CMU School of Drama

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hear Christopher Walken's Wonderful Reading of Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven"

Open Culture: Christopher Walken, writes Arifa Akbar in the Independent, is a “sinister-looking man who has made a living from looking — and acting — sinister,” but he didn’t start out that way. His “career trajectory – starting benignly enough in children’s commercials, musicals, and dance – took a darker turn two years after his near-miss with Star Wars,” when he’d almost landed the Han Solo role that went to Harrison Ford.

Ben Peoples Industries Showcases New Products at LDI

Pulse | LinkedIn: Ben Peoples Industries (formerly Trinculo’s Attic) will be showcasing the latest additions to their line of control and monitoring systems at LDI this week. Visitors to Booth #1782 are invited to relax and share a cold drink with company founder Ben Peoples while learning about the company’s newest introductions.

Your Next Job Interview May Not Be With A Human, But Here's How To Nail It

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: Imagine a job interview with no interviewer—it’s just you, a computer, and a webcam, getting to know each other. Sound a little too futuristic to be true? Well, for some companies, the future is here.

Who's lurking inside all those haunted attractions?

TribLIVE: Hundreds of seasonal workers playing ghosts, ghouls and goblins provide the thrills and chills that visitors expect from the area's haunted Halloween attractions. But who exactly is jumping out of the cornstalks at those spooktacular sites? It might be your child's teacher, the state cop who gave you a ticket last week or even your company's IT guy.

Hollywood Takes on Fan Fiction In 1974 a carpet layer from Michigan spent $2,000 to build a replica of the Starship Enterprise bridge and made Paragon's Paragon, one of the first serious Star Trek fan movies. In 1985, a fan convinced George Takei, who played Sulu on the original series, to reprise the role in Yorktown: A Time to Heal. In subsequent years, putting original cast members in fan productions became increasingly common, with Walter Koenig (Chekov) and Nichelle Nichols (Uhura) starring in the feature-length Star Trek: Of Gods and Men in 2007. For decades these efforts were largely welcome.

Videogame Producers Respond to SAG-AFTRA Strike Threat

Variety: Videogame producers have slammed SAG-AFTRA over the union’s threat to go on strike this Friday if negotiations do not yield a new deal for voice actors. “We have negotiated in good faith for the past 18 months with SAG-AFTRA union leaders, and are making progress toward a new contract,” said the interactive media video game companies in a statement Monday.

Stage review: Public offers fresh take on 'The Fantasticks'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh Public Theater’s fresh-take staging of “The Fantasticks” brings vitality to the musical fable while embracing its considerable charms. That’s saying something for a retro show that leans on Shakespearean references of love and urges the audience to recall a time “when life was slow and oh so mellow.”

Steakhouse: Live Art, Live Writing

The Theatre Times: Steakhouse Live came to be in Autumn 2013, when the first edition of what is now the annual festival took over Rich Mix for a day. Artist-led, low-budget and ambitious, it delivered a crammed programme filled with names that were not necessarily getting that much attention or traction in the capital. Risk, a buzzword that gets mentioned more than employed, was palpable: with no funding, no big headliners and no overwhelming institutional support, the collective behind Steakhouse put their taste, conviction and probably some of their own money on the line and on display in a way that was hardly hidden from view.

IMAX to Open Europe’s First Virtual-Reality Center in Manchester, England

Variety: IMAX’s first virtual-reality entertainment center in Europe will open in Manchester, in northern England, by the end of the year, the company announced Tuesday. The pilot IMAX VR center will be housed in Manchester’s Printworks multiplex as part of a deal with the site’s owner, European exhibitor Odeon and UCI Cinemas Group.

Chinese Theatre-Maker Lu Ang on Bridging Past and Present, East and West

The Theatre Times: In its 23rd edition, the Cairo International Festival for Contemporary and Experimental Theatre honoured several renowned international theatre practitioners, among them Professor Lu Ang, dean of the directing department at Shanghai Theatre Academy, and vice chairman of the Shanghai Theatre Association.

Carnegie Science Center expansion adds a new riverfront experience, event space and classrooms

NEXTpittsburgh: The Carnegie Science Center has announced a $21 million expansion along the North Shore that enhances the riverfront and provides lots of new classroom space for kids. The 48,000-square-foot three-story addition will also include Smithsonian-quality exhibition space, special event space, and terraces on the ground and third floors.

Mechatronic Art: Melding Engineering and Art in Perfect Balance| Interesting Engineering Is it art or engineering? What about both? That’s what students at Florida State University ask themselves each day in Mechatronic Art II. The course looks to combine the artsy with the ergonomic, the interesting with the innovative. It takes students from different disciplines and forces them to collaborate to craft new solutions.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

‘Midnight Rider’ Filmmakers Cite New Evidence to Bolster Case

Variety: “Midnight Rider” director Randall Miller and producer Jody Savin’s Film Allman are pointing to a newly discovered email to show that they were not expressly denied permission to shoot on a CSX trestle on Feb. 20, 2014, when a train plowed through their shooting location and killed a camera assistant, Sarah Jones, and injured eight others.

Questioning How We Tell Mainstream History with Men On Boats

HowlRound: Jaclyn Backhaus' Men On Boats delves into the dynamics of ten explorers on the first expedition (of white men) down the Colorado River to a “big” canyon. Raised in Arizona, Backhaus had heard about the journey during her childhood and wanted to adapt it for the stage. In the process she realized that she was interested in the story in part because she felt that she would never play the part of a nineteenth-century explorer—and that writing it was her way of vicariously living their adventure.

London's Burning - in the most Unusual way The 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London was commemorated in spectacular style last month as Artichoke's London's Burning festival transformed the capital with a week of extraordinary art events and brought Unusual Rigging on board to handle aspects of the technical production.

Interview with Thando Doni

HowlRound: In his plays, theatremaker Thando Doni explores contemporary issues—both grand and intimate—through a stirring and potent physicality. Honed during his training at Cape Town’s internationally-acclaimed Magnet Theatre, Thando's blend of captivating physical storytelling and confident, sensitive direction has made him one of South Africa's most exciting directors. Working within the workshop (or “devising”) tradition that produced some of South Africa's rich theatre of resistance, Thando collaborates with performers to pose urgent questions about history, identity, language, and love. In his most recent play, Ubuze Bam, he worked with three ex-inmates to explore both the hope and despair inherent in their narratives of incarceration.

SAG-AFTRA Board Extends David White’s Contract to 2020

Variety: SAG-AFTRA’s national board has given a two-year extension to David White as National Executive Director to 2020. .The board voted unanimously on Saturday to extend White’s agreement to Oct. 11, 2020, effective immediately. Details of the agreement are confidential.

Stage preview: James Graham found 'Neverland' while not looking

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: James Graham wasn’t looking for Neverland when Harvey Weinstein showed him the way. The directions did not include “the second star to the right, and straight on till morning.” British playwright Graham attracted the attention of the Hollywood mogul for his edgy, politically charged plays in the U.K., and the men had talked about working together on a movie project. Then, Mr. Weinstein asked the playwright to join his first venture onto Broadway, a musical adaptation of the 2004 film “Finding Neverland.”

Kyoto Experiment Autumn 2016

The Theatre Times: Kyoto Experiment, or the Kyoto International Performing Arts Festival, will be held for the seventh time this autumn. Supported by a wide range of artists whose work constantly breaks new ground, this pioneering international performing arts event has grown into a successful festival that attracts attention from around the world.

End Your Interviews Like This (if you want the job… if not, pretty much any ending works)

Career Relaunch – Medium: Coming out of college I was interviewing so frequently that it was nearly an athletic experience, and I found a pattern. All interviews tend to wind down the same way. Regardless of how painful or pleasant they were, just before you’re ushered out the door, someone will ask you something along the lines of, “So… Any last questions?”

Harriet Walter: I worried playing Shakespeare's male roles would be a vanity exercise Playing Cleopatra for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2006, I had learnt new lessons and reached new heights – or plateaux – from which I could see a further range above me that I hadn't known was there, but those lessons looked like they would never be put into practice and those further peaks would remain on the horizon never to be scaled.

Real-life AutoCAD drawing tips | AutoCAD Blog Tuesday Tip Wow, was I ever delighted by the responses I received from last week’s gate design challenge! The first correct answer came from Emre Cengizoglu, a MSc civil engineer from Turkey. Emre, who works for a company doing steel projects, started with a reference circle with the radius of the diagonal length, created a 1-1/2” brace with that diagonal, and then used the Align command to place it.

An Interview with Jessie Mueller

THE INTERVAL: Jessie Mueller is in a diner—not the diner she inhabits eight shows a week on Broadway in the musical Waitress—but an actual diner. The Skylight Diner on 34th Street, to be exact, which has actual pies (freshly baked on the premises), an actual counter, and an actual gumball machine anachronistically chained to an ATM. The thing that’s so swell about diners is the way they can inhabit so many spaces at once: present tense, but always a little in the past; distinctly somewhere, but could be anywhere. Jessie, too, seems to be living in many spaces at once. Her plan was to work in her hometown of Chicago, but she’s had a thriving career in New York.

Actor Alan Cumming to share 'Sappy Songs,' personal stories at Byham

TribLIVE: Actor Alan Cumming is a man of many facets. Since making his Broadway debut in 1998 as the Master of Ceremonies in “Cabaret,” the Scottish actor also has had roles in plays by Noel Coward, Shakespeare and Bertolt Brecht. TV watchers know him as Eli Gold, the wily campaign adviser on “The Good Wife,” as well as the host of the long-running PBS series “Masterpiece Mystery.”

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

What's the next big thing in theme park ride technology? New technology gives theme parks new ways to tell their stories. From tubular steel roller coasters allowing Arrow and Disney to send riders sliding down the Matterhorn, to flight simulators allowing Disney to send people on tours of the Star Wars universe, to factory robot arms allowing Universal to make enchanted benches fly through the wizarding world, theme parks have found wonderful new ways to entertain fans by embracing new ride tech.

Open and Roving Rehearsals

HowlRound: Theatre rehearsals generally happen in a closed studio environment. This was not the case for Finding Penelope. The show was site-specific—it was created in and for a specific location. The play itself was a journey during which an audience moved through a long-term care facility. This meant that to rehearse the show, we had to work in that facility. The performance space was an active, living environment so every rehearsal became not only a testing ground for artistic ideas but also, an opportunity for building community around the project and good will for the event.

Why Produce HEATHERS, or We Gotta Do Something to Stop Bad Behavior and Violence Everywhere

Breaking Character: As a member of the high school class of 1987, you would think by now that I’d be over the days of teen angst. Remarkably, I’m not in many ways, which I will explain later. But at that time, my angst was different than what we know it to be today…well, in some ways. Sure, there were some bullying issues, issues with self-identity, body image, jock envy (because I was an artsy-fartsy kid) and the general hormonal imbalance that sets us all on our ear for about four to five years or so. For some, maybe more and others less.

Certification For Open Source Hardware Announced

Hackaday: Today at the Open Hardware Summit in Portland, Alicia Gibb and Michael Weinberg of the Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) launched the Open Source Hardware Certification program. It’s live, and you can certify your own hardware as Open Hardware right now.

Microsoft's redesigned Paint app for Windows 10 looks awesome

The Verge: Microsoft is building a Windows 10 version of its famous Paint tool. While the software maker has barely updated Paint in recent releases of Windows, the new Paint app will be completely overhauled. Twitter user WalkingCat has discovered video demonstrations of the new app, and it's clearly designed with Windows 10 in mind.

Bosch GSA18V-083B Compact Recip Saw - The Lighter Cutter Upper

Home Fixated: If you’ve ever used a reciprocating saw, it probably didn’t take long to earn a permanent position in your tool collection. Recip saws can make quick work of lots of tricky or miserable jobs. With the right blade, you can cut pretty much anything, including steel, nail-embedded wood, and less traditional items, which we shall explore shortly. You generally pay a price for this power and ability, though, in terms of weight and size. There are smaller options available, and we recently received a Bosch GSA18V-083B Compact Reciprocating Saw, which we single-handedly put through its paces.

Ticket Prices for Shows Could Easily Go Down, If The Govt Got Involved...

OnStage: Ticket prices. It’s often one of the main excuses that people have over why they can’t make it to a show. Everyone always mentions how expensive it is, and rightly so. A ticket to the average Broadway show (and this isn’t even factoring in the ridiculous ticket prices for Hamilton) can often cost upwards of $100. Even shows that are produced off-Broadway or off-off-Broadway can often cost at least $20, which – while not nearly as expensive as Broadway –can still be a bit too much, for those who need to save money.

PARFect Solution to Light Sistine Chapel Replica A recent life-size replica of the Sistine Chapel was built in the heart of Mexico City adjacent to the "Monumento a la Revolución" (Monument to the Revolution). Housed in a temporary structure, this unique project was the brainchild of creative director Gabriel Berumen and his brother Antonio of event production company B-Productions, in collaboration with technical solutions provider Vatel Producciones headed by Miriam Villalobos.

The Religious Nature of Theatre, the Theatrical Nature of Religion

HowlRound: From the time I could speak, I’ve been involved in theatre. From acting in local productions to studying directing at Smith College, I’ve passionately thrown myself into a life centered on the stage. My other lifelong passion is the study of religion. As an ethnically Jewish woman who has chosen to worship with a number of Christian communities, I’ve learned to appreciate the incredible beauty of religious diversity and recognize religion’s unique ability to create community and inspire change. I am often asked which field I’ll ultimately pursue, and many are surprised to hear that I don’t plan to choose between religion and theatre. My two passions are often viewed as completely divergent fields; however, I see theatre and religion as inherently connected endeavors. By examining the religious nature of theatre and the theatrical nature of religion, I believe that we may enrich both disciplines.

Weekend Watch: Epic Haunted House Builds from “Scary Lady Videos” Terra is one scary lady. The creator behind Scary Lady Videos has been posting videos of her haunted house projects for years and has accumulated an extremely long playlist of spooky project tutorials. These video aren’t just informative, but fun to watch. You can tell from the way Terra talks about her craft, just how much pleasure she takes in it. Definitely contagious!

Billy Porter brings Broadway and soul to the Trust Cabaret's sold-out opener

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Since Pittsburgh last saw Billy Porter onstage at the Benedum Center, Downtown, he has traded in his “Kinky Boots” for tap shoes in “Shuffle Along,” explored “The Soul of Richard Rodgers” and made progress on a new play, in its early stages at New York Public Theater. He also has seen the world beyond New York City, including working cruises in Asia and the Mediterranean. “I’ve been vacationing and working on my relationship with my boyfriend,” he said by phone last Monday, a week before two sold-out Trust Cabaret concerts Monday night.

“‘Westworld’ is a lot tamer than video games”: Putting graphic TV violence in context The successful launch of “Westworld,” a series set in a Wild-West resort populated by robots, has revived a decades-old argument about onscreen violence. The premise of the series, which is based on a 1973 movie written and directed by Michael Crichton, involves people coming to a park to have their way — in any way they want — with its robot “hosts.” “Westworld” could become HBO’s biggest new show since the launch of “Game of Thrones,” the blockbuster fantasy series that has also drawn criticism for graphic violence, much of it directed against women.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Neal Stephenson running Magic Leap content studio in Seattle

Business Insider: Secretive startup Magic Leap, which is developing a new headset technology that integrates computer graphics into the real world, is ready to move into its new office in Seattle that will also house a team of creators led by famed science fiction author Neal Stephenson. Magic Leap, with Stephenson's help, is currently recruiting additional producers and talent for a content studio based in Seattle, multiple sources tell Business Insider.

Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper Star in Broadway ‘A Doll’s House, Part 2’

Variety: Laurie Metcalf, Chris Cooper, recent Tony winner Jayne Houdyshell and Condola Rashad will star this spring in “A Doll’s House, Part 2,” a new play by Lucas Hnath that debuts this spring in a Broadway staging produced by Scott Rudin.

The Best Multitools

Cool Material: Digging through all the available multi-tool options looking for the perfect piece of kit for your everyday carry can be easier said than done. Do you go Leatherman, Gerber, Victorinox, SOG, or something else? What about pliers or a serrated blade? And how many screwdrivers do you really need in a multi-tool? The answers to all those questions depends on what exactly you’re looking for. In our opinion, these are the 8 everyday carry multi-tools that should get you through just about any situation.

Computers Are Learning To Write Songs By Listening To All Of Them

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: In May, Google research scientist Douglas Eck left his Silicon Valley office to spend a few days at Moogfest, a gathering for music, art, and technology enthusiasts deep in North Carolina's Smoky Mountains. Eck told the festival's music-savvy attendees about his team’s new ideas about how to teach computers to help musicians write music—generate harmonies, create transitions in a song, and elaborate on a recurring theme. Someday, the machine could learn to write a song all on its own.

Famous movies that have been banned around the world

Business Insider: If you ever question the power of cinema, all you need to do is check out the movies that have been banned in different areas of the world over the past 100-plus years to reaffirm the grip the medium has on people. Whether it be for political reasons ("The Great Dictator," "Zoolander"), religious reasons ("The Last Temptation of Christ"), or just because of the use of specific colors ("The Simpsons Movie"), all kinds of movies have been blocked from being shown based on some perceived offense

"Installation art has finally taken over the last bastion of architecture" The infamous Bilbao Effect might have been the last gasp of great architecture giving us a thrill. Gone are the days of the Eiffel Tower and the Parthenon, the Mall in Washington and even the Burj Khalifa. Those monuments are so, well, yesterday. Let's face it, we really don't need buildings anymore to thrill and chill us – or for anything. We can socialise online, technology can keep us comfortable and safe in whatever form works most efficiently, we gain identity from the memes and images floating around us.

Behind the Scenes at the Guthrie for “Sense and Sensibility” “Sense and Sensibility” is playing at the Guthrie Theater through October 29th. It’s a story set in England in the late 18th century. The show is being called a fresh adaption of Jane Austen’s treasured novel. It’s about two sisters who have to figure out their lives after their dad passes away.

Free Tickets for Playwrights Who Can’t Afford the Theater

The New York Times: Pity the playwrights. Many of them make so little money, they can’t afford tickets to plays. Now some of the nation’s leading regional theaters, saying it is essential to the art form that writers see work by their colleagues and predecessors, have a solution: They will offer free last-minute seats to their shows. Theaters from Atlanta to Seattle have signed on, agreeing to make unsold tickets available, on the day of a performance, to student and professional writers who belong to the Dramatists Guild, a national association of about 7,000 playwrights, composers and lyricists.

'A Sharper Scaling' Upscales Images Better Than Photoshop Windows: A Sharper Scaling is a single-purpose app that increases the size of an image while preserving an impressive amount of detail. Compared to conventional image upscaling methods, A Sharper Scaling almost pulls off a magic trick.

When Standing Ovations are Meaningless

OnStage: When each unique snowflake of a student receives a gold star for every mediocre score, students stop learning, and the institution fails. When each performance brings an audience to their feet night after night, artists stop creating, and the institution fails. Standing ovations have become the participation ribbons of live performance. In every school auditorium, local theater and national venue, audience members end every showing on their feet cheering as if their favorite team just scored the winning touchdown. Jesse Mckinley of the New York Times referred to standing ovations as a “tyrant.” Audiences feel obligated to rise to their feet even when the performance does not justify it.

“Mantrankam” A 41-day Sanskrit Play Reopened in Kerala

The Theatre Times After two decades, the fascinating ceremony of a 41-day Sanskrit play performed as a ritual offering, reopened in Kerala. Lyrical, bawdy, and instructional in turns, it combines secular with spiritual as only the ancients could. Even at 86, Kummath Appu Nair has clear memories of the monsoon evenings of his childhood. Of returning from school, pleading with his mother for permission to run off to Peruvanam, a village about a kilometer away from his home in Thrissur. And the 41 evenings spent at the grand 12th century Mahadeva temple watching legendary Koodiyattam master Mani Madhava Chakyar perform the theatrical extravaganza, Mantrankam.

Facebook Killed the Video Star

Clyde Fitch Report: I suppose all things must come to an end. While video may have killed the radio star, it is clear now that Facebook killed the video star, or, more importantly, how viewers watch videos. What does it mean for how your arts organization’s marketing efforts? Well, the first step is acceptance: the tried and tested method of creating commercials — something that has been used since the dawn of commercials — is over.

On the Need for a Technological Theatre

HowlRound: As any good linguist will tell you, “The medium is the message.” Action. We theatre people are obsessed with action, and if we consider time and space to be the two fundamental elements of theatre, then verbs must be our chosen medium. “The two hours’ traffic of our stage,” to shamelessly quote Shakespeare.

To some extent, I think we understand how time sculpts theatre; after all, narrative is a byproduct of the time it takes a playwright to build worlds and characters. Less explored, however, is the spatial element of things.

Monday, October 17, 2016

AutoCAD 2017 Fall Update

AutoCAD Blog: If you’re on an AutoCAD or AutoCAD LT 2017 subscription license or maintenance plan, you’ll get all your updates as they become available, right in the Autodesk Desktop App. Just accept the update, and you’ll be up and running with the new features immediately. For the complete rundown of everything you can expect, check out our full AutoCAD 2017.1 Update/Enhancement Preview Guide.

LMDA Regional Spotlight: Mark Bly and Heather Helinsky in New York

urban excavations: Two leading names in U.S. dramaturgy from two different generations – LMDA founder Mark Bly and established freelance dramaturg Heather Helinsky – gathered to discuss their professional journeys with Metro New York City LMDA members on May 24, 2016 in the friendly offices of the Disney Theatrical Group, above the New Amsterdam Theatre.

Broadway Stage Managers Sound Off About What They Do and How They Do It! It is 7:04pm on a Thursday. To the average audience member of THE COLOR PURPLE, the most important person waiting backstage is one of the above-the-title stars (Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Holliday or Danielle Brooks). But those in the industry know that, at this particular moment, the most important person is a woman sitting stage right in front of three monitors. That woman, with a headset on and binder in front of her, is Stage Manager Sharika Niles.

First 'Zion Curtain,' now 'Zion Ceiling' -- New Eccles Theater will have a first under quirky Utah liquor law

The Salt Lake Tribune: When the Eccles Theater opens in three weeks in downtown Salt Lake City, the state-of-the-art project will have one of the most unique dining features in the country — a "Zion Ceiling."

Like its well-known sibling, the "Zion Curtain," the ceiling will prevent patrons standing on the theater's sweeping balconies from seeing alcoholic drinks being mixed and poured inside the 40-seat restaurant in the Grand Lobb

12 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Love Event Planning They say Hollywood is glamorous and we often see celebrities walking the red carpet and attending events but how much do they actually get involved in the planning side?

Many celebrities merely have to turn up to events and they are paid for the privilege but that doesn’t stop some of them from wanting to get more involved and put on their own events.

Live Nation applies to have Radiohead stage collapse case thrown out

Toronto Star: More than four years after the Radiohead stage collapse at Downsview Park, one of the companies on trial for the deadly incident wants the case thrown out because the legal proceedings are taking too long.

'Trump-Emboldened,' 'Racist' Crowds Feed An Exodus At The Second City In Chicago

Chicagoist: At least four performers and three members of management have exited famed improv institution The Second City within the last several day—in part due to racist remarks made by audiences who feel bolstered by Donald Trump’s rhetoric, some involved parties said.

Former ETC player Peter Kim, 33, confirmed his departure with WBBM on Thursday.

“I really think [Trump] gave people carte blanche to act and behave hateful,” he told CBS Chicago.

Podcast: Technology’s Role in Inclusivity and Accessibility In The Arts

AMT Lab @ CMU: Art is for everyone. At least, it should be. Across the country, arts organizations are thinking more and more about what they can be doing to make sure their art and spaces are accessible for all types of people, including the physically and mentally disabled. Many of them are employing technology in order to do so. The use of audio guides, sensory friendly performances and beacons are increasingly becoming the norm in the arts. There are a select few arts institutions leading the way towards inclusivity, many of them led at some point by Danielle Linzer.

Yale Rep Celebrates Its 50th Amid Nostalgia (and a Few Worries)

The New York Times: Leave it to Robert Brustein, the outspoken founding director of Yale Repertory Theater, to raise tough questions at a celebration of the theater’s 50th anniversary this weekend.

Now 89, Mr. Brustein helped transform the university’s School of Drama from a graduate program turning out academics into a full-fledged professional school that, working in association with Yale Rep (as the theater is known), produced luminaries like the Oscar-winning actress Meryl Streep and the Tony Award-winning playwright Christopher Durang.

Our need for monsters is what drives First Folio's 'Dracula'

Chicago Tribune: Personal grief often serves as grist for the horror writer's literary mill. Consider Anne Rice, who created Claudia, the undead child companion to Lestat and Louis in "Interview with the Vampire," after the tragic death of her own daughter from leukemia. Edgar Allan Poe's litany of loss spawned many of his finest works, as David Rice's popular "The Madness of Edgar Allan Poe: A Love Story" at First Folio Theatre in Oak Brook has demonstrated in several past Halloween incarnations.

Joffrey brings back a stronger, starker 'Romeo & Juliet'

Chicago Tribune: What a difference a year and a half makes. A bitter presidential race has divided our country — or exposed its divisions — along clear lines in the starkest of terms. And clearly, even once the race is decided, those clashes and chasms will not disappear.

That fact gives Krzysztof Pastor's 2008 politically oriented "Romeo & Juliet" even more resonance — though, thankfully, we've had no open warfare of the sort he experienced during the Balkan war.

Theatrical Licensing By Day, Playwrighting By Night: A Discussion with David Kimple

Breaking Character: When he’s on the clock, David is busy helping theaters program their seasons, but out of the office, David is a playwright bent on reinventing comedy, exploring structure, and writing in commercial and non-conventional veins. We may be a little biased, but we think that David is a playwright on the rise and what’s more, we’re delighted to work with and represent him as a playwright.

Massive Rube Goldberg Machine to Trigger Chain Reaction Across America

The Creators Project: Fire cannons! Dominoes! Text messages! Gospel choirs! This weekend, watch as a nationwide Rube Goldberg machine—the biggest ever attempted—makes its way across the entire continent. Oh, and better yet? Pick up a wrench or a paint can, and you can make your own contribution.

Cancer and the Performing Arts

OnStage: For a long time, cancer was not something that you heard about very often. I don’t recall hearing about it or it being discussed when I was younger. Maybe it’s because I have grown up but I feel as though in the past ten years that word cancer really seems to have come to light. You hear more and more these days about people being diagnosed, people who never would have thought they would be the ones to hear “You have cancer.” We all know that cancer doesn’t discriminate. Any man, woman, or child could hear those words. Some are more at risk than others, but none the less, it seems all of us are vulnerable.

More improvised exits at Second City in management shake-up

Chicago Tribune: In a continued period of unprecedented volatility at the famed comedy theater, more senior staffers have made their exits from The Second City.

The high-profile departures, confirmed Friday morning by Andrew Alexander, the owner of the privately held company, include Erica Daniels, the president of Second City Theatricals, and Michael Gart, Second City's chief financial officer. Alexander said that David Quinn, who had been controller, is to be the new CFO.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

Here are the top five comment generating posts of the past week:

Is It Better To “Stay Your Lane” or Branch out Creatively?

99U: Marta Cerdá has a strong case of what the Germans call “wanderlust.” Her passport will reveal stops in, yes, Germany as well as New York, Los Angeles, and Barcelona. However, it is the 34-year-old graphic designer’s portfolio that does the most traveling.

A glance at her eclectic mix of projects is a map through place and time, transporting you to Mad Men-era America, to a roaring 20s ballroom, and then back to a modern day European experimental hip-hop concert. Range like that gets one noticed, and in 2008, The Art Director’s Club awarded her the prestigious Young Guns Award.

Live Action Mulan Will Have All-Asian Cast, Says Report

The Mary Sue: Following the report that Disney’s live action remake of Mulan would star a white male lead in the “white savior” cinematic trope, the studio has apparently promised that the remake would actually feature an all-Asian cast. According to Vulture, whose sources were responding to the open letter shared by the Angry Asian Man blog, the studio believes that “Mulan is and will always be the lead character in the story, and all primary roles, including the love interest, are Chinese.”

Playboy of the Western World at Carnegie Mellon Drama

Theater Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper: If there is a shibboleth for American actors — at least since Brando debuted on Broadway in the late 1940s — it’s been their ability to convey accents, as well as non-native language, in a convincing manner. Just listen to the desultory attempts to speak like a South Bostoner in the 2006 film The Departed.

Stage Play Based on Iconic Board Game CLUE to Bow in 2017; Hunter Foster to Direct BWW has learned that leading Broadway producing company The Araca Group and Hasbro Inc. today announced plans to bring the classic Hasbro game CLUE to the stage. The play marks the second live entertainment project announced between Araca and Hasbro, after the Broadway-bound musical adaptation of Monopoly announced earlier this year.

We’ve Seen the Future of Storytelling, and It's F@#%ing Awesome

The Creators Project: Storytelling used to be as simple as gathering around a campfire and spinning a yarn, but the advent of 21st-century tech has revolutionized the way we share stories. Over the weekend, the inaugural Future of StoryTelling Festival (FoST FEST, for short) made a case for culture in the digital age.

Friday, October 14, 2016

‘War Paint’ with Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole Set for Broadway

Variety: “War Paint,” the new musical about dueling titans of the cosmetic industry, has staked out a spot in the 2016-17 Broadway season, snagging the Nederlander Theater for an April opening.

The production, which tried out in Chicago over the summer, lands in New York with a formidable pedigree. It’s the latest project from “Wicked” producers David Stone and Marc Platt, and its Tony-winning stars, Patti LuPone (“Gypsy,” “Evita”) and Christine Ebersole (“Grey Gardens”), are two of the biggest musical-theater names out there.

How Chicago became world premiere capital

Crain's Chicago Business: Between now and Christmas, Chicago will host more than 30 world premiere plays. From major multimillion-dollar powerhouses to the postage-stamp off-off-off-Loop stages, the city is basically one big theatrical petri dish.

This year is an especially robust one, but every year hundreds of artists take to Chicago's stages in hopes of launching the next “Spamalot” or “August: Osage County.” The million-dollar question: What makes Chicago a magnet for unknown plays? The short answer is that money goes further here, audiences are more welcoming, critics are less powerful and the talent bench is deep.

Split Stage co-founder prefers edge

TribLIVE: Rob Jessup of Murrysville knows his way around a stage. He's a co-founder of Split Stage Productions, a local theater company committed to bringing edgy and innovative plays to the area. The New Jersey native was a theater performance major at Plymouth State College in New Hampshire and spent time on the New York City acting scene. A former corporate relations manager for the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre, he now works in sales, which itself is a kind of performance.

Emmy-Winning Production Designer René Lagler to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at 21st Annual Art Directors Guild Awards on February 11

 Below the Line: René Lagler, an Emmy award-winning production designer of more than 2,500 television shows and major events, will receive the Art Directors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award at the 21st Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards on Saturday, February 11, 2017 at a black-tie ceremony at the Ray Dolby Ballroom at Hollywood and Highland. The announcement was made today by Marcia Hinds, ADG council chair and ADG Awards co-producers Tom Wilkins and Tom Walsh.

Is It Better To “Stay Your Lane” or Branch out Creatively?

99U: Marta Cerdá has a strong case of what the Germans call “wanderlust.” Her passport will reveal stops in, yes, Germany as well as New York, Los Angeles, and Barcelona. However, it is the 34-year-old graphic designer’s portfolio that does the most traveling.

A glance at her eclectic mix of projects is a map through place and time, transporting you to Mad Men-era America, to a roaring 20s ballroom, and then back to a modern day European experimental hip-hop concert. Range like that gets one noticed, and in 2008, The Art Director’s Club awarded her the prestigious Young Guns Award.

Women and Men in Robert Falls’ 2666

HowlRound: Last season, Goodman Theatre’s artistic director Robert Falls, playwright-in-residence, Seth Bockley, and an award-winning creative team of designers, brought 2666 to Goodman’s stage in a spectacular production. After two years in development, and despite its unusual length (five hours, three intermissions) an absence of stars or traditional fanfare, the February-March run played to sold-out houses.

Report: Pay Discrepancy Between White, Non-White TV Stars

The Mary Sue: We talk a lot around here about the gender wage gap in Hollywood, and how women not only get fewer opportunities, but are paid less when they do. Well, Variety collected some data on the the salaries our biggest TV stars get per episode, and it’s glaringly obvious that, despite how well a show is doing or how much critical acclaim a performer has, white TV stars make more than non-white TV stars. By, like, a lot.

Dancer wears several hats at family-run Stage Right

TribLIVE: How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm after they've seen Point Park University?

Stage Right's Renata Marino says her journey from a Wisconsin dairy farm to the bright lights of the Palace Theatre and other area performing venues went through the Downtown Pittsburgh school. Now, she's an actor and choreographer and also a teacher at the Greensburg performing arts school and theater company she runs with her husband, Tony Marino, and Tony's sister, Chris Orosz.

Choking on Satire: Playwright Robert O’Hara Talks Barbecue at the Geffen

@ This Stage: Playwright and provocateur Robert O’Hara is known for his fearlessly subversive plays like Insurrection: Holding History and Bootycandy. His latest piece, Barbecue, is having its West Coast premiere at the Geffen Playhouse, directed by Coleman Domingo.

On the surface, Barbecue is a satire of a family planning an intervention for a drug-addled relative in a public park. But O’Hara has more on his mind than addiction. In a play that consistently defies expectations, family dysfunction, racial politics, and Hollywood celebrity all come under the scrutiny of the playwright and his lacerating wit.

hakespare Theatre Association 38 Reasons to Love Shakespeare news: The Shakespeare Theatre Association (STA) is releasing videos made exclusively for an international campaign titled 38 Reasons to Love Shakespeare. The videos are part of a yearlong celebration marking the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and the start of a legacy that reaches across cultures and creeds throughout civilization.

Carnival puppet helps mark Italian society's 100 years

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Dressed in green, white and red — the colors of the Italian flag — the 10-foot-tall carnival puppet known as “Miss. V.B.” watched over the hundreds who flocked to Stowe recently to celebrate the anniversary of a society formed by Italian immigrants there in 1916.

Known by a number of nicknames, including “Baby Doll,” “Honey,” “La poupée (the doll)” or even “Big Dummy,” the dancing mascot of the Villetta Barrea Society is known far beyond the membership of the private social club named after a town in Italy.

Miss V.B.’s dance card is quite full.

Intimate Apparel

Pittsburgh in the Round: There is a certain added poignancy felt when watching the marvelously, passionately staged work Intimate Apparel at the University of Pittsburgh Stages. Set in New York in 1905 and functioning as a quasi-autobiography of the playwright Lynn Nottage’s own grandmother’s story, Apparel tells the story of a young woman who makes the pilgrimage to America to work as a seamstress and pursue the sensationalized ideal of the American dream

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