CMU School of Drama

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stage review: 'Seafarer' aptly navigates rough waters

Post Gazette: "It's Christmas Eve, so take a pew in the church of St. Conor of McPherson. Sure, the place is a bit of a mess, the ceiling's falling in, the shrines have seen better days and the place reeks of stale beer, unwashed humanity and clogged toilets, but you're welcome to sit awhile and say your prayers. Get ready for the Christ Child and all that."

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"

Yes, Artists Build On The Works Of Others... So Why Is It Sometimes Infringement?

Techdirt: "Following on our story the other day about copyright questions concerning the 'appropriated art' that became the iconic Obama campaign poster, the Wall Street Journal has an interesting article exploring the fine line between derivative works and transformative works in the art world. As you probably know, derivative works (e.g., making a movie out of a book) are considered copyright infringement, but transformative works are not."

SCC - On Designing the Sets

Edmund White - Experienced, but Like a Virgin "ON a recent Tuesday evening there were two Edmund Whites at 59E59 Theaters. One was the nattily dressed, popular author, celebrating his 69th birthday and his new play with swarms of friends who kept buzzing by to give him a hug or a kiss on the cheek. The other was the quietly nervous neophyte, folding and refolding his hands during the performance and turning during the curtain call to ask: “Did you like it? Did it seem like a play?”"

The Civilians Tell Colorado Springs Tales in ‘This Beautiful City’ "IN a song for their first show, “Canard, Canard, Goose?,” the celebrated eight-year-old theater troupe the Civilians tunefully described their process. “We think pretty hard about stuff,” they chanted bouncily. “We interview strangers. We don’t use any recording devices. We do little and mostly inconclusive research. People bring snacks. And then ... we make a show of it!”"

China's First Show on Broadway, Soul of Shaolin, Ends Limited Run Jan. 31

Playbill News: "Soul of Shaolin, the martial arts-driven tale of an orphan boy raised in the ancient ways of monks, ends its limited-engagement run Jan. 31 at the Marquis Theatre. The staging, which began Jan. 13, marked the first time a production from the People's Republic of China has appeared on Broadway."

Broadway gets marketing boost

Variety: "New York's marketing and tourism office on Friday launched a targeted communications campaign to boost Broadway ticket sales in the wake of the economic downturn."

Low budget action comedy needs crew (new shoot dates)

Craigslist: "Low budget TV action/comedy is looking to fill crew positions for an upcoming shoot."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quantum Theatre finally gets its shot at 'Mouth to Mouth'

Post Gazette: "Karla Boos has been wanting to do Kevin Elyot's 'Mouth to Mouth' since she saw the world premiere at the Royal Court Theatre in England nine years ago."

'Rachel' chronicles activist who leaped into Israeli conflict

Post Gazette: "'Rachel Corrie' was created from the peace activist's journals, letters, and e-mails to create a portrait of a woman who left Washington state to see what she could do to help in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It plays in New Olde Bank's secondary space, which seats 48 people."

'High School Musical' resonates through theater crowd

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "For Ryan Stana and Gaelen Gilliland, Pittsburgh Musical Theater's 'Disney High School Musical' also is a homecoming event.
Stana serves as the musical's director and choreographer, and Gilliland appears as drama teacher Ms. Darbus.
They're now New York-based professionals."

Review: City Theatre's 'Seafarer' spins a great yarn

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Bits of Irish myth, Catholic theology and an Anglo-Saxon poem intensify Conor McPherson's very contemporary drama 'The Seafarer.'"

Broadway Opens 40 Shows, Luring Ferrell, Gandolfini Arts and Culture: "Defying the economic slump, producers are scheduled to present 19 Broadway shows in the next three months. If they all arrive ahead of the June 7 Tony awards, the 2008-09 season will go down as the busiest in two decades, with 40 new productions."

Gotta Get a Gimmick

Backstage: "Do desperate times call for desperate measures? If you're a theatre producer, apparently so. In December, the producers of Off-Broadway's Dust began offering a refund to theatregoers who didn't like the show. The long-running Off-Broadway hit Altar Boyz and New York's Primary Stages have had pay-what-you-can nights. And Soul of Shaolin, a Chinese martial-arts spectacular on Broadway, has joined forces with the national gym chain Crunch to offer classes inspired by the show and taught by a Shaolin kung fu master."

Disney plans 5 pct job cuts at ABC group

Reuters: "Walt Disney Co plans to lay off 200 people at its ABC division, a Disney executive familiar with the situation said, underscoring the media industry's struggle with sliding ad sales."

New Season Of Norm

Toolmonger: "It’s a strange kind of thing that happens when you watch Norm build a Tiger Maple washstand and think to yourself, “I bet I could build that.” It doesn’t occur to you at the time that there’s no reason for you to want one or that you didn’t know what it was until Mr. Abrams explained it to you 30 minutes earlier."

Carnegie Mellon to Co-Host International "Game Jam"

WDUQNews: "The Entertainment Technology Center (ETC) at Carnegie Mellon University will host the region's would-be video game designers tomorrow in an effort to spontaneously create a new video game."

Addams Family Musical, With Lane and Neuwirth, Tests Its Bat Wings in NYC

Playbill News: "The creators of The Addams Family, the new musical inspired by the macabre characters created by illustrator Charles Addams, are presenting a reading of the show in Manhattan Jan. 27 following a two weeks of workshop rehearsals."

Roy A. Somlyo, Producer, G.M. and Former President of American Theatre Wing, Has Died

Playbill News: "Roy A. Somlyo, 83, a producer and general manager of more than 100 shows on Broadway, London and on tour, and an architect of the Tony Awards as we know it today, died Jan. 29, according to colleagues in the theatre community."

'Speed-the-Plow' recoups costs

Variety: "Producers also put an end to persistent rumors that the production would close at the Barrymore Theater, promised to 'Exit the King' in March, and then move to another Rialto venue."

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Quantum Theatre stages 'Mouth to Mouth'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "It has been nearly eight years since Quantum Theatre artistic director Karla Boos first saw a production of Kevin Elyot's 'Mouth to Mouth,' at London's Royal Court Theatre."

call for STAGE MANAGER for A. Wilson's "Seven Guitars"

Craigslist: "The show will be directed by PPTCo. founder and artistic director Mark Clayton Southers, and will run April 30th – May 24th."

Palace to host 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Palace Theatre in Greensburg will host its first national touring musical in six years this weekend when 'Dirty Rotten Scoundrels' comes to town for one performance."

CEO of National Aviary Resigns

WDUQNews: "Linda Dickerson is leaving the top job at the National Aviary, effective immediately. She sent her resignation to the Aviary's board yesterday. Board chairman Mike Flinn says Dickerson's departure did not come as much of a surprise, but would not comment on any conflicts between them."

Economic downturn isn't playing well in theaters

Los Angeles Times: "When Gilbert Cates tries to explain the hard times facing the Geffen Playhouse, he turns to an analogy from his long experience as a film director and producer of television shows, including the annual Academy Awards telecast. Whenever studio heads talk about cutting the budget for one of his movie projects, Cates compares it to trimming an airplane."

ACT makes cuts; other groups on firmer footing

SFGate: "American Conservatory Theater has eliminated three high-level management positions, including its associate artistic director. It's reduced its budget by about $1.5 million and suspended its Second Stage and First Look productions."

SAG Interim Director Addresses Members

Backstage: "SAG's new interim national executive director, David White, e-mailed a letter to members and posted it on the guild's Web site early Tuesday afternoon."

Young Jean Lee Brings Racial Attitudes to Light in ‘The Shipment’ "Many playwrights dread sitting among their audiences: Nothing is quite as soul-killing as overhearing people savage your work in midperformance. But not Young Jean Lee."

Lane, Hamlisch among Theater Hall of Fame inductees

Post Gazette: "Leading the list of the eight actual inductees was actor Nathan Lane. Joining him in the class of 2008 (the year of their election) were composer Marvin Hamlisch, playwright Alan Ayckbourn, producer Emanuel Azenberg, actor Richard Easton, director-choreographer Patricia Birch, orchestrator Jonathan Tunick and, posthumously, actor Roscoe Lee Browne."

Apollo celebrates 75th anniversary

Variety: "Dionne Warwick, Melvin Van Peebles and Savion Glover were among the guests at the Apollo Theater Tuesday morning for a presentation of highlights planned for the legendary Harlem venue’s 75th anniversary season."

12 Questions For "Mad Men" Costume Designer Janie Bryant: Slaves to Fashion "If you're as obsessed with Mad Men and its award winning style as I am, you won't want to miss our exclusive interview with the show's costume designer, Janie Bryant. She spills on what inspires her to dress Betty Draper, how she creates 200 costumes per episode, and where she goes for incredible vintage clothes (the answer may surprise you)"

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Economic Challenge: Part 1

LiveDesign: "Layoffs. Belt tightening. Consolidations. Projects tabled. Las Vegas troubled. The economic downturn of last fall seems to have affected the entertainment design and technology industry just as it has touched other sectors of the economy. Yet in speaking to various people, it is clear that not all is gloom and doom, as companies are figuring out how to move forward in challenging times."

The Economic Challenge: Part 2

LiveDesign: "As the industry—along with the rest of the world—faces a tough economic landscape, various companies are responding in different ways. Some are turning to layoffs and belt tightening while others are consolidating with the expectation that better days are around the corner. It may be business as usual for most of the industry, as creative solutions are sought to keep companies afloat."

Oscar Nods

LiveDesign: "Congrats to our colleagues in that not-so-live medium of film who received Oscar nominations today in creative arts/technology categories"

Class taught simultaeously in Doha, Pgh.

The Tartan Online: "Carnegie Mellon’s Qatar campus just got closer. This spring semester, the history department in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences is offering a class taught simultaneously on the University’s Pittsburgh and Qatar campuses, linked by live videoconference. Titled “Inward Odyssey: Travelogues as Windows into World History,” the discussion-based course will give students a unique opportunity to interact with their counterparts in Qatar."

Hospitality without grumbling "It was once a demand in Van Halen’s contract that a bowl of M&Ms, with all of the brown M&Ms removed, must be placed in the band’s dressing room at every concert.
Luckily, Ila Crawford has never had to pick out the brown ones.
As the hospitality manager for the Performing Arts Association in St. Joseph, Mrs. Crawford has spent less time fielding outlandish requests and spent more time learning the little things about each guest."

Stage Gun's Discharge Scars Two Actors

The Ledger Lakeland, FL: "Actor Bill Bordy's voice was hoarse Wednesday as he told of sleepless nights fretting over the possibility that he almost killed a friend in a freak theater accident."

That all-nighter may cost you your health

Dailypennsylvanian: "Staying up late to finish that term paper may cause more than just a need for coffee the next morning.
According to a study released by Carnegie Mellon University, people who sleep fewer than seven hours per night are almost three times more susceptible to the common cold than people who get adequate rest."

Arts groups keep building through recession

Small Business Crain's New York Business: "Construction spending by New York City cultural institutions will have an economic impact of $2.2 billion and create 2,500 full-time jobs per year in the period from 2006 to 2010, according to a report released by the Alliance for the Arts.
The report, Culture Builds New York: The Economic Impact of Capital Construction at New York City's Cultural Institutions, also determined that the construction projects will generate around $28.5 million in local taxes for the city."

Democrats' plan: Net neutrality, copyright rewrite | Politics and Law

CNET News: "It may seem as though Congress has completely forgotten about Net neutrality, a topic that has languished in legislative purgatory since mid-2006. But a Democratic aide said Wednesday that it's likely to come back this year, along with potential alterations of digital copyright and patent law."

What fair use? Three strikes and you're out... of YouTube

Ars Technica: "Film critic Kevin Lee found his YouTube account closed and his video essays removed after a third DMCA notice. Content owners have jointly professed great respect for fair use, but Lee's story shows just how many problems remain."

7 ways to support artists "'Special status for artists is very controversial in Canada; it's just part of the landscape that we deal with here,' says Kelly Hill of Hill Strategies Research, a company that specializes in analysis of the country's arts and culture sector."

New Edition of DMX512-A Is Now Available

Stage-directions: "A new edition of the most ubiquitos lighting protocol that started with DMX 512 is now available. ANSI E1.11 - 2008, Entertainment Technology - USITT DMX512-A, Asynchronous Serial Digital Data Transmission Standard for Controlling Lighting Equipment and Accessories, can now be purchased from The ESTA Foundation."

Billington, Fisher, Posner Reach Out to Colleagues for Behind the Scenes, Light Relief

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: "The lighting designers Ken Billington, Rick Fisher, and Ken Posner are urging their colleagues to donate a day's worth of royalties to the industry charities Behind the Scenes and Light Relief."

Graham dance company creates online video contest

Post Gazette: "This year, news headlines will turn into dance -- on the Internet.
The Martha Graham Dance Company is launching a global competition challenging anyone who's cyber-savvy to transform the late choreographer's masterpiece, 'Clytemnestra,' into an online video."

CEO of National Aviary Resigns

WDUQNews: "Linda Dickerson is leaving the top job at the National Aviary, effective immediately. She sent her resignation to the Aviary's board yesterday. Board chairman Mike Flinn says Dickerson's departure did not come as much of a surprise, but would not comment on any conflicts between them. Dickerson's resignation letter cited conflicts over business practices and recommended closing the Aviary's current capital campaign and delaying plans for construction."

Denver Center Theatre Company Hires Ad Agency 'Cactus'

BroadwayWorld: "The Denver Center Theatre Company (DCTC) has tapped Denver-based advertising agency Cactus to grow the Company's brand, to promote its world class productions and to cultivate appreciation for theatre in the region. This contract reunites Cactus and DCTC, who formerly partnered together in the late 1990's."

Clothing: Measurement Gloves Give Construction Jobs the Finger

Gizmodo: "There's never a ruler around when you need one, but these measurement gloves can conceivably clip to your jacket to always have on the job (you know, like mittens)."

Breaking apart text using Excel

Instructables: "This instructable will show you how to break apart (in computer lingo, parse) text using Excel. The instructable will introduce you to some of the text-handling commands in Excel. This instructable will be based on Excel 2007, but will work in any recent version of the software. The technique can be applied to a wide range of data."

Can A Professor Force Students To Destroy All Their Notes?

Techdirt: "One of the more interesting questions I've come across in the past is how does intellectual property function in an educational institution. We already know that thanks to the disastrous Bayh-Dole Act, universities have become a lot more interested in enforcing intellectual property rights for profit, rather than focusing on their charters of sharing information and educating. In many ways, the concepts of intellectual property and education come into significant conflict with each other. And that brings us to a story submitted by Joe Reda, concerning a nameless economics professor at an unknown university supposedly forcing students to destroy all their notes at the end of the semester, officially to avoid having such notes fall into the hands of future students."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Letter to the Editor

The Tartan Online: "Hilary Robinson

In response to Forum Editorial (Sept. 15, 2008) “Will strategic plan be realized in the arts?” I would like to put in perspective why Carnegie Mellon should supports the arts at the highest level."

“The Silent Passage” no more

The Tartan Online: "Few would have thought it would be even remotely possible to write a 90-minute production about that crisis all women eventually have to go through — the period in a woman’s life commonly known as “The Change.”"

Theater groups cancel for Super Bowl

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "In deference to Sunday's Super Bowl game, two local theater groups have canceled performances."

Clothing Company in NEED of a seamstress

Craigslist: "Currently, we need a seamstress to aid us with our fabric and design needs. Our demographic is approximately between the ages of 15-35, in the liberal, artistic type. Think of it like urban meets art."

Musical TV shows are "why the theatre is working", says Mackintosh

The Stage: "Cameron Mackintosh has defended the rise of musical theatre talent programmes such as the BBC’s I’d Do Anything, claiming they are the reason “theatre is working”."

Nunn fears recession may harm West End theatre

The Stage: "Trevor Nunn has raised concerns that straight West End plays will lose audiences and money to musicals in the UK’s current economic state."

London Theaters Drew Record Audiences in 2008 as Slowdown Looms Arts and Culture: "London theaters reported record audiences and revenue for the fourth straight year in 2008. Theater owners said it may be a difficult performance to repeat."

Mary-Louise Parker Leads a Modernist ‘Hedda Gabler’ Arts and Culture: "Mary-Louise Parker, an actress always worth watching, stars in the latest Broadway revival of “Hedda Gabler.” The Roundabout Theatre Company production marks the fourth major staging in recent memory -- and New York still can’t get Henrik Ibsen’s drama right."

Allen Zwerdling, Back Stage Co-Founder and Co-Publisher, Dies

Backstage: "Zwerdling and Ira Eaker created Back Stage, the performing arts trade paper, in 1960, with Zwerdling serving as editor and Eaker as advertising director. Over the years, they built it into a respected resource for the working performer, a position the paper has maintained for almost 50 years."

Borle, Elrod, Keenan-Bolger to Star in La Jolla's "Pan" Prequel, Peter and the Starcatchers

Playbill News: "As part of La Jolla's Page to Stage workshop program, which makes performances open to the public but not subject to review by critics, Peter and the Starcatchers will play Feb. 13-March 8 at the Sheila and Hughes Potiker Theatre at La Jolla Playhouse."

Nederlander Organization to Produce Musical Based on Jackson's "Thriller"

Playbill News: "The Nederlander Organization has acquired the rights to produce a new musical based on the 14-minute 'Thriller,' the video spawned from Michael Jackson's top-selling album of the same name."

Broadway's Phantom of the Opera Hits 21st Anniversary Jan. 26

Playbill News: "The Phantom is old enough to legally drink alcohol in the state of New York. The Harold Prince-directed Broadway production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's The Phantom of the Opera celebrates its 21st anniversary Jan. 26 at the Majestic Theatre."

Sunday, January 25, 2009

'Seafarer' characters face descent before redemption

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Tracy Brigden loves a good story.
That's a primary reason as artistic director and stage director she chose Conor McPherson's 'The Seafarer' for City Theatre's season.
It's a tale of two aging bachelor brothers: Richard, who is blind and awash in alcohol, and Sharky, who is jobless and recently resolved to abstain."

Theater Economics: Why Are There So Few Sequels? "A few weeks ago Dave Itzkoff reported that Andrew Lloyd Webber was creating a sequel to “The Phantom of the Opera,” entitled “Phantom: Love Never Dies.” While this is not the first theatrical sequel ever penned, it is relatively rare."

Lynn Nottage’s ‘Ruined’ Adapts Brecht’s ‘Mother Courage and Her Children’ "SO many decades and productions have washed against the muddy wheels of Bertolt Brecht’s play “Mother Courage and Her Children” that the title has sunk deep into the ordinary and familiar. But when the playwright Lynn Nottage spoke the first two words of the title to Congolese women in the refugee camps of Uganda in 2004, she said, they repeated them in such a way that the words became woundingly new."

More War Stories Will Arrive on Stage. Will Audiences Arrive in Theaters? "NO theatrical event of 2008 captured the political mood of the country quite like the Public Theater’s hit revival of the Vietnam-era rock musical “Hair” in Central Park last summer. Senator Barack Obama and Senator John McCain were sparring daily about whether to withdraw troops from Iraq; “Hair” and its antiwar anthems gave voice not only to the anger that many people felt about the 2003 invasion, but also to the hopes that many of them had invested in Mr. Obama."

Wicked Ends Lengthy Chicago Sit-Down Engagement Jan. 25

Playbill News: "The Chicago production of Wicked, which began its Windy City run June 24, 2005, plays its final performance at the Ford Center for the Performing Arts' Oriental Theatre Jan. 25 at 2 PM."

London theater B.O. hits new record

Variety: "Despite the sharp economic downturn in the final quarter, London theater had a record-breaking year in 2008, with attendance for the year totaling 13,807,286, up 1% on the previous record set in 2007. Box office revenue hit £480,563,674 ($658 million), a 3% rise on the 2007 high."

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Stage Review: 'Metamorphoses,' and unique set, entertaining Quirky challenge

Post Gazette: "The classics are 'the classics' because of their timeless relevance. No great insight there. Plus, we're familiar with them, even comfortable.
When retold in glorious Technicolor fashion with attractive actors in sexy outfits, they can be very entertaining -- ergo 'Metamorphoses.' Some have called it the 'Cirque du Soliel' of the legitimate stage."

2,000-year-old tales come to life in 'Metamorphoses'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "You'd search long and far to find a sleeker, prettier, more visually arresting production that Pittsburgh Public Theater's 'Metamorphoses.'
Scenic designer James Noone, director Ted Pappas, costume designer Susan Tsu and lighting designer Kirk Bookman have created not just a setting that supports the show's need for swift transitions and multiple locations but enhances them with visual grace notes."

Prerecorded Inaugural Quartet: A 'Live' Experience Loses Something "'Our piano experts,' says Carole Florman, a spokeswoman for the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, 'all say that the temperature really needed to be in the 50s for the piano to stay in tune.' On the exposed platform where the musicians were sitting, Ma says, it was more like 15 degrees, with the windchill."

CMU cuts budget in face of recession

Post Gazette: "Faced with a worsening economy, Carnegie Mellon University will shelve some capital projects and reduce academic and administrative budgets to ease projected operating deficits, campus officials said yesterday."

Global Game Jam

Carnegie Mellon University: "More than a thousand video game enthusiasts scattered across 14 time zones, including a contingent at Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), will spend 48 hours building games as part of the first Global Game Jam, Jan. 30 through Feb. 1."

Multi-track Mixing with QLab and Audacity

Theater For The Future: "It’s buried in the wiki, but this explanation of creating multi-track WAVEX files in Audacity 1.3 [which is free] unlocks an amazing feature of the sound playback program qLab [which is free, and poised to release a hotly-anticipated version 2.0]. Bookmark it, and then let’s play, shall we?"

Sounds Like A Plan: Critics Review Greenberg Play

Steve On Broadway (SOB): "Sounds Like A Plan: Critics Review Greenberg Play
Last night, the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) revival of Richard Greenberg's The American Plan opened at Broadway's Samuel J. Friedman Theatre. Helmed by David Grindley, the play about potential love on a Catskill lake stars Mercedes Ruehl, Lily Rabe, Kieran Campion, Austin Lysy and Brenda Pressley."

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"

Four Great Online Todo Lists "A lot of people sometimes find themselves very busy. We get overwhelmed with assignments, projects, deadlines and other mayhem, and at times, a to-do list can really help with managing all those tasks.
Luckily for you, many new and feature-rich online to-do lists can make doing the many tasks you need to do a little more manageable."

More Details Emerging About Futures Of MPTF Acute & Long-Term Care Patients

Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily: "IATSE's International Cinematographers Guild Local 600 just sent out this email and accompanying 'Setting The Record Straight' fact sheet to members about the Motion Picture & Television Fund and Foundation's unexpected announcement about the closure of the acute care hospital and long-term care nursing home."

3 Shows, 4 Cities, 4 Weeks

(Theatreforte): "This one almost didn't happen. I don't know exactly what's going on in Columbus, maybe I'm getting a bad reputation with actors, somehow, but we're having a hell of a time getting a cast together and getting them to stay committed. Casting issues plagued <>Militant Language for the 6 weeks preceding the beginning of rehearsals, and in the end it got so bad we had to cancel the show."

Do live arts need federal boost?

Variety: "As long as the government is handing out bailouts, how about one for the performing arts?
With Washington forking over $700 billion to rescue Wall Street and President Barack Obama talking about the need for a modern-day New Deal, legiters and others in live entertainment are prepping to ask for their own share of federal stimulus."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Weill's 'Street Scene' to get 'voyeuristic' treatment

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Gregory Lehane, professor of drama at Carnegie Mellon University, brings an acolyte's devotion to his work in musical theater.
'Why would you want to sit in a theater and hear people talk when you can hear them sing?' he says."

Dancers' personalities inspire choreographer

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Choreographer Kyle Abraham is discovering you can go home again, even if your parents have retired to Miami. The Pittsburgh native is kicking off a bold series of arts initiatives at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater being launched by its new director, Janera Solomon."

Choreographer brings 'hybrid' to dance scene

Post Gazette: "Choreographer Kyle Abraham hasn't yet named the new work he will create while in-residence at the Kelly-Strayhorn Theater. But the East Liberty venue's new executive director can think of one: 'Mission Statement.'"

Irish playwright Conor McPherson chases away the demons

Post Gazette: "According to Jim Norton, the actor most closely associated with the Conor McPherson plays that have flown out from Ireland to London, New York, Pittsburgh and the other theater centers of the English-speaking world, 'storytelling is the only therapy Ireland believes in -- it helps to deal with the demons.'"

Card Sharks: The Drama Dick plays his hand against the rugged cast of 'The Seafarer'

Post Gazette: "It seems it's about five middle-aged Irish guys who gather in a seedy coastal Irish flat on Christmas Eve and play poker but mainly talk (duh, they're Irish) and it turns out there's more than money at stake. You could tell that from the title, taken from an old Anglo-Saxon poem about exile and despair, which is why the set has a sinking ship feeling. The Drama Dick knew his Anglo-Saxon -- he'd been to college back when it meant something -- but he'd leave the metaphors to the critic. He was here to suss out the people."

Double the cast, double the fun for 'Aladdin Jr.'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Too much of a good thing' isn't a phrase that applies to Tony Marino's Stage Right School for the Performing Arts.
When the artistic director of Stage Right found it difficult to single out only a handful of his talented students for the company's upcoming children's production, 'Disney's Aladdin Jr.,' Marino solved his problem by double-casting the musical."

Higgins trust sues Hirsch over '9 to 5'

Variety: "Among the many charges in the filing: Hirsch failed to adequately secure Higgins' rights to a live stage show from Patricia Resnick, the original scribe for the movie, and failed to advise the trustee in 2006 that the firm was representing Resnick at the time she was writing the book for '9 to 5: The Musical.'"

Producer-director of Kodak's troubled 'Christmas Carol' plans repeat performance

Los Angeles Times: "Culture Monster readers may be familiar with the sorry saga of producer-director Kevin Von Feldt and his ill-fated 'A Christmas Carol' (Dec. 22-Jan.4) As detailed in several of our posts, the show experienced casting and technical problems and, despite a starry lineup that included John Goodman, Jane Leeves and Christopher Lloyd (left), ended up realizing only 18.8% of the potential box office."

‘Big-Drinking Liver’ Pittsinger Keeps ‘South Pacific’ on Top Arts and Culture: "David Pittsinger says he identifies with Emile de Becque, the hero he plays in “South Pacific,” even though his resume of opera gigs around the world doesn’t include wartime reconnaissance."

Disney says to combine two ABC units

Reuters: "Walt Disney Co said on Thursday it would combine two divisions, ABC Entertainment and ABC Studios.
The newly formed unit, to be called ABC Entertainment Group, will be managed by President Stephen McPherson, who had previously served as president, ABC Entertainment."

The Waiting Game

Carnegie Mellon University: "Good things come to those who wait, thanks to a team of students at Carnegie Mellon's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC). After observing what people do in long lines — from airports to Walt Disney World — the students came up with something they thought would help make the experience more tolerable."

6 Words That Make Your Resume Suck

The Best Article Every day: "These sucky words are not of the four-letter variety. These words are common. They are accepted. They litter the average resume with buzzword badness. Hiring managers can identify sucky words in seconds, leaving your resume work worthless.
So how do you write a wicked resume without the suck? How do you turn the wrong words into right? To help you land the job interview, here’s how to spin the 6 sucky resume words into skills that sizzle."

The Ohio Theater in SoHo Is Given a 6-Month Reprieve From Eviction "The Ohio Theater, a venerable cultural landmark that has nurtured generations of theater artists, has been given a six-month reprieve at its home at 66 Wooster Street in SoHo."

Signature Theater and Hartford Stage to Produce Nine-Play Cycle by Horton Foote "Signature Theater Company in Manhattan and Hartford Stage in Connecticut are teaming up to produce the world premiere of a nine-play cycle by the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Horton Foote, performed in repertory over eight months."

Mary Ernster to Star in Wings: The Musical at Chicago's Apple Tree

Playbill News: "Jeff Award winner Mary Ernster will star in a new Chicago production of Wings: The Musical, the cult-hit show inspired by Arthur Kopit's drama about a former daredevil flyer's experience with the world after she suffers a stroke."

North Shore Theater in need of funds

Variety: "North Shore Music Theater, the 53-year-old theater-in-the-round in Beverly, Mass., has joined the ranks of regional nonprofits fighting for their survival in a troubled economy. But as it's nearing its last rounds, North Shore is looking to land a lucky punch."

Calculated Industries 4065 Construction Master Pro Advanced Construction Math Calculator: Home Improvement Good Sale Price

West Coast Drama Alumni Awards

Dear Members of the Class of 2009,

The West Coast Drama Clan has established a process of selecting recipients to receive their Awards. The largest network of former Drama alumni in the business, ready and eager to help students from all areas move into the profession.

If you wish to be considered for a West Coast Award you must apply. You Do Not have to be planning to move to the West Coast to apply.

Their website is up and available Takes you right to the Main application page. You can download 2 PDF files. There is the application form and an addendum. The addendum gives guidelines to aide students from each option to submit the best application.

Also, check out the West Coast Home Page. You can learn more about the West Coast Clan, people, events, etc.

The DEADLINE to submit applications is Monday January 26, 2009 PST (Pacific Standard Time).

Please be aware this Deadline will be at the beginning of our spring semester. Best to consider completion of your application during the winter break.

Do take advantage of this application process. The West Coast Clan is very anxious to help as you move into the profession.

West Coast Clan wants to remind the students that the award is given to the most deserving students regardless of what city or part of the industry they plan on going into.

Please feel free to ask any questions about the application or the awards at or call Lee Miller at (310) 779-7776

You must apply to be considered. Do it NOW. Don’t Wait.

Scott Rigsby


Hoist Workshop

Obtain your Columbus McKinnon Certification

TOMCAT Hoist & Truss Workshop
February 18-21, 2009
ETCP Recognized - Approved training for ETCP renewal credits

The most comprehensive training courses of their kind.
NEW in Feb. 09 - Participants can receive an official CM Certification

Our new and improved curriculum allows you to choose the topic in which you specialize: Hoist or Rigging.
Participants will receive Beginning and Advanced training in either Hoist or Rigging - all in one workshop!

Contact Lisa Jebsen at for more information.
TOMCAT USA - 2160 Commerce, Midland, TX 79703 - tel. 432 681 6725 - fax. 432 689 3805

Video Workshop

Integrating Video Design and Theater

With Peter Flaherty, Builders Association Video Designer

Workshop February 8,9, and 10th 2009

This workshop will address the possible connections between video design, lighting, and acting in theater. In discussion and in groups ‘on our feet’ we work with the following questions: how can media expand the boundaries of theater? How do we integrate media into theater as a critical part of storytelling? How can media add a contemporary ‘edge’ to theatrical design and acting?

(Workshop details to come)

February 8 (Sunday)



  • Peter Flaherty presents work (in discussion with M. Weems)
  • Demo equipment and projection possibilities
  • Introduce issues related to live camera work


Break into working groups (actors, designers, tech personnel.)

Two exercises:

1. Tell the story with projection 2:00-4:00

1-hour work time

1-hour presentation/discussion

2. Tell the story with projection, actors, and basic lighting 4:00-6:00

1-hour work time

1-hour presentation/discussion

February 9 (Monday)
3:00-6:00 Develop material. (Possible guest artist class visits upon request.)

7:00 – 11:00 Continue exercises and discuss in groups.

February 10 (Tuesday)

Morning: Possible guest artist class visits upon request.

1:00-4:00 Guest Artist ‘crit’ in Weems/Sissons Scenography class.

7:00-11:00 Final wrap-up for all in the Wells

This schedule was designed to include the most people possible – unfortunately there will always be some conflicts.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Carnegie Mellon honors Randy Pausch with memorial that "bridges" art and science

Pop City: "A 230-foot bridge now under construction, connecting the new Gates Center for Computer Science to the Purnell Center for the Arts, will be named in Pausch’s memory as a powerful symbol of one of the professor’s key legacies at CMU, the Entertainment Technology Center."

Hammer vs. Auto-Hammer: A PM Lab Test

Popular Mechanics: "But now, here comes Craftsman with something called the NEXTEC Hammerhead Auto-Hammer, a battery-powered tool that drives nails by pounding a little piston up to 3600 times per minute. Is this new device poised to replace the traditional hammer, like the assault that the Kindle (and the other e-books we tested) may deliver to bound books made of paper?"

No winter chill in West End

Variety: "You could call it the Tale of Two Cities. With just 20 shows now running on Broadway following a slew of January closings, you don't need to have majored in economics to see that the global recession has caused an understandable loss of nerve among New York producers."

Guare’s ‘Rich and Famous’ Shows Flops Can Be Funny: S.F. Stage Arts and Culture: "John Guare’s 1976 “Rich and Famous,” reworked for a new staging in San Francisco, is a frequently funny play about an Off-Broadway flop by the world’s worst playwright."

Sondheim Calls Critics ‘Ignoramuses,’ Disses ‘South Pacific’ Arts and Culture: "Since Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific” opened at New York’s Lincoln Center Theater in April, it’s been a favorite of critics and audiences and has won seven Tony Awards, the most of any Broadway musical revival.
On Sunday, Stephen Sondheim tore it apart."

Warner Bros Announces 800 Layoffs

Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily: "We’d like to take a moment and provide some follow-up information to the memo you received earlier this month regarding cost containment at the Studio. We are very sad to announce that based on the global economic situation and current business forecasts, the Studio will have to make staff reductions in the coming weeks in order to control costs."

U.K. production spend falls for second year

Hollywood Reporter: "Production spending in the U.K. dipped for the second year in a row falling to 578.2 million pounds ($806.4 million) in 2008, down from the previous year's total of 723 million pounds, according to the latest stats from the U.K. Film Council."

BAM to open new theater space

Variety: "The Brooklyn Academy of Music plans to open a third theater space that will allow the performing arts presenter to expand its programming to include emerging artists and technologically complicated interdisciplinary offerings."

Monday, January 19, 2009

Tech Companies Go to the Birds

WDUQNews: "The National Aviary is partnering with the Pittsburgh Technology Council to help create more up-to-date exhibitions and stage performances."

Along With a New Play, a Symposium on AIDS "THE world premiere of a new work by the South African playwright Athol Fugard is a standout event for any theater. For a regional theater — even a much-heralded one like Long Wharf in New Haven, where Mr. Fugard’s new play, “Coming Home,” opened last week — it is huge."

Andrew Haydon: Why Bush was bad for political theatre "As liberals around the world leap up and down with joy at the inauguration of Barack Obama, theatre-makers also have cause to celebrate: they can go back to making interesting political theatre. For the last eight years, seemingly everyone involved in making theatre has so violently disagreed with George Bush that it's made for some very tedious work. (Yes, that includes Stuff Happens.)
The problem has been that when confronted with Bush's policies, theatre-makers appeared to stop thinking. Bush was seen as such an easy target that they believed whatever abuse they threw at him would stick – abandoning any pretence of reasoned argument in favour of cheap shots about his idiocy. Either that or theatre-makers were so outraged by Bush's policies and actions that any actual interrogation of them became impossible."

Donations, grant avert Magic Theatre closing

SFGate: "The Magic Theatre's emergency fundraising drive was a success, raising $455,000 - counting a $100,000 matching grant that put the company well over its $350,000 goal - 'from about 1,100 donors in something like 23 states,' Board of Trustees President Missy Kirchner said in a Friday conference call with Artistic Director Loretta Greco. 'We're still counting,' she added. 'Donations are still coming in.'"

You may think stage fog is bad, but it could be worse…

Backstage at "Years ago, fog machines actually used pesticide as the fog medium, which probably explains why actors continue to be wary of any fog or haze we use today."

Five Networking Tips for Wallflowers

Dumb Little Man: "Some people are naturally good at networking. You see these people at conferences: going around shaking hands, introducing themselves to anyone that will listen, handing out business cards, etc. All the while, you stand on the sidelines simply watching the action, feeling too shy or unimportant to do the same."

Going Against the Economic Grain, Brooklyn Academy of Music Thinks Big "Even as cultural organizations across the city are contracting in a grim economic climate, the Brooklyn Academy of Music has embarked on a $300 million expansion effort that calls for a new theater, three or four spaces for screening films, new festivals for opera and Muslim culture and a shored-up endowment, officials say."

'Iron Man' tops VES Awards nominees

Hollywood Reporter: "With five nominations, 'Iron Man' leads the list for the seventh annual VES Awards, which were chosen Saturday by panels comprised of members of the Visual Effects Society."

Yo-Yo Ma busts out cold resistant carbon fiber cello for Obama's inauguration

DVICE: "Watch for famous cellist Yo-Yo Ma during President-Elect Barack Obama's inauguration and you may get a glimpse of his carbon fiber cello."

Gendered Awards

Bitch Ph.D.: "Is it not so strange that all the awards shows for non-music, that is, all the completely performance based awards (because at least in theory things like Best Album are about writing) segregate the actual performance awards by gender? Not Best Screenplay by a Man or Best Cinematography by a Woman, but always and across the board Best Supporting Actress and Best Actor. What's the deal with that?"

Begin your inaugural festivities today with Oprah Winfrey’s “Inauguration Special”

All eyes will be on Washington, D.C. on Tuesday, January 20 when President-elect Barack Obama

is sworn in as President of the United States. But Oprah Winfrey will start the festivities today with her Inauguration Special, a remote broadcast from Washington, D.C., scheduled to air in Chicago on WLS-TV at 3 p.m. CST (4 p.m. EST). Check your local listings.

Chicago Scenic Studios, Inc. has once again lent its expertise to the Oprah Winfrey Show. For this special inauguration set, CSSI built support wagons for LED walls and scenic elements, and coordinated onsite staging activities. Chicago Scenic also provided upstage railings and column facades for the Inaugural show. A CSSI senior project manager and production carpenter traveled to Washington, D.C. to ensure that the project ran smoothly.

Chicago Scenic Studios previously worked as the project manger and fabricator for Oprahs current show set which debuted in 2005 and features more than 50 points of automation.

Visit Chicago Scenic's website to read more about our capabilities.

Arts audiences sometimes wonder 'what does it mean?'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Among the many advantages of going out to concerts and other performances is the social dimension. If you go regularly to a particular performing art, such as music, dance and theater, you're likely to encounter people you know during intermission."

CLO educator honored by Dance Magazine

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Kiesha Lalama-White, the education director for Pittsburgh CLO Academy of Musical Theater and full-time faculty member in Point Park University's Conservatory of Performing Arts, has been named one of '25 to Watch in '09' by Dance Magazine."

Public, City score NEA grants

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Pittsburgh Public Theater and City Theatre will each receive a $20,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
They are among 112 national theater companies who will receive grants totalling $2,747,500. Amounts to individual companies range from $10,000 to $50,000."

Review of the Michael Jackson Musical 'Thriller Live' in London "'Thriller Live,' a new West End show built around the music of Michael Jackson, features a moonwalking lookalike, zombie choreography and prepubescent singers who hit the high notes on 'ABC.' What's absent: any backstory about the elusive King of Pop."

SAG Backs Off Strike Threat

Backstage: "The Screen Actors Guild president said on Thursday he now wanted his sharply divided union to vote on the Hollywood studios' latest contract offer, not a strike authorization, in hopes of breaking a months-old deadlock in labor talks."

Stoppard’s Cold War Music Drama Returns With Chilling Relevance Arts and Culture: "It was amid this dull thud of horrors that Tom Stoppard dramatized Soviet abuses of psychiatry in an hour-long play titled “Every Good Boy Deserves Favour” (EGBDF). A bold and unfashionable departure for a rising dramatist in a left-tilted theatrical profession, the play required a 40-piece orchestra on stage and was easily sidelined on grounds of cost and impracticality."

Did Critics Find Heart In Soul?

Steve On Broadway (SOB): "Did Critics Find Heart In Soul?
Last evening, Soul Of Shaolin opened at Broadway's Marquis Theatre. The kung fu spectacular is produced by Nederlander Worldwide and the Eastern Shanghai Cultural Film and Television Group as the first offering from their joint China On Broadway enterprise.
Critics' reviews ran the gamut, although there were no outright pans."

Julie Taymor (SDCF Masters of the Stage #8)

ATW: "On March 12, 1997, eight months before the opening of Lion King on Broadway, Julie Taymor was interviewed by author and collaborator Alexis Greene at Fordham University. In this One-on-One conversation Ms. Taymor reflects on her history as a performer in the collaborative theatre companies of the late 60’s and 70’s. She speaks about her origins as a director and puppeteer and the development of her aesthetic through international study of eastern theatre. She remarks about the potential for commercial success with Lion King, and the freedom Disney producers were giving her to create a piece that wasn’t simply putting the animated film on stage."

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"

3 Simple Rules for Making your Free Time Count

Study Hacks: "In Tuesday’s post I repeated a familar refrain: underschedule! By now, you probably know my argument by heart:
Having significant amounts of unstructured time in your schedule provides three benefits…"

‘Weeds’ Actor Hunter Parrish Finds Artistic Freedom With Rebellious Role in ‘Spring Awakening’ "For decades, film and television actors have turned to Broadway as a proving ground: to enhance their craft, to submit to the judgment of a live audience and to see if they can turn in a good performance in just one “take” (as opposed to reshoot after reshoot)."

‘Speed-the-Plow’ Files Grievance Against Jeremy Piven "The Broadway producers of the David Mamet play “Speed-the-Plow” filed a grievance with Actors’ Equity Association on Friday against their former star Jeremy Piven. The action concerned Mr. Piven’s abrupt withdrawal from the production last month because of what his doctor said was mercury poisoning."

Fatal Attraction - Why Hedda Gabler Still Fascinates "SHE’S mean at the beginning and even meaner at the end. For her first trick, she mercilessly derides a sweet old lady’s brand new hat. Later she uses a visiting guest for target practice in the backyard. And for a big finish, she consigns a baby to the flames. (A metaphorical baby, that is.) Through it all she exudes tetchiness, weariness and a general contempt for everything in sight. She finds everybody a bore, and even bores herself — to death, essentially."

"And Then There Were None": Spring Awakening Closes On Broadway

Playbill News: "Spring Awakening, the Tony Award-winning musical that is based on Frank Wedekind's revolutionary 1891 play and boasts an electrifying emotional rock score, concludes its Broadway run at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre Jan. 18."

SAG's Doug Allen angles for compromise

Hollywood Reporter: "Doug Allen has drawn another line in the sand. The embattled SAG national executive director over the weekend continued to reach out to guild members about the ongoing internal fracas over what direction the guild should take in stalled contract negotiations."

Low Budget Action/Comedy filling crew

Craigslist: "Low budget TV action/comedy is looking to fill crew positions for an upcoming shoot."

Walnut Street Theater turns 200

Variety: "America's oldest continuously operating theater, Philadelphia's Walnut Street Theater, celebrates its 200th anniversary this year, with a double-century birthday bash Feb. 2."

Friday, January 16, 2009

O'Reilly adds 4,500 gallons of water for 'Metamorphoses'

Post Gazette: "'Metamorphoses' is a celebration of mythology, love, the human spirit and the power of transformation. But its most noticeable transformation is the stage of the O'Reilly Theater, which through the magic of stagecraft has been turned into a swimming pool for this production."

Stirring 'Jersey Boys' story fronts soundtrack of a generation

Post Gazette: "Audience-watching at 'Jersey Boys' is almost as much fun as what's happening on stage -- almost. You see heads bobbing, lips moving and feet tapping unbidden as hit after Four Seasons hit bursts through the theater. For boomers, 'Jersey Boys' is like listening to the soundtrack of their younger selves but with a bonus: The musical turns back time to when the super group rose to fame with Bob Gaudio tunes providing a catalyst for Frankie Valli's soaring voice, and with the behind-the-scenes machinations of Tommy DeVito, who put it all together and then nearly ripped it apart."

Set designers have their hands full with 'Metamorphoses'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When Ted Pappas put 'Metamorphoses' on Pittsburgh Public Theater's season schedule, he knew it would be a big project.
Pappas, the company's producing artistic director, wanted to honor the play's scope and make it the centerpiece of the 2008-09 season.
'I knew it was an event, and events cost money,' he says. 'It's a big story about big people. Let's make it epic.'"

'Elves and the Shoemaker' has story for all ages

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Part of the fun of being cast as an elf in the Theatre Factory KidWorks' production of 'The Elves and the Shoemaker' is getting to choose your character's identity."

'Jersey Boys' has a lot to love

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "It's just too good to be true.
'Jersey Boys' is a musical with songs you know, love and want to hear again integrated into a story you don't know, but get caught up in.
Rather than drop another quarter into the jukebox to create yet another and-then-we-wrote musical revue of well-loved oldies, the producers and creative team took an alternate route."

Theatre's role in understanding Gaza "Is it frivolous to be making or talking about theatre while people are dying in Gaza? That was one of the issues raised at last weekend's Devoted and Disgruntled, particularly as Saturday's sessions coincided with the demonstration against Israel's actions in Gaza. As one theatre-maker observed: 'I want to feel useful, not decorative.'"

George Steel Stiffs Dallas to Run New York City Opera Arts and Culture: "An exhausting search ended yesterday with the appointment of George Steel, chief of the Dallas Opera, as general manager and artistic director of the New York City Opera."

Mendes Gets Symbolic in Touring ‘Cherry Orchard’ Arts and Culture: "The Bridge Project, an admirable venture between London and New York, gets going this week with Chekhov’s last play, “The Cherry Orchard,” directed by Sam Mendes at the Brooklyn Academy of Music."

Hyde Pierce, Clark ‘Do It’ to Porter With Style Arts and Culture: "“The Physician” epitomizes Cole Porter’s genius for unlikely rhymes and dirty thoughts. This rare gem, gamely sung Wednesday night by Tony winner Victoria Clark, was an early highlight of the opening concert of Lincoln Center’s 11th “American Songbook” series in New York."

Revolution, Murder Jostle in Paris Tribute to ‘Les Miserables’ Arts and Culture: "The industry surrounding “Les Miserables” has grown, with two exhibitions in Paris likely to appeal to fans of the world’s longest-running musical."

New York City Opera names new chief

Reuters: "New York City Opera named theater director and conductor George Steel as its new general manager and artistic director on Wednesday, hoping he can carve a future for the United States' second most important opera house."

Lucky Guy, a Nashville Musical Fable, Gets NYC Readings; Clark and Beach Star

Playbill News: "The Nashville-set musical comedy Lucky Guy, with book, music and lyrics by Willard Beckham, gets two starry readings in Manhattan Jan. 16 with a cast that includes Tony Award winners Victoria Clark and Gary Beach, Kathy Fitzgerald, Jenn Gambatese, Josh Grisetti, David Hibbard and more."

Seamstress wanted

Craigslist: "Local designer needs an alterations person to assist with growing business."

makeup artist (special effects)

Craigslist: "We are looking for a seriously talented makeup artist to do special effects/glam makeup this Saturday night at 9 pm on 3 models."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

CMU names new drama school head

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Cooke, a well-known theater designer with a Ph.D. from the University of New South Wales in Australia, began his appointment Jan. 1. Cooke comes to Carnegie Mellon from the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney, Australia, where he recently stepped down as deputy director and head of design, a role he held for 22 years."

Sets take center stage, not spotlight

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Scene design is a very practical art,' says Gianni Downs, who has designed sets for area companies that include Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre, City Theatre and Prime Stage Theatre and is a special faculty member in scenic design in the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama."

'Nate the Great' makes detective work fun

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "A famous and well-loved sleuth from children's literature will be visiting several Pittsburgh-area stages in the coming days, as audiences watch him search for his friend's missing painting."

'Sesame Street' characters show ageless appeal

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The beloved characters from 'Sesame Street,' known to children and parents alike, will gather onstage to entertain as they ponder aloud the age-old child's question: What do I want to be when I grow up?"

‘Love’ is constant, ‘Love’ is stunning

Las Vegas Sun: "At last, a Vegas show that restores your virginity.
Even the most rabid Beatlemaniacs might visit “The Beatles: Love” and feel as if they’re hearing these most-familiar songs for the first time."

The Dallas Theater Center Has An Acting Troupe — Again

Art & Seek: "The Dallas Theater Center announced a new company of actors today. It represents a fresh commitment to local artists. But this is actually the third acting company the Theater Center has had."

Broadway grosses rose in 2008

The Stage: "Broadway shows grossed $940,871,190 for the 2008 calendar year, running from December 31, 2007 through to December 28, 2008, according to figures released by the Broadway League, the national trade association for the Broadway industry."

Seeking Shelter From the Storm

Backstage: "Like many managing directors, Dean Gladden of Houston's Alley Theatre has had to adjust to the sharp downturn in the economy. After the stock market began to slide, institutions cut their donations to the Alley by at least 50 percent or stopped giving altogether. Adding to his burden are the effects of Hurricane Ike and the recent drop-off in oil prices, which is likely to curtail contributions from local companies in the next fiscal year."

Mike Daisey on Community

Theatre Ideas: "Over on Mike Daisey's blog, he is taking the time to respond to a critic who seems to almost willfully miss the point. I'd like to draw attention, once again, to what seems to me to be Daisey's major point in How Theatre Failed America: the need for stability in the lives of artists."

Broadway Saves Wall Street

One NYC StageHand: "What's so funny about an amusement tax?
So the Gov wants to tack on 4% to tickets and Hizzoner wants to tack on another 4%. “Everybody's gettin' inta da act!” For this they did away with term limits?"

Want a bailout of the arts? Don't make the ask in an Armani suit

Arts Marketing: "When the big three automotive CEOs flew separate private jets to Washington, DC to plead for public funds, I remember thinking to myself that I was thankful that I was a publicist and marketing director for a non-profit arts organization. The type of arrogance it takes to fly corporate jets to ask for billions of dollars in public aid surely could only be found in the private sector."

Should U.S. Have Minister Of The Arts?

Nikki Finke’s Deadline Hollywood Daily: "According to an email making the Hollywood rounds, Quincy Jones has started a petition to ask President-Elect Obama to appoint a Secretary of the Arts."

Clips: SNL Attempts To Save Broadway

Jezebel: "On last night's Saturday Night Live, the cast came together in a very silly skit to address the troubled state of Broadway. Bill Hader's Music Man alone makes this a gem. Clip after the jump."

Where are the white women at?

Backstage at "Much/some ado has been made about the Wooster Group’s production of Eugene O’Neil’s “The Emperor Jones” at the Goodman Theatre’s Owen Theatre in Chicago. For those unaware, the production uses a white actress (Kate Valk) playing a black man, in blackface. (It also has a white guy in whiteface, using a English stereotype accent, but no-one seems to have a problem with that.) Obviously, this is causing a bit of a stir, much of it from those who haven’t watched it. (One of my favorite Roche Schulfer quotes to date: “It’s always hard to debate work with someone who hasn’t seen the production,”) But blackface has quite a history in the theatre, including at the theatre where the Goodman is presenting this show."

Horton Foote’s ‘Dividing the Estate’ Escapes Death and Moves to Hartford "Of the nine Broadway productions that closed this week, one is taking steps — some of them unusual — to revive itself for the Tony Awards and beyond, in spite of the current economic climate."

Harold Pinter, Master of the Pause, Had an Unmistakable Sense of Rhythm "The death of Harold Pinter on Christmas Eve brings to an end his particular kind of classical drama. His plays consist largely of scenes in which the characters talk without moving. You hang on every word, and consequently the works acquire a kind of tension that recalls the tragedies of Racine (otherwise so different in tone). And yet this tension exists partly because the words in a Pinter play never yield all of the work’s meanings. Not a single word is difficult or highfalutin, and yet there is much that is hard to comprehend. Ultimately, each play is about what the characters are unable to express."

Roundabout’s Staged Reading of ‘A Little Night Music’ Highlights a Minimalist Art "MONDAY is the dark night for the Roundabout Theater at Studio 54, but not this week, when it will host a star-studded fund-raiser the company is billing as both a concert reading and a gala performance of Stephen Sondheim’s operetta “A Little Night Music.”"

The TEAM, Sincere Theater Collagists of the American Experience "ASHLEY WILKES reads aloud a melancholy letter to his wife, Melanie, who, with Scarlett O’Hara, repeats abstract dance movements, to sad violin and synthesizer music. “Perhaps this is what is called patriotism, love of home and country,” Ashley intones."

Forest of Experimental Theater at Coil Festival and Under the Radar "People are getting lost in the East Village. I mean seriously lost — and by choice — in thickets of contradictory ideas and instincts, dense enough to turn small stages into vast labyrinths."

Eileen Boevers, Influential Director and Teacher in Chicago, Has Died

Playbill News: "Eileen Boevers, a Chicago-area theatre educator and director who influenced several generations of theatre artists, and who founded Apple Tree Theatre in Highland Park, IL, died Jan. 11 after a battle with cancer, according to her colleagues in the Chicago theatre community."

SAG board runs lines for ensemble meeting

Hollywood Reporter: "SAG's national board is meeting Monday in Los Angeles as part of an emergency two-day face-to-face gathering.
Ostensibly a forum to debate the guild's proposed strike-authorization vote, the meeting is likely to entail fireworks over any number of related issues: the possible disbanding of the negotiating committee, the fate of national executive director Doug Allen and the parameters of the new contract that's on the table."

Sound guy needed

Craigslist: "We are looking for an professional or experienced sound guy to do the sound for an independent zombie film."

Falls, Dennehy prosper at Goodman

Variety: "'The thing with O'Neill,' says Brian Dennehy, 'is that nothing's easy.'
The actor, whose CV includes productions of Eugene O'Neill plays including 'The Iceman Cometh' and 'Long Day's Journey Into Night,' is obviously enjoying the hard labor, even if it involves a degree of psychic suffering."

Tight times test Chicago festival

Variety: "The last time a roaring economy took a shocking nosedive was in the 1930s -- by which time playwright Eugene O'Neill had won three Pulitzer Prizes and established stage tragedy as a popular form of American entertainment."

Thursday, January 08, 2009

New CMU drama head can't wait to mix art, high-tech

Post Gazette: "'I think a challenge facing the whole educational theater scene is new technology,' said Cooke, 55, deputy director and head of design at the National Institute of Dramatic Art in Sydney for 22 years. He has designed 100 productions during the past 30 years, from drama, opera and dance to puppetry and music theater."

Young Playwrights Festival includes blasts from the past

Post Gazette: "The Young Playwrights Festival at City Theatre, South Side, has a bonus feature this year. Besides readings of plays by contest winners from local middle schools and high schools, there will be two staged readings of new plays by past festival winners, as well as theater workshops."

Magic Theatre in San Francisco Seeks $350,000 to Save Season Arts and Culture: "The Magic Theatre, which has been a San Francisco home to such major American playwrights as Sam Shepard and David Mamet, is seeking emergency funding to salvage its 43rd season. The company is about two-thirds of the way toward raising $350,000 needed to avoid shutting down."

Broadway Show ‘In the Heights’ Recoups $10 Million Investment Arts and Culture: "Lin-Manuel Miranda, when he picked up his best-score Tony Award for Broadway’s “In the Heights,” quoted Stephen Sondheim, rapping that he “made a hat where there never was a hat.”"

Carousel faces growing anger "The complaints continue over the abrupt closing of the Carousel Dinner Theatre.
Many were left with worthless tickets and no sign of relief.
State Rep. John Otterman, D-Akron, said Wednesday that he plans to send a letter to the Ohio attorney general's office asking if there is any help the state agency can provide."

Preview: HK1 Hydrokinetically Adjustable Wrench

Toolmonger: "We’ve seen a hundred different types of adjustable wrenches come and go here on Toolmonger; some are stupid and some are just downright funny. For the first time in a long while we’ve stumbled upon one that’s at the very least interesting — the HK1 is a hydrokinetically adjustable wrench."

The World/Inferno Friendship Society’s Punk Songspiel "Sitting at a darkened video booth one recent afternoon at the Paley Center for Media (the former Museum of Television and Radio) in Midtown, he watched a series of obscure television appearances by Lorre from the 1950s and ’60s, carefully observing every whine and snivel."

'Heights' recoups its costs

Variety: "News reps a bright spot on a legit scene dominated recently by predictions of impending economic doom. 'Heights,' like new strong-selling offerings including 'Billy Elliot' and 'All My Sons,' has so far proven able to draw healthy auds in belt-tightening times."

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Young Pittsburghers to watch in 2009

Post Gazette: "People often complain that there are few jobs or other opportunities for young residents in Pittsburgh. That hasn't stopped several folks 30 and under from innovating on their own or making their own mark. Today and tomorrow, the Magazine staff profiles a handful of young people to watch for 2009 in the local theater, music, art, dining, dance, retail and event planning communities."

College degree is no job guarantee these days

Post Gazette: "When Nena Razmara was laid off in November from her $70,000-a-year job with a high-end residential building supplier, she thought she would be working again by Christmas.
Having worked in residential construction for 20 years, she was used to finding work by flipping through her Rolodex.
'Usually it's three phone calls, three job offers, and off you go,' Ms. Razmara, 45, said.
The Woodbridge, Va., resident made her three phone calls. Then three more. But she still had no leads. For the first time since she graduated from college in the 1980s, she scoured help-wanted ads. She sent out more than 150 resumes and posted one on Craigslist under the heading, 'I desperately need a job.'"

Lamos Named New Artistic Director At Westport Country Playhouse "Mark Lamos is back leading a Connecticut theater, this time in Westport.
The 62-year-old Lamos, who built Hartford Stage into a Tony Award-winning, internationally known theater from 1980 to 1997, is the new artistic director of the Westport Country Playhouse starting Feb. 1."

Why 'Doubt' and 'Frost/Nixon' work better as plays

The Theater Loop - News from America's hottest theater city: "As movie adaptations of stage plays go, the recently released 'Frost/Nixon' and 'Doubt' are among the best of recent vintage, not least because the writers of the sourcing play also penned the screen versions. Both contain distinguished performances that deserve to figure in the Academy Awards nominations. Both have brought powerful contemporary dramas to a much wider audience."

Retrial for Shakespeare's Shylock

BBC: "Seven senior lawyers convened in New York last month to reconsider the case against Shylock, Shakespeare's money lender in The Merchant of Venice.
One of those lawyers, Anthony Julius - best known for representing Princess Diana in her divorce from Prince Charles - explains why he voted to let merchant Antonio keep the money after all."

Broadway Has 2008 Sales of $940 Million as 13 Shows Shut Down Arts and Culture: "Broadway box-office revenue was $940.8 million in 2008, little changed from 2007, as 13 shows closed or will close in the first month of 2009."

A Happy New Year AutoCAD Hip Tip!

Lynn Allen's Blog: "An AutoCAD Hip Tip on Referencing Rotation Angles:
It's easy enough to rotate objects when you know the exact angle of rotation needed. But what if you had an object that was already rotated and you wanted to rotate it such that it ended up at a specific angle. You don't know the existing angle but you know you want the final angle to be 90 degrees...make sense? The Reference option in the ROTATE command is there to save the day!"

5 Ways to Beam Your Business Card

WebWorkerDaily: "I’ve been looking for ways to better distribute my business contact information to others without the use of the traditional paper business card. Sure, I have really enjoyed handing out my varied and conversation-starting Moo cards at events, however, I’m often caught without my cards and always wonder if people really have a good business card management system these days. I haven’t seen one of those old Rolodexes with cards that have slits in them to hold business cards in eons. Personally, I have all of the ones I’ve collected over the last year in a shoebox."

Creating & Using Blocks With Multiple Insertion Points

The CAD Geek Blog: "It’s a fundamental law of AutoCAD Blocks, blocks shall have an insertion point. And frankly, this is a good thing. Sure, AutoCAD needs to know this location so it can remember where you placed the block, but face it – you need this insertion point too. When drawing blocks we’re taught to place this insertion point in a meaningful location. Maybe it’s the face of a curb in a civil plan, or a wall in an architectural plan."

When people cheat on Wall Street

Marketplace: "Here's the story. We ran this at Carnegie Mellon, in Pittsburgh. And in Pittsburgh there are two universities: Carnegie Mellon, University of Pittsburgh. All the students who participated were Carnegie Mellon students. If the cheating student, the acting student, was wearing a Carnegie Mellon sweatshirt, he basically got people to cheat more. But if he was wearing a University of Pittsburgh sweatshirt, he got people to cheat less."