodwork Career Alliance’s skill standards and credential Passport program.

Making a Lantern Prop in EVA Foam in Four Hours Bill Doran of Punished Props Academy has posted a project and video for making an EVA foam lantern prop with flickering (programmable) LED light strips inside. Bill had one day before DragonCon to complete the build and accomplished it in four hours.

Kinetic Theater's 'The Father' is an 'exquisite jewel'

Pittsburgh Current: In the autobiography of actress Shelley Winters, she tells of introducing her parents to a man who’d been hanging around at a theater where she worked. The parents and the guy struck up a friendship and a few weeks later she asked her folks about him, and what he did for a living… she’d assumed he had been inside the theater just because it was warm. “Oh that Mr. Brecht,” her mother said, “he makes costume jewelry. He told us that back in Germany he made ‘jewels for poor people.’”

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Raspberry Pi Projection Mapping Crash Course

Hackaday: Projection mapping might not be a term you’re familiar with, but you’ve certainly seen the effect before. It’s when images are projected onto an object, usually one that has an interesting or unusual shape, to create an augmented reality display. Software is used to map the image or video to the physical shape it’s being projected on, often to surreal effect. Imagine an office building suddenly being “painted” another color for the Holidays, and you’ll get the idea.

Filmmaker Nicole Holofcener: “I’m a director, not a ‘female director'” | Writer and director Nicole Holofcener has never been offered a "Star Wars" movie. She's never, on the strength of her Independent Spirit or Writers Guild of America award nominations, had a Marvel franchise thrown at her feet. Yet in more than 20 years of making small, smart movies including "Enough Said" and "Friends with Money," and working with actors like Catherine Keener, James Gandolfini, Frances McDormand and Toni Collette, she's proven herself exactly the kind of writer-director Hollywood typically loves. Her movies get glowing reviews and always turn a profit.

Philly Opera works to avoid ‘sophomore slump’

New Pittsburgh Courier: When Opera Philadelphia launched a radical new programming format last year, general director David Devan knew there was “a potential for an emperor has no clothes.”

The idea was to create a festival of innovative work that packed five different operas — three of them world premieres — into 10 days of virtually nonstop activity.

Great Truths: Five Lessons We Learned Producing Tuck Everlasting

Breaking Character: Sally Dietlein, producer, vice president, and co-founder of Hale Centre Theatre, and Dave Tinney, director and choreographer at Hale Centre Theatre, recently reflected on the life lessons they learned from working on Tuck Everlasting.

Huey Lewis musical 'Heart' has splash and soul in Old Globe world premiere, if a boxed-in plot

The San Diego Union-Tribune: When you’re at a Huey Lewis and the News musical, you don’t necessarily see a wrap number coming.

But early on in the Old Globe’s world-premiere production of “The Heart of Rock and Roll,” a chorus line of wage slaves at a packaging-products convention do a boisterous and funny tap routine on a carpet of bubble wrap.

Making 'Uncle Vanya' Real, Not Overwrought

Theatre Development Fund – TDF: Don't be surprised if you find yourself leaning in as you watch playwright-director Richard Nelson's achingly intimate take on Uncle Vanya, the inaugural production at the Hunter Theater Project. Staged in the round in a black box theatre with unpretentious performances and just a few kitchen tables for scenery, Chekhov's masterwork has been streamlined to one act and reduced to its essence: an extended family of malcontents wondering where they fit in and whether they matter.

"Oklahoma!" Is Still OK

The Theatre Times: I grew up on Oklahoma! Now, I’m not sure how many Millennials can share this feeling, but that was my life. Oklahoma! was the first musical my parents introduced me to and was one of my favorites as a child. Even though I didn’t really know what was happening, I loved the music, wanted Curly and Laurie to get together, didn’t like Judd, and desperately pined to go to this magical land called Kansas City. And so went my childhood.

Calling 'Doctor Atomic': In Santa Fe, Peter Sellars Revisits the Bomb I asked the legendary opera director Peter Sellars how he felt, now that his new production of Doctor Atomic, at Santa Fe Opera, was all wrapped up.

“Doctor Atomic didn’t end last week,” he mused. “For me, Doctor Atomic began last week.”

Bryan Singer to Direct Red Sonja Despite Problematic History

The Mary Sue: Another day, another scorned man getting a second chance in Hollywood. Bryan Singer, best known as the man behind the X-Men film franchise, has returned from self-imposed exile and is in talks to direct a big screen adaptation of the comic book Red Sonja.

Easy Meeting Scheduling With Doodle

Arts Hacker: If I can put on my grumpy Gen-X arts admin hat for a moment, I have to say that the older I get, the less I enjoy trying new apps. Instead, finding something that works and sticking with it holds a lot of value. Having said that, when I do run across something new that makes me want to switch, it’s really exciting.

The Best Toolbox: Reviews by Wirecutter

A New York Times Company: We had three carpenters test 10 toolboxes and bags, and we found that the best is the Milwaukee 13″ Jobsite Work Box. Simply put, it’s the most efficient, portable, and organized toolbox we could find.

“Chatterton” at Quantum Theatre

The Pittsburgh Tatler: What – or who – is Chatterton?

Well, that depends on how much you trust the historical record, and, I guess, whether you believe anything can be verified by documents at all. The “real” Thomas Chatterton was a historical personage – an 18th-century English poet who committed suicide at the age of 17, after having invented a 15th-century poet, Thomas Rowley, and published a series of “found” poems under that assumed identity.

Monday, September 17, 2018

#84 Jessica Paz

in 1: the podcast: This week’s brand new episode is with Sound Designer Jessica Paz! Jessica shares with us wild tales from her summers at the Delecorte Theatre with stories and insights from her recent designs for ‘Othello’ and ‘Twelfth Night’ as well how the sound department battles wind, rain, helicopters and yes raccoons. That Othello featured an all female design team, (recently featured in the NY Times) and she shares her thoughts on something that is both a great achievement but also shouldn’t have to be. Cory and Jessica chat about advancements in speaker technology being used on the ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ tour, how she works with a mixer to find the perfect sound for a show, and the continued push to get all designers, especially Sound Designers, proper credit and respect.

Art on a Damaged Planet: the Theatre in the Age of Climate Change Convening

 HowlRound Theatre Commons: From June 8 to 10 2018, HowlRound, in partnership with Chantal Bilodeau (The Arctic Cycle), Elizabeth Doud (Climakaze Miami/Fundarte), and Roberta Levitow (Theatre Without Borders), hosted Theatre in the Age of Climate Change, one of four convenings selected as part of the HowlRound Challenge. This effort brought together a collection of artists, activists, scientists, and educators working at the intersection of climate change and performing arts for three days of reflection, strategizing, and sharing. Much of the convening is archived on HowlRound TV.