CMU School of Drama

Friday, November 30, 2007

The play is on

The Enquirer: "Lakota school officials announced this morning that the high school production of “Ten Little Indians” will be performed. The play was originally scheduled to be performed this weekend. The school canceled the production after Gary Hines, a Lakota parent and president of the Butler County chapter of the NAACP, protested to school officials that the original 1939 title to Agatha Christie's classic murder mystery contained a racial slur against African Americans."

10 Minute Plays


Projects developed and rehearsed in Theatre Lab.

Monday, December 3, 2007
John Wells Studio Theatre

By Edgar Mendoza
Directed by Barrett Davis
Omar: Dustin Alvarado
Patrol Agent Escobar: Brendan Chambers

Snow in Harahan
By Chad Pentler
Directed by Josh Brewer
Jordan: Lindsey Kyler
Gregory: Liam Rhodes

The Puppet Master
By Julie Tosh
Directed by Jon Brence
Dramaturg: Alan Katz
Ned: Bob Lenzi
Marion: Tro Shaw

White Tree
By Ronnell Wheeler
Directed by Cobe Gordon
Dramaturg: Tim Israel
Noir: Larry Powell
Blanc: Ben Goldberg

NYC businesses go from frowns to smiles

Post Gazette: "After 19 days of a strike that darkened Broadway, the constellation of businesses that feed off the theater district are planning for an uplifting revival as shows reopen."

Broadway lights back on as box offices reopen

Post Gazette: "Broadway came back to life yesterday as stage-starved fans lined up in the cold for tickets and theaters reopened their doors following tentative settlement of a 19-day stagehands strike that took a big toll on the local economy."

Without a play, an empty theatre is just a building

Guardian Unlimited: "A proposed levy on tickets to invest public money in London's decaying West End theatres should really be spent on what goes on stage instead"

With Strike Over, Broadway Dogs Rehearse, Producers Discount Muse: "Retraining Chico the dog, the obedient Chihuahua who plays Bruiser in ``Legally Blonde,'' was just one of the challenges facing Broadway producers as they reopened shows last night following a 19-day strike."

Marketplace from American Public Media

AP Headlines: "Film and TV writers who've been on strike for nearly a month are mulling a new contract offer from Hollywood studios. Producers said the offer they presented Thursday, dubbed the 'New Economic Partnership,' would pay writers millions of dollars extra for work shown on the Internet, a central issue in negotiations."

Get the holiday spirit

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "With at least four productions and counting, Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' still reigns as the area's most frequently produced holiday theater production."

Students mix dance, theater experience in 'Seven Deadly Sins'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Students in TaMara Swank's Dance Concert class at Seton Hill University this fall knew they were expected to participate in a major dance performance at the end of the semester. What some of them didn't know was how much their theater experience would help them to exceed their professor's expectations."

Broadway, Restaged

New York Times: "The good news for Broadway-starved theatergoers is that because an end to the strike was anticipated this week, sales agents were prepared to act quickly to deal with increased demand, said Lee Silver, a spokesman for the Shubert Organization, which owns Telecharge. (Ticketmaster was already fully staffed, a spokeswoman said.)"

Polishing Sets and Lines, Broadway Comes Back

New York Times: "At “Chicago,” the cast had to do a run-through because the new leading man and two other stars joining the show — Vincent Pastore and Aida Turturro, of “The Sopranos” — had never rehearsed together."

Broadway gets its act together as strike ends

Reuters: "Broadway got back to business Thursday, a day after its stagehands ended the longest work stoppage on the Main Stem in more than 30 years."

ISO Set Builder/Stage Manager

Craigslist: "The Theatre Factory in Trafford is currently looking for stage managers and set builders for upcoming shows."

Broadway hurries back to work

Variety: "With the Broadway strike over as abruptly as it started, legiters scrambled to take the Rialto from zero to 60 after the work stoppage that darkened more than 25 productions for 19 days. And many expressed concerns that the Thanksgiving shutdown could potentially result in an unusually chilly January and February."

Among Chicago's Theaters, The House Is on Fire

NPR: "'Chicago theater.' The words fit together neatly, as they have ever since the first performance — tickets 75 cents — by the Isherwood and McKinzie Theatrical Company in 1837."

Stagehand Strike Ends; Broadway Back in Business

NPR: "Once the stagehands union strike was settled Wednesday night, the frazzled but happy casts and crews of the 27 shuttered Broadway shows went into high gear to reopen Thursday."

Stars Ready for Spotlight After 3 Workless Weeks

NPR: "Now that Broadway's stagehands have agreed to return, the show will, indeed, go on. But what about all of those actors who have not sung, danced or acted their way through a complete performance in nearly three weeks? Bob Saget, star of the Tony Award-winning musical The Drowsy Chaperone, talks with Melissa Block about how he spent his forced vacation and what he expects when he hits the stage Thursday night."

Broadway Strike Ends

VOA News: "Curtains are rising on Broadway again after a 19-day strike darkened most of the Great White Way. From VOA's New York Bureau, correspondent Barbara Schoetzau reports stagehands and producers reached a tentative agreement after three days of marathon negotiations."

Striking Hollywood Writers Reject New Offer From Studios

VOA News: "Negotiations between Hollywood studio executives and producers, and the union representing striking film and television writers are on hold after four days of talks."

The Striking Writers Speak!

TIME: "The last three weeks of picketing and chanting in Hollywood has had a certain period charm. As it turns out, writers dress a lot like steelworkers. When the writers and producers resume talks Nov. 26 to try to end a strike that has shut down hit shows like Grey's Anatomy and 30 Rock and big-budget movies like The Da Vinci Code sequel Angels & Demons, the major sticking point will be pay for work distributed via new media. Such a contemporary issue calls for updating strike techniques."


New York Post: "THE 19-day strike that shut down Broadway was costly - and inevitable. Given what both sides were after - the producers to remake the ancient economics of the theater; the union to safeguard its very existence - the stage was set long ago for a brutal collision."

Pittsburgh plans for 250th birthday

Yahoo! News: "Note to Pittsburghers: Take what you think you know about the Steel City, wad it up into a little black-and-gold ball and throw it away."

Filmmaker Romero teams with Pa. writer for horror anthology "The creator of 'Night of the Living Dead' will partner with a writer-actor from western Pennsylvania to film a horror anthology in Fayette County. Pittsburgh-based filmmaker George A. Romero is collaborating with Jeff Monahan to make 'George A. Romero Presents ... Deadtime Stories.'"

Pittsburgh's Carnegie museum unveils new interactive dino exhibit

The Canadian Press: "An Apatosaurus rears its head in anger, swinging its tail wildly, determined to prevent the predatory Allosaurus from attacking its baby. From behind, a second Allosaur bounds toward the scene, intent on helping his mate secure a snack. The scene, played out with enormous skeletons, colourful murals and recreated ecosystems, is part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History's new dinosaur exhibit, a 21st-century attempt to use pictures, fossils and high-tech interactive displays to present a snapshot of life 150 million years ago."

How to Boost Your Creative Output "Working productively can be broken down into several key skills: time management, organization and controlling your attention and energy. One of the often neglected but most important factors is your creative output. Successful people tend to have an unusually high creative output and I’d like to offer some tips for how you can boost yours."

Memorize Anything

Wired How To's: "For any type of memorization, it's important to realize that the human brain works very differently then external storage devices (slips of paper, a computer, etc). It recalls nearly exclusively by association. That's the bad news, it's very hard to recall a condensed sliver of information associated to nothing at all by rote."

The Search for My Ideal GTD App "Over the last few weeks, I’ve been looking for an online service to help me stay organized. My system at the moment is a patchwork of paper, desktop apps, and willpower that has worked well enough in the past but has begun to come apart at the seams as I take on a growing number of responsibilities. Since I work at several different locations, I need to be able to access a single source where I can access tasks, files, and reference information — from wherever I happen to be."

Rube Goldberg reality show casting call

Boing Boing: "The Discovery Channel is casting for a reality show called 'Super Rubes,' in which the contestants will build elaborate Rube Goldberg machines."

8 Things You Can Do to Get Work through Linkedin

FreelanceSwitch - The Freelance Blog: "As with any type of networking it’s all about having a wide circle of contacts, people recommending you and then making sure your network knows your available. Let’s take a look at some things you can do to help you find work through Linkedin."

How to Command Respect

Even Happier: "If you are not a “Natural Leader”, the good news is that a confident behavior can be learned: read the tips below and start immediately to practice those which feel ok with you. Results will soon follow..."

Archive Clean Break: Clear Out Your File Clutter as the Year Closes

Web Worker Daily: "We’re nearing the end of the year, and with the holiday season upon us, many web workers will be getting pretty busy. But with 2008 approaching, it might not be a bad idea to clean out the clutter in your paper and digital files, and start the year afresh and reinvigorated. So let’s take a look at some simple ways to clear through your pile of old files — in your file cabinet, on your computer, and online."

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Stage fights should stop pulling their punches

Guardian Unlimited: "Midway through Kwame Kwei-Armah's Statement of Regret at the National Theatre, one character slaps another. It is a jarring moment for two reasons. Firstly because, up until that point, the play has been so overstuffed with words, with differing points of view masquerading as characters, that this sudden physical act comes as a shock. And, secondly, because it is so obviously a Stage Slap - as Susannah Clapp pointed out in her Observer review, 'someone strains their sinews, lands a dainty pat on a cheek'."

We're Struck Dumb "The strikes by Broadway stagehands and Hollywood writers are cutting into our consumption of entertainment that doesn't require brain activity. In a complicated, multilayered world, we need simplistic, linear storytelling, jokes that call out for a rimshot and one-liners that require no sense of irony or familiarity with world events. There is a place for silliness that splashes across the surface and provides easy, painless amusement. And there is something cozy and reassuring about entertainment that can be summed up in a tiny, simple word: fun."

The Elixir of Love is wine

The Tartan Online: "Gaetano Donizetti’s 1832 opera The Elixir of Love opened last week at the Benedum Center in a performance by the Pittsburgh Opera. Donizetti’s opera follows a lower-class man named Nemorino and his attempts to woo the educated Adina. Nemorino suffers an initial setback when soldiers come through town; the sergeant Belcore proposes to Adina and, despite his egotism, she accepts."

Translator of the universal and the local

The Japan Times Online: "Despite being hardly known here — and his work being full of quirky Irish humor and jargon — in one bound McDonagh assumed star status in Japan's theater world. A key figure in his ascension here has been 42-year-old translator Jo Meguro. With her translation of 'The Beauty Queen of Leenane' set to open in Tokyo next week, Meguro recently took time out to speak with The Japan Times."

Flipping screens

The Japan Times Online:

"If you've never heard of the form of Japanese puppet theater called dogugaeshi, you are in good company: The ancient tradition remains an obscurity even to puppet enthusiasts in the know. But American puppeteer Basil Twist is about to change all that with 'Dogugaeshi,' his production currently on tour in Japan."

Always looking for the Python side of theatre

Sydney Morning Hearald: "WHEN a television journalist asked Eric Idle to perform an impromptu rendition of Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life at a press call in Sydney yesterday, he was happy to oblige. 'I don't mind singing it,' he said. 'But turning on a sudden performance is difficult.'"

Aggregated Local#1 Settlement News

Google News

Broadway's 'Little Women' Gets IL Marriott Run with 'Wicked''s Kettenring

Yahoo! News: "Chicago mainstay Paula Scrofano is Marmee, watching over her brood of daughters - including Chicago Wicked alumna Heidi Kettenring as Jo March - in Civil War-era Massachusetts. The staging in Lincolnshire, IL, is directed by Joe Leonardo, with musical direction by Doug Peck."

Curtain rises for on-demand opera

Yahoo! News: "The Metropolitan Opera and In Demand Networks have inked a deal to bring all eight new performances from the Met's second season of 'Metropolitan Opera: Live in High Definition' to on-demand subscribers in the U.S."

East stage preview: Ralphie comes to Stage Right in 'Christmas Story'

Post Gazette: "The holidays are a time to enjoy traditions, new and old. And the 1983 film 'A Christmas Story' has become a contemporary classic to many who have watched it during its televised Christmas Eve marathons. The Stage Right Family and Youth Theatre production of 'A Christmas Story,' which will open tomorrow at the Westmoreland Mall Annex, may become its own holiday tradition. This stage adaptation is in its second year."

East stage preview: 'Charlie Brown' tackles ageless issues

Post Gazette: "In Charles Schulz's popular comic strip 'Peanuts,' the characters are supposed to be 5- and 6-year-old children. But their concerns -- such as popularity, love and the meaning of life -- are ageless. Ben Greenstone, who is directing 'You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown,' said this universal quality is what has kept the strip around for almost 50 years -- and the quality that gives this musical, which will open tomorrow at the Theatre Factory in Trafford, the ring of truth."

Stage Review: 'The Chicken Snake' is a comedy of strident dysfunction

Post Gazette: "Maybe everybody thinks they have a dysfunctional family in one way or another. The family, though, in Amy Hartman's 'The Chicken Snake,' now in its world premiere at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, gives even the most outrageous of soap opera clans a run for their money."

Stage Review: 'Bridge's' vagueness, pace make critic want to jump

Post Gazette: "The poet Ric Masten once wrote, whether as fact or myth, that all those committing suicide on the Golden Gate Bridge have jumped not out toward the ocean but back toward the city. The implication is that suicide is a cry for attention and a leap back toward the very life that it denies. Maybe that's what drives Ken, Tobias, Phera and Gretchen in Matt Smith's new play, 'Bridge Club,' being given its premiere by Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre. The four keep gathering on the bridge that is apparently the site of their past or future suicides."

Broadway stagehand strike ends

Los Angeles Times: "A crippling strike that had shut down most Broadway shows in the heart of the holiday season ended late Wednesday night as striking stagehands finally hammered out a new contract with theater owners and producers. The strike, which had entered its 19th day and drained millions of dollars in revenue from the theater district, was settled after a 12-hour bargaining session that had begun Wednesday morning between the League of American Theaters and Producers and members of Local 1, representing about 3,000 stagehands."

Stagehands, theater producers reach deal

Yahoo! News: "Broadway stagehands and theater producers reached a tentative agreement Wednesday night to end a strike and almost immediately return to the stage most of the two dozen plays and musicals that have been shut down for more than two weeks."

Why Doesn't London Have Theater Strikes?

The New York Sun: "What's different in London? At least some stagehands there have more job security: As the assistant general secretary of the Broadcasting Entertainment Cinematograph and Theatre Union (the British stagehands' union), Willy Donaghy, explained, each West End theater is required to permanently employ at least four stagehands. They then hire additional stagehands for the load-in and run of a show."

In the Theater District, Merchants and Fans Are Eager for Reopening Night

New York Times: "“We’re very excited, because now everything can get back to normal,” said Carlos Ribeiro, the owner of Brazil Brazil on West 46th Street — Restaurant Row. The restaurant’s night trade had plummeted 85 percent during the strike, he said. The lack of business was painfully evident last night, with only two patrons sitting in the 30-table restaurant."

Strike Settled, Broadway Races to Reopen Shows

New York Times: "The Broadway theater district buzzed today as producers, actors, musicians and workers prepared to revive a show season interrupted by a 19-day strike by stagehands. A spokeswoman for the League of American Theaters and Producers said all the shows that had been idled by the walkout would have performances this evening."

NYC Mayor Bloomberg Glad Broadway is Back in Business

Playbill News: "New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was elated by the news of the agreement that will raise the curtains of Broadway theatres — and thus open the doors to business and tourism in the theatre district."

Hello, Broadway! All Shows Will Be Back in Business Nov. 29

Playbill News: "It's so nice to have you back where you belong, Broadway. For the first time in 19 days, all Broadway shows will be on tonight."

It's Over! Labor Dispute Resolved as Stagehands Strike Ends

Playbill News: "The strike initiated by Local One, the stagehands union, on Nov. 10 has come to an end. A tenative agreement was reached between the League of American Theatres and Producers and the union Nov. 28, the 19th day of the strike."

Broadway back in business tonight

Variety: "Broadway's back. The two sides of the labor dispute that has darkened the Rialto for nearly three weeks announced late Wednesday that a tentative deal had been struck. All shuttered shows are on track to resume performances this evening."

Production Assistants Needed For Reality Television Production Company

Craigslist: "PINK SNEAKERS PRODUCTIONS is looking for qualified, talented, and experienced production assistants for a project based in Hunker and Smithton Pennsylvania."

Shows to resume on Broadway; strike ends

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Curtain up. Broadway raced to reopen for business today after stagehands and theater producers reached a tentative agreement, ending a crippling strike that kept more than two dozen shows dark for 19 days."

'Fable Operas' will hit high note with kids

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "A night at the opera isn't just for the grown ups anymore. In fact, the Greensburg American Opera is set to open a show that is geared for children of all ages."

Theatre Factory brings 'Charlie Brown' to the stage

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Adam Pribila of Churchill grew up surrounded by images of Charles Schulz's lovable Peanuts characters in his home, but he didn't know he would grow up to play one of them onstage."

Stage Right brings 'A Christmas Story' to stage

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'A Christmas Story' is one of those traditions -- like eggnog and candy canes -- that must be enjoyed at least once during the holiday season."

Get the holiday spirit

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "With at least four productions and counting, Charles Dickens' 'A Christmas Carol' still reigns as the area's most frequently produced holiday theater production."

Move your desktop folders to the wall


"Why leave your desktop on your computer? If you like it that much, display it on your wall as well. Not only would you have the folders, but the labels and the pointer as well."

Thank you sir, may I have another?

The Humble Nailbanger: "What, historically, have unions done in this country? You have unions to thank for the following: Eight-Hour Workday Five-Day Workweek Health Insurance Good Pensions Paid Sick Leave Fair Treatment for Women, People of Color and Workers with Disabilities Livable Wages Overtime Pay Job Safety Paid Holidays Job Security Severance Pay Paid Vacations Family and Medical Leave Now, is this pro-union propaganda?"

Curse of The “D” Word

Design Observer: "Do you make things look nice? Do you spend more time worrying about nuance and aesthetics than substance and meaning? Do you fiddle with style while ignoring the big picture? If your answers are yes, yes, or yes, then you are a decorator."

Merlin Mann's productivity talk at IDEO

Boing Boing: "Productivity guy Merlin Mann did a great presentation for IDEO, a great design shop. He talks about how to regulate the technological systems in your life, and how to get the people around you to play along."

Don’t Want to Shell Out for MS Office? Get a Free Alternative «

Web Worker Daily: "Among free productivity application suites that can save you from shelling out money for Microsoft’s Office suite, GoogleDocs and OpenOffice tend to get all the attention. Lately, though, I’ve been experimenting with some alternatives, and they’re more than good enough to use in place of Microsoft’s applications. ThinkFree Office, in particular, is worth a look."

The Actors’ Equity union debunks myths about stagehands

The Humble Nailbanger: "As anyone reading this site since the strike began knows, one of the hardest parts of this whole thing, for me, has been seeing how badly we’re being kicked around in the press. Never mind that stagehands dedicate their lives to putting on productions and making millions for the people who are now kicking us in the teeth, but to be badmouthed and trashed besides? That little extra poke really hurts. Thankfully, the Actors’ Equity has been passing out the following sheet, which they have assembled and which I’ve taken the liberty of publishing here"

3-D Printers Redefine Industrial Design

Wired: "When it came time for Joe Hebenstreit to buy a wedding ring for his wife-to-be, he stuck with what he knew. That didn't involve going to the neighborhood jewelry store or venturing into a Tiffany's. Instead, Hebenstreit simply designed the ring in CAD by himself and then printed out a three-dimensional prototype using a 3-D printer."

Students: Organize Your Class Schedule with CollegeRuled

Lifehacker: "Easily build your upcoming spring semester student schedules—complete with courses, lab work, and extracurricular activities—with webapp CollegeRuled."

Study Tip: Why Aiming for A is Better Than A+ "Is it better to get an A or an A+? Most people instinctively react with an A+. As I’d like to show in this article, that isn’t always the case. Being perfect can cost far more than good enough. Also, as I’d like to demonstrate, the habits that might get you an A+ might also leave you with a B or C if you fail to optimize."

The Now Habit

Litemind: "I don’t have much to say about The Now Habit other than it’s one of the most useful books I’ve ever read. Since its publication back in 1988, it has become well-known among chronic procrastinators looking for ways to overcome this crippling condition, and for very good reasons."

2007 banner year for zoo

Post Gazette: "Sometime within the next two weeks, a visitor to the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium is going to get an exuberant welcome from zoo officials armed with a big collection of gifts. That's because for the first time in the 109-year history of the zoo, the Highland Park facility will welcome more than 1 million visitors in a single year."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Student dies in accident at Yale Rep

Yale Daily News: "Salim, who was 26, was helping to remove several large sheets of particleboard from the back of a tractor-trailer truck when the truck’s load shifted, said Robert W. Kowalski, area director for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. The sheets of particleboard, which were propped up against one wall of the trailer, fell on Salim and pinned him against the other wall of the truck, Kowalski said."

Labor Dept. investigates Salim death

Yale Daily News: "An Occupational Safety and Health Administration report to be released next month will name several safety lapses that may have contributed to the death of a Yale School of Drama student in an accident at the Yale Repertory Theatre last week, an OSHA official said Monday. The pending report has prompted questions about the University’s culpability in the student’s death."

Stagehands, Producers Face Fourth Day of Strike Talks (Update3) Muse: "Stagehands and producers are meeting in New York for the fourth straight day to try to end a strike that has led to the cancellation of more than 500 performances."

Broadway Producers, Stagehands Battle Over Mops: Jeremy Gerard Muse: "Both sides acknowledge that progress on key issues has been made in previous sessions. Apparently, the final point of contention is a mop, which makes a perfect kind of sense: Broadway musicals cost north of $15 million to mount these days. But the 350 stagehands responsible for installing these complex behemoths and running them safely while maintaining the illusion of stage magic are planting a mop like a flag in battle."

Sides Still Talking, Writers Still Walking

Backstage: "Day Two of a planned three-day stretch of double-secret contract talks between the WGA and studio reps seemed to go well enough Tuesday, with parties yakking all day and agreeing to do it again in the morning."

Broadway negotiations set to resume today

Post Gazette: "No, negotiations between striking Broadway stagehands and theater producers have not run as long as 'Cats.' It only seems that way."

Enter a greener limelight

The Australian: "The Malthouse has just launched its Greenlight Project, a combination of redesign, reduction in waste and a carbon offset scheme. An audit by RMIT students in the school of global studies, social science and planning found that the theatre generated 600 tonnes of carbon annually, equivalent to 2200 medium-sized cars. 'Sixty per cent of that is from theatre lights, they're the killer, and air-conditioning is whopping too,' Kantor says. The convention is to keep the theatre at a constant 21C: he would like to see a greater audience tolerance for a wider band of temperature, between 18C and 25c. Lights generate a lot of heat. Lower wattage Source 4 lanterns are two to three times more efficient, and Kantor is waiting on a source of funding for them."

Broadway talks to resume

Variety: "Neither side is disclosing the results of negotiations so far, but sources say crucial questions regarding load-in (the period during which stagehands install scenery on new shows) have been resolved. However, sticking points in the dispute over stagehands' compensation remain."

Daniels named a.d. at Intiman

Variety: "Sheila Daniels has been named associate director of Seattle's Intiman Theater, to work alongside artistic director Bartlett Sher. Daniels has held leadership posts at several of the city's most fertile fringe outfits, including Theater Schmeater and Capitol Hill Arts Center."

Day 19: League and Union Resume Negotiations Nov. 28

Playbill News: "The latest round of negotiations between the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands union, resumed Nov. 28 at 10 AM in Manhattan. The strike, initiated by the union on Nov. 10, is now in its 19th day."

Striking stagehands 'very close' to Broadway deal

NY Daily News: "Producers and stagehands are 'very close' to signing a contract to end the 18-day Broadway strike Wednesday, sources told the Daily News. If a deal is reached, the curtains could rise on more than two dozen shuttered shows by Thursday night. 'We're very close,' said a source involved in the talks."

The Bridge Club

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "George S. Kaufman said that, once he retired, he and Noel Coward would attend every opening on Broadway, and walking up the aisle would turn to the worried, pacing producers and say: 'It needs work.'"


Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "Be warned: Jeffrey Hatcher has been plotting to shake you up. With laughter. His scheme is introducing you to three very likable people. Nice people. Good people. Murderers, however."

The Chicken Snake

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "If we've learned anything from Kevin Smith, Garden State and the Toxic Avenger, it's that New Jersey is a weird place: quirky people, surreal coincidences, lots of strip malls and bad hair. In fiction, New Jersey is where America dumps all its well-meaning freaks and their hokey pastimes. Now we can add The Chicken Snake, a world premiere by Amy Hartman and performed by the Playhouse REP, to the canon of bizarre Jersey dramas. How bizarre? The play opens in June, and there's a blizzard outside. And a stabbed clown is sprawled in a truck. And a magician is smoking dope in his easy chair, talking to the apparition of his dying wife. Stuff like that."

What are playwrights waiting for?

Los Angeles Times: "Whichever side you come down on -- the stagehands or the theater owners and producers -- the background issues underlying the Broadway shutdown are rife across America. No, most of us aren't busy negotiating the Byzantine hiring regulations for loading in the set of a new musical. But all of us can relate to the fierce struggle wrought by an economy that has transformed housing and healthcare (forget dentistry altogether) into luxuries, given us job security on a wing and a prayer and forced upon businesses a risk-reward ratio that most professional gamblers would smirkingly walk away from."

How Instant Messaging Can Make You More Productive «

Web Worker Daily: "Web Worker Daily writer Leo Babauta suggested recently that the best way to be productive with instant messaging may be just not to use it. Yet many web workers find that instead of decreasing their productivity, instant messaging enhances it. Researchers R. Kelly Garrett and James N. Danziger argue that far from making interruptions more frequent and disruptive, IM can be used to manage interruptions"

The ultimate guide to advanced searching within Yahoo, Google and MSN operators

Hybridsem: "Search Engines. You got to love ‘em! The time they save us from having to search through various books, magazines, newspapers, media guides, etc. They have blessed us with more time to be lethargic and lazy in front of our flat screen computer monitors, but that’s another post all in itself. Have you ever taken the time to think about a Search Engine’s Query? Is there an easy way to monitor links to your site through these queries? How advanced can “searching” really get? Within this post I will show how Google, Yahoo and MSN have created “shortcuts” for their Search Engines."

the world’s highest fountain


"the pumps which power king fahd’s fountain in jeddah, saudi arabia, are so powerful that the water plume produced is taller than the eiffel tower"

Becoming Self-Taught "Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics I’ve picked up outside of any formal education."

Don’t let your “hot buttons” spoil your chances "Everyone has “hot buttons.” They’re your tender spots, the places where you’re most sensitive, the points where you get irritated, or hurt, or angry, and have to respond. The trick to preventing them from messing up your day is awareness: The more aware you are of what rattles the bars of your cage, the more you’ll be able to catch yourself before you do any damage. If you don’t, you’ll be doing cold turkey for a while as you try to recover from some bad mistakes."

Small change in direction…

Free-Range Drama Farm: "You may have noticed that in the last few hours, references to the pilot program all over the website have been changing from 2008 to 2009. Bet you’re wondering why that is, huh? Well, just as we were gearing up to get the pilot program up and running for the summer of 2008, a great opportunity came our way, and we just couldn’t pass it up."

Every Workday Needs a Game Plan

New York Times: "You just finished an eight-hour day at the office and, looking back, you barely got anything done. Now you feel guilty and worthless. What happened?"

Why Best Week Ever and The Soup are still on the air

White Board Markers: "In the past few days a bunch of people have come here to find out why The Soup and Best Week Ever are still on the air during the strike. I posted that query here and got some good answers, but nothing definitive. The question was still bugging the hell out of me. Because we'd established that they were nonsig shows, but I know BWE ever has union members on its staff. How does that work?"

30 Interview Questions You Can’t Ask and 30 Sneaky, Legal Alternatives to Get the Same Info

The Best Article Every day: "In every job interview, the goal is to obtain important information while building a friendly rapport with the candidate. But some questions are just a little too friendly. Protect yourself and your company from legal trouble and embarassment by avoiding the wrong questions while still getting to the root of the concern behind the question. Read on for 30 ways to turn litigious questions into harmless, legal alternatives."

How to Shave Ten Hours Off Your Work Week

From Where I Sit: "But what if you could shave ten hours off your work week? In my opinion, that is much more do-able. Virtually anyone, with a little thought and effort can do it. Here’s how"

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Broadway Strike Negotiations Set to Resume Wednesday (Update5) Muse: "Claffey has publicly opposed changes in the contract that would reduce the number of jobs on Broadway, unless his members receive something equal in return. The producers' top goal has been to renegotiate what they say are arcane work rules and staffing requirements that force them to hire more men and for longer periods than they need."

Details scarce, but WGA, AMPTP will meet again

Hollywood Reporter: "The simple fact that the guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers were talking again seemed to spur optimism that a settlement to the months-long contract impasse might be in the offing, and it appeared additionally auspicious that the parties scheduled three consecutive days of negotiations for the first time. Previously, they had scheduled only one session at a time, and at least one veteran negotiator suggested the three-day move signaled significant negotiating traction."

Two Stuntmen Burned on Sandler Movie Set

Backstage: "The injuries occurred during the filming of a scene for 'You Don't Mess with the Zohan,' said Steve Elzer, a spokesman for Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, which is distributing the movie."

WGA Strike Talks to Resume Tuesday

Backstage: "The first day of talks since movie and TV writers went on strike produced no public updates or word if any progress was made — but it did trigger a promise to meet again."

Broadway Strike Talks End -- Again

Backstage: "Renewed efforts to end the work stoppage came at the end of the Thanksgiving holiday week, usually one of the best times of the year for Broadway. Not so this year, with most of Broadway, including such big hits as 'Wicked,' 'Jersey Boys,' 'The Lion King,' 'Mamma Mia!' and 'The Phantom of the Opera,' shut down since the stagehands walked out Nov. 10."

Stagehands, producers to continue negotiations

Post Gazette: "Striking Broadway stagehands and theater producers were to return last night to the bargaining table, 12 hours after ending a marathon negotiating session aimed at settling a labor dispute that has kept most of Broadway dark for more than two weeks."

Stage Review: Pleasant 'Murderers' just doesn't feel real

Post Gazette: "It sounds like a sure-fire recipe for the theatrical fun we like to indulge in during the holiday season, or any season -- a clutch of literate murder mysteries by witty Jeffrey Hatcher."

New York State Theater - New York City Opera - New York City Ballet - Lincoln Center

New York Times: "Nearly a year after the New York City Opera gave up on the idea of leaving Lincoln Center to build its own home, the opera and the New York City Ballet have agreed on making changes to the New York State Theater, which they share at the center. The changes include a modular acoustical system that can be moved in for the opera and out for the ballet."

Strike takes bite of Broadway

Variety: "The strike may have taken a major bite out of Broadway's traditionally rich Thanksgiving banquet, but the handful of musicals not affected by the work stoppage mopped up serious gravy."

Broadway talks end without deal

Variety: "All that optimism on Monday might just have been leftover holiday cheer. Talks between stagehands and producers to end the 18-day-old strike that has darkened the majority of Broadway theaters have again ended without a resolution."

Broadway Talks to Resume After Break

New York Times: "But in a sign that this stoppage might have been more of a break than a breakdown, the League of American Theaters and Producers announced that it was canceling performances only through Wednesday’s matinees. Two weekends ago, when the talks fell apart, the league canceled all of Thanksgiving week."

Grinch Will Play Entire Run; Jujamcyns Drop Appeal

Playbill News: "Variety reports that Jujamcyn Theaters has dropped its appeal of Judge Helen E. Freedman's injunction, which allowed the show to resume performances Nov. 25."

Day 18: Negotiations Break Down Between League and Union; Talks Will Resume After "Rain Delay"

Playbill News: "Negotiations between the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands union, broke down prior to 8 AM Nov. 27, the 18th day of the strike. Talks, however, will resume Nov. 28."

Broadway strike continues but new talks set

Reuters: "Striking Broadway stagehands and representatives of the producers and theaters negotiated through a second straight night without a settlement but agreed to meet for new talks, producers said on Tuesday."

When Do You Finally Climb Down from the Ladder?

Stage-directions: "But I came to a dark realization one day — to paraphrase Dazed and Confused — I got older, but my techs stayed the same age. As my body began to give me hints that my time working at height was drawing to a close, I had to come to terms with the fact that I would have to resign myself to the office or to what I used to refer to as “stupid-vising” my crews. It taught me a couple of important lessons, though, on how to manage a crew instead of simply work among them."

unlawful secondary boycott

News: Show Business Weekly: "The owner of nine of the 27 Broadway theaters affected by the stagehands’ strike has filed a lawsuit against Local One of the stagehands union. The Nederlander Organization, which is one of the largest operators of live theater in the world, is seeking $35 million in damages resulting from the loss of business caused by the strike, The New York Times reported last week."

STRIKE UPDATE: Negotiations Break Off Without a Deal "Negotiations between Local One of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees (IATSE), the union for Broadway stagehands, and the League of American Theatres and Producers, broke off this morning without a deal."

The Week in Tools: Toolmonger Top 5

Toolmonger: "Last week was a busy week here at Toolmonger. If you’ve been spending time in the shop — you should! — and you haven’t had a chance to keep up with Toolmonger this week, we suggest you start with these posts, which our readers helped to select"

How Not to Use PowerPoint

From Where I Sit: "If you use PowerPoint (or Apple Keynote) to make your presentations, this is well-worth a careful look. If you want even more help, I recommend two sites. The first is Presentation Zen. This is Garr Reynold’s site and one of my personal favorites. He doesn’t post that often, but it is always worth the wait. He also has a book by the same title coming out in January. I can’t wait to get my hands on it and have already pre-ordered it."

City peers to future for 250th birthday

Post Gazette: "Pittsburgh's commemoration of its 250th birthday will be more than a celebration of the region's past. 'It's also given us a deadline to get things done for the future,' said James Rohr, one of the event's chief organizers."

Five Word Processing Gems–Free and Nearly So «

Web Worker Daily: "Sure, Microsoft Word and Pages are rich applications that can handle very complex documents, and GoogleDocs is widely used and liked, but sometimes word processing needs are specialized. Do you frequently hop in and out of a text editor such as WordPad? Do you write blog posts directly within a blogging application? Do you fret over shelling out lots of money for desktop publishing software? It’s very likely that you can improve on all these ideas for free, or very nearly so. In this post, I’ll round up five top-notch word processing tools, most of which are completely free."

How to Study Less by Learning Things Once "You read over your notes. Then you read them over again. Then you read them over a third time. Then you take the test and are surprised at just how much you missed. Despite reading everything three times! A lot of study time is wasted because of one problem: you fail to learn things the first time around."

Three Free–and Nearly Free–Ways to Take the Sting Out of Meetings «

Web Worker Daily: "Meetings, meetings, phooey. Even if you’ve already taken some of the sting out of meetings by using a good online meeting tool, you can take more sting out of them with free and nearly free tools for keeping your get-togethers efficient. In this post, I’ll round up three of my favorites."

How to Email a Stranger "your first order of business is to give them something to gain, a reason to put themselves out for you. And you need to gain their confidence that their input is not going to be wasted or misrepresented. In short, you have to sell yourself and your project."

17 Tips to Be Productive with Instant Messaging «

Web Worker Daily: "The best way to be productive with instant messaging (or chat)? Don’t do it. Seriously, IM can take up your entire day if you let it. Those who stay away from it can get a lot more done. However, if done right, IM can be a great tool for connecting with others, networking, getting things done quickly, and being productive. I’ve been experimenting with different methods recently, and I’d like to share some of the best tips."

Blowing Up Stuff: New Frontier Hotel Imploded Before Your Eyes, Now a Nondescript Pile of Rubble

Gizmodo: "If you want to see a building imploded with 1000 pounds of high explosives, Las Vegas was the place to be early yesterday morning.

New Frontier Demolition! - video powered by Metacafe

That's when demolition experts finally got rid of the 16-story New Frontier Hotel in grand style, as only Las Vegas would be sleazy enough to do. Anyway, we never get tired of seeing them bring down the big buildings, but found all the fireworks just distracting. Just blow the thing up already."

Clearly Channeling a lot of crap.

One NYC StageHand: "'Five years ago, the media conglomerate Clear Channel bought the company and tried to make a profitable business more profitable. They offered buyouts that cut the 48 employees in Local 391 of the sign workers in half. But that wasn't enough."

Monday, November 26, 2007

Poetry for the Season

Conservatory Hour

Today, Monday November 26, 2007



Men: Rm. 307, Design Studio II
Women: Checco Studio A

Sparring Scribes, Studios Back in the Ring

Backstage: "Industryites scoring this latest round of negotiations between the Writers Guild of America and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers hope the parties keep things sporting and avoid the bloody spectacle of 17 previous bargaining sessions. But things will swing on two key questions"

Broadway Talks Resume, But Not Shows

Backstage: "Broadway theatre owners and producers and striking stagehands talked late into the evening Sunday night and gave no indication of whether the work stoppage that has crippled the Main Stem for the past 16 days will end soon or continue to eat away at the traditionally fat holiday season."

Broadway Talks to Take 12-Hour Break

Backstage: "Striking Broadway stagehands and theater producers agreed early Monday to a 12-hour break in negotiations aimed at reopening darkened theaters."

Depp in play as strike delays two films

Yahoo! News: "Johnny Depp is the latest A-list actor to fall victim to the WGA strike. The actor was scheduled to film 'Shantaram' -- Warner Bros. and Initial Entertainment Group's adaptation of the Gregory David Roberts novel -- in the winter, but that project has now been postponed."

Stage Review: 'This Wonderful Life' a friendly retelling

Post Gazette: "A one-man version of 'It's a Wonderful Life' is an unusual, even dubious premise for a show. But that's not exactly what actor Mark Setlock delivers in 'This Wonderful Life.' More precisely, the dramatic action of this seasonal attraction at the Public Theater is that of an excited and loving description of a beloved movie, delivered by a new best friend who lapses naturally into impersonation as he goes."

Alan Ayckbourn: the joker

Telegraph: "From the bow window of his drawing-room, more a belvedere of curved glass, Sir Alan Ayckbourn can contemplate the North Sea. It's the reason he moved his bed here, while convalescing after his stroke last year. Well, not his bed - a hydraulic one on loan from the hospital. The playwright adopts a comedy Yorkshire accent as he recalls the words of the orderly who came to take the bed away: 'I see you're standing then. Normally when I come to collect these it's because the patient is dead.'"

The Price of the Ticket

OpinionJournal - Leisure & Arts: "Speaking as one of the simple, fallible New York critics Mr. Brook had in mind, I feel obliged to ask: Is Broadway really twice as good today as it was in 1968?"

In Zimbabwe, theater critics have the power to prosecute "They performed their political satire, 'The Final Push,' 12 times in two days at the station, while police and officers from the feared Central Intelligence Organization argued over what charges to press against the actors and fired questions about who had funded the show."

Questions for Dim Bulbs Keeping Broadway Dark: Jeremy Gerard Muse: "Thanks to a judge, I now have ``The Grinch'' added to my entertainment options this weekend, here in the cultural capital of the world. It seems incredible that rumbling gangs of stagehands (the Jets) and producers (the Sharks) have blundered into the dumbest strike in decades. I have some questions for these street-fighting characters dithering while Broadway burns"

Broadway Producers, Stagehands Adjourn Strike Talks (Update2) Muse: "The two sides met at the New York headquarters of Proskauer Rose LLP, the law firm that represents the League of American Theatres and Producers. Proskauer shares a Times Square tower with Morgan Stanley and is caddy corner to the Walter Kerr Theatre, home of the one-man show ``A Bronx Tale.'' It's one of 26 productions shuttered by the strike."

Broadway Talks to Take 12-Hour Break

ABC News: "The two sides are trying to resolve a thorny labor dispute that threatens a third week of mounting box-office losses. More than two dozen plays and musicals have been closed since Nov. 10, when the stagehands walked off the job."

Talks Adjourned in Broadway Strike

New York Times: "Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for the union, said: “We are closer than we were twelve hours ago but not close enough to have a deal.”"

Day 17: Talks Adjourn, But Negotiations Will Resume Evening of Nov. 26

Playbill News: "After a marathon day of negotiations — which began the morning of Nov. 25 and continued through 6:30 AM Nov. 26 — talks between the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands union, have adjourned for 12 hours. The two sides will resume negotiating later this evening."

Broadway talks go all night; strike continues

Reuters: "Broadway theaters and the striking stagehands union negotiated all night and into Monday morning to try to end a 16-day strike that has darkened most of Broadway, and a new round of talks was set for later on Monday."

Indie Feature Needs Crew.

Craigslist: "Indie Feature being filmed in and around Squirrel Hill. Crew needed for light, sound, and PA positions."

A dramatic new approach to the theatrical docudrama

Seattle Times Newspaper: "Scottish military veterans recall the pride of their fabled regiment and their fateful, disillusioning service in Iraq. New Yorkers reflect on the disappearance of valued objects and the loss of cherished loved ones. These are shorthand descriptions of two unusual New York hit shows. One is 'Black Watch,' an exhilarating import from the National Theatre of Scotland, which just finished a run at St. Ann's Warehouse, a Brooklyn theater venue."

Plays are big in N.Y.... or were, rather

Seattle Times Newspaper: "THIS FALL, instead of new musicals hogging most of the limelight as they usually do, mega-musicals are scarce. And, for a change, modern and classical plays are dominating New York theater — on and Off Broadway."

Draft Guidance Document for Followspot Positions Available For Review

LiveDesign: "BSR E1.28, Guidance on planning followspot positions in places of public assembly, is available for public review on the ESTA website through January 14, 2008. The document offers advice on planning practical permanent followspot positions in theatres and arenas."

Humor in Depravity "It's tough enough getting local audiences to come to one theatrical event. But 10? And all within a three-week period? And all in some way 'experimental'? You have to label Ernest Hemmings, the organizer of the fifth annual Samuel Beckett Festival, as either smart visionary or deluxe nuts."

Young Frankenstein

Word of Mouth Reviews: "After The Producers nabbed the most Tony Awards in theater history, Mel Brooks is at it again with a Broadway version of his famous 1974 movie, Young Frankenstein. This extravaganza brings together Tony winners Roger Bart, Sutton Foster, Andrea Martin and Shuler Hensley, with Emmy winner Megan Mullally and director/choreographer Susan Stroman to create a truly monster-sized musical. We sent three of our Word of Mouth panelists to see what's up over at the Hilton Theatre. So, what did they think? Find out now!"

The Radio City Christmas Spectacular

Word of Mouth Reviews: "There's all-new excitement in this year's Radio City Christmas Spectacular. All of the moments you remember and love are there—(The Rockettes! Santa! The Living Nativity!)—plus a new opening number and freshly updated sets and costumes. We figured that there's never been a better time to send our Word of Mouth panelists to check in, so they did! Now watch and find out what they thought of this New York City holiday tradition."

Sunday, November 25, 2007

East stage preview: Group interprets Dickens' Christmas classic for families

Post Gazette: "Charles Dickens' beloved holiday ghost story seems to be everywhere this time of year. But the musical production of 'A Christmas Carol' that will be playing at the Palace Theatre, Greensburg, at 10 a.m. Friday is especially for families with young children."

In the Wings: Changes at City Theatre

Post Gazette: "Kellee Van Aken is leaving City Theatre, where she has worked, she reckons, 'for more than half my life,' starting as an assistant stage manager as a Pitt sophomore and rising to be artistic associate to artistic director Tracy Brigden. Replacing her will be Chicago-based director Stuart Carden, with the title associate artistic director. Carden is well known here from his years earning an M.F.A. in directing at CMU"

South stage preview: 'Tuna Christmas' a feast for two actors

Post Gazette: "Little Lake Theatre rings out its season with a show that, for many, already holds holiday memories. 'A Tuna Christmas,' which opens Nov. 29, is the 1989 spin-off of the perennially popular comedy 'Greater Tuna.'"

Stage Review: 'Plaid Tidings' adds holiday harmony to fun musical

Post Gazette:

"Looking for a way to ease yourself into the holiday spirit? A Christmas show that's seasonal without being syrupy? Something clean and wholesome enough for the whole family that won't put the grown-ups to sleep?"

Stage Review: 'Avenue Q' plays like adult-themed parody of 'Sesame Street'

Post Gazette: "The smart, engagingly sophomoric 'Avenue Q,' here to entertain us over Thanksgiving, is the musical comedy that seeks to discover whether Pittsburgh is ready for full frontal puppet nudity."

Stage Reviews: 2 musicals dish out silly fun

Post Gazette: "Theatrical accident and my not having reviewed on Broadway since the Tony Awards created an odd serendipity: On the same trip, back to back, I saw two of the silliest possible musicals, 'Xanadu' and 'Young Frankenstein,' and to my surprise I had more fun at the former."

Critic's Corner: ShowPlane strikes different chord off Broadway

Post Gazette: "The Showless ShowPlane, I dubbed the latest edition of the Post-Gazette's long-running tradition. But no one ever need go showless in New York, not even when a stagehands' strike closes 27 of the 35 Broadway theaters as it did last week. If the strike continues and you have Manhattan plans, take heart from our experience."

In Broadway Dispute, Both Sides Agree: It’s All About Fairness

New York Times: "But many labor relations experts say that the Broadway strike, like most other labor confrontations, is not so much about fairness, but about power: the relative power of the two sides. “We all like to cloak our economic interests in highfalutin’ principles,” said Joshua B. Freeman, a professor of labor history at the City University of New York Graduate Center and author of “Working-Class New York.” “But I really think this is about power. The Broadway houses have huge labor costs, and they’re pushing to reduce their costs, and the union is resisting.”"

Campy "Xanadu" sees Broadway fortunes rise

Seattle Times Newspaper: "Dramas may be dominating New York's fall season, but what really fuels the Broadway economy are big new musicals. But so far, Broadway is having to make do with 'Xanadu' — and with a hulking musical creature-feature direct from Seattle, 'Young Frankenstein.'"

What Happens If WGA Strike Continues?

Backstage: "Thus far, the strike by TV and film writers has been relatively benign. Many of our favorite shows remain on the air and the cineplexes haven't changed a bit. But what if this keeps up?"

Curtain Goes Up for Broadway's 'Grinch'

Backstage: "Said producer James Sanna just before the 11 a.m. performance (the first of four on Friday) began: 'This may be the first time in Broadway history a producer has made a curtain speech on two consecutive performances. The first one was a traditional one on our opening night and now 14 days later on our reopening. ... We have faced lots and lots of obstacles and we are very happy to be back. But if there ever was a show and a company that deserves to be back, it is ours. I am very proud and humbled the way the whole company rallied around us on this.'"

Broadway Talks to Resume Sunday

Backstage: "Broadway theatre owners and producers agreed to return to the negotiating table Sunday, in an effort to end the stagehands' strike that has shut down most of the Main Stem for two weeks."

The Broadway Strike, Now Starring the Grinch

New York Times: "Helen E. Freedman, a judge of the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, did not rule on those points specifically. No, when she granted an injunction yesterday forcing the St. James Theater to open for performances of “Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas! The Musical,” she only made the question of who the Grinch was on Broadway this season that much more complicated."

Day 16: Negotiations Resume as the Strike Continues

Playbill News: "The League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands union, will reconvene Sunday, Nov. 25, a week after negotiations broke down and the League canceled performances for most Broadway shows through the holiday weekend."

Bullets over Broadway

Variety: "After talks between striking stagehands and Broadway producers broke down unexpectedly Nov. 17, producers canceled the 27 productions shuttered by the Nov. 10 walkout at least through Thanksgiving weekend -- and the closed ranks on either side of the dispute began to appear a little less close."

Off Broadway gets physical

Variety: "If you want to sell tickets Off Broadway, shut up. That, at least, is the consensus reached by a new crop of dialogue-lite Off Broadway productions aiming for the all-important international tourist audience currently shanghaied by the Broadway strike."

Seeking an Assistant to Director

Craigslist: "If you are looking for some experience in the film production field, this might be perfect for you. We are seeking an individual to assist the director in directing various scenes for a local indie film"

Theater review: With open mind, 'Avenue Q' is clever fun

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Those familiar with the puppets that live on 'Sesame Street' and in 'Mister Rogers' Neighborhood' might be surprised or distressed to learn that puppets have sex lives."

Play evolves from actor's love of classic 'Life'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Setlock, a Manhattan-based actor, plays more than 30 characters from Frank Capra's 1946 film 'It's a Wonderful Life' and re-enacts the entire story in 'This Wonderful Life,' a live stage adaptation of the film that's playing at the Pittsburgh Public Theater through Dec. 16."

'Chicken Snake' family earns audience's affection

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Rep, Point Park University's Professional Theatre Company, has given Hartman's play a thoroughly supportive production, from its uniformly dynamic cast to Stephanie Mayer-Staley's hyper-realistic set whose extremities appear to be losing their own battle with reality."

Actor shows impressive knowledge of 'Life'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When it comes to classic Christmas movies, Frank Capra's 'It's a Wonderful Life' is at the top of many viewers' must-see lists. This year, fans of the 1946 black-and-white classic have the option to view it on the home TV screen. Through Dec. 16, Pittsburgh Public Theater is offering 'This Wonderful Life,' a live stage retelling written by Steve Murray."

Q&A: The Backstage Story on the Broadway Strike

NPR: "Broadway's marquees went dark Nov. 10, when stagehands went on strike after months of bitter contract negotiations with theater owners and producers. The walkout shut down 27 Broadway shows, from the long-running Les Miserables to the still-in-previews The Farnsworth Invention."

Broadway Fans Find Alternative Amusements

NPR: "More than two dozen Broadway theaters have been dark since the stagehands went on strike a week ago. But Broadway fans still find entertainment opportunities in other amusements in the New York theater district."

Holiday Season Adds Pressure to Stagehand Strike

NPR: "It's been nearly a week since the stagehands union strike shut down Broadway. As the lucrative holiday season approaches, the pressure to end the strike mounts. Producers and the union plan to meet at the negotiating table over the weekend."

Broadway's Thanksgiving-Week Shows Won't Go On

NPR: "Labor problems prompt the League of American Theaters and Producers to cancel Broadway performances during the traditionally profitable Thanksgiving week. Talks on Saturday and Sunday with the stagehands' union ended without agreement — and with no schedule for more negotiations."

Labor Strikes From Hollywood to Paris

NPR: "An update on the state of high-profile walkouts around the world, from the Writers Guild Strike in Los Angeles and New York to the Broadway Stagehands strike and the French movement against President Nicolas Sarkozy's economic reforms."

How the Grinch Stole Christmas — on Broadway

NPR: "The Broadway stagehands union is on strike, but they took pity on the show 'How The Grinch Stole Christmas' and allowed it to open. But the theater where the show is playing says it will not open the house to allow the show to go on."

Stagehand strike leaves Broadway visitors in the cold "The drama was on the streets and not on stage for disappointed theatergoers as striking stagehands picketed behind barricades in the Times Square area."

No hope in sight for Broadway settlement

Home News Tribune Online: "As the Broadway stagehands strike enters its third week Saturday, there doesn't seem to be any way out of the thorny, seemingly intractable dispute that has shut down more than two dozen plays and musicals since Nov. 10."

European theatre technicians' unions support IATSE strike against broadway producers

UNI: "At a meeting in Brussels earlier this week European theatre technicians’ unions expressed support for their colleagues of the IASTE stagehands Local One against the League of American Theatres and Producers."

Broadway Stagehands Union, Producers to Resume Talks Tomorrow U.S.: "Talks resume tomorrow to close Broadway's costliest winter drama -- a two-week stagehand strike that has darkened 26 shows. League of American Theatres and Producers Executive Director Charlotte St. Martin confirmed the talks in a statement late today. Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said that the producers' league accepted the union's offer to meet, made on Nov. 19."

Broadway Corporations like Disney Make Millions as Stagehands Strike to Save Homes, Jobs

The WIP Contributors: "I cross 42nd Street and walk up Times Square. It is a cold, windy, rainy day but I had promised to come. I continue past the army recruiting center and the police headquarters; police are out in force. I notice the New York Times building on the east side of the Square at 43rd. The huge Clear Channel signs, some of the most prominent of those that are bright day and night cast a glow that makes the square seem like daytime 24 hours a day while flashing images. Across the way are the Disney buildings and Reuters. I walk over to the Broadway side of the Square, go up to 44th and then to Shubert Alley and over to 45th, giving high fives and thumbs up to striking stage hands as they parade up and down between police barriers in front of the theaters."

Broadway Shows Threatened by Stagehand Strike

NPR: "The Great White Way remains mostly dark as some 20 shows have shut down because of a strike by Broadway theaters' stagehands. A long strike means some shows could close. Both sides are trying to set up a negotiating session on Sunday. The union wants to preserve certain work rules to protect members who don't work on shows open 52 weeks, but those that close after a couple of months or weeks."

Dressers in Wardrobe Union Fear Loss of Health Insurance Due to Strike

Playbill News: "Like those in their sister unions who have been impacted by the stagehands strike, Broadway dressers, stitchers, launderers and others of Theatrical Wardrobe Union Local 764 are not immune to feeling anxious."

Day 13: The Strike Continues on Thanksgiving Day

Playbill News: "As the holiday weekend is upon us with most theatres dark due to the stagehands strike, offers a time line tracking the progress and key points of the ongoing labor dispute between Local One, the stagehands union, and the League of American Theatres and Producers."

Broadway Needs More Soul-Searching Not Strikes

Epoch Times: "With Broadway theaters and local businesses losing approximately $2 million a day due to the recent stagehands strike, it's time for the stagehands to really think about what they are so bitterly fighting for and for the other side, the producers, to ask themselves how they themselves might have contributed to this dark episode as it persists into its third week."


NY Post: "AS THE strike that ate Broadway stretched through its second week with no end in sight, an absence was felt yesterday on the picket line. Where was union chief James Claffey?"

Strike dims lights beyond Broadway

Marketplace: "The Broadway stagehands' strike is costing New York City millions of dollars a day. Stacey Vanek-Smith reports the effects are also being felt by local businesses, and even charitable organizations."

'Grinch' Will Go On: Show Must Open

ABC News: "Curtain up for the 'Grinch.' Twenty-six more shows to go. Performances resume at 11 a.m. Friday after a Manhattan judge ordered the reopening of 'Dr. Seuss' How The Grinch Stole Christmas!' despite the ongoing Broadway stagehands strike that has shut down more than two dozen plays and musicals."

Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama Presents

WebWire: "Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama presents the iconic, beloved musical, 'Guys and Dolls' Nov. 29–Dec. 8 at its Philip Chosky Theater. The musical will be guest directed by Steve Cosson, founding artistic director of The Civilians, a New York-based theater company specializing in documentary cabaret."

Adult Industry Icon Nina Hartley's Film Screened at Carnegie Mellon!

Yahoo! Finance: "With a normal attendance of 40-60 students, Film Division Head Rebecca Pinn considers the turn-out a huge success. Previous adult showings of 'Pirates' and 'Deep Throat' have garnered similar results for this controversial program that shows one XXX film per semester."


NY Post: "The man holding Broadway hostage is the scion of a family of stagehands who couples a polite, gentlemanly demeanor with brass-knuckles boardroom skills."

We're All On the Same Page!

Yahoo! News: "I received an angry email from a friend of mine, who's a Steadicam operator, in response to my last post. He tells me 'Very few (below the line) people in our business get Residual Income (actors, writers...who else?). The rest of us slug it out on an hourly basis, and if we don't get the hours - we're screwed!' I have several friends who are currently working on TV shows, and they are upset, and rightly so about the possibility of lost wages due to a strike. They're equally concerned about the real fear of potentially losing their health insurance as it is directly tied into their days worked. I understand they might feel caught in the cross fires of a strike that they perceive is not their issue."

The shows go on in Chicago. Quietly.

Chicago Tribune: "So if you want to see the trio of Broadway musicals 'Jersey Boys,' 'Wicked' and 'Phantom of the Opera' this Thanksgiving weekend, you can do so only in Chicago. Unless you want to cross the Atlantic."

B'way could lose $135M this holiday season

B'way could lose $135M this holiday season - a New York stagehand strike that has darkened the Great White Way for 10 days."

Broadway lights still dim as talks break off

Reuters: "Negotiations between the Broadway stagehands union and the League of American Theatres and Producers broke off Sunday night with no settlement and no apparent end to the nine-day strike in sight."

Standing United

Broadcasting & Cable: "Writers Guild of America West president Patric Verrone said last week that the WGA and the Screen Actors Guild will stand strong together even if the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers cuts a pre-emptive deal with the Directors Guild of America."

Live Design Applauds This Year’s LDI 2007 Award Winners

Live Design: "The LDI2007 Awards Ceremony was held at 6pm on Saturday, November 17 right on the LDI show floor in the Stage Pro booth, following a 20th anniversary cocktail party in the Live Design booth. The awards ranged from the Wally Russell Awards to best booth and best debuting product awards, as well as A Light In Life Award presented to Patricia MacKay, the founder of LDI. There were two products in each awards category, as well as an Honorable Mention given in both the Lighting and Sound categories. Special thanks to Stage Pro and Le Maitre Special Effects for their support of the awards presentation."

Talks to resume in film & TV writers strike

NY Daily News: "While negotiations broke down in the Broadway stagehand strike, the two sides in the other big entertainment labor crisis are getting ready to talk turkey after the Thanksgiving holiday weekend."

Broadway strike gives canine stars paws

NY Daily News: "Getting back on stage has occupied the waking moments of performers who've spent the past week cooling their heels. Or their paws."

Broadway strike talks break down

Variety: "Negotiations between Broadway producers and stagehands broke off late Sunday night with no further talks skedded, and the Rialto productions darkened by the strike have been canceled through Nov. 25."

Day 9: Negotiations Continue as Effects of Strike Are Felt

Playbill News: "The latest round of negotiations between Local One, the stagehands union, and the League of American Theatres and Producers, continues Nov. 18 as most of Broadway remains darkened by the strike that began Nov. 10 and has shuttered 27 theatres."

Stagehands and Producers Return to Table "Broadway stagehands and theater producers met again Sunday, the second day of intense negotiations to find a solution to a strike that has shut down 27 plays and musicals for more than a week. The union, Local 1, and the League of American Theatres and Producers would not comment on the resumption of the talks."

WGA Strike Draws Music Industry Supporters

PRWeb: "As we approach the second week of the 2007 screenwriters strike, Hollywood's troubles strike a chord with more industries outside of television and film. Recording artists have begun to assemble alongside the writers in an ongoing debate to discuss royalties available to artists through digital media sales."

Can Disney save Broadway talks? "Can the Mouse save Broadway? With 27 shows dark again Sunday, negotiations between the stagehands and the producers resumed at an undisclosed location Saturday with hopes pinned on an unlikely savior."

Friday, November 23, 2007

It's Not Because We're Cranky

You've probably noticed below that last week we lost a colleague "in the line." One wouldn't think that would be something we should be concerned about as entertainers, but sadly enough more often than anyone would think people do lose their lives in this business. Our thoughts and best wishes go out to the family and friends of the student that lost his life, and so that this tragedy will not pass without some good I think we should take a moment and consider the environment we work in and what we can do to keep ourselves and everyone around us safer.

If you read the articles you'll see this accident happened unloading a truck. From what I've been able to pick up from various sources we're talking about a stack of MDF decking. Although we don't often load and unload trucks within our program, the truck part of this story is less significant than the stack of plywood part, and each and every one of us finds ourself either moving or around the moving of this sort of thing. A student, wearing proper gear, taking his time, after stopping to get help suddenly in a split second found himself under a load shift. He was hit in the head, and as we all know by now the story ends tragically.

The important thing to notice here is that he did everything right and still things went terribly wrong.

I often find myself giving the "a theatre is a very dangerous place" lecture. Most times I watch the people listening and get the read that they feel it is very much a pro-forma exercise - something we have to say but that can be fairly easily ignored. We go about our business the way we always have. But the concept deserves more thought.

We do work in an environment where accidents can happen at any moment. We do work in an environment where those accidents can be very serious. We even work in an environment where the normal, mandatory safety net provided by OSHA often doesn't apply. OSHA has no jurisdiction over student activities, their mandate is to protect employees. One of the articles below confirms that OSHA said they don't have jurisdiction. In addition to that small SNAFU, OSHA usually includes a loophole for things that cannot be done in any other way. Theatre often squeezes into this exception. Under standard OSHA rules the front of any stage would have a safety rail. Those rules would also require actors to wear hardhats during performances (any normal worker in a place with so much overhead activity would face this requirement).

Like it or not, theatres are dangerous and we are largely on our own to guarantee our safety.

One of the important things to take away from this though is that in spite of doing everything right things can still go wrong. So, in order that you might be best prepared to deal with the unknown our best strategy is to minimize all of the issues we can control. Only by utilizing best practice can we be prepared for that split second action that can make the difference. We need to eliminate distractions, minimize complications, do whatever we can to prepare for the unexpected.

So, when someone tells you to turn down the radio, put away your phone or your headphones, it's not because they're old. If someone tells you to put on your safety glasses or to get some gloves or hearing protection or a dust mask, it's not because they're paranoid. When someone tells you to change your shoes or your shirt, or to wear long pants, it's not because they're uncool. When people tell you to turn on the lights or keep your workspace clean or put away tools or empty trash it's not because they're hassling you. And if people tell you not to run, or yell, or sing, or dance during a call it's not because they're cranky. It's because on very rare occasions people can through absolutely no fault of their own wind up very much dead.

And nobody wants that to happen, ever.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

New job: Production Manager

Marin Theatre Company is seeking a Production Manager responsible for budgeting, scheduling, and oversight of the production department including scenery, electrics, costumes, audio, video, rehearsals and stage operations as well as facility maintenance.
Hiring and supervision of full time technical director and assistant technical director, as well as contractors and part time/over hire employees, including stage mangers and designers and show crews. 3-5 years management experience preferred, at least 2 years as a production manager required. Knowledge all areas of theatrical production is essential. Position is full-time, salaried, with full benefits. EOE. Email resumé and references to:, please include PM search in the subject line.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Conservatory Hour

Today, Nov. 19

E-Mail Etiquette - presentation by Michael Chemers and Louis Stein

In the Checco Studio A 5:00pm

Yalie, 26, dies in freak accident "A Yale University graduate student was struck in the head and died Sunday morning while unloading a truck filled with heavy stage scenery and equipment for the Yale Repertory Theatre."

Yale drama school student killed "OSHA conducted a preliminary investigation, but determined it does not have jurisdiction because the incident did not involve an employer-employee relationship, Kowalski said."

'Angels' First Film Casualty of WGA Strike

Backstage: "In the first big-screen casualty of the Hollywood writers strike, Columbia Pictures said on Friday it had postponed production on 'Angels & Demons,' a prequel to its box-office hit 'The Da Vinci Code' starring Tom Hanks."

Film, TV Writers to Negotiate Nov. 26

Backstage: "Hollywood film and TV writers who've been on a nearly two-week strike against studios will return to contract negotiations on Nov. 26, their union and producers said Friday."

Broadway Negotiations Break Down

Backstage: "According to a report on New York 1, a local cable news station, a principal sticking point remains the minimum number of stagehands the owners and producers are required to hire for load-ins--the period when a show's set is first installed and constructed. That would fit into the general pattern of demands for each side: the league wants greater flexibility to hire only those workers it believe it needs, while Local One wants to protect the number of jobs."

Stage Preview: Pittsburgh's the next stop on 'Avenue Q'

Post Gazette: "'Avenue Q' is on the move, coming to Pittsburgh tomorrow, but that wasn't always the case. After winning the 2004 Tony Award for Best Musical, the little show that could chose to stick its fuzzy puppet toes in uncharted sands: an exclusive Las Vegas run, in a theater built by Steve Wynn. The best of Broadway went straight to Vegas in August 2005, forgoing a national tour."

Videographer need not fret about his image "It's long been my contention that video in the theater almost never works. There's something about the on-stage appearance of two-dimensional screens that invariably undermines the depth of the theatrical experience. It feels like an unwelcome world has intruded into a sacred human caldron. Nothing kills the theatrical rush of human expression like a poorly cued clip from a DVD."

Shakespeare and the City, at a New Stage "Sixth Street near Verizon Center is one of those curious Washington dead spaces. Only a block away, on the redeveloped Seventh Street NW, there is teeming nightlife, a forest of signs and logos and other enticements to eat, drink and shop. It is a suburbanite's fantasy of urban life -- brand names and bright lights -- but love it or hate it, there is bustle there. Sixth Street, however, remains mostly bleak and empty. Which makes the presence of the new Sidney Harman Hall, the $89 million expansion space for Shakespeare Theatre Company that recently opened, a welcome sight."

Stratford, Shaw festivals fear losing American audience Arts: "Two major Canadian theatre festivals say they're worried the strong dollar is turning away their American fan base. The Shakespeare Festival in Stratford and the Shaw Festival at Niagara-on-the-Lake, both in Ontario, say they've seen fewer Americans in their theatres since the loonie started its steep climb this year."

For Short-Run Plays, the Odds Grow Longer During Strike "As limited runs go, the Broadway engagement of 'August: Osage County' has gotten more limited by the day. The nine-day-old stagehands' strike that has shuttered 27 shows, from 'Rent' to 'Wicked' to 'Legally Blonde,' is a hardship for ticket holders and test of wills for union leaders and theater producers, whose negotiations for a new contract broke down Sunday night. But consider the special agonies it has posed for a risky Broadway venture like 'August,' a little-known play by a little-known Chicago playwright with only a small window of time to make it in New York."

Creativity, Strikes and Power

New York Times: "But the stagehands, who began striking almost a week after the writers, are most likely the ones who will be heading back to work first. The writers still confront the stalemate over distribution of revenues from digital content. So how will 400 or so (mostly) beefy guys in Manhattan accomplish what currently seems beyond the reach of the 12,000 members of the writers’ guild?"


Daily Autocad: "CONVTOSOLID command can easily convert 2-D entities, which have thickness property, into solid objects. Objects that you can convert and the important points are mentioned"

The Pendulum Swings on Accreditation

Inside Higher Ed: "Last spring, as the U.S. Education Department convened a set of college officials and accreditors to negotiate possible changes in federal rules governing higher education accreditation, the dominant story line was the government’s aggressive effort to prod accrediting agencies to force colleges to measure and report more quantitative data about their success in educating students."

Striking writers will resume talks with studios

Reuters: "The Writers Guild of America (WGA) and studio reps will head back to the bargaining table on November 26 after back-channel dialogue facilitated by Creative Artists Agency partner Bryan Lourd helped put the parties onto a more productive track. The WGA and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers (AMPTP) put out brief, identical statements Friday night."

Broadway strike talks break down

Variety: "Negotiations between Broadway producers and stagehands broke off late Sunday night with no further talks skedded, and the Rialto productions darkened by the strike have been canceled through Nov. 25."

Review: ‘Plaid Tidings’ presents spirited gift

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Plaid Tidings,' the holiday-spiced sequel, finds them unexpectedly returned to earth -- and the CLO Cabaret -- to complete the equivalent of the spiritual SATs and their heavenly certification."

Stagehands and Producers Break Off Talks

New York Times: "The negotiations — which lasted for more than 13 hours Saturday and for 11 hours yesterday — came to a halt a little after 9 p.m. Bruce Cohen, a spokesman for the stagehands’ union, Local 1 of the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, said in a statement that “producers informed Local 1 that what Local 1 offered was not good enough, and they left.” Charlotte St. Martin, the executive director of the producers’ league, said: “We presented a comprehensive proposal that responded to the union’s concerns about loss of jobs and earnings and attempted to address our need for some flexibilities in running our business. The union rejected our effort to compromise and continues to require us to hire more people than we need.”"

Broadway Shows Will Be Part of Macy's Parade

Playbill News: "The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade will not be affected by the current stagehands strike. That is, the four Broadway shows originally scheduled to be part of the annual parade — Xanadu, Mary Poppins, Young Frankenstein and Legally Blonde — will perform as planned."

The Other Strike: Hollywood Hopeful as Film & TV Writers and Producers to Head Back to the Table

Playbill News: "While Broadway producers and stagehands have yet to come to a resolution, there is hopeful news from the dispute between the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers and the Writers Guild of America."

Václav Havel's Leaving May Arrive in American Theatres

Playbill News: "Václav Havel – dissident playwright, political activist and former Czech Republic president – may see the U.S. premiere of his latest absurdist stage work Leaving."

Off-Broadway Remains Vibrant Option for Strike-Stranded Theatregoers

Playbill News: "The Nov. 18 news that 27 Broadway shows would remain closed through Nov. 25, stranding thousands of Thanksgiving week theatregoers, sent a shockwave through the theatre community — from stagehand to dresser to actor to restaurateur to gift shop owner."

Grinch May Reopen Prior to Thanksgiving; Union Not Picketing St. James

Playbill News: "Grinch general manager David Waggett told Nov. 19 that picket lines have come down in front of the St. James Theatre, where Grinch makes its home, and Local One has agreed to work the show. However, the producers of Grinch still need to gain approval from Jujamcyn Theaters, who own the St. James."

Day 10: Strike Continues After Talks Break Down; Most Shows Canceled Through Nov. 25

Playbill News: "Talks between the League of American Theatres and Producers and Local One, the stagehands union, broke off the evening of Nov. 18."

Broadway lights still dim as talks break off

Reuters: "Negotiations between the Broadway stagehands union and the League of American Theatres and Producers broke off Sunday night with no settlement and no apparent end to the nine-day strike in sight."

Broadway strike talks fail, shows off a second week

Reuters: "Most of Broadway's theaters will remain dark for a second week after weekend talks between owners and producers and striking stagehands broke down, theater producers said."

Carnegie Museum Celebrates 100 Years

New York Times: "Industrialist Andrew Carnegie wanted working-class people who couldn't afford trips around the globe to be able to see the world's architectural masterpieces. So 100 years ago, Carnegie built a large hall and brought a church's facade from France, intricately detailed doors from Italy, statuesque maidens from Greece, and dozens of other architectural masterpieces here. The casts were perfect reproductions, made of plaster."

Rockettes kick off holiday season "Maybe we all grow more sentimental as the years roll by. But after seeing the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts barely a week after Halloween, I suddenly feel that Thanksgiving is almost beside the point."

The show must go on, even through missed lines and flying lions "'It gets your adrenaline going,' says Larry Yando, who is playing Scrooge in 'A Christmas Carol' at the Goodman, opening Friday. Yando explains that the paradox of acting is that you have to make it appear as though everything is happening for the first time, though of course it's all been rehearsed. 'It's ordered chaos,' he says."

The new ruler of theaters in the Loop "On Nov. 6, the entertainment company Live Nation reported as part of its statement of third-quarter financial results that it was selling its 50 percent share of Broadway in Chicago -- which it owned in conjunction with the Nederlander Organization -- to entities controlled by James L. Nederlander for $60 million."

Live from New York, intimately "About 150 audience members in a tiny Manhattan theater were the only folks in the world to witness a totally new 'Saturday Night Live' episode starring guest host Michael Cera and musical guest Yo La Tengo. Anyone who tuned in to NBC saw a 2-week-old rerun featuring Brian Williams and Feist, thanks to a writers strike."