CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Company fuses Teenie Harris images with dance in 'One Shot'

Post Gazette: "Charles 'Teenie' Harris continues to inspire 11 years after his death and decades after taking his now-famous photographs of Pittsburgh's African-American community between 1936 and 1975."

Schenley, CAPA break musical mold with unusual shows

Post Gazette: "High school musicals are a much loved rite of spring. But they can come in such different shapes, genres and flavors that they have little in common.
So can high schools. Are there any two less like the norm than CAPA and Schenley -- aka the Pittsburgh High School for the Creative And Performing Arts and Schenley-in-Exile?"

Dance Council's lineup to spotlight works by women

Post Gazette: "Local arts organizations are bound to keep an eye on the economy in planning their 2009-10 season, and the Pittsburgh Dance Council will be no different.
Although international touring 'has been adversely affected,' according to Pittsburgh Dance Council executive director and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust vice president for programming Paul Organisak, he is 'grateful that we will maintain six concerts this season.'"

Excitement builds for Westmoreland's All-County 'High School Musical 2' show

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "At East High, school's out for summer.
At 22 middle and high schools, cyber and home schools in Westmoreland County, more than 100 students are sharing the anticipation of their counterparts in Disney's 'High School Musical 2.'"

Pittsburgh Dance Council season takes a different turn

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Pittsburgh Dance Council will present six touring companies during the 2009-10 season, all but one featuring women choreographers.
'Every work next season is a Pittsburgh premiere,' says Paul Organisak, Dance Council's executive director. 'I love the way we're able to present the work of veterans, such as Twyla Tharp (performed by Aspen Santa Fe Ballet) and Margie Jenkins, along with the exciting new voices of Crystal Pite (Kid Pivot), Charlotte Vincent and Azure Barton (Les Ballet Jazz de Montreal).'"

'Kidnapped the Pope' a comedy with a twist

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Apple Hill Playhouse audiences might not know what to expect with the title, 'The Day They Kidnapped the Pope,' the season-opening production at the Delmont community theater.
Is it a murder mystery? A political satire?
Turns out it's neither, but rather a good old-fashioned comedy. So old-fashioned and family friendly, in fact, that it comes with 'rave reviews from the Vatican newspaper,' according to the Apple Hill theater office."

Dennehy’s Menacing Farmer Looms in O’Neill’s ‘Elms’ "With all his faults, Eugene O’Neill is still America’s foremost playwright. When he was in top form, his writing was unbeatable; when not, it could be anything from tedious to terrible. “Desire Under the Elms” (1924), now imported to Broadway from its Chicago triumph, is a torrid melodrama of murder and adultery, crazed love and mad hate, crude in many ways but undeniably theatrical."

Olympia Dukakis Sells Phone Sex in ‘Singing Forest’ "There are voyeurs known as ambulance chasers, and then there is a subset known as theatrical ambulance chasers, who boast of having seen such monumental fiascos as “Moose Murders,” which closed almost before the final curtain. To them I heartily commend Craig Lucas’s “The Singing Forest,” which should close after Act One, before, amazingly, things manage to get even worse in the New York premiere at the Public Theater."

Union Calls City Opera Strike ‘Likely’ Given Demands "A strike may cripple the New York City Opera later this year if its new general manager and artistic director, George Steel, seeks extensive concessions, said the union representing opera singers, stage directors and other production staffers."

Offstage, a Farce Gets a 2nd Act at a Staten Island College "When it comes to manufacturing utterly ridiculous problems out of thin air, you’d have to travel miles to top the earnest folly that academics can get up to.
Take, for instance, the adult supervision at the College of Staten Island, where a mildly ribald farce entitled “The Well of Horniness” will be staged this week by a talented senior named Robert Mahoney. Originally, an excerpt of the play was also going to enjoy a place of honor on Thursday at an undergraduate research conference that serves as a showcase of student achievement.
Now it has become something else entirely."

D.C. ‘Ragtime’ Recalls Houdini, Ford, Divided America "The new production of the musical “Ragtime” at the Kennedy Center in Washington is explosive and thrilling, at least after the intermission. For that, thanks are due to Quentin Earl Darrington in a ferocious, pivotal performance as Coalhouse Walker Jr."

MilestonePlanner, an Online Planning Board

Web Worker Daily: "Enter Flash-based timeline planning app, MilestonePlanner. It’s a bit like an online equivalent of the magnetic planning boards you see in some offices, and it’s nice drag-and-drop interface makes it really easy to use. It will handle multiple projects, and you can export your plans to send them to colleagues or use them in presentations or other documents."

What To Do When You Run Out Of Ideas

Stepcase Lifehack: "It’s happened to everyone at one time or another. You’re going along, producing and feeling creative, and then, suddenly, you run out of ideas. You’re stuck. You search high and low for inspiration. You look back on your earlier work, searching through your past ideas, trying to locate your muse, looking for something to trigger a creative explosion. But it’s all for naught. You’re blocked."

Annie: Thirty Years Later

Steve On Broadway (SOB): "Nearly two years before I ever set foot in New York City and six before I would see my first show in a Broadway theatre, I was truly fortunate to be among thirty Homestead High School juniors and seniors from Mequon-Thiensville (Wisconsin) to travel with history teacher Brook Brown and his wife Liz for an extraordinary action packed ten-day journey, first to London and then to Paris."

Out-of-Town Overhaul Helps ‘Next to Normal’ Find Focus "Michael Greif sensed something was wrong. It was February 2008, and Mr. Greif — the director of the Tony Award-winning musicals “Rent” and “Grey Gardens” — was watching his latest production, “Next to Normal,” night after night during its Off Broadway run at Second Stage Theater. In a recent interview he recalled feeling that many audience members were not gasping or flinching at a pivotal revelation in Act I: the main character had just tried to kill herself."

Cirque du Soleil, in New York (Mostly) to Stay "Not content with performing in 271 cities in 32 countries and attracting 11 million customers last year, Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based circus empire, will establish a permanent presence in New York City next year."

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Congratulations to the winners of the Henry Boetcher New York Drama Alumni Clan Award!

New York Drama Alumni Clan: "On April 26, NYDAC President Evan O'Brient, traveled to Pittsburgh to present the Henry Boetcher New York Drama Alumni Clan award at the annual School of Drama awards ceremony."

CMU, Pitt cooperate to find ways to make homework more effective

Post Gazette: "Homework is a given in virtually any school.
Now researchers at the Pittsburgh Science Learning Center -- a collaboration of Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh -- say they've found a way to make homework more effective."

Pitt, CMU get $25 million to study how people learn

Post Gazette: "The Pittsburgh Science of Learning Center -- a collaboration between Carnegie Mellon University and the University of Pittsburgh -- has won a second $25 million grant over five years for studying how people learn and seeing how that knowledge can be used to improve education."

Review: 'Gianni Schicchi'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Artifacts Gallery at St. James in the West End was a perfect venue for Opera Theater's presentation of Giacomo Puccini's comic opera 'Gianni Schicchi,' seen Saturday night. The old church has been beautifully restored to display a large collection of art and tapestries, which served as a deluxe environment for an opera set in the home of a wealthy man whose death sets off scheming for his inheritance."

New Grant for Artists

Craigslist: "Delicious Donations is a peer-selected mini grant for art projects. This grant is to encourage the creation of any new work in the Pittsburgh area."

Star power may help Quebec City "Quebec City reeled in hundreds of thousands of tourists in 2008 during its yearlong 400th birthday celebration headlined by ex-Beatle Paul McCartney and pop diva Celine Dion.
Now that the party is over, and with a deepening recession, Mayor Regis Labeaume wants to avoid an economic hangover. So he's struck a deal with two world-acclaimed Quebec acts -- artist and director Robert Lepage and the Cirque du Soleil -- to stage exclusive shows in the city over the next five years."

Stratford shows saved by boost from Ottawa "A full slate of performances of A Midsummer Night's Dream is back on at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, thanks to a $3-million cash infusion from the federal government's Marquee Tourism Events Program, announced Monday."

'9 to 5' leads Drama Desk nods

Variety: "Among the show's awards contenders are all three leading actresses (Allison Janney, Stephanie J. Block and Megan Hilty), helmer Joe Mantello, composer Dolly Parton and book writer Patricia Resnick, as well as designers of the production."

Theatre must take circus seriously "The sharp-eyed among you may have noticed that there is a lot of circus around at the moment. NoFit State's Tabu has just finished its run at the Roundhouse, aerialists Ockham's Razor have been collaborating with Theatre-Rites at the Lyric Hammersmith in Hang On, and if you were down at Shunt earlier in the month, you would have seen emerging circus artists creating work that embraces experimental theatre and contemporary dance as much as traditional theatre skills. Meanwhile, La Clique, which relies very much on traditional circus skills, has been a hit at the Hippodrome."

'9 to 5' Clocks Overtime at Drama Desk

Backstage: "9 to 5, the musical version of the 1980 hit movie comedy, received a generous stimulus package from the Drama Desk, netting a record 15 nominations from the organization of New York-based theatre critics, reporters, and editors for its annual awards."

9 to 5 nets record 15 Drama Desk nominations

Reuters: "'9 to 5,' the musical version of the 1980 hit movie comedy, received a generous stimulus package from the Drama Desk on Monday, netting a record 15 nominations from the organization of New York-based theater critics, reporters and editors for its annual awards."

Two big Hollywood talent agencies merge

Reuters: "Two of Hollywood's top talent agencies, William Morris Agency and Endeavor, agreed to merge on Monday, creating a show-business powerhouse that will challenge rivals as the entertainment industry grapples with a recession."

Supreme Court upholds regulation of 'indecent' language on TV

Los Angeles Times: "Reporting from Washington -- The Supreme Court said today that TV viewers should not be hit with the 'F-word' or the 'S-word' during prime-time broadcasts, upholding the government's power to impose huge fines on broadcasters for airing a single expletive."

Priorities, Part 1

99seats: "I was actually thinking that I didn't have much to say today. But then I saw this. And it made me think about one of the bits in this. Olson talks about the cuts he and his hard-working staff have taken and how the theatre doesn't provide healthcare. (And let me make sure I'm clear: I have no doubts that the staff of ASTC all work very, very hard and are looking for ways to operate as efficiently as possible.) Then he boasts that they've raised $4 million for their capital campaign and their new building. There doesn't seem to be much of a disconnect there. And that is pretty much par for the course in the arts."

Priorities, Part 2

99seats: "So. I obviously have a ton of respect for Scott and I agree with him on many, many things. But I have to disagree with that comment and with a couple of his comments from that thread. I think there's a priority problem, and that's at the root of the whole discussion. The real question is what is the role of the artist in society. This is a fundamental thing. Here's where Scott and I part."

Big Bottom

Roadies in the Midst: "Hmmm, wondering if the L-Acoustics K1 Coachella system be referred to in the male or the female context. What do ya think? I can think of some big reasons it could go either way. Though I am tending towards pushing the feminine angle and so with that said, how about we take a good look at her bottom end?"

3 People You Need to Train to Use the Inbox

Stepcase Lifehack: "When you get to your desk, is there a message slip on your keyboard? Maybe a Post-It note on your monitor? Perhaps a stack of important files on your chair? Each of those piles of paperwork needs your attention, but there’s not exactly any order to it. The files will get stacked somewhere else on your desk so you can sit down. The message slip will get pushed off to one side so that you can take care of something online immediately — and something similar will happen to that Post-It so that you can see the screen. All those very important pieces of paper are probably lost in the shuffle moments after you sit down. Don’t you wish that they all went to just one inbox, so that you actually can process it all in one go, when you have time?"

Tuesday Twitter Trivia - Roscolux Gel Swatch Book

iSquint: "Today we start the first Tuesday Twitter Trivia. This week we have a very generous offering from Rosco US, a RoscoLux 6″ x3″ gel swatch book to give away (pictured left)."

Email air hockey

One Producer in the City: "Email piles up faster than students at a rush matinee of Jersey Boys. The question then lies in how you keep up with them and what is there to do?
After having many email issues of my own, I developed what I like to call the air hockey strategy."

Little Night Music Revival Is Gearing Up for Broadway; Nunn to Direct

Playbill News: "Tony Award winner Trevor Nunn will direct a Broadway revival of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Tony Award-winning A Little Night Music, according to a casting notice."

Monday, April 27, 2009

Poignant 'Moon' rises high in Public Theater's production

Post Gazette: "An elderly Irish relative of my wife's once paid her a great compliment: 'You're a pretty good conversationalist,' he said, 'for an American.' Yes, the Irish do know how to talk, and so does the Irish diaspora -- witness the plays of Eugene O'Neill (1888-1953)."

Kelly Critic Review: "Carousel" at Pine Richland High School

Post Gazette: "Life is a carousel. Sometimes it takes us up and down, sometimes it spins too fast and seems uncontrollable, but no matter what, it flows around in a perfect circle. In Pine Richland's mesmerizing take on Rodgers and Hammerstein's 'Carousel,' the audience has an opportunity to witness firsthand the trials and errors of humans and their ultimate redemption."

Kelly Critic Review: "The Wedding Singer" at Chartiers Valley High School

Post Gazette: "Upon driving up the road to Chartier's Valley High School, I couldn't help but gawk at the size of the building. Coming from a graduating class of forty students, large schools with big stages, big auditoriums and even bigger budgets fascinate me. I was excited to see what such a large school could do with a fun contemporary musical."

Modrono is a magical 'Cinderella' in her final PBT performance

Post Gazette: "Ballet's popular fairy tale stories -- 'Sleeping Beauty,' 'The Nutcracker' and 'Swan Lake' -- all contain some bewitching variation on the timeless tug of war between good and evil."

Pittsburgh Ballet keeps 'Cinderella' fresh

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "No matter how familiar the plot, gifted storytellers find ways to keep it fresh. Septime Webre certainly does in his version of 'Cinderella,' which Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presented over the weekend at the Benedum Center."

'Teenie' Harris' photos inspire choreographer

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The source of creativity is often an enigma. Other times, artistry it can be unleashed by something as small as a nickname.
Choreographer Ron K. Brown found that crucial moment of inspiration in a conversation in 2006 with Neal Barclay, president of the August Wilson Center for African-American Culture. They were talking about Pittsburgh's jazz tradition and the work of photographer Charles 'Teenie' Harris."

Review: Public reveals a lot under O'Neill's 'Moon'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "No matter what else you may say about Eugene O'Neill, he gives you a lot for your money.
The Pittsburgh Public Theater production of his play 'A Moon for the Misbegotten' runs just short of two hours and 50 minutes, including a 15-minute intermission."

Looking for a video crew!

Craigslist: "I am looking for a video crew and photographers to help work on upcoming projects and events that includes Filming and editing."

film crew needed for movie production

Craigslist: "My name is Tiaunte Kelly, a director from Los Angeles, I have four films I produced and cast for. Please contact me if interested."

Center Theatre Group Run of 'Heddatron' Scrapped Due to Economy

Yahoo News: "'This was a tough decision,' he stated April 24. 'Heddatron is an exceptionally creative play but it's expensive and we are clearly experiencing financial challenges that other local and national non-profit arts organizations are feeling with this unprecedented global economic downturn."

Takin' it to the 'Peg "‘My wife suspects I have a girlfriend in Canada,” says Ben Elton, winding his way through the labyrinthine back halls of Winnipeg's Manitoba Theatre Centre. “I spend so much bloody time here.”
She may have a case. For the last two months, Elton – standup comedian, Blackadder writer, Andrew Lloyd Webber collaborator, bestselling novelist and certifiable tabloid fodder in his home country of Britain – has been living a bachelor's life in the Manitoba capital."

Theaters' worst acts take place in the seats

The Denver Post: "So I was recently seated at the Denver Center's Ricketson Theatre, waiting for the start of 'Sunsets & Margaritas,' when the woman arrived at the seat in front of me. She took off her coat and draped it over her chair, depositing its fluffy hood right onto my lap.
Where it remained, oblivious to her, for the duration of the play.
I wondered, would it be inappropriate to request a tip for checking her coat? Or to write 'GET OFF OF ME!' on her hood with my Flair pen?
The latter, I was fairly sure, might be."

Broderick Saunters Through Icy ‘Philanthropist’ "The British prime minister and most of his cabinet have been assassinated by a right-wing nut job. Philip, the title character in Christopher Hampton’s “The Philanthropist,” revived by the Roundabout Theatre Company on Broadway, is nonplussed."

Events firm told only 'sheer luck' prevented death of tots News: "AN events company has been fined £2000 after a 'makeshift' lighting rig fell on the buggy of a baby girl and her older brother at a children's music concert.
Health and safety experts yesterday said it was 'sheer luck' that neither of the children was killed during the accident at Portobello Town Hall in June 2007."

Sound Porn

Roadies in the Midst: "Here you can see the mains and side hang systems and also the 6 cluster subwoofer setup as well. There are quite a few new implementations of innovative theories in the design of the K1. The actual purpose and importance of the K1 Subs in the array is something that people are having a tough time getting their head around and I must admit that early on I was thinking 'Why get any K1 Subs and not just buy more K1's, do we really need a third box type?' That was even further reinforced when I heard how much low end the K1 's can reproduce without any subs."

Trick Props and Illusions

Props: "This summer, we’re doing Twelfth Night at the New York Shakespeare Festival. There’s a number of trick and gag props in the show. Trick props are easy to do; you just need to remember every single mechanical gizmo, electrical doodad, and moving part you have ever run across in every object that exists, and pick the one that will work the best."

Vastly Different Ways

Steppenwolf Theatre Company Blog: "Recently, during a post show discussion for Art, a young man in his mid-20’s and his grandfather took seats in the front row. The younger man held his grandfather’s arm as they came down the steps to sit closer for the discussion, whispering to him, “Watch your step” and “Just one more stair.” I was touched."

What's the difference between Best Musical and Best Revival of a Musical?

PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE: "This question came in over the weekend, after a reader noticed my tweet about going to see the new Broadway revival of West Side Story."

Thomas Sadoski, an Actor Who Earns Praise With One Foot in His Mouth "Of the five new plays that have made their Broadway premieres this spring, four — “33 Variations,” “God of Carnage,” “Impressionism” and “Irena’s Vow” — star big names from the worlds of Hollywood or theater, like Jane Fonda, James Gandolfini, Jeremy Irons and Tovah Feldshuh."

Sarah Paulson and Bobby Cannavale Forge a Partnership Onstage on TV "DURING a recent rehearsal for an Off Broadway play, it was hard to remember that Bobby Cannavale and Sarah Paulson star in a fizzy television series like “Cupid.” Circling each other, they spit out some of the nastiest lines in Mark Schultz’s “Gingerbread House,” a dark satire about a couple who decide to sell their children."

Allison Janney and Lily Tomlin Compare Notes on ‘9 to 5’ "AS Violet Newstead, the coffee-poisoning, corpse-stealing, boss-kidnapping office supervisor in the hit 1980 movie “9 to 5,” Lily Tomlin did just about everything except sing and dance. But now those tasks (in addition to the coffee poisoning, corpse stealing and boss-napping) have fallen to Allison Janney, the Emmy-winning actress who is playing Violet in the new musical version of “9 to 5,” which opens on Broadway Thursday."

‘Godot’ Had a Long Wait for Another Shot at Broadway "AMONG the many oddities in and around Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot,” which returns to Broadway this spring after a wait of more than half a century, maybe none is more bizarre than the location of the play’s American debut."

At 105, Doris Eaton Travis, the Last Ziegfeld Girl, Keeps a Hectic Pace "President Woodrow Wilson waved at her. Babe Ruth autographed a baseball for her. George Gershwin — “a nice young man” — improvised at her family’s piano. Charles Lindbergh dropped by for Sunday “tea” — actually Prohibition cocktails."

Enter Theatergoers, Gently Welcomed, at Public Theater "The changes will seem subtle: inside, a mezzanine balcony that projects over the lobby, and outside, a new gradual staircase leading up to the entrance and a glass canopy to shield people from the rain. But these renovations to the Public Theater will be the first time that the building’s facade and entrance have been significantly changed since 1967, when Joseph Papp moved his theater for the people into the former Astor Library on Lafayette Street."

Lloyd Webber proposes 'Oz' production

Variety: "With money-spinning productions all over the world, 'Wicked' is the tuner that put the green into greenbacks. But few of the show's predominantly youthful audience has seen the pre-existing sequel onstage. That appears to be the thinking behind Andrew Lloyd Webber's proposed new legit production of 'The Wizard of Oz.'"

'9 to 5' leads Drama Desk nods

Variety: "'9 to 5' racked up 15 noms for the Drama Desk Awards, the most of any other Broadway or Off Broadway production nominated by the legit org."

Friday, April 24, 2009

Spacey, ‘Norman’ Storm Broadway With Killer Comedy "Alan Ayckbourn’s “The Norman Conquests,” revived in London by Kevin Spacey’s Old Vic Company and now exported to Broadway, is a remarkable invention."

Shakespeare’s Props

Props: "As yesterday (April 23) was William Shakespeare’s unofficial birthday, I thought I’d write a bit about props and Shakespeare. At the Public Theatre here in New York City, we’re starting to gear up for Shakespeare in the Park, starting with Twelfth Night. It will feature Anne Hathaway (the Bride Wars star, not Shakespeare’s wife)."

Business Card Star Makes At-Home Card Printing a Snap

Lifehacker: "Think about the per-card cost of most commercial business card printers, and you'll likely feel a bit taken. Business Card Star makes designing and printing a professional, eye-catching card at home a viable alternative."

Secret Sauce: 10 Game-changing Tips from the World’s Top Freelancers

FreelanceSwitch - The Freelance Blog: "In this article we try to discover what separates the best from the rest. What are the world’s top freelancers doing that the rest of us aren’t?
Some of the advice you read here might seem surprising or counter-intuitive. You may read hints you have never tried. The question is: Will you give them a go?"

Bare Conductive Ink Turns Your Body Into Handy Extension Cord

Gizmodo: "Bare is a paint that can transform your body into a circuit (without the inconvenience of electrocuting you)."

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"

A Powerhouse season

Variety: "A concert reading of the latest Duncan Sheik tuner, a workshop presentation of a play by Lewis Black and readings of plays by John Patrick Shanley, Beth Henley and Theresa Rebeck are all part of the 2009 season lineup at Vassar and New York Stage and Film's Powerhouse Theater."

Thursday, April 23, 2009

PSO Pops salutes Gene Kelly and other Hollywood hits

Post Gazette: "'Gotta dance!' was Gene Kelly's anthem, first heard in his signature movie 'Singin' in the Rain.' But the Pittsburgh Symphony Pops counters weekly with 'Gotta play!' on its own Heinz Hall stage."

Woodland Hills' 'Wizard of Oz' lands a pair of four-legged pros

Post Gazette: "It's not unexpected for high school stages to be the launching pads of Broadway careers.
But it's usually stars of the two-legged variety that find their way to the bright lights of New York and beyond."

Love, self-deception at Open Stage

Post Gazette: "Open Stage Theatre concludes its season of contemporary American comedy with something about love, something local and something new, all rolled into one -- the play 'Disinfecting Edwin' by Amy Hartman."

'Disinfecting Edwin' applies humor to sore subjects

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "For Amy Hartman, the hardest thing about writing a play is learning how to tell the truth.
It's something she's confronting in her most recent play, 'Disinfecting Edwin,' which opens tonight at Open Stage Theater in the Strip District."

In terms of fun, One Act Theatre's 'Wonka' is like kids in candy factory

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Over the next two weekends, nearly 300 kids will perform in Act One Theatre School's production of the musical 'Willy Wonka.'
Not all at once, of course.
'We have six different casts of 50 each,' explains Karen Cordaro, the owner and artistic director of Act One Theatre School as well as the stage director for 'Willy Wonka.'"

Puccini's comic opera lauded as 'sophisticated and sly'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Tears dry up quickly when mourners feel jilted by the deceased in the comic masterpiece 'Gianni Schicchi.'
They can't believe he left his wealth to a monastery. Something must be done. But when they hire the con man Gianni Schicchi to fake a new will, the joke's on them, because he takes it all."

'Children of Eden' carries life lessons for theatergoers

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Children of Eden,' the spring production of Seton Hill University's theater program, recounts some well-known stories from the Bible -- such as Noah's Ark and Adam and Eve -- but its message is not necessarily religious."

Valley Players' 'Witness' leaves audiences guessing

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Did he or didn't he? That is the question when a man is accused of murder in Agatha Christie's courtroom drama 'Witness for the Prosecution,' to be performed by the Valley Players of Ligonier this weekend and next."

Aviary celebrates construction of indoor theater

Post Gazette: "The National Aviary celebrated the start of construction of its indoor theater for free-flight bird shows yesterday, part of an ongoing $23 million expansion and renovation project at the 56-year-old facility on the North Side."

CMU president says layoffs last resort during recession

Post Gazette: "Carnegie Mellon University President Jared Cohon yesterday asked employees and students for their patience as the school confronts a recession that has triggered some layoffs and campuswide budget cuts."

For Downsized Actors, Performance Anxiety Looms

NPR: "Sturgis can tell how bad things are for theaters by looking at the few opportunities that are out there for actors right now. She says this time last year, she had a year's worth of work already lined up."

Church to protest Corona del Mar High's 'Rent'

Los Angeles Times: "The staging of 'Rent,' a story of struggling artists in New York City including characters who are gay and diagnosed with AIDS, has created months of controversy at the affluent school. It was nearly canceled, a fact cited in an ACLU lawsuit against the district alleging that the campus is homophobic and sexist."

SAG Near Closure, But Far from Healed

Backstage: "The long stalemate between the Screen Actors Guild and Hollywood producers may not be over yet, but it appears to be coming to an end. Negotiators reached a tentative agreement on a new television-and-film contract April 17, and SAG's national board of directors approved the deal two days later—albeit by a slight margin, as the union continues to be split almost down the middle. The guild's self-described moderates prevailed over the hard-liners in Membership First, 53 percent to 47 percent."

Latino Actorfest Offers Networking, Career Opportunities

Backstage: "Actors flocked to Newport Beach's Island Hotel April 16 for a special edition of Back Stage Actorfest—a day of networking, conversation, and up-close-and-personal time with industry pros. The event also marked the kickoff for NALIP 10: A Decade of Influence, a weekend-long event organized by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers. This is the second year Back Stage and NALIP have joined forces to bring media opportunities to the Latino community."

Spacey Brings Classic Ayckbourn Sex Romp to Broadway "When Kevin Spacey enters the theater lobby, everyone snaps subtly to attention. He’s dressed like a banker, in a nondescript gray suit, plain blue tie and white shirt, but his face is unmistakable: Here are Lex Luthor, Lester Burnham and Verbal Kint."

KonoLive: Collaborative GTD, Regardless of Platform

Web Worker Daily: "At this point, regular WWD readers might now about my distaste for all things Adobe Air, but I try to look past my personal platform preferences and focus on the function of productivity apps, instead of the form they choose to take. Over a year ago, we previewed an app called KonoLive that aimed to bring collaboration to Getting Things Done (GTD) software. Now that it’s finally available to the general public, we wanted to take a look and see what it brings to the table. And I promise to put aside my Air prejudice for the time being."

Gantter Does Project Management in Your Browser

Lifehacker: "Web-based project management tool Gantter has an interface that looks remarkably similar to Microsoft Project—and even lets you import and export your Project files."

ESTA And PERA Announce Intent to Merge

iSquint: "The Entertainment Services and Technology Association (ESTA) and the Production Equipment Rental Association (PERA) today announced an agreement to merge, subject to final ratification. Under the agreement, PERA will become the PERA Council within ESTA, retaining its focus on the production of film, television and commercials. The Council’s mission is to focus on development and implementation of programs and services for production rental businesses."

An insider's Q&A with 'Men in Black Alien Attack' creative director Dave Cobb

Theme Park Insider: "Universal Studios Florida's Men in Black Alien Attack has set the standard for theme park shoot-'em-up dark rides since its debut in 2000. It deservedly remains a favorite of many Theme Park Insider readers, so when MIB Creative Director Dave Cobb agreed to answer your questions about the ride, I wasn't surprised that so many of you responded."

Networking Without Power: Going Old School

Stepcase Lifehack: "Remember the old days of Rolodexes, before mobile phones had every gadget and gizmo now known to man (and woman)? Remember when we didn’t have Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to connect with other businesspeople and had to actually, you know, talk to people?"

Word Play With Christopher Hampton of ‘The Philanthropist’ "The play, written in 1969, charts the lives of a randy and nerdy group of English university intellectuals, including a lonely philology professor (played by Matthew Broderick in the current Broadway revival, now in previews) who has a talent for creating anagrams on the spot. There is a suicide, seductions and a smug dinner party. And yes, it’s a comedy."

Race Is an Issue in a Wilson Play and in Its Production "In life, the playwright August Wilson had an all-but-official rule: No white directors for major productions of his work, which was one reason that a film was never made from his 10 plays about African-American life in the 20th century. “Fences,” one of the two awarded the Pulitzer Prize, foundered in Hollywood because of his insistence on a black director."

'Liberace' heading to Broadway

Variety: "The ghost of Liberace hopes to set up a candelabrum on Broadway next season, with 'Liberace: The Man, the Music and the Memories' aiming for a Rialto run in the fall."

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Fairy-tale world lives in PBT's 'Cinderella'

Post Gazette: "The classic fairy tale of 'Cinderella' sounds frivolous, but its themes of true beauty vs. ugly behavior, sibling rivalry and love's transformative magic are timeless, especially for tweens and teens."

Folk fest canceled due to lack of funding

Post Gazette: "The 53rd annual festival, which was scheduled for May 1-2 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, has been canceled because of lack of funding."

Wanted Director for a unique Play

Craigslist: "For our first production in July we are looking for an experienced Director who knows and understands the Pittsburgh audience."

London to host five-month circus season

The Stage: "Arts producer Crying Out Loud has launched the inaugural City Circ season, a new five-month showcase of contemporary circus designed to raise the profile of the art form in London."

Michael Boyd interview: transforming the RSC

Telegraph: "It’s a measure of how greatly Michael Boyd has transformed the Royal Shakespeare Company’s fortunes since he took over as artistic director in April 2003 that it’s only at the end of an hour’s conversation, just as various assistants materialise to summon him back to rehearsals, that the question of the RSC’s troubled past arises, almost as an afterthought."

Board Eats Endowment, Gloom Deepens at City Opera "In classic media playbook style, the New York City Opera selectively released more bad news on a Friday afternoon, hoping nobody would notice that it had once again reached deep into its endowment."

Study details positive economic impact of showbiz

Reuters: "The movie and TV industry contributed 2.5 million jobs and $41.1 billion in wages to the U.S. economy in 2007, according to a Motion Picture Association of America report."

Art All Night expected to bring thousands of art fans to Lawrenceville

Pop City: "This weekend, Lawrenceville will host the twelfth annual Art All Night, a non-juried art show that is both free to attend and free for artists to participate. Last year's show drew nearly 10,000 attendees and featured work by over 800 artists and performers."

CAPA converting former nightclub into theater for students

Pop City: "To prepare for the merging of Pittsburgh’s High School for the Creative and Performing Arts and Rogers CAPA middle school next year, Pittsburgh Public Schools is renovating 121 Ninth St., adjacent to the current CAPA high school location downtown."

What If My Dream Major Turns Into a Nightmare?

Study Hacks: "Tyler is not alone. His e-mail is probably the 5th or 6th I’ve received this spring that offers some variation on the same common conundrum: what do I do if my dream major is turning into a nightmare? In this post I tackle this issue with a series of observations on the lost art of cultivating a healthy relationship with your academic concentration."

CometDocs Converts Between More than 50 File Types - PDF

Lifehacker: "We know of one or two sites (or many more, actually) that provide file conversions between PDFs, Word documents, and a few other files. CometDocs takes the all-in-one approach, supporting more than 50 file types."

Going Dutch - Rodgers and Hammerstein Catalog Sold to Imagem "The estates of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II have sold the rights to the legendary duo’s songs and musicals — including “South Pacific,” “The Sound of Music” and “Oklahoma!” — to Imagem Music Group, an investment arm of a huge Netherlands-based pension fund, the company announced on Tuesday."

Alan Ayckbourn on His ‘Norman Conquests,’ Bound for Broadway "Alan Ayckbourn has written more than 70 plays, which makes him something like the Joyce Carol Oates of British theater. “If you didn’t write so much, they’d realize you were quite good,” the director Peter Hall once told him wryly."

Playwright Parks to Star in Premiere of Father Comes Home from the Wars for Public LAB

Playbill News: "Press notes for the work state, 'Parks takes the stage to play the role of our guide leading through a multimedia epic tale about slavery, war, freedom, and the difficulty of family ties."

Production designer Miller dies

Variety: "Production designer and art director Lawrence Miller, who was Tony-nommed for 'Nine, the Musical,' died after a long illness April 11 in Los Angeles. He was 64."

Drama League unveils nominees

Variety: "The Drama League has announced the long list of nominees for its five competitive awards categories. The all-inclusive array features 10 new tuner nominees, 11 new plays and more than 70 performers."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Review: 'Godspell'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The best thing about Pittsburgh Musical Theater's production of 'Godspell' is its talent pool, which is as fresh and spirited as it is enormous. Its 25 ensemble members are, for the most part, current or recent high school and college students, many of whom are enrolled in professional programs. They sing and dance with authority and aplomb."

'Ruined' by Lynn Nottage wins Pulitzer; Chicago play again snags top honor

The Theater Loop - News from America's hottest theater city: "There must be something in the Lake Michigan water. For the second straight year, a play originating in Chicago has won the Pulitzer Prize for drama. This year’s winner is Lynn Nottage’s “Ruined, ” her play set in an African brothel."

A Pulitzer Shortlist Bursting With Women! (Yes, It Matters.)

ARTicles: "Given the widely leaked shortlist of this year's contenders for the Pulitzer Prize for drama -- Gina Gionfriddo's 'Becky Shaw,' Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes' 'In the Heights,' and Lynn Nottage's 'Ruined' -- there couldn't have been much question that 'Ruined' would win. An astonishingly beautiful, frequently comic, quietly defiant play about war and rape in the Congo, it achieves what might seem impossible: An audience that has been moved to weep with visceral horror leaves the theater feeling not despair but genuine, buoyant hope. Written by a veteran playwright with a strong body of work, 'Ruined' is everything Pulitzer juries love -- and it's good."

Michael Grandage turns theatre into the star "How does Michael Grandage do it? Since he took over the artistic directorship of the Donmar Theatre in 2002, the 46-year-old has eclipsed the reputation even of his illustrious predecessor Sam Mendes, turning it into a centre of consistently fabulous and fascinating drama."

Drama of Congolese, Story of Hemingses Win Pulitzers (Update1) "Lynn Nottage’s “Ruined,” a brutal drama about the plight of Congolese women, won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama today, while two books of African-American history were awarded prizes."

Dutch Pension Fund to Buy ‘Sound of Music’ Rights (Update1) "Stichting Pensioenfonds ABP, the world’s third-biggest pension fund, agreed to buy the publishing rights to Rodgers & Hammerstein works including “The Sound of Music” as it seeks to boost investment returns."

Tharon Musser, Lighting Designer for ‘Chorus Line,’ Dies at 84 "Broadway theaters will dim their lights tonight in memory of lighting designer Tharon Musser, who died in New York on Sunday at 84 after a long illness."

French court says body show indecent, closes it

Reuters: "An exhibition of human bodies, which has traveled the world and been seen by millions, is indecent and must shut down, a French judge ordered on Tuesday."

Movie studios tout job creation

Reuters: "Hollywood's major film and television studios on Tuesday began a new push to educate U.S. lawmakers about the entertainment industry by touting job creation in the recession and media's global trade surplus."

Freakin' Ribbon Bar

CAD Insider: "I've been trying to get a Prius started for over 15 minutes. As I bake in the Hertz parking lot in LA, I am trying every possible sequence of brake, ignition something I've never seen on a car: an on switch. Damn car won't budge. When did the turn-the-key-to-start approach go away?"

Entertainment Lighting News & Review

iSquint: "We reported a week or so ago that Wybron was on the verge of announcing a new iPhone app. The rumors are true, earlier this week, Wybron announced the release of their latest iPhone App, Moiré Gobo Library."

6 Steps to Effective Notes

Stepcase Lifehack: "When I’m reading a book, I usually wind up taking quite a few notes. I keep track of ideas I want to follow up on, topics I want to read further about and even the occasional quote that seems just perfect for a project. I know my note-taking may be on overdrive — I’m usually reading for information on a specific topic that I’m writing about — but over the years, I’ve found some tricks to make the process a lot smoother."

Tungle: Schedule Meetings Your Way

Web Worker Daily: "In today’s world of home-based businesses, geographically dispersed business operations, outsourced services and worldwide marketing activities, scheduling meetings can become a bit of a nightmare. It’s also a world of many calendar programs (Outlook, MS Exchange, Google Calendar, LotusLive (Notes), iCal and Entourage) and diverse platforms (Windows, Mac, smartphones). Scheduling a meeting by email exchange can be a tedious and lengthy process at the best of times. Launching today, Tungle aims to make meeting scheduling a much simpler process for all parties."

Tharon Musser, Pioneering Broadway Lighting Designer, Dies at 84 "Tharon Musser, who said she “painted with light” and proved it with her lighting designs for more than 150 Broadway shows — including “Follies,” “A Chorus Line” and “Dreamgirls,” all of which won her Tonys in the 1970s and ’80s — died Sunday at her home in Newtown, Conn. She was 84."

Playing Grown-Up, but Not Always Well "What do you do for an encore when your debut play has sent critics reaching for superlatives? If you’re 22-year-old Polly Stenham, the author of the Royal Court’s harrowing “Tusk Tusk,” you make of your sophomore effort something so searing that by play’s end the audience honestly doesn’t know where to look. Or let’s just say that to confront this cast’s gaze head-on feels too intimate by half."

Prop 8: The Musical Wins GLAAD Media Award

Playbill News: "Prop 8—The Musical, the music video satirizing Prop 8 — the California ballot proposition that amended the state Constitution to restrict the definition of marriage to a union between a man and a woman — received a Special Recognition Award at the 20th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, which were held in Los Angeles April 19."

75th Annual Drama League Award Nominees Announced

Playbill News: "Nominees for the 2008-2009 Drama League Awards, which will be held May 15 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel, were revealed April 21. Nominees were announced in four categories: Distinguished Production of a Musical and a Play, Revival of a Musical and Revival of a Play."

'Ruined' wins Pulitzer for drama

Variety: "Show, set in the present-day turmoil of the Democratic Republic of Congo, was commissioned by Chicago's Goodman Theater, where it preemed in the fall. Play is in the midst of an extended run at Off Broadway's Manhattan Theater Club."

Imagem nabs Rodgers and Hammerstein

Variety: "Imagem Music Group has signed an agreement to purchase the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organization, the licensing agency that owns the rights to a slew of Broadway classics including 'South Pacific' and 'Oklahoma!'"

Monday, April 20, 2009

School of Drama honors German writer

The Tartan Online: "Theater is not always about entertainment. The legendary German writer Bertolt Brecht, known for his provocative plays, operas, and poems, strongly believed in the power of theater to produce social change and did not want his audiences to attend his works for sheer entertainment. The School of Drama production Tough Nut Cabaret is a tremendous blend of well-known and lesser-known poems and songs by this famous writer and social critic."

Rent brings ‘La Vie Boheme’ to Pittsburgh

The Tartan Online: "Rent is not your average musical, at least not in the sense that the word “musical” typically implies. While there were costumes, the clothes were ones that you would expect to see on someone stuck in the ’90s."

Booths provide students with ‘epic adventures’

The Tartan Online: "Carnival at Carnegie Mellon is not just any other carnival — it’s the epitome of creativity, innovation, and excitement, made possible by the campus community. But one of the most important elements of Carnival that reflects the creativity of the campus is Booth. Every year, the members of fraternities, sororities, and a range of cultural, academic, and service organizations build and design booths according to a common theme."

National Aviary to Have New Kind of Theater

WDUQNews: "Observing and learning about birds has always been as easy as going to the Northside-based National Aviary, but now they’re going a step further by constructing a first-of-its-kind theater."

Actors Needed for CMU Playwrights NYC Showcase

New York Drama Alumni Clan: "The graduating directors and playwrights will be presenting their showcases in New York on Wednesday, May 20. Two of the pieces are looking for actors to participate in this one-day reading. Please see below for casting details and contact information for the directors."

'Cinderella' presents new challenges

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Visions of glamorous ball gowns and a prince coming to the rescue fill many a girl's dreams. When a story is very well known, such as Cinderella, telling it in performance creates special responsibilities and rewards."

A powerful 'Joe Turner' brings August Wilson's Pittsburgh Cycle back to Broadway

Post Gazette: "'Joe Turner' is both primal grit and mystical fire, with dialogue that can soar toward poetry. So it feels completely right that director Bartlett Sher and his design team at Lincoln Center Theater have moved the staging from kitchen sink naturalism toward magical realism. The result is a worthy realization of a great play, limited only by a performance that doesn't quite fill out the epic frame."

Tharon Musser, Tony-Winning Lighting Designer, Dies at 84

Playbill News: "Tharon Musser, who won Tony Awards for Best Lighting Design for the landmark shows Follies, A Chorus Line and Dreamgirls, has died after a long illness. She was 84."

L.A. Film Down 56% in First Quarter

backstage: "Film location work in Los Angeles plunged dramatically during the first three months of 2009, falling by 56.3% when compared to the first quarter of last year."

Tinkering With the Ideal "When is a work of art finished? Never, if you're Arthur Laurents, who wrote the book of 'West Side Story.' Mr. Laurents changed that 52-year-old classic in countless ways when he staged the new Broadway revival, and some of his changes might have irked one of the show's now-deceased co-creators. Not only did Mr. Laurents have some of the songs and dialogue translated into Spanish, but he altered Jerome Robbins's choreography, going so far as to cut the somber funeral procession that closed the original 1957 production."

Brooklyn Philharmonic Cancels 2009-10 Season as Donations Fall "The Brooklyn Philharmonic Symphony Orchestra has canceled its remaining concert this season and its entire 2009-10 season for the full orchestra because of a drop in donations."

‘Off With Her Head!’ As Queens Collide in ‘Mary Stuart: Review "Two of England’s premier actresses, Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter, have returned Friedrich Schiller’s “Mary Stuart” to Broadway after a 40-year absence. Once again two queens -- Elizabeth of England and Mary of Scotland -- are locked in mortal conflict where there is room for only one. One head must roll for the other one to rule."

Mark Ravenhill on the joy of slow theatre

The Guardian: "There is very little that playwrights, film directors, fiction editors and journalists agree on. But on one subject there does seem to be an almost universal consensus, and that is that you - the reader, the listener - are bored, most of the time. Look at any contemporary guide to making art, or working in the media, and the assumption is that an audience's natural state is one of restless ennui. Our job as writers is to provide a sort of espresso shot. Grab them quickly, grab them hard - otherwise they will change channels or walk away."

7 Tips for a Winning Trade Show Booth

FreelanceSwitch - The Freelance Blog: "Exhibiting at trade shows is a very beneficial way to network for freelancers. Whether attending or actually exhibiting at the event, face time is essential in giving prospective clients the opportunity to get to know you. What could be better for business than having a bunch of one-on-one conversations about what services you offer?"

Change Bad Habits With Joes Goals "We all have vices, even though we may not all admit that we have them. Some people smoke, other people go shopping too much, and still others sit in front of their laptop every night eating a full bag of nacho chips while writing articles. A very cool website called Joes Goals, which Israel touched on briefly in 5 Fun Personal Web Apps to REALLY Track Your Life, helps people track their daily goals and achieve the dreams they strive for."

Use Taskbarn to Track and Manage Projects Online - Collaboration Tools

Lifehacker: "Taskbarn covers the basics of project management, including assigning due dates to tasks and marking parties responsible for completing them. In addition to the standard tools, each project is set up with a unique feed. Updates to the project can be published both within the Taskbarn feed and to an external Twitter account. Each feed update can be given a file attachment of up to 10MB—handy for tossing in pictures and voice messages to keep a group posted on progress."

Entertainment Lighting News & Review

iSquint: "To help tide our appetites till the new release of LightWright 5, we have been given a new screen grab of the current beta version. While this screen grab may be close to the final product, so fields or layout may change during the course of testing and adjusting."

Finally, Shelob Makes Her Jezebel Debut

Jezebel: "Members of the French performance group 'La Machine' operate one of two large spider robots, 12 metres tall and weighing 37 tonnes, as it sprays water while being paraded down a street in Yokohama in Kanagawa prefecture"

4 Weeks to a 4.0: Create Project Folders

Study Hacks: "This is the fourth and final post in our four-part series 4 Weeks to a 4.0. Let’s do our review. In week one you gained some control over your schedule. In week two you mastered taking notes in class. And in week three you streamlined your assignments. In other words, we’ve covered all regularly occurring academic work. This leaves us only to tackle the big infrequent stuff. I’m talking about studying for exams and writing papers."

Movie Prop Replicas

Props: "As I’ve mentioned a few websites dealing with film props, I thought I’d point out some communities based around replicating famous props from films. These are great resources for a lot of tutorials, such as vacuforming, casting, and working with fiberglas. They also focus on DIY and inexpensive solutions, so any prop shop can benefit from diving through the wealth of material they have."

Hydrokinetic Adjustable Wrench: Your Nuts Were Never Snugger

Gizmodo: "In the future, I would hope that robots (or my kids...or my robot kids) would be doing all my manual labor for me. But in the meantime, I have this liquid core wrench"

Disney Ponders How to Sell ‘Lion King,’ ‘Little Mermaid’ and ‘Mary Poppins’ at Once "With revenues down — in some weeks sharply — compared with 2008, Disney Theatrical Productions has been heavily discounting tickets to its three Broadway shows and preparing a new marketing plan to attract families and others during this economic climate, in which the three Disney musicals risk vying with one another."

White Plains Performing Arts Center Postpones Hello, Dolly! Production

Playbill News: "In a statement Batman said, 'With the economy faltering and in my effort to be fiscally prudent, it is necessary to step back and re-evaluate our plans so that we may continue to produce the high-quality shows that our audiences have told me they want."

'Billy,' 'Shrek' top Outer Critics noms

Variety: "'Billy Elliot' and 'Shrek the Musical' top the 2009 list of nominations for the Outer Critics Circle Awards, with either tuner nabbing 10 noms each."

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Support your peers, by design.

Backstage at "Friday, April 24th is Behind The Scenes and Light Relief by Design Day. The ESTA Foundation is asking designers to donate their royalties made that day, or fee’s earned for that day, to Behind The Scenes (US and Canada entertainment professionals), and/or Light Relief (British lighting designers and those in the field)."

Yeats at the Irish Repertory Theater "William Butler Yeats, born in County Dublin, Ireland, won the Nobel Prize in 1923 and was almost certainly, as his biographer Richard Ellmann put it, “the dominant poet” of the first half of the 20th century. But what Yeats really wanted to do was write plays."

Janet McTeer and Harriet Walter Tackle Divas of History in ‘Mary Stuart’ "AS Elizabeth I might have said, let us dispense forthwith on the matter of catfights. While Elizabeth and her cousin Mary Stuart are in bloody battle on Broadway this spring in Friedrich Schiller’s “Mary Stuart,” are the actresses in those roles — Harriet Walter and Janet McTeer — actually getting along?"

On Broadway, ‘next to normal’ Aims for Truth About Mental Illness "“I wanted to get ahead on the lunches,” Diana tells her husband, Dan, as she frenetically lines up slices of white bread on the floor and begins piling on the lettuce and mayo."

John Goodman Tries Beckett in ‘Waiting for Godot’ on Broadway "IN his dressing room last week John Goodman stood up, emitted a long, blaring foghorn blast and then announced in a loudspeaker voice, “Now docking. ...” He was describing his Act I entrance as Pozzo, his first theatrical role in four years, in the Roundabout Theater Company production of “Waiting for Godot,” which opens April 30 at Studio 54."

SAG-AFTRA board OKs commercials contract

Hollywood Reporter: "As expected, the joint national board of SAG and AFTRA has approved a new tentative commercials contract and will now pass it on to their memberships for ratification. The board met in a video conference Saturday morning to vote on the proposal and made the announcement shortly afterward."

2009 Tony season highlights

Variety: "The 2009 Tony nominations aren't announced until May 5. Until then and the June 7 kudos, what's best remembered about the current Broadway season isn't who might win but how everybody played the legit game."

Theater docs give added value

Variety: "In fact, docus about live theater are sprouting everywhere, with Sony Pictures Classics' 'Step,' which unspooled April 17, being followed later this year by 'Theater of War,' which focuses on the Public Theater's production of Brecht's 'Mother Courage and Her Children,' starring Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline."

Aussies tapp into girl power

Variety: "A girls' night out is a good night for the legit biz, judging by the rash of distaff theater productions turning up in Oz. Just don't expect guys to join their wives and girlfriends in the balcony in great numbers any time soon."

Friday, April 17, 2009

Pittsburgh Rooming House Brims With Wilson’s Lost Souls "Set in the sweltering black ghetto of Pittsburgh’s Hill District in 1911, “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” gives us the mesmerizing figure of Bynum Walker, conjure man. Played by the prodigiously gifted Roger Robinson, Bynum is the fulcrum of a play abundant with characters in search of lost wives, forgotten ambitions and dashed goals."

Attention underachievers: How to win the Pulitzer prize for drama in five easy steps "If you follow my five easy steps and still don't win, well, that's your fault. Since the award's inception 1917, there have been 14 years in which officials found no prize-worthy contender. That could happen again this year, if Ruined is deemed insufficiently American in its focus. But look to the future: if one day you find yourself accepting the coveted prize, please remember me in your thank yous."

MGM Mirage, Dubai reach deal on CityCenter: report

Reuters: "MGM Mirage and Dubai World have agreed to a set of terms that would ensure the completion of CityCenter, their jointly owned project on the Las Vegas Strip, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing a person with knowledge of the talks."

Lincoln Welders Backpack

Toolmonger: "Wouldn’t it be convenient if there was a complete package that could hook you up with everything you needed? Here comes Lincoln Electric with the Lincoln Welders Backpack."

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"

SAG, AMPTP reach tentative deal

Hollywood Reporter: "The main obstacle for SAG -- the AMPTP's proposed expiration date of three years after ratification -- has reportedly been resolved so that the new agreement, if ratified, will expire June 30, 2011. This will bring the end of the SAG agreement into synch with those of the latest DGA, WGA and AFTRA deals, timing that will allow the unions greater collective leverage in the next round of negotiations."

Broadway's dramatic recovery

Variety: "Whoever thought the Tony Awards would enjoy a competitive race for best play during a financial meltdown? Before we get to the significance of this season's bounty of original dramas, let's look back to more monied times."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

'Moon' comes full circle

Post Gazette: "The connection, of course, is that Pittsburgh native Atkins has been playing Art Rooney in 'The Chief' at the Public Theater off and on since 2003, and this past Christmas he added Scrooge in Pittsburgh CLO's 'Christmas Carol.'"

'Rent' is a love-fest with fans at the Benedum

Post Gazette: "The 'Rent' anthem 'Seasons of Love' asks how you measure a year in the life of a man or a woman and answers its own question: Love. How do you measure the life of a musical after 13 years, from Broadway to the national tour now at the Benedum Center? Same answer."

'CSI: Live' takes forensic investigation to stage

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "There are no dead bodies in this forensic investigation.
The creative team of 'CSI: Live' was very careful not to overstep the boundaries of good taste in the family-friendly stage adaptation of the popular 'CSI' television series."

Review: Slightly dated, 'Rent' still carries strong spirit of living

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Much has changed since Jonathan Larson wrote 'Rent.'
Despite the lack of a cure, many people now are living with AIDS instead of dying from it. Cell phones, text messaging and Twitter have rendered answering machines and pay phones old-fashioned, and Mark Cohen's movie camera looks quaint."

Children's theater program started $27,000 grant goes to F.O.R.

Post Gazette: "The grant will create a professional children's theater program, develop and promote an interest in stage production and acting, provide outreach activities to local schools and build audience participation."

Shakespeare: How do I compare thee to hip-hop? "In a community hall in Hoxton, London, a small piece of alchemy is taking place. A group of teenagers who only minutes before were fidgeting with their mobile phones, are up on stage reciting one of Shakespeare's best known sonnets in rap. It's on a damp spring morning that they're comparing thee to a summer's day, but how did they get here?"

Tapping a connection

signonsandiego: "La Jolla Playhouse has tapped a veteran producer from artistic director Christopher Ashley's extended creative family to become the theater's managing director."

North Shore Music Theatre announces plan to move forward

The Boston Globe: "North Shore Music Theatre, trying desperately to survive, announced a new plan yesterday to dramatically cut costs so it can launch a season this summer. But the nonprofit Beverly theater said it must still raise $2 million by July in order to put on six musicals and its holiday production of 'A Christmas Carol.'"

McAnuff optimistic on Stratford season "Des McAnuff is confident the Stratford Shakespeare Festival will finish this season in the black, even though slow ticket sales have forced the company to put 30 performances on hold."

‘Chorus Line’ Auditioners Get Axed; Back to School "The tapes, locked away for decades, can now be heard in “Every Little Step,” a vibrant behind-the-scenes documentary about the history of the groundbreaking show and the tryouts for a Broadway revival that ran from 2006 to 2008."

Crazy Mom, Needy Kid Wipe Smile Off ‘Normal’ Broadway "The spirit haunting Broadway’s newest, and most brazen, musical is anything but blithe. His name is Gabe and if he were alive, he’d be 18 when “Next to Normal” begins. As it is, only his mother, Diana, can see him, and she’s nuts."

Fake Tree Bark

Technical Direction Tidbits: "In theatre the final method of construction of a piece depends on a variety of details. One issue is how labor is paid for. Is it salary, and thus doing something labor intensive is okay? Is it hourly, but out of a budget that doesn't impact show budgets or does the amount of labor used directly effect the budget of a production. In some theatre settings, and in the commercial shop I work in, it is often cheaper to buy something than it is to fabricate it."

Winners of Montreal exterior lighting design competition

Core77: "'Lighting up the Gesu' was a rather unusual competition sponsored by the Design Montreal agency, in which entrants were asked to light the Gesu, Montreal's premier creative center, at night"

Tony Winner Jackman Pledges $100,000 for Charity on Twitter

Playbill News: "The award-winning stage and action film actor made the announcement via Twitter April 14, informing visitors that they had 140 characters or less to convince him which non-profit charity should be the recipient of the $100,000 contribution."

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Rent' is a love-fest with fans

Post Gazette: "The 'Rent' anthem 'Seasons of Love' asks how you measure a year in the life of a man or a woman and answers its own question: Love. How do you measure the life of a musical after 13 years, from Broadway to the national tour now at the Benedum Center? Same answer."

Sewickley native answers the call for 'Godspell' here

Post Gazette: "Broadway pinch hitter Peter Matthew Smith will be lead batter when he stars as Jesus in Pittsburgh Musical Theater's 'Godspell,' opening tomorrow night at the Byham Theater."

Creative Types needed for Pitts. Performed Readings of NY Play

Craigslist: "The Producers of a New York play in the works with readings scheduled in Pittsburgh are seeking creative talent in all areas to assist, produce and add creative energy to join the production team immediately."

Updated 'Godspell' isn't clowning around onstage

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "As it embarks on its fifth production of 'Godspell,' Pittsburgh Musical Theater is taking a new approach.
Rejecting the original 1971 off-Broadway concept as outmoded, Pittsburgh Musical Theater founding director Ken Gargaro is directing the production that opens tonight to appeal to a new generation of theatergoers."

Atkins takes on new role in Public Theater's production of 'Misbegotten'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "For actor Tom Atkins, his returning to 'A Moon for the Misbegotten' is somewhat like stepping into an entirely different play.
Seventeen years ago, Atkins, a former Broadway actor and a Peters Township resident, played James Tyrone Jr., the young, eligible landowner in the Pittsburgh Public Theater's first production of the play."

Aviary breaking ground on state-of-the-art FliteZone theater

Pop City: "The National Aviary will break ground next week on its Helen M. Schmidt FliteZone Theater, a 250-seat, two-story venue for free-flight bird shows."

David Hare hits the wall. Make that two walls

Los Angeles Times: "Playwright David Hare has been thinking a lot about walls lately. But not just any old plaster job. No, the walls preoccupying his imagination are thick and weighty with political importance. One of them doesn't exist anymore -- that was in Berlin. The other doesn't exist yet but will soon -- that will be in the Middle East."

Prisoners Play Jurors in a Land of the Guilty "At Roumieh, Lebanon's biggest penitentiary, in the mountains above Beirut, something unprecedented in the history of the country is happening. Every Sunday for four months, inmates from the all-male prison are performing a play (interspersed with their own music and personal testimonials)."

Stratford Festival puts 30 performances 'on hold' "Thumped by the uncertain economy, Ontario's Stratford Shakespeare Festival has removed 31 performances from the season's schedule.
One April performance of West Side Story has been officially cancelled, while 30 other performances that were selling poorly are 'on hold' as the festival's administration waits to see if ticket sales pick up and economic conditions improve. Ticket sales are down 15 per cent from last year at this time."

Comedy Darkens, Matching Leaner Times

Backstage: "Dark times call for dark comedy.
With the economy in tatters and the last decade's prosperity appearing a sham, some of the most influential tastemakers in comedy are turning to black humor and delusional characters to match the disaffected times."

Arts Advocates Get New Script, Bigger Role

Backstage: "Before President Obama was inaugurated, leaders of 21 arts service organizations sent his transition team a list of recommendations, which included increasing the budget of the National Endowment for the Arts from $155 million to $319 million. That the idea wasn't rejected immediately was seen as a welcome signal -- among the first of several that the nonprofit-arts community has received from Washington recently, despite the ever-deepening fiscal gloom."

Supervision vrs. micro-managing

One Producer in the City: "Having been on both sides of this more than once, I thought it might be a good idea to talk a little bit about how producers function when they have someone working under them."

A health insurance crisis in our country? How about in our industry?!?

PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE: "Health insurance, health insurance, health insur-blech.
Just thinking about the health insurance crisis in our country makes me want to throw up."

Crafting Worlds: Theatrical Design (WIT #375)

ATW: "Our guests - Scenic Designer David Gallo, Sound Designer John Gromada, Costume Designer Susan Hilferty and Lighting Designer Peter Kaczorowski - discuss how a design team enhances a production; when they are brought into the production and how they interact with one another as the show unfolds; their process in preparing for each show; their collaboration not only with each other but also with the director and the actors; the logistical challenges they face with each new show; how they got involved in theatre design and what training they did or didn’t receive; advice they’d give to young designers; how they handle creative differences with other designers and the director; and where they find inspiration for their designs."

Paulus gives A.R.T. a makeover

Variety: "Beyond a new logo, slogan ('Experience the A.R.T') and even re-spelling of American Repertory Theater's name, new artistic director Diane Paulus is dramatically making over A.R.T. in Cambridge, Mass., with an eye toward shaking up -- and attracting -- audiences."

'Les Miz' tops Helen Hayes Awards

Variety: "Signature Theater's pared-down production of 'Les Miserables' was the most popular tuner among judges at the 25th Helen Hayes Awards, while new musical 'Next to Normal,' which opens Wednesday on Broadway, also scored multiple trophies."

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

School of Drama e-Newsletter

School of Drama e-Newsletter: "The School of Drama's March newsletter is now available at"

Commencement Speaker

Carnegie Mellon University: "Eric Schmidt, chairman of the board and chief executive officer for Google Inc., will speak at Carnegie Mellon University's 112th commencement ceremony at 11 a.m., Sunday, May 17 in Gesling Stadium on the university campus, where some 3,400 undergraduate and graduate degrees will be conferred."

Sound Mixers Needed

Craigslist: "Pittsburgh Pulse needs sound editors to help us record audio for our showcase and live concerts."

Playhouse Drama To Be Discussed At Public Forum

KETV Omaha: "A public forum is planned today to discuss the latest drama at the Omaha Community Playhouse. But, the drama is not taking place onstage.
Two directors at the playhouse, Artistic Director Carl Beck and Associate Director Susie Baer-Collins, have resigned their position after a dispute with the executive director over staff restructuring."

Latino Dude on Lam Needs a Dress in Sad, Sexy ‘Knives’ "My favorite exchange in “Knives and Other Sharp Objects,” the raffish new play at New York’s Public Theater, goes like this:
Manuel: I hate to see a beautiful woman crying.
Alex: So if I was ugly you wouldn’t care at all.
Manuel: That’s not what I meant."

Fox, Regal don't see eye to eye on 3-D

Marketplace: "Some people think the future of the movie industry is in 3-D films. But a battle is brewing between Fox and theater chain Regal Entertainment Group over who will pick up the tab for 3-D glasses. Jill Barshay reports."

Schedule C for the Theater Freelancer

Theater For The Future: "If your income stream is anything like mine, you kind of feel a one-two punch at the end of the tax year for simply being an artist in America (though clearly Canadians also have issues). Most theaters don’t employ artists on a full-time basis, nor do they pay a lot. Assembling an artistic income means 1099 / Independent Contractor income and that means no matter how little money you make and how close to the real, scary poverty line you are: you’re in business for yourself now."

Bringing Order to the Chaos

Technical Direction Tidbits: "There was one last topic from USITT that I wanted to discuss – the session Mr. Sammler did “Bringing Order to the Chaos”. It was an interesting and very valid session."

Monsters vs. Aliens: DreamWorks' Katzenberg shows DVICE 3D filmmaking has arrived

DVICE: "When DreamWorks Animation CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg invited us to see the tech behind his studio's Monsters vs. Aliens debuting in theaters today, we didn't think we'd be impressed by the 3D movie. We've been highly skeptical of the 3D push on the part of DreamWorks and several other Hollywood studios lately, and we called it 'a gimmick' and 'an attempt of movie studios to extract even more money out of the hands of moviegoers.'"

ID processes: Rapid Prototyping video

Core77: "Stereo lithography, fused deposition modeling, rapid tooling, what does it all mean? Check out this 'quick and dirty look at the four processes commonly used by industrial designers to create prototype concepts,' put together by Karl Frankowski"

‘Facebook = low college grades’ study hardly an A+

geeksaresexy: "A study by Ohio State University claims Facebook users spend less time studying and get lower grades than classmates who don’t use the site. But there are some serious flaws in the study’s logic."

Producers Are Relieved Over Future of ‘Hair’ on Broadway "After struggling this winter to attract investors, prompting an uncomfortably public shake-up of its lead producers, the Broadway musical “Hair” has emerged as one of the financial and artistic successes of the spring theater season. The sighs of relief among its producers and creative team are practically audible."

Broadway celebrates huge holiday

Variety: "The springtime holidays gave Broadway a great big boost last week, with weekly box office climbing for almost every production on the boards -- several by hundreds of thousands of dollars each."

Monday, April 13, 2009

Rapp and Pascal relish reprising their original roles in 'Rent'

Post Gazette: "Adam Pascal is clearing his throat over and over, but he doesn't sound hoarse when he speaks. 'It's allergies. Don't worry, my voice is fine,' says the rocker turned Broadway star, whose voice is a key component to the long-term success of 'Rent.'"

'Human Error' deftly explores fear of flying

Post Gazette: "It's supposed to be one of the safest forms of travel, but how many people feel their hearts flutter when the wheels lift off the ground? How many desperately grip the armrests at even the slightest hint of turbulence? Who among us doesn't fear, even just a little bit, exactly the kind of horrific accident that Miranda and Erik investigate in Keith Reddin's 'Human Error'?"

O’Neill’s play comes to Pittsburgh

The Tartan Online: "Under the critically acclaimed director Pamela Berlin, Pittsburgh Public Theater’s production of A Moon for the Misbegotten will be premiering downtown in the O’Reilly Theater on April 16th. With a fresh cast that includes the talented Beth Wittig as Josie in her Pittsburgh Public Theater debut, this O’Neill production is one that you won’t want to miss."

Porn film screening causes little stir at CMU

Post Gazette: "Don't expect heavy breathing or shady-looking patrons slumped furtively in their theater seats.
It's true, 'The New Devil in Miss Jones' is hard-core pornography. But several hundred students expected to settle into soft green seats in a Carnegie Mellon University auditorium April 26 are a different kind of audience, likely to snack on popcorn, laugh and applaud as they witness a controversial expression of modern culture."

Clothing Designers Needed for Fashion Show Benefit

craigslist: "Sunday, September 13th@ The Pittsburgh Center for the Arts Crowned King Entertainment and Twisted Runway will be holding 'La Mode C'Est Tout'show."

Facebook fans do worse in exams

Times Online: "FACEBOOK users may feel socially successful in cyberspace but they are more likely to perform poorly in exams, according to new research into the academic impact of the social networking website.
The majority of students who use Facebook every day are underachieving by as much as an entire grade compared with those who shun the site."

"Star Wars: Musical Journey" out of this world "If you think the world doesn't need another variation on 'Star Wars' on top of the six films, assorted animations, video games and toys, you are forgetting the extraordinary force of the music John Williams wrote for the science-fiction epic."

Playwrights send message at fest "The Humana Festival of New American Plays has become, over more than three decades of acclaim and contentiousness, the place to take the country's theatrical temperature."

Flourishing on stage, but missing in the audience

startribune: "From 'The Color Purple' at the Ordway to a revival of 'A Raisin in the Sun' at the Guthrie Theater, stories with African-Americans at the center are taking the stage all over the Twin Cities.
But if the stars of 'Raisin,' 'Purple' and Carlyle Brown's 'Pure Confidence' could see into the darkened playhouses, they might raise a question: Where is the black audience?"

Is this inclusion, or only an act?

The Denver Post: "They're called 'slot plays': The Latino play, the black play, the woman play. And every season, the Denver Center Theatre Company opens up a slot — or more — to all of them.
Nobody likes the term because it implies a quota system. Some might presume that a play has been staged just to appease one target audience rather than for its value to the community as a whole. That can burden a play with lowered expectations before the curtain even rises."

Broadway’s $500,000 Sets, Unions Scare Investors "Sitting across from me, playwright Michael Jacobs is smiling gamely. He’s just been mugged, possibly to the tune of about $3 million."

Luminair iPhone App Version 1.5 Released

iSquint: "We have been following Synthe FX, the developer of Luminair over the past couple of weeks here at iSquint. We just received the official word, Luminair lighting control iPhone App version 1.5 is released and ready for purchase and download on iTunes. Luminair enables you to wirelessly control, view, record and manage intelligent DMX lighting fixtures, consoles, media servers and other software directly from your iPhone™ or iPod™ touch."

Entertainment Lighting News & Review

iSquint: " and StageJunk have banded together to bring you the next contest. This contest is for the flagship tool from StageJunk, the Ultimate Focus Tool."

4 Weeks to a 4.0: Master Your Assignments

Study Hacks: "This is the third post in our four-part series 4 Weeks to a 4.0. In week one, I asked you to take control of your schedule, and in week two we overhauled your classroom notetaking. This week we advance to a crucial topic: your assignments. Nothing requires more time for an undergraduate than suffering through long readings or tackling impossible problem sets. Let’s learn how to dispatch them with maximum effectiveness."

A Simple Argument for Why Museums and Cultural Institutions Should Care about Social Media

Museum 2.0: "I spend a lot of time talking to people about social media--how it can be a model for real-life content venue interactions and how it can connect museums and cultural institutions to users in new ways. But inevitably (and quite appropriately), someone will say, 'all of this is very interesting. But my organization is functioning just fine without it. Is there some reason that I really need to pay attention to social media?'"

Nancy Opel, the Rock Mama in Sensible Shoes, in ‘The Toxic Avenger’ "Toward the end of rehearsals the costume designer David C. Woolard realized he had a star with very sore feet, so he ordered a pair of the sturdiest dance pumps an Off Broadway budget could buy. “They’re just basic Capezios,” Ms. Opel said. “Everyone else changes shoes constantly,” she added of the primarily male cast, which takes cross-dressing to dizzying new heights. “But I get to keep mine on. I don’t have time to change them.”"

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Conservatory Hour

Holger Teschke, Director, Playwright, Poet, and former Dramaturg at the Berliner Ensemble. Presenting a lecture on "Brecht at Sea and in America":

In the Summer of 1941 the exiled German playwright Bertolt Brecht crossed the Pacific from Vladivostok in the Soviet Union to San Pedro, California aboard the Swedish freighter the "Annie Johnson." In this lecture, Teschke describes the journey by sea that Brecht and his small entourage took through, and to, the Pacific "paradise" Brecht had often imagined and figured in his writing, and looks at the ways Brecht's experience in the United States and the "dream factory" of Hollywood sharpened and shaped his understanding of social relations and class in modern society.

In the Chosky, Monday April 13 5:00-6:30pm

Teschke 21 Teschke 21 dboevers


Fulbright April Fulbright April dboevers

The Annual School of Drama Awards

The Annual School of Drama Awards
Sunday April 26, 2009 2:00pm-3:30pm
Philip Chosky Theater

This will be our last big Drama Celebration before we cheer at Graduation

Highlights include:
Mingling with prestigious alumni from:
New York Drama Clan & West Coast Drama Clan
Meet our generous benefactors and guest presenters

Cheer for the Seniors and Grads as they join the Professional World of

Mark your Calendar
April 26, 2009
Chosky Theater 2:00pm-3:30pm

Bite of Brecht Schedule of Events

Tough Nut Cabaret
Directed by Robyn Archer
April 16-25; 8pm, 2pm Sat. Matinee
Call Box Office for More Information (412-268-2407)

Brecht on Broadway (Staged Reading)
Directed by Holger Teschke’s (former dramaturg at the Berliner Ensemble)
April 17th
Purnell Center of the Arts—Studio A
Free Admission

Roundtable Discussion
April 16th
Purnell Center for the Arts—Helen Wayne Rauh Studio Theatre
Special Guests include Robyn Archer, Stephen Brockmann, Holger Teschke, Jonathan Eaton

Movie Showing
Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny
April 19th
Purnell Center of the Arts—Room 103
Free Admission

Project Installation
Scene Design 1 and Sceneography classes will be showing works-in-progress from class projects focused on Brecht. Also, designs created by designer/professor Susan Tsu will be displayed.
In the Lobby
April 16th-18th

Taping April 30th, air date TBD (Lab6 Conversations on how Art Impacts Life—at the bottom)
--will take you to an explanatory page
--3 links (info, media, subscription)
--click on “Media”
Coming Soon:
--to premiere in “Spring 2006

Audience Talkback
April 21st
Hosted by dramaturg, Brianna Allen
In the Rauh Studio Theatre following the show

Carnegie Mellon School of Drama’s Bite of Brecht

Scene Design 1
with faculty member Anne Mundell

  • Will be crafting scene design projects paralleling Brecht’s Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny with the history of Pittsburgh

Sceneography with faculty members Narelle Sissons and Mariann Weems

  • Will also be paralleling Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny with the history of Pittsburgh, but will be working in teams of designers and directors. Both classes have done intensive on-site and historical research about the Pittsburgh region.

Basic Design with faculty member Susan Tsu

  • Freshmen Design and Production students will be studying Brecht, his life, work, collaborators and influences and will culminate in in-class presentations and discussion.

Graduate Directing and senior actors with faculty members Mariann Weems

  • Are collaborating in scenes from Rise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny in different styles.

Cross-disciplinary Scene Work with faculty members Stuart Carden and Cindy Limauro

· Junior directors, sophomore actors, junior lighting designers and first year grad lighting designers will be focusing on the process of designing and

directing for Brecht texts. Their research will result in the presentation of scenes in the light lab.

· Tues. April 28th: 3-5:30pm

History of Drama: Special Topics: Brecht with faculty member Wendy Arons

  • This class will discuss the aesthetic theory and texts of Bertolt Brecht and how his work was received in his time and how it functions in a contemporary context.
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