CMU School of Drama

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jacqui O'Hanlon: Shakespeare's labours must not be lost in schools "As the RSC's director of education, I know from many years of working with teachers and students that studying Shakespeare can be life-enhancing if taught well. That's why, along with most educationalists around the country, we were delighted with the government announcement in October that KS3 tests were being removed. We know countless teachers who wanted to work actively with Shakespeare in their classrooms but who felt that the test encouraged a reductive approach that filled them with as much dread as their students."

Shrek Set Box Office Record at Broadway Theatre "SHREK is already breaking box office records on the Great White Way. While still in preview performances, before an official opening at the Broadway Theatre on December 14, SHREK THE MUSICAL grossed a massive $1,052,975 for the 8-performance week ending November 30, and set a single performance house record grossing $184,320 for the Saturday, November 29 matinee."

How a Theatrical Angel Cultivated Martha Clarke’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ "The economy has dropped faster than a falling angel, and investors for live performances are growing ever more scarce. But what Ms. Clarke’s nearly-four-year fund-raising experience demonstrates is how difficult finding a producer can be even in the best of times."

Ivo van Hove Stages ‘Opening Night’ With Filmmaker’s Eye at Brooklyn Academy "THE Belgian theater director Ivo van Hove swears he has never seen “Opening Night,” the classic 1977 backstage film by John Cassavetes, but that didn’t stop him from adapting the film for the stage. His innocence helped rather than hindered him, he said, in imagining his stage version based on Cassavetes’s original screenplay."

Nothing but His Songs - ‘Irving Berlin’s White Christmas’ at the Marquis Theater "IF you didn’t know better, had never been taught the proper technique, you might approach a piano with your hands flat and fingers splayed, as if instead of striking the keys you were going to dribble them. This may be why Irving Berlin, who never studied music except with his ear, favored the ebonies over the ivories when he first started playing. His melodies found their home among the black keys, making excursions as necessary to the white, with the result that the tunes all emerged in the absurd six-sharp thicket of F-sharp major or its corresponding D-sharp minor."

In ‘Billy Elliot’ on Broadway, Dance Is Metaphor "THE Broadway triumph of “Billy Elliot” is in many ways a triumph of paradox. This is a successful socialist musical about a failure of socialist action, a work of working-class realism that often operates by unrealistic methods and a sentimental tear-jerker that remains tough-minded about the loss of community and ideals. Whereas stage-musical adaptations of recent films are usually tepid at best, this one surpasses the writer Lee Hall’s and the director Stephen Daldry’s original, because they themselves have radically retold it."

Broadway welcomes 3 new musicals for holiday season

Post Gazette: "The new Broadway musicals include one probable blockbuster, one seasonal sure thing and one oddity that has already announced a Jan. 4 closing -- but it will go on forever in the schools."

Saturday, November 29, 2008

American Gothic as Sitcom; Jumpy Tenor: London Stage Arts and Culture: "The publicity promised whip-smart lines, gallows humor and enjoyable punch-ups. Those things are certainly present in the London transfer of the Tony-winning Broadway play “August: Osage County.” Whatever quality made it a hit, however, must have got lost in the Atlantic."

South Coast Rep Presents A CHRISTMAS CAROL 11/29 Thru 12/27 "Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Orange County’s beloved holiday tradition, returns to South Coast Repertory for its 29th season. Adapted for the stage by Jerry Patch and directed by John-David Keller, Dickens’ classic tale runs on the Segerstrom Stage from Nov. 29 through Dec. 27. Low-priced previews begin this evening Nov. 29. Opening night is Dec 5."

Sydney Opera House architect Utzon dies at 90

Reuters: "Utzon was famous for the design of the impressionist Opera House, which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site last year, but he also designed the National Assembly of Kuwait and several prominent buildings in his native Denmark."

Budgeting and the artistic product

Arts Marketing: "I had the pleasure of hearing Karen Hopkins speak at the National Arts Marketing Project Conference in Houston. During her speech, she said several things that caught my attention. Because the conference centered around how marketing and development departments could work together to maximize revenue, she outlined the revenue breakdown between earned vs. contributed sources"

Autodesk University 2008 coming up next week!

Core77: "If you haven't heard already, here's what next week is all about:Autodesk University starts up next Tuesday, Dec. 2, and Core77 is headed to Las Vegas to cover it live. We go to lots of fairs and conferences, but are getting especially excited about this one, given the raw amount of technical geekery we expect to absorb."

CMU artist insists 'Sky' isn't falling

Post Gazette: "Engineers will visit Carnegie Mellon University next week to find out why 'Walking to the Sky,' a sculpture in front of Warner Hall, swayed alarmingly in the wind Tuesday.
But contrary to rumors, 'Walking to The Sky' is not falling to the ground, according to the artist and a university spokesman."

How a Theatrical Angel Cultivated Martha Clarke’s ‘Garden of Earthly Delights’ "The economy has dropped faster than a falling angel, and investors for live performances are growing ever more scarce. But what Ms. Clarke’s nearly-four-year fund-raising experience demonstrates is how difficult finding a producer can be even in the best of times."

Friday, November 28, 2008

Alexis Soloski: When playwrights do the rewrite thing "Rumour has it that men aren't very good at asking for directions. Certainly, Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman's Road Show, which opened last week at New York's Public Theater, has taken one of the most circuitous routes to off-Broadway in theatre history. The musical details the peripatetic existence of the brothers Wilson and Addison Mizner, turn-of-the-20th-century polymaths and conmen, whose story first attracted Sondheim in 1952."


New York Post: "HOW handy it is these days for producers to blame 'the economy' whenever a show falls apart.
And how easily the media accept it.
The latest example: The cancellation, on the eve of rehearsals, of John Guare's new play, 'A Free Man of Color,' at The Public Theater."

La Scala Premiere Threatened by Orchestra, Management Standoff Arts and Culture: "La Scala’s opening night of the season, the Milanese social event that brims with VIPs, fur coats and diamonds, may be canceled for the first time in four decades as musicians protest labor contracts."

High hopes for arts-friendly president

SFGate: "It was 'a historic election for the arts,' said Robert Lynch, president and CEO of the Washington, D.C., advocacy group Americans for the Arts. In President-elect Barack Obama, the country has 'a visionary arts leader' with a substantive platform in support of the arts."

It's Raining Man

Steve On Broadway (SOB): "While many of you may be contemplating whether to join in the frenzy known as Black Friday, yours truly has been contemplating one of a different variety here in London. After much hand-wringing, I've decided to take in the new West End stage adaptation of Barry Levinson's 1988 Academy Award-winning Best Film 'Rain Man' this evening."

'Spamalot' tour an irreverent, endearing mess

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "As a meat product, Spam is meant to be reheated. So why not take some leftovers from the 1975 film 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail,' add some new songs, a liberal portion of ham, mix it together and throw it up onstage?"

HELP! Can you make me a coat/cloak by Dec 6?

Craigslist: "I need this coat made by Dec. 6th. The material doesn't need to be exact."

Thursday, November 27, 2008

'The Brothers Size' tells a mythical tale in a mechanic's shop

Post Gazette: "Mythic and specific, gritty and grand -- City Theatre's 'The Brothers Size' is intimate and epic, a robust tale of two Louisiana bayou brothers but also a magical account of elemental drives and desires, lit with comedy and shadowed with terror."

'Spamalot' delivers silliness, puns, bawdy jokes and chorines

Post Gazette: "The souvenir pedlars are back with their coconuts, killer rabbits and Spam, which can only mean it's time to look on the bright side of life with 'Monty Python's Spamalot.'
When better than Thanksgiving week for a musical that raises clever British silliness to the zenith? In fact, whenever would that not be welcome? Granted, Monty Python is a taste that escapes some, but 'Spamalot' -- based on their first feature film, 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail' -- could just as well be called The Pythons Do Vegas, so cheerfully has the mother country sold out to American brashness and leggy showgirls."

Gemini Theater gives 'Sleeping Beauty' a wake-up call

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Gemini Theater's version of the classic 'Sleeping Beauty' fairy tale adds several twists, like goofy character names, and a plot that takes the maiden on a funky, futuristic vacation from her long nap."

Cultural Trust Takes Control of Three Rivers Arts Festival

WDUQNews: "The Pittsburgh cultural trust says it will work closely with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh to produce 2009 Three Rivers Arts Festival without a hitch."

Zimbabwe playwright and Mugabe critic wins award

Yahoo! News: "Zimbabwean playwright Cont Mhlanga, who has challenged President Robert Mugabe's rule throughout his career, has been awarded a new prize celebrating the role the arts can play in promoting human rights."

Broadway Shines a Light on Green Movement

Backstage: "Lyricist Howard Johnson once wrote that there's a broken heart for every light on Broadway, but New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the theatre district are trying to turn the Great White Way into a source of healing."

Now Playing: Uncertainty

Backstage: "Against the backdrop of a faltering economy, Hollywood took a step closer to another strike after talks between the Screen Actors Guild and producers broke down Nov. 22. Following weeks of separate meetings, federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez brought SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers together but could not break the five-month deadlock over a new three-year television and film contract."

Macy’s Parade Provides Promotional Lift to Beleaguered Broadway Arts and Culture: "Broadway went from “In the Heights” to “Under the Sea” in front of the entrance of Macy’s in New York, as the city’s beleaguered theater industry sought to sell itself to a national audience."

Sundance opening night pick spotlights animation tech

Digital Media - CNET News: "The Sundance Institute's decision to open its upcoming film festival with a clay animation flick shines a light on one of the oldest forms of filmmaking--molded with a modern day twist.
Robert Redford's film institute last week announced that the opening night film at its annual festival in January will be Mary and Max, a feature-length movie directed by Australian animator Adam Elliot and produced by Melanie Coombs of Melodrama Pictures. Elliot and Coombs' 2004 Sundance film, Harvie Krumpet, went on to win the Academy Award for best-animated short film."

A Tale of Two Sound Designers

Stage-directions: "Taking a famous literary work and putting it onstage as a Broadway musical is bound to draw criticism from die-hard fans and purists. A Tale Of Two Cities is certainly no exception. Mixed critical reception and the economic downturn closed the show Nov. 9, but the producers plan on mounting the tale — an epic that tackles its tale of love, loss and sacrifice set in London and Paris against the backdrop of the French Revolution — in a touring production. The show is unusual for the two-level sets that are rolled on and around stage and repositioned for different indoor and outdoor scenes, which makes for striking scenery and helps to maintain the pace of the show. A Tale Of Two Cities is also unusual in that the sound was designed by two industry veterans, Carl Casella and Domonic Sack. Casella spoke with SD about tackling this massive production."

SAG talks strike authorization

Hollywood Reporter: "The seven-page message was the first of many expected from the actors union in the coming weeks, leading up to a strike-authorization vote slated for December.
'We need to show management that we are willing to fight to preserve our ability to earn a living as union performers; otherwise, management will take that away from us,' SAG said. 'Nearly half of our earnings as union performers come from residuals, but management wants us to allow them to make programs for the Internet and other new media nonunion (productions) and with no residuals.'"

'Beauty' bows in Russia

Variety: "When Disney tuner 'Beauty and the Beast' opened in Moscow in October, some legiters might have been inclined to think: Really? Russia?
After all, the expanding market of the moment is China, with plenty of talk along the Rialto about cross-cultural productions and growing the nation's performing arts infrastructure. (Broadway gets its first Chinese import, 'The Soul of Shaolin,' early next year.)
On the other hand, not much attention has been focused on Russki growth potential. But it's there -- or at least it could be."

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Actors Theatre of Louisville's 'Christmas Carol', With More Music Than Ever

Yahoo! News: "'A cherished part of the yuletide season in Kentuckiana since 1976, A Christmas Carol offers the warmth and goodwill of Charles Dickens' timeless tale of the true meaning of Christmas with familiar characters and spellbinding stage magic,' according to ATL."

At last, for Yorick. Bequeathed skull stars in Hamlet

Times Online: "A concert pianist’s dying wish to appear on stage in Hamlet has been realised 26 years after his death.
André Tchaikowsky, a Polish Jew who escaped the Holocaust and settled in Britain, bequeathed his skull to the Royal Shakespeare Company to be used as a macabre prop."

‘Hairspray’ Closes, Obama Opens as Lion Faces Broadway’s Future Arts and Culture: "When we spoke before the election, Lion said she was waiting until the vote to begin raising money for her next project. Now she admits that probably won’t happen until after Obama takes office on Jan. 20. Still, she is at work doing what she says makes her happiest, which is developing new material."

Broadway's Great White Way goes green

Reuters: "Broadway's 'Great White Way,' nicknamed for the many marquee and billboard lights that flood the theater district with light, will soon be the 'Great Green Way,' New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a news conference at the Eugene O'Neill Theater to launch the initiative."


Backstage at "As has been reported here previously, Tucker Thayer was a 15 year old high school student in Utah. He died November 15th after a .38 loaded with a blank discharged close to his head, apparently by his own hand (accidentally). The school administration claimed that they had never seen the gun, but they had still allowed it’s use in the production"

Chattanooga Symphony and Opera board votes to suspend opera for 2009-2010

Chattanooga Times Free Press: "The Chattanooga Symphony & Opera Board of Directors voted today to suspend opera productions for the 2009-2010, citing losses of more than $1.1 million on 11 opera productions over the last six years, according to a news release."

5 Time Management Lies

Ian's Messy Desk: "Within the world of work flow and productivity, there are a number of common lies we use to fool others and ourselves. It’s not that we’re deliberately trying to mislead, it’s just that we feel a need to sugar-coat the requests we’re making.
To avoid the time traps they cause, here are five time-management lies to avoid"

Production: Master Class (WIT #245)

ATW: "The production team of Master Class — producer Lewis Allen, producing associate Doris Blum, actress Karen Day Cody, press agent Bill Evans, casting director Alan Filderman, stage manager Dianne Trulock, and advertising representative Jim Weiner — traces the show from its Montana workshop, to stagings in Philadelphia, L.A., and D.C., to opening in New York; how the creators, designers, and operatic cast were put together; developing the publicity and advertising campaigns including the casting of Zoe Caldwell’s replacement Patti LuPone; and producing under the Broadway Alliance contract."

Once More, With Feeling: Copyright Is Not A Welfare System For Musicians

Techdirt: "The purpose of copyright is clear: it's to provide an incentive for the creation of new content. As such, it makes absolutely no sense to ever retroactively extend any sort of copyright. The government, backed by citizens, made a deal with content creators: you create content and we give you a monopoly for x number of years -- and clearly that deal was considered fair by the content creators, or they wouldn't have agreed to it and created the content. To go back and change the terms of the deal at a later date is unfair to everyone. It's renegotiating a deal against citizens' best interests. It's as if you bought a car for a price you negotiated, and three years later, the car company comes back to you and says that you need to pay more, because they, alone, decided that they didn't make enough off of you. Even worse, they get the government to force you to pay, saying that you need to do so.

Sounds ridiculous, right? But that's exactly what's happening with copyright extension in the UK."

Trust show offers magical trip to 'Toyland'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "If music, dancing, toys and magic aren't enough to capture a child's attention, surely the Goody Gumdrop Tree will.
All of those will combine and come to life on stage during the Westmoreland Cultural Trust's holiday show, 'Babes in Toyland' on Friday at the Palace Theatre in Greensburg."

Will Hugh Jackman Play Harry Houdini in New Broadway Musical?

Playbill News: "As previously announced, Scott Sanders and David Rockwell will produce Houdini, which features a book by best-selling author, journalist and editor Kurt Andersen. Three-time Tony Award winner Jack O'Brien is attached to direct; Rockwell will also design the sets."

Shrek Cancels Dec. 2 Performance to Complete Final Changes in New Musical

Playbill News: "The reason for the cancellation, according to a press statement, is to allow the Shrek creative team to 'complete some final changes before the opening. There is not enough stage time during the current preview schedule to implement and rehearse the changes planned.'"

Mixed blessings for Broadway actors

Variety: "The phrases 'Broadway actor' and 'job security' don't usually go together. While landing a job in a hit show is a stage actor's dream, appearing in a long-running show is a mixed blessing. It provides a year or two of economic stability, which is always welcome, especially in these tough times."

B'way, Bloomberg tout eco-initiative

Variety: "Gotham Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and the Broadway League have announced Broadway Goes Green, an eco-friendly initiative that aims to reduce the carbon footprint of the legit industry."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A League of Their Own: Off-Off-Broadway Leaders Form Advocacy Group for "Independent Theater"

Yahoo! News: "Like The Broadway League and the League of Off-Broadway Theatres and Producers, LIT has a website,, and is seeking to raise the profile of New York City 'independent theatre,' which is a term some troupers prefer in lieu of 'Off-Off-Broadway.'"

Nov. 25, 1816: Theater Lighting

Wired: "1816: Gaslight illuminates Philadelphia's Chestnut Street Theatre. Theater patrons are living in an age of wonders: lights that burn 'without wick or oil.'"

Weblogs Let Actors Speak for Themselves

Backstage: "In the fast-paced world of celebrity news, stars are increasingly turning to their own Web sites and blog postings to talk about themselves in a do-it-yourself approach to managing their public images."

Foot Injury Gives Understudy His Chance at Broadway Stardom Arts and Culture: "Late yesterday, the Roundabout Theatre Co. plucked the 27- year-old performer from obscurity, casting him in the leading role of a revival of the 1940 Rodgers and Hart musical “Pal Joey.” Risch had understudied 40-year-old Christian Hoff, who withdrew because of a foot injury suffered onstage at a Nov. 21 preview, the Roundabout said in a statement."

Schoenfeld, Chairman of Shubert Organization, Dies Arts and Culture: "Schoenfeld had been dominant in commercial theater for four decades. The Shubert Organization produced or booked such long- running hits as “A Chorus Line,” “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Les Miserables.” More recently, it produced the revival of “Equus,” starring Daniel Radcliffe."

Is Disney Theatrical getting ready to mark down "Mary" ?

Jim Hil: "I'm talking about Disney on Broadway's heavy duty presence during the broadcast portion of this year's parade. The cast of 'The Little Mermaid' will be performing 'Under the Sea' as part of NBC's lead-up to the official start of Macy's parade. Meanwhile, over on CBS, the cast of Broadway's 'Mary Poppins' will be performing a number as part of that network's Thanksgiving Day Parade broadcast."

Lift Pod Aerial Work Platform @ STAFDA 2008 "Lift Pod is replacing ladders everywhere! Here is a peek at their booth at STAFDA 2008"

Get A LegUp On Panel Goods

Toolmonger: "Wrestling large sheets of plywood onto your table saw while the blade is spinning can be dangerous — plus lifting and twisting heavy, poorly supported objects is a good way to wrench your back. Landon Innovations, the makers of the Gorilla Grip, claim their LegUp table saw attachment can make this job easier and safer."

Seuss lawyers stop holiday Who-ville in Louisville "The city of Louisville is scrapping plans to use the iconic Dr. Seuss village and characters as part of its annual Christmas display after receiving a cease and desist letter from Dr. Seuss Enterprises."

Hillary: A Modern Greek Tragedy With a (Somewhat) Happy Ending

'kül: "The smartest thing about recasting a familiar tale in ancient Greek terms is that it takes the need for surprise off the table. After all, like any classic tragedy, we already know what happened to Hillary Rodham Clinton, who tabled her Athena-inspired ambitions for 18 Arkansan years for the sake of an Aphrodite-sent Bill Clinton."

Broadway Is Dry-Eyed as Monster Falls Hard "The last week was one of the grimmest on Broadway. Within eight days four shows announced their closings. Yet the news about “The New Mel Brooks Musical Young Frankenstein” shutting its doors Jan. 4 seemed to spark an unusual guilty glee among theater people."

Gerald Schoenfeld, Theater Impresario, Dies at 84 "Mr. Schoenfeld was one of the most influential figures in the business of the American theater. As head of both the Shubert Organization and the nonprofit Shubert Foundation — a role he shared for 24 years with Bernard B. Jacobs, who died in 1996 — Mr. Schoenfeld controlled an empire with an immense impact on the cultural life of New York and the country."

Broadway’s Great White Way Takes Environmental Steps to Go Green "It was bound to be more than just a news conference; this is the theater, after all. And so it came to pass that Marcie Dodd, the current Elphaba in the Broadway production of “Wicked,” in full costume and green makeup, introduced Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg to a crowd at the Eugene O’Neill Theater on Tuesday. The occasion was the official commencement of Broadway Goes Green, a partnership between the city and Broadway that is meant to shrink the Shrek-size carbon footprint of the Great White Way."

Theatre Community Launches "Broadway Goes Green" Initiative

Playbill News: "The Broadway theatre community has outlined a series of goals as part of a new environmental initiative, 'Broadway Goes Green,' which hopes to 'to reduce Broadway's carbon footprint, adopt environmentally sustainable practices and promote environmental awareness in the creation and presentation of Broadway shows.'"

Broadway Mourns the Loss of Gerald Schoenfeld, a "Gentleman of the Theatre"

Playbill News: "Members of the Broadway theatre community share their thoughts, condolences and memories about the life and career of Gerald Schoenfeld, Chairman of The Shubert Organization, who died Nov. 25."

Gerald Schoenfeld, Longtime Chairman of Shubert Organization, Dies at 84

Playbill News: "Gerald Schoenfeld, the longtime Chairman of the theatre-owning powerhouse known as the Shubert Organization and a man routinely referred to as the most powerful man on Broadway, died suddenly Nov. 25 at his home in Manhattan. He was born in 1924 and was 84 years old."

Illustrations for live performance

Craigslist: "I am in need of an illustrator to draw five illustrations for an upcoming live children's performance"

Gerald Schoenfeld dies at 84

Variety: "A friendly man with an air of formal civility that seemed a nod to a more genteel era, Schoenfeld was often referred to as the most powerful man in American theater. From 1972 until his death, he served as chair of the Shubert Org, which owns and/or operates 17 of the 39 theaters on Broadway, plus one venue Off Broadway and others in Boston, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C."

Hungry for Work? Try Dinner Theater

Show Business Weekly: "Misconceptions have tarnished the image of dinner theater. Some actors believe that if they accept a role at a dinner theater, they’ll have to work for low wages, be forced to wait tables and perform in an amateur production. Contrary to all the myths, many dinner theaters pay a moderate salary, performers rarely double as waiters and several venues in the country mount productions that have been on Broadway."

Broadway theater power Gerald Schoenfeld dies

The Dallas Morning News | Performing Arts: "Gerald Schoenfeld, the longtime head of the powerful Shubert Organization who helped bring numerous works to Broadway, including ' A Chorus Line' 'Cats' and 'Amadeus,' has died at 84.
Schoenfeld died early Tuesday at his Manhattan home, said Sam Rudy, a Shubert spokesman. The cause of death was not immediately known."

Flawless showcases student dancing

The Tartan Online: "This past weekend, Dancers’ Symposium presented their fall production, Flawless, which included a mix of hip-hop, bhangra, ballet, techno, and tap numbers choreographed and performed by Carnegie Mellon students. The show was performed twice: on Friday night and Saturday afternoon."

In Ancient Dramas, Vital Words For Today's Warriors

NPR: "For as long as there have been wars, there have been warriors who survive — and yet become as much casualties of battle as those who died."

PNB's "Nutcracker" never grows tutu old

Seattle Times Newspaper: "A dancer, at her 25th birthday, is in her prime; however, a 25-year-old tutu or a scenic backdrop may be showing a little more wear. Pacific Northwest Ballet's 'Nutcracker,' with its lavish Maurice Sendak designs, celebrates its quarter-century this year with a monthlong holiday run beginning Friday. How does the company keep the sets and costumes looking appropriately festive and sparkly? And how much of what we'll see on stage dates from the 1983 original production?"

Monday, November 24, 2008

Berlin’s ‘White Christmas’ Sings, Snows on Broadway Arts and Culture: "Folks nostalgic for old-time movie musicals may want to see “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas” at the Marquis Theatre in Times Square."

Hollywood Actors Union Will Ask Members to Authorize Strike Arts and Culture: "Hollywood’s largest actors union will ask its members to authorize a strike after a breakdown of federally mediated talks with film and television studios."

Mel Brooks’s ‘Young Frankenstein’ Musical to Close in January Arts and Culture: "Producers of “Young Frankenstein” announced yesterday that the monster show will close on Jan. 4, making it the fifth Broadway musical to fold after the New Year."

Reuse business is booming

Post Gazette: "Construction Junction flew in the face of retail rules when it opened the doors of a cold, dark warehouse under the 62nd Street bridge nine years ago. Even in brighter digs now -- a warehouse in North Point Breeze -- it is cold in winter, the products are grungy and many have missing parts."

The TOC Blog What's our theater saturation point?

Time Out Chicago: "Earlier this week, New York theater writer Garrett Eisler, who blogs at The Playgoer (and is an occasional contributor to Time Out New York), asked if NYC has too many subscription-reliant theater companies. What’s the number that Eisler thought might be beyond the pale? 20.
Cue nervous laughter in Chicago? The Chicago Theater Database, while still in beta, lists nearly 150 non-profit companies around town."

White Christmas: Were Reviews Merry And Bright?

Steve On Broadway (SOB): "White Christmas: Were Reviews Merry And Bright?
Director Walter Bobbie and choreographer Randy Skinner may have been dreaming of Irving Berlin's White Christmas for countless years, but now that the production is finally on Broadway, did it fulfill the critics' wildest dreams? Well, not quite."

Adventurous theater finds an audience

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Despite a healthy community of local playwrights and small, adventurous theater companies, many still see the Pittsburgh area theater scene as aging, traditional, timid or downright stodgy."

'Spamalot's' not dead yet

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "But don't despair, 'Spamalot' returns to Pittsburgh Tuesday through Nov. 30 at the Benedum Center, Downtown, as part of the PNC Broadway Across America -- Pittsburgh series."

At the Apollo, a Role in ‘Dreamgirls’ Draws Hundreds of Hopefuls "Blame two Jennifers — a generation apart — for the long line of young women outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem on Saturday morning, waiting hours in the cold for their chance to audition for a national tour of the musical “Dreamgirls.”"

Recent Productions Based on Novels Show That Pages Aren’t Made for Stages "THEATERGOING is both my profession and a passion, but I was a book-crazed kid and remain a book-loving adult. So you might think I’d be the target audience for the books-on-stage genre, a steady staple of today’s theater."

"Live" Rent Film, with Final Broadway Cast, Will Get February 2009 DVD Release

Playbill News: "Screenings of this high-def filming of the final Broadway cast of Larson's Rent, the Tony Award-winning musical that ended its acclaimed 12-year-run at the Nederlander Theatre Sept. 7, began Sept. 24 at cinemas around the country."

Actors will vote on strike

Hollywood Daily: "Although no date has been set, SAG leadership has begun preparations for a strike-authorization vote after two days of meetings with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers failed to break the 5-month-old deadlock on a new TV/theatrical contract."

Varone's moves vary from a quiet touch to 'Alchemy'

Post Gazette: "When we hear the word 'dance,' most of us envision some type of superhuman athletic endeavor, probably set to music. But dance can be much more than that -- a touch, a walk, a free-falling tumble -- when performed with the artistry of Doug Varone and Dancers at the Byham Theater on Saturday night."

Sage advice: Don't miss Ruoti playing Ann Landers

Post Gazette: "Sometimes it's the subject matter that most grabs you about a play, sometimes structure, historical context or philosophy. In 'The Lady with All the Answers' at the Pittsburgh Public Theater, it's the performance."

ETC To Test Special Concept Before Building Virtual Worlds Show, Dec. 3

8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter: "Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) presents its free, annual Building Virtual Worlds Show at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 3, in McConomy Auditorium, showcasing a collection of interactive virtual worlds created by interdisciplinary student teams. Each world was constructed as part of the Building Virtual Worlds course, founded by the late Randy Pausch and currently taught by renowned game design specialist Jesse Schell."

University's 2008 Strategic Plan Approved

8 1/2 x 11 Newsletter: "At its October meeting, Carnegie Mellon's Board of Trustees approved the university's 2008 strategic plan. Based on a yearlong revision of the 1998 strategic plan, the new document focuses on the university's aims and aspirations across six themes or pillars: Research; Education; Regional Impact; Globalization and International Activities; Carnegie Mellon Community Success; and Finance and Infrastructure."

Denver Center launching new-play fest that's all about musicals

The Denver Post: "Big news is forthcoming from the Denver Center Theatre Company's Colorado New Play Summit: The announcement of a twin annual festival dedicated exclusively to the creation of new American musicals."

Muslim beauty queen tells of racism, survival "Asli Bayram knows the urge to hide, fearful of those outside who might hurt her, and too afraid to do anything that might get her noticed."

Power couple "It's rare that the entertainment gods allow both partners in a marriage to step into the spotlight at the same time, but that's just what's happening this coming week to Colm and Donna Feore, the 'first couple of Canadian show business.'"

Conservatory Hour

Conservatory Hour for Monday Nov. 24th

Is from 5-6pm in the Checco (Studio A)

This week’s focus will be a critique of


Attendance is required for all involved with the production and all freshmen.

All others are strongly encouraged to come participate in this discussion.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Wisconsin Film Production News: Letter to the Lieutenant Governor

BadgerGuide: "Tax credits can be gained by hiring non-residents and renting equipment from non-Wisconsin vendors. The Department of Commerce interpreted the rules to include payroll companies as an expense. This allows a loophole to hire workers that do not reside in Wisconsin. While we see the benefit of allowing some tax credits for hiring non-residents in order to attract larger films, this loophole does not encourage larger productions to look for a Wisconsin workforce when they are not “local.”"

Movies Studios Screw Writers Over What they Striked On

LAist: "As the Screen Actors Guild and the movie studios, represented by AMPTP, meet for the first time in four months today, the Writers Guild of America announced that writers are not getting paid for new media residuals, which was the core issue they held a 100-day strike over. That can't help today's meeting, which will include a federal mediator, because new media is one of the big reasons that SAG and AMPTP have not come to a deal yet."

IATSE, Hollywood studios agree to tentative 3-year contract

Los Angeles Times: "The International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees agreed to a tentative three-year contract with the major Hollywood studios Wednesday, becoming the fifth union this year to conclude a deal with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers."

IATSE, AMPTP reach tentative pact "'This was a tough negotiation during tough economic times but both sides worked hard and negotiated reasonably to come to this agreement,' IATSE International President Matthew D. Loeb said. 'This new agreement both protects members and allows new media to evolve.'"

Will Obama's copyright czar help save the music?

Reuters: "From Bruce Springsteen to Stevie Wonder, plenty of musicians supported President-elect Barack Obama. Now music executives are wondering what kind of support they'll see from the Obama administration."

Fair use group comes up with classroom copyright primer

artstechnica: "As various forms of media have gone digital, it has become far easier to make exact copies of material, including material that happens to be under copyright. Content owners have attempted to restrict the copying of this media through laws like the DMCA and legal campaigns against file-sharing, but these efforts have often ignored the concept of fair use entirely. A group of academics involved in media studies has now issued a series of fair use best practices, some of which apply to an audience well beyond the group that drafted the document."

Public art is big money for NYC, but economic impact questioned

The Canadian Press: "The city has hosted two grand public art installations in the last three years: the saffron fabric 'Gates' exhibit in Central Park in 2005 and the recent 'Waterfalls' show near the shorelines of Manhattan and Brooklyn."

Projection Difficulties

Metro Pulse: "After opening at Broadway’s Adelphi Theatre in January of 1947, Kurt Weill’s Street Scene, his venture toward an “American opera,” went on to win the first-ever Tony Award for a Composer (now Best Original Score), beating out notable original productions of Finian’s Rainbow and Brigadoon. Yet Street Scene ran for only 148 performances—unsuccessful by Broadway standards—closing because of “production difficulties.”"

NEA Awards $30,000 to Shakespeare & Company's Fall Festival

Stage-directions: "The National Endowment for the Arts Learning in the Arts Program has awarded $30,000 to Shakespeare & Company's 20th annual Fall Festival of Shakespeare. This is the 14th year the NEA has provided support targeted specifically for Shakespeare & Company's education program."

Lee Greenwood Accepts Presidential Appointment to National Arts Council

Stage-directions: "Lee Greenwood, known for writing and performing “God Bless the U.S.A.” has accepted a Presidential appointment to the National Endowment for the Arts council. He will serve a six-year term."

'Road Show' is rich with despair "Money is literally raining on the Public Theater's stage, where Road Show (* * * * out of four), the taut, thrilling new musical by Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman, opened Tuesday. Bills pour down so fast and thick, one hopes the company has accident insurance. Nab a seat up front, and an actor may even throw a few your way."

Caution: Robotic Technology At Work

Live Design: "Spectators have played a part in performance since theatre began, laughing, gasping, and watching performers respond to their responses. In the 20th century, environmental design went further, blocking us into the action. But when the Quantum Theatre in Pittsburgh collaborated with the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University to create a high-tech production of Cymbeline, the joint effort enabled 21st-century audiences to lend input to Shakespeare himself on the dialogue."

The Magic Of Creating Believable Special Effects

Live Design: "The job of the special effects designer is to create the perception of reality in the mind of the viewer — to trick the human brain with just a few simple inputs — drops of water, say, falling from a hidden pipe, a few carefully placed lights, an offstage fan. Combine these elements properly and the audience sees a rain storm."

The Long Reach Long Riders Ride Again

Live Design: "The Long Reach Long Riders (LRLR) are happy to announce the schedule and route of their sixth annual charity motorcycle ride. The 2009 trip begins in Richmond, Virginia on July 31st and ends on August 6th in Dahlonega, Georgia. In between they'll tour through places like Cades Cove and Bear Gap, see some of the prettiest country and ride some of the best bike roads east of the Mississippi."

Obama's Election Speech Lit for Crowd, TV

PLSN: "U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama gave his election night speech before a hometown crowd of more than 100,000 and a TV audience of millions. C3 Presents, meanwhile, gave its vote to stage lighting rental and production company Christie Lites, which elected to use Martin MAC 2000 Wash XBs to light the historic moments for both the crowd and for TV."

Accident kills teen

The Spectrum: "The pistol was in the hands of the student when people found him, said Captain Bruce Graham of the St. George Police Department. 'Nothing shoots out this type of gun, but the gas still has the same energy as a bullet,' Graham said."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Screen Actors Guild to Seek Strike

Backstage: "The Screen Actors Guild said Saturday it will ask its members to authorize a strike after its first contract talks in four months with Hollywood studios failed despite the help of a federal mediator."

Two Broadway shows join growing list of casualties

Reuters: "Charlotte St. Martin, executive director of the Broadway League, said on Friday the next six weeks were a crucial time for the theater business, which typically enjoys its busiest period over the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year holidays."

The Week in Tools: Toolmonger Top 5

Toolmonger: "It’s been 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"

Video: SawStop Inventor Puts His Finger in a SawStop Blog: "SawStop inventor Steve Gass decided that a hot dog just isn’t cutting it anymore… So he put his OWN FINGER into the spinning blade on national television…"

Critics Undivided In Praise Of Estate

Steve On Broadway (SOB): "Last night, Horton Foote's Off-Broadway hit Dividing The Estate opened at Broadway's Booth Theatre. Directed by Michael Wilson, the Lincoln Center Theatre presentation stars Elizabeth Ashley, Hallie Foote, Arthur French, Penny Fuller and Gerald McRaney. Critics were fairly united in their positive reviews."

Walgreens: The Insane Hardware Driving the World's Biggest LED Billboard

Gizmodo: "In a dusty supply closet at 1 Times Square, a computer terminal hooked up to hordes of ethernet servers, RAID arrays and monitors humbly runs the largest LED sign in the world."

ReciproTools @ STAFDA 2008 "A company called Reciprotools came out with adapters and attachments to turn a Reciprocating saw into a multi-use tool."

UPDATE 1-Actors union to seek strike authorization

Reuters: "The main union representing U.S. film and television actors said on Saturday it would seek a strike authorization vote by members after federal mediation failed to break a logjam in labor talks with major Hollywood studios."

Pittsburghers still like to see the light

Post Gazette: "Downtown was brimming with families like the Lohrs -- about 200,000 people, by organizers' estimates -- die-hard revelers who strap on their ear muffs and puffy coats and head to Light Up Night year after year."

Asking the unpopular--is there too much art?

Arts Marketing: "Is there just too much art? Take for example an article written in the Washington Post on April 23, 2008 which cites a study by the Helen Hayes Organization that says in 2007, there were 402 more performances by theatre companies than the previous year but attendance was down by 36,000 patrons. From this report, it would seem that supply has significantly surpassed demand, and this isn’t surprising when you take into consideration the boom of new theaters in the Washington metropolitan area."

Think Anatomy

ExhibiTricks: "For those of you who work in more traditional natural history museums (with lots of mounted skeletons and specimens floating in jars) you'll love the new anatomy-based portal called Think Anatomy."

Organize Your Life With Springpad "Springpad is an online personal organizer. It is structured as a notebook that you can use to keep track of your appointments, notes, photos, maps, to do list, plans, contacts and any kind of information that you can ever need and think of."

Ruoti, Pappas provide fascinating 'Answers'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Ann Landers is alive again and living with the Pittsburgh Public Theater.
The immensely popular syndicated advice columnist died of cancer in 2002 just a few days short of her 84th birthday.
She lives again on stage courtesy of David Rambo's well-researched script 'The Lady With All the Answers' and Helena Ruoti's lively, startlingly genuine performance."

Far From the Spotlight, a Brewing Fight Between Playwrights and Nonprofit Theaters Over Subsidiary Rights "When Mr. Lucas agreed to make the Off Broadway premiere of his play “Prayer for My Enemy” part of the Roundabout Theater Company’s 2008-9 season, he said he didn’t realize that the Roundabout’s standard contract would require him to sign over 40 percent of his subsequent author royalties for the play for 10 years."

FCC continues fight for Jackson fine

Hollywood Reporter: "The FCC's battle to collect fines from CBS over Janet Jackson's infamous 'wardrobe malfunction' during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show could be heading to the U.S. Supreme Court."

Mediator unable to bring SAG, AMPTP together

Hollywood Reporter: "After two days worth of round-the-clock meetings – about 27 hours – federal mediator Juan Carlos Gonzalez was unable to bring SAG and the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers together to hash out a new TV/theatrical contract."

Gay theater 'secedes' from California

Variety: "The nation's oldest extant gay theater has 'seceded' from California. Protesting the state's vote to ban gay marriage, Theater Rhinoceros exec director John Fisher -- whose writing-directing credits include 'Medea: The Musical' and other indicators of anarchic humor -- has declared the theater a sanctuary from government-sanctioned prejudice."

'White Christmas' hits Broadway

Variety: "After playing multiple regional runs over the last few holiday seasons, the tuner franchise -- based on the 1954 pic with familiar tunes by Irving Berlin -- has staked out a holiday berth on Broadway with an eye toward offering seasonal competish to 'The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular.'"

Broadway may freeze U.K. imports

Variety: "U.K. exports to Gotham like the hit revival of 'The Seagull' or recent trans-Atlantic travelers such as'The History Boys' and 'Frost/Nixon' have increasingly become a staple of Broadway seasons, not to mention awards roundups. But with the chilly wind of recession blowing on both sides of the Pond, some U.S. pundits have been speculating privately that the influx might dwindle."

Friday, November 21, 2008

Lepage, Guillem and Maliphant to present Eonnagata at Sadler's Wells

The Stage: "The story recounts the life of Charles de Beaumont, a member of French King Louis XV’s spy network, the King’s Secret, whose true gender was a constant source of speculation right up to his death. Lepage, Guillem and Maliphant will draw on the ancient Kabuki technique of onnagata, in which male actors portray female roles in an stylised fashion. The production will receive its world premiere in February."

Gay comedy suddenly gets new relevance "Playwright Michael Yawney spent the last three years crafting a comedy about Anita Bryant's 1977 campaign to repeal Miami-Dade County's first gay-rights ordinance. Yawney never expected that on the eve of its world premiere Thursday in Miami, 1,000 Homosexuals would be so relevant."

Where is the decent Christmas theatre? "So Christmas is once again lurching towards us with all the stealth of a Salvation Army band and as I look around at what the arts have to offer I'm left with the same nagging question I have every year – how do we manage to make art about Christmas so boring?"

Marathon Labor Talks, No Deal Yet

Backstage: "A marathon meeting between SAG and the AMPTP on Thursday -- the first session in five months -- gave Hollywood some hope but no relief from its labor pains."

Pittsburgh artists create virtual artistry on Google Street View

Pop City: "With the help of the Google Street View team out of San Francisco, Robin Hewlett and Ben Kinsley, both graduates of Carnegie Mellon, orchestrated a fictional day in the life of Sampsonia Way and captured it Google-style, with a little help from an eclectic cast of characters."

Microsoft Office: Integrate YouSendIt with Microsoft Office

Lifehacker: "Send that big PowerPoint presentation or Excel spreadsheet without clogging up your recipient's email inbox straight from Microsoft Office using previously mentioned file delivery service YouSendIt."

NY Innovative Theatre Awards Releases Off-Off-Broadway Venue Study

The Clyde Fitch Report: "The New York Innovative Theatre Foundation presents a “Report on Off-Off-Broadway Performance Venues.' The 5-year study evaluated where Off-Off-Broadway (OOB) productions are being performed and trends with regard to performance venues by neighborhood."

Volunteers racing to shore up home of National Negro Opera Company

Post Gazette: "The owners recently alerted Dan Holland, president of the Young Preservationists Association of Pittsburgh, who rallied volunteers from his and other community groups to stabilize the ramshackle building. Renew Pittsburgh and Operation Better Block will contribute volunteers a week from Saturday."

Architecture: 17,000 Square Foot LED Billboard Flipped On at 1 Times Square, Wraps Around Entire Building

Gizmodo: "The display, which wraps around the three most visible sides of 1 Times Square, is capable of playing contiguous video using all of its surfaces at once. Made up of a mix of 13 60in plasma TVs and over 12 million individual LEDs arranged in diagonal panels, the screen is purported to display a resolution of '20 times the resolution of standard HDTV,' though it's not completely clear what that's supposed to mean."

Eye wash

The Hardware Aisle: "Getting a piece of something sharp in your eye is painful and unnerving. I’m not talking about an eyelash or a piece of windblown plant fluff. I’m talking about when you’ve got your safety glasses on and that thing you’re drilling, or cutting, or sanding or routing or whatever-ing somehow throws a little bit of something into your eyeball. There’s not much worse than that zinging pain that will make you reach up and hold you eye open because it hurts too much to close it."

'Brothers Size' compelling study of tough love

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The play, which opened Wednesday evening in the intimate Lester Hamburg Studio Theatre, focuses on the fierce clashes and oft-concealed affections of two brothers in a car repair shop somewhere in the Louisiana bayou country."

Christian Hoff, a Jersey Boy, Is Broadway’s New Pal Joey "It’s not every day that an actor is tapped to play a role immortalized by Gene Kelly onstage and Frank Sinatra on screen. It is not every day, either, that producers choose to revisit that role, Joey Evans in “Pal Joey,” given that it has a title character who uses and exploits women and has a legendarily uneven book that goes with the famous Rodgers and Hart score."

Off Off Broadway scene suffering

Variety: "'Tis the season to announce closings. According to a survey from the New York Innovative Theater Foundation, more than 25% of the Off Off Broadway venues in New York's theater-heavy West Village and Midtown neighborhoods have closed in the last five years."

Who's Laughing Now?

Remember! One night only! Come to the event everyone has been talking about
Who's Laughing Now? An Improv Show featuring original stand up from Ethan Saks
David Berger-Jones
Will Brill
Ian Harding
Gabe King
Peter Moses
Ethan Saks
Michaela Watkins
This Saturday Night, November 22, at 11:00 PM in Studio A (After the closing performance of Into the Woods)
Tickets are $5 at the door. Come support the Senior Showcase for this hilarious event!

Wicked Witch goes wicked green

StarTribune: "Watch Donna Vivino transform into the Wicked Witch of the West in the musical 'Wicked' at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis."

Interesting Times is local activist and playwright Jerry Starr's last testament on stage.

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "Where was David Singleman when John F. Kennedy was shot? Well, he was sitting in a diner. His beatnik friends were sore at him. He'd been offered partner at the family shoe store, but he'd declined. He'd been arrested during a protest, which had just ruined his chances for grad school. David was Jewish, but he was in love with Denise, an African-American waitress. That night, he planned to drop acid for the first time ..."

Into the Woods

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "There's probably no Stephen Sondheim show which more divides fans than Into the Woods, the musical he wrote with James Lapine about what comes after 'happily ever after.' It's not two groups debating the merits of the show; it's one group loving Act I but hating Act II, and vice versa."

Escanaba in Love

Pittsburgh City Paper - Pittsburgh: "Oh, about 12 years ago, movie actor Jeff Daniels wrote Escanaba in Da Moonlight. About a bunch of Yoopers. He lived over dere in Michigan on the other side of the Greatest Lake of Them All. Anyhow, he knew somethin' special when he saw it and dove right in -- uh, not in da lake, but inta da Soady family and their love of huntin' 'n' fishin'. That kind of ting could be what dey call 'an acquired taste,' eh? Well, I got that taste and I ain't ashamed."

Bebe Neuwirth on Bob Fosse

PRI.ORG: "Dancer and actress Bebe Neuwirth talks about life beyond Lilith, the repressed psychologist she played on 'Cheers.' She's still performing, and passing on the legacy of choreographer Bob Fosse to dance students."

Proposition 8 controversy hits theater community "This time out, it has to do with Proposition 8 -- a ballot measure that just passed in California banning same-sex marriage. It was revealed shortly afterward that Scott Eckern, the artistic director of Sacramento's influential and highly successful California Musical Theater, had contributed $1,000 of his own money to support the issue."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

'Goat' director prepares audiences for black comedy with touchy subject

Post Gazette: "The issue at the heart of the family battle royal in Edward Albee's 'The Goat' is shocking -- funny, sure, but intentionally upsetting and even disgusting."

'Interesting Times' is interesting enough

Post Gazette: "Not only is there substance and interest in 'Interesting Times,' Jerry Starr's story of a young man finding his way amid the clashing ideals of 1963 America, there's significant (if intermittent) skill in its dramatization."

A double dose of Doug Varone in Cultural District

Post Gazette: "It's rare when Pittsburgh Dance Council audiences get to see multiple facets of a choreographer's talents, and that usually occurs over the course of many seasons of dedicated viewing."

'The Goat' tests audience's comfort levels

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'This is not a play for everybody. It really, really isn't,' says Henderson, who is directing 'The Goat or Who Is Sylvia?' for The REP, Point Park University's professional theater company."

Carbonell Awards for theater take intermission "In a surprise move, the board of directors of the Carbonell Awards has voted to suspend the program for 2009. A ceremony honoring the best work in South Florida theater during 2008 will still take place in the spring, but no productions that open during 2009 will be given awards."

Tanya Gold goes behind the scenes at Imagine This, the Warsaw ghetto musical

The Guardian: "In Imagine This, a new musical about the Holocaust, a group of actors in the Warsaw ghetto stage a play. The play is about a community of Jews in Masada who, in AD73, are surrounded by the Roman army and, rather than surrender, choose to kill themselves en masse. 'With rumours of the Final Solution in the air,' the press release says, 'their play merges with the reality they are trying to escape and a dramatic love story unfolds.' Ah. It is dead Jew piled on dead Jew, with song, and it is coming to a major West End venue in London. I absolutely have to go down and examine it. Will it be Springtime for Hitler, without the irony?"

The Outing of Scott Eckern

Backstage: "Susan Egan has played many parts in her long showbiz career. She was the original Belle in Broadway's Beauty and the Beast, earning Tony and Drama Desk award nominations. She replaced Sutton Foster as the lead in the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie and was one of several actors who played Sally Bowles in the longest-running Broadway production of Cabaret.
But last week, Egan found herself in a role she never thought she would land: political activist."

'Impressionism' Sets a March 12 Broadway Opening

Backstage: "The opening date and Broadway theater have been set for the world premiere of 'Impressionism,' a play by Michael Jacobs starring Jeremy Irons and Joan Allen."

Stick This On Your PC "I used to be addicted to sticky notes. There I said it…
The kids in the mail room were bringing me a few new packs daily. I stuck them everywhere. On monitors, servers, laptops even on interns. (Hey I have problems remembering names more than IP addresses!)"

The songs we love about us

Backstage at "I love a song that is about working in live entertainment. Even better if it is expressly about working behind-the-scenes, but I also like the ones that may not be expressly about the business, but certainly could be."

M.I.T.’s Media Lab Will Study Film Narrative in Center for Future Storytelling "In league with a handful of former Hollywood executives, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Laboratory plans to do something about that on Tuesday, with the creation of a new Center for Future Storytelling."

Arias to Showstoppers: The Worlds of Opera and Theatre (WIT #369)

ATW: "Composer Michael John LaChiusa, and directors Diane Paulus and Stephen Wadsworth have all worked in the once mutually-exclusive worlds of opera and theatre. They share their thoughts about the nature of each of these entertainment forms, how they differ and what they share; the use of amplification and how it affects productions in both opera and theatre; the so-called American Idol effect on musical performers; changes in training for opera singers; the differing scale - and manner - of pay; whether super-titles enhance or distract from opera performances; and the importance of the director’s role and how it differs in theatre and opera."

Teenager shot with a blank dies

Salt Lake Tribune: "The father of a St. George 15-year-old who was killed by a blank-loaded prop gun Saturday before a school play said he was astonished the teen had been allowed to handle the weapon without supervision."

Robot to debut at Music Hall

Cincinnati.Com: "North America's only trumpet-playing robot will make 'his' debut with Erich Kunzel and the Cincinnati Pops in holiday concerts next month in Music Hall.
The robot, made by the Toyota Motor Corp. in Japan, will perform a trumpet solo, as well as two Christmas medleys with the Pops.
'I've worked before with animals and children - but never with a robot,'"

Theatre's new robotic star "We've all seen actors give a mechanical performance, but imagine, if you will, the great advantages of a mechanical performer. A robot actor wouldn't ask 'what's my motivation?' It wouldn't demand high salaries, pull sickies or seduce fragile ingénues"

Government files petition in ‘Janet Jackson case’

SCOTUSblog: "The question presented by the petition is:
“Whether the court of appeals erred in holding that the Federal Communications Commission acted arbitrarily and capriciously under the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 551 et seq., in determining that the most widely viewed broadcast of public nudity in television history fell within the federal prohibitions on broadcast indecency.”"

Lighting Person Wanted

Craigslist: "Professional Sophomore Productions is seeking a lighting designer"

Yale establishes music branch

Variety: "University has established the Yale Institute for MusicTheater, collaboration between Yale's Schools of Drama and Music. The tuner initiative is set to bow June 7-21 with workshops for three original musical theater projects."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Con Men Mizners Scam, Sing in Traveling `Road Show' Arts and Culture: "``Road Show,'' the Stephen Sondheim- John Weidman musical now at New York's Public Theater, has had more titles than British royalty."

Seattle Opera Receives a Techonlogical Boost with a $750,000 Wallace Excellence Award

Broadway World: "Seattle Opera announced today that the company will receive a $750,000 grant from the Wallace Foundation over the next four years to increase accessibility to opera through new and innovative practices."

Photo Coverage: ROAD SHOW After Party

Broadway World: "ROAD SHOW is a new musical featuring music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by John Weidman, and direction and scenic design by John Doyle. The cast of 17 features Michael Cerveris and Alexander Gemignani as the two Mizner brothers. ROAD SHOW will run through Sunday, December 28th. ROAD SHOW had an official press opening on Tuesday, November 18th. BroadwayWorld's cameras followed the cast as they arrived for the opening night party"

Pet Peeves, Part II

Backstage at "Chewing gum or eating over headset"

CMU to tighten outdoor smoking restrictions Jan. 1

Post Gazette: "Carnegie Mellon University will further curb outdoor smoking on its campus starting Jan. 1 but has opted against a campuswide ban in 2010 that was discussed last year."

Stop Being So Square

Toolmonger: "With a clamping edge guide, making straight cuts with your circular saw has never been easier, but most clamping edge guides only let you make right-angle cuts. The large rubber clamping pads on the Bora Clamp N Cut edge guide swivel 22.5° in either direction, letting you clamp it at an angle across the workpiece."

Teen Killed by Prop Gun at 'Oklahoma!' Show Identified "Officials have released the identity of a high school student killed after apparently shooting himself with a blank-firing prop pistol at St. George's Desert Hills High School."

Time Management: BubbleTimer Webapp Helps Track Time and Set Goals

LifeHacker: "Based on the Emergent Task Timer worksheets from David Seah, BubbleTimer is a quick and easy to use web application for budgeting, tracking and working towards time management goals."

Virtual worlds increasingly generated by software, not made by artists

Boing Boing: "Here's Far Cry 2 technical director Dominic Guay talking about the importance of 'procedural content generation' for massive online games -- basically, using software to create worlds that had previously been hand-built by artists. It makes a lot of sense, but what fascinates me is the narrative possibilities for fiction about games: these procedural systems have or will shortly attain a level of complexity that makes it impossible to predict their outcomes."

Comedy, Tragedy and Financial Pain - Broadway Braces for a Squeeze "Like most longtime Broadway producers, James Freydberg is used to getting loans. But recently he found that despite what he said was his perfect credit rating, his bank was not so accommodating. “Banks are unwilling or unable to loan money,” he said."

Small Crew Need for big low budget movie


'Dreamgirls' revival at Apollo

Post Gazette: "A new national tour of 'Dreamgirls' will kick off a year from now at Harlem's Apollo Theater, which is where the opening scene of the musical takes place."

Phase 3's 'Miss Julie' lacks emotional power

Post Gazette: "We rarely experience the original shock of the famous theatrical iconclasts.
I don't suppose pregnant women miscarry watching Aeschylus' 'The Eumenidies,' as they are said to have done in the fifth century B.C.E. Nor do we denounce Ibsen, Synge or Strindberg as bestial, loathsome, revolting and worse, as critics did in their day."

Critic Clive Barnes dies at 81

Variety: "Clive Barnes, the legit and dance critic who had covered performing arts in Gotham for more than 40 years, died Nov. 19 in New York of complications from cancer. He was 81."

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

Here are the top 5 comment generating posts of the past week...

Tuition 11th highest

The Tartan Online: "As a private university, Carnegie Mellon receives funding from its endowment, tuition, and research grants from a variety of sources. There have been many initiatives to increase the school’s endowment, the biggest and most productive being the “Inspire Innovation” capital campaign in which the school aims to raise $1 billion. The public phase of the campaign was kicked off at the B There event at Homecoming. According to Carnegie Mellon President Jared L. Cohon, $550 million had already been raised in the campaign’s private phase."

CMU takes enchanting trip 'Into the Woods'

Post Gazette: "Great shows are continually reborn. And Stephen Sondheim and James Laine's 'Into the Woods' is a great musical, witty and wise, with the broad compassion and complexity of a Shakespearean comedy.
But it didn't necessarily follow I was eager to see it, even at Carnegie Mellon, because expectation can set you up for disappointment. At the last minute, I squeezed into one of the last available seats Saturday afternoon -- and I was enchanted, as would be Sondheim himself, or you, if you can still get a ticket."

Steven Wells: Don't let indie kids kill off the musical "As you may know, the release of High School Musical 3 in the US prompted a number of viciously negative reviews from critics. Apparently these reviewers were shocked and sickened that the film didn't focus more on the grim reality of being a boring indie kid.
'This corporate Disney universe is ... free from all the exquisite pain and hopeless boredom that made being a teenager real,' said a typical review in the Philadelphia Metro."

Study abroad booms as do student visits here

Post Gazette: "Kristin Podboy didn't go to Chatham University for Mayan ruins or rain forests, but her first-ever study abroad trip to Guatemala and Belize may prove the most memorable part of her college years."

2 Free Cutlist Programs that Minimize Scrap for Woodworkers Blog: "What if you could consistently determine the most efficient way to cut your wood stock down into project-ready pieces?
First off you’d save yourself money - quite a big chunk over time depending on how much wood you buy. Some other repercussions? You’d have no need for articles like: 11 Ideas for Wood Cut Offs, and you could strike the cut off storage plans off your list of wood storage plans."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

j-o-b - PM

Quantum Theatre seeks Production Manager/Technical Director.

Company run by Artistic and Managing Directors seek a third manager in production to partner with them and supervise Stage Management, liaison with designers and directors, hire and supervise building crews; be responsible for the choices of directors and designers coming to life. Theatre produces high quality, cutting-edge work that has an international reputation and strong local following. Four shows per year are staged environmentally in Pittsburgh, each in a different, unconventional venue, none theatres. The PM:

• Serves as chief communicator among director, designers, and staff as pre-rehearsal decisions are made. Prices materials, establishes and maintains production budget as productions are built.

• Serves as liaison to venue owners.

• Takes designers’ plans and realizes them: builds seating platforms and scenery, supervising a hired crew; staffs work calls; maintains the performance venue; oversees load-in, up-keep of sound and lighting equipment, and load-out; transports all materials.

• Prepares the company for tech and runs tech. Hires and prepares the run-crew.

• Inventories and organizes storage.

• Minimum of three years of technical theatre management – looking for person who knows the kind of theatre with which they’d like to work and has ability to supervise.
• Educational background in production management/technical theatre; experience with all technical areas, especially carpentry.
• Valid driver’s license and reliable transportation.
• Experience in Microsoft office, PC-based lighting consol (Rosco Horizon) and SFX sound composition software.
• Flexibility, desire to lead, ability to meet deadlines, work independently as well as be part of a team. Understanding of Quantum Theatre’s unique product, ethos, and history or desire to learn it.

The position offers a competitive salary in a small city with good quality of life; starting range: $38,000 to $42,000, plus full health benefits, all necessary equipment, and company cell phone.

Rene Conrad

Quantum Theatre
67 Bedford Square
Pittsburgh, PA 15203

CMU takes enchanting trip 'Into the Woods'

Post Gazette: "Great shows are continually reborn. And Stephen Sondheim and James Laine's 'Into the Woods' is a great musical, witty and wise, with the broad compassion and complexity of a Shakespearean comedy.
But it didn't necessarily follow I was eager to see it, even at Carnegie Mellon, because expectation can set you up for disappointment. At the last minute, I squeezed into one of the last available seats Saturday afternoon -- and I was enchanted, as would be Sondheim himself, or you, if you can still get a ticket."

Royal Opera to Call Off Planned Manchester Arm If No State Cash Arts and Culture: "London's Royal Opera House, which seeks to open a branch in Manchester that would cost 60 million pounds to 80 million pounds ($90 million to $120 million), said the project would be dropped if it failed to receive state money."

Sondheim's `Road Show' Ties Into Housing Bust After Long Run-Up Arts and Culture: "In ``Road Show,'' the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical opening tonight at New York's Public Theater, the character Wilson Mizner takes to the radio to promote real estate in 1920s Boca Raton, Florida."

Leguizamo Drops F-Bombs in Mamet; Woolf Goes Video Arts and Culture: "“American Buffalo” (Chicago, 1975; Off Broadway, 1976; Broadway, 1977, 1983) made its steady progress to becoming David Mamet’s breakthrough play. Revived on Broadway with Cedric the Entertainer, John Leguizamo and Haley Joel Osment, it has now become multicultural (black, Hispanic, Caucasian) but still concerns three lowlifes botching a heist."

2 Free Cutlist Programs that Minimize Scrap for Woodworkers Blog: "What if you could consistently determine the most efficient way to cut your wood stock down into project-ready pieces?
First off you’d save yourself money - quite a big chunk over time depending on how much wood you buy. Some other repercussions? You’d have no need for articles like: 11 Ideas for Wood Cut Offs, and you could strike the cut off storage plans off your list of wood storage plans."

Avenue Q, Quality of Life, Metcalf, Glover Are Ovation Winners in L.A.

Playbill News: "Jane Anderson's new play about faith, wellness and death, The Quality of Life, won the 2008 Ovation Award for Playwriting of an Original Play Nov. 17 in Los Angeles. Miss Saigon, Singin' in the Rain and John Bucchino's It's Only Life were also honored."

Production/Story Assistant

Craigslist: "Looking for a hard working Production Assistant to assist the field producer."

Sound Person needed in Weirton, WV

Craigslist: "Sound Person WITH EQUIPMENT needed for shoot for documentary/reality in Weirton, WV."

Youngest audience members learn golden rules of theater

Post Gazette: "The theater-goers were fidgeting and talking over each other before the curtain went up.
One even let out a primal cry before running through the aisles.
But you could forgive them if they weren't behaving with as much decorum as a crowd at Pittsburgh Public Theater or the Pittsburgh CLO.
Some were coming to their very first live theater performance -- the charming 'If You Give a Pig a Pancake & Other Story Books' -- as part of the Pittsburgh International Children's Theater."

'Saigon' gets four Ovation Awards

Variety: "The Ovation Awards, which honor members of the L.A. Stage Alliance, were handed out Nov. 17 at the Harriet & Charles Luckman Fine Arts Complex at Cal State Los Angeles."

Opera review: Superb mini-operas convey heartfelt grief

Post Gazette: "Love and loss -- more specifically, the loss of one's beloved -- were the issues and inspiration for a pair of hour-long song-cycles by Ricky Ian Gordon, presented by Pittsburgh Opera Saturday evening at the company's splendid new office-rehearsal-performance facility in the Strip District. The works are outpourings of grief over the death of Gordon's life partner, Jeffrey Grossi, who succumbed to complications of AIDS in 1996. As staged, simply but effectively by Crystal Manich, each became a mini-opera, all the more emotionally charged by the presence of the composer in the second row of the small auditorium."

Composers often fly blind with new operas

PostGazette: "The task before composer Ricky Ian Gordon was indeed Gordian in nature, with the knot being John Steinbeck's 'The Grapes of Wrath.'
Commissioned to turn the American treasure into an opera, Gordon and librettist Michael Korie had to find the right musical tone and shoehorn the novel into a much shorter libretto.
'Talk about asking for it,' Gordon said. 'If it is bad, you have insulted and degraded every lover of the greatest book ever written in the United States.'"

'Grapes of Wrath' bears fruit for Opera

PostGazette: "This is essentially Ricky Ian Gordon's achievement in his work, 'The Grapes of Wrath,' which opened its run at the Benedum Center Saturday in a top-rate production by Pittsburgh Opera. It is not a retelling of the novel, but an unpacking of its emotional core and even the greater tragedy of the Great Depression itself. Set with unaffected melody and underpinned by an orchestra both evocative and foreboding, transgressions hit the listener harder and tender scenes made the eyes moister, at least than I remember when reading the book years ago. The criterion for whether a novel should be translated into another art form must begin and end with the question: Can it offer something new? Gordon's most definitely does."

Race and imagination dazzle in ‘No Place’

NewPittsburghCourier: "“No Place to Be Somebody,” now playing at the Pittsburgh Playhouse, merges the African-American social struggle with “street politics” as characters vie for a piece of the American pie, and face the potential of losing their identities, dreams and lives in the process."

Carnegie Mellon alum turns novel into opera

The Tartan Online: "When enthusiastic former Carnegie Mellon student Ricky Ian Gordon came to speak here two weeks ago, he described his fear when commissioned to compose an opera based on John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath."

Iraq's Drama: An Easier Sell On The Stage?

NPR: "Movies about the war in Iraq always seem to flop: Stop Loss, Redacted, Rendition, In the Valley of Elah, Body of Lies, Grace Is Gone — the list goes on and on. All were box-office disappointments."

In A 'Continuous City,' A Meditation On Connection

NPR: "Continuous City, the latest play from the Builders Association — an experimental theater company that's made a name using technology in innovative ways — centers on a corporation that's trying to sell a new brand of video phones."

'Celebrity Autobiography,' Playing With The Truth

NPR: "With the elections over, many of us are returning to one of our greatest obsessions: picking over the minutiae of the lives of celebrities."

Monday, November 17, 2008


First Night Pittsburgh is looking for crew for this year’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration. The pay is good and the work is not bad. If you are staying in town and looking to make some money over the break, this is a great way to do it in a few days. If you are interested, email Jen Owen at for more information.

Conservatory Hour

Conservatory Hour for Monday Nov. 17th

Is from 5-6pm in the Checco (Studio A)

This week’s focus will be a critique of

Heart of a Dog.

Attendance is required for all involved with the production and all freshmen.

All others are strongly encouraged to come participate in this discussion.


New York Post: "HERE'S the difference be tween writing a hit movie and writing a hit musical, according to 'Billy Elliot' creator Lee Hall:
'I get statements from the movie company that say, ' 'Billy Elliot' earned $100 million. But the advertising costs were $150 million. So we don't owe you anything.' What's nice about a musical is that you get a percentage of the gross. The writer actually gets paid.'"

Am-dram can only benefit from the free theatre ticket scheme "The National Operatic and Dramatic Association is outraged today on behalf of its members – the country's admirable amateur companies. NODA has taken exception to the Arts Council and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport linking up to encourage young people's interest in theatre by distributing free tickets to see excellent professional productions. NODA's chief executive Tony Gibbs fumed: 'If DCMS and the Arts Council really want to encourage young people to participate in the arts, they should be focusing on funding those very young people to participate at a local level in the first instance as opposed to issuing such gimmicks.'"

So Long, Seattle

City Arts Seattle: "Laurence Ballard has had enough of being a struggling actor. Here's why you won't be seeing one of our most accomplished performing artists working on local stages any time soon."

The Museum of Online Museums "Charley Parker, of the most excellent art blog Lines and Colors, has posted about The Museum of Online Museums. He warns it’s a total time sink and, holy cow, is he right."

Speed up your work with command aliases

AutoCAD tips: "I usually provide menu, toolbar, or ribbon access for commands, but the quickest way to work is to type command aliases on the command line. You just need to know them."

Study abroad booms as do student visits here

Post Gazette: "Kristin Podboy didn't go to Chatham University for Mayan ruins or rain forests, but her first-ever study abroad trip to Guatemala and Belize may prove the most memorable part of her college years."

Led: 4.5 million LEDs Dazzle at Japan Winter Light Show

Gizmodo: "Last Saturday, 4.2 million LEDs lit up the Nabana no Sato theme park of Kuwana, Japan, kicking off their annual Winter Light Show that runs until March 8th."

Collaborative Drawing On The Dabbleboard "The chalk gives way to the mouse. The canvas to the screen. But essentially online whiteboards try to do the same thing that real world whiteboards used to do in our good ol’ school days. Online whiteboards though have gone a few steps beyond the mimicry."

Google SketchUp 7 wants to make you an artist | Webware

CNET: "Like previous iterations of the software, SketchUp 7 will still allow you to model just about anything you'd like as long as you start with a pre-designed template. The software offers simple templates that help you gauge size through feet or meters, but it also includes architectural design, Google Earth, and a product design template to aide you in your modeling endeavors."

Helena Ruoti explores her inner advice giver

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "David Rambo's 'The Lady With All the Answers' is the 13th production that Ruoti has acted in at the Pittsburgh Public Theater and her third play there since 2006."

Playing an icon takes preparation

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Now, Ruoti is adding a fourth real-life woman to her repertoire -- advice columnist Anne Landers -- in the Pittsburgh Public Theater production of David Rambo's one-woman play 'The Lady With All the Answers.'"

Problems exist in revised version of 'Grapes of Wrath'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When the opera 'The Grapes of Wrath' by composer Ricky Ian Gordon and librettist Michael Korie first was performed by The Minnesota Opera in 2006, the massive dislocation of the population of New Orleans caused by Hurricane Katrina provided an uncomfortable contemporary parallel."

Spotlight - White Plains - Building a Love for Live Theater "MOMENTS before a recent performance of “Camelot” at the White Plains Performing Arts Center, Jack W. Batman, the executive producer, walked onto the stage. Speaking amiably, he thanked people for coming and asked for their support. It was a folksy, decidedly un-Broadway beginning to the professional production that followed, but it reflected the way the nonprofit center has built its audience since Mr. Batman’s arrival 18 months ago. Subscriptions are up, single ticket sales are up, and according to Bruce Robert Harris, the center’s associate producer, Broadway actors and directors are clamoring to work here."

In His New Show, ‘Taking Over,’ Danny Hoch Attacks the Gentrifiers "IN his relationships with women, the hip-hop writer and actor Danny Hoch often finds himself playing the role of the exotic native New Yorker to girlfriends who hail from other parts of the country."

In ‘Continuous City,’ the Builders Association Interfaces With the Online World Onstage "DURING every performance of “Continuous City,” Rizwan Mirza has a live, unrehearsed video chat with his cousin in London and his nephew in Virginia. While their faces are projected on giant screens, they tell him about their days, almost as if they’re having normal conversations. Except Mr. Mirza’s relatives don’t call him Rizwan. They call him J. V."

Dancers spark in 'Connections'

Post Gazette: "The George Roland White Studio at Point Park University made its debut last spring during the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's Dancers' Trust Benefit. But this upscale black-box theater showcased the true potential for Point Park's student performers in the Conservatory Dance Company Friday night."

August Wilson protege returns for play reading

Post Gazette: "Todd Kreidler, 35, is back in Pittsburgh today on a circuitous journey that started in college.
He was just here Oct. 6 to participate in a panel at Pittsburgh Public Theater about August Wilson and 'Radio Golf,' subjects he knows better than anyone, having served the last nine years of Wilson's life as his assistant, close friend, dramaturg and, eventually, youthful alter ego."

Who's Laughing Now? - an Improv/Comedy Show

School of Drama!
This Saturday night after the closing performance of Into the Woods, come see (drumroll please) -
Who's Laughing Now? - an Improv/Comedy Show
David Berger-Jones
Will Brill
Gabe King
Peter Moses
Ethan Saks
Michaela Watkins
Saturday November 22nd, 11:00 PM in Studio A
$5 tickets at the door
All proceeds benefit the Senior Showcase.
Thank you so much for your support!