CMU School of Drama

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Conservatory Hour

Monday, August 31, 2009

Conservatory Hour:

“Intents and Insights” for THE GRAPES OF WRATH

The director and production team will present their vision of this upcoming production.

In the Checco Studio A 4:30-5:30

Sail Away: Disney's Little Mermaid Ends Broadway Run Aug. 30

Playbill News: "Disney's lavish Broadway musical, The Little Mermaid, plays its final performance at the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre Aug. 30 at 3 PM. When it closes, the musical will have played a total of 50 previews and 685 performances."

Married, With Dialogue - Docudrama Team Continues Work With Refugee-Themed ‘Aftermath’

NYTimes.com: "THE 2002 play “The Exonerated,” based on interviews with people who were released from death row, won praise for depicting lives derailed by wrongful convictions."

Used to Be a Major Motion Picture - ‘Catch Me if You Can’ Onstage

NYTimes.com: "AS opening night approached early this month for the new musical “Catch Me if You Can,” about a con man on the run from the F.B.I., the director Jack O’Brien and his creative team were making changes to the production here almost hourly. Dialogue was added; dialogue was dropped. The pacing of some scenes was stepped up. Actors’ hand gestures and body language were tweaked. And one entire section — “mostly nuts-and-bolts exposition” — was excised entirely."

State Arts Funding Update

Createquity.: "PENNSYLVANIA
Perhaps the most dramatic story this year has been that of Pennsylvania, where in some versions of the state budget under consideration the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts's $14 million budget would be eliminated. The ripple effect is already taking a toll on Philadelphia, which has announced that it may have to close its own cultural affairs office (just re-opened last year) if other state funding doesn't come through, and where the possible elimination of Pennsylvania's tax credit has forced M. Night Shyamalan's latest movie to Canada. The Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance has done a great job organizing the resistance, and you can follow the action on Twitter with the hashtags #savePAarts and #PAbudget."

Seattle's professional actors feeling squeezed off local stages

Seattle Times Newspaper: "Many Seattle theater fans have been regaled, moved and amused by Hana Lass in the past year.
The gifted young actress played an ardent Juliet in Wooden O's 'Romeo and Juliet.' She also covered several roles in 'Crime and Punishment' at Intiman Theatre. She was a blue-nosed gamin and a witch in two Seattle Children's Theatre shows. And her sprightly Ariel graced Seattle Shakespeare Company's 'The Tempest.'
So what parts will Lass tackle in the coming season?
As of today: none."

Once the victim of a cool reception, plucky nonprofit is suddenly a hot ticket

TwinCities.com: "Theater Space Project is a nonprofit that has spent nearly a decade providing low-cost performance space to theaters and dance companies. In 2008, the group couldn't give its space away, and its very livelihood was threatened. These days, though, the venue, which recently expanded to 120 seats, is enjoying an unprecedented period of activity."

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Mona Lisa comes to life in high-tech art exhibit

Reuters: "For centuries, Leonardo da Vinci's 'Mona Lisa' and her enigmatic smile have inspired as much speculation as admiration. Now she's ready to answer questions -- in Mandarin."

Ten Great Ways to Crush Creativity

Stepcase Lifehack: "Leaders have more power than they realize. They can patiently create a climate of creativity or they can crush it in a series of subtle comments and gestures. Their actions send powerful signals. Their responses to suggestions and ideas are deciphered by staff as encouragement or rejection. If you want to crush creativity in your organization and eliminate all the unnecessary bother of innovation then here are ten steps that are guaranteed to succeed."

The Questions You Shouldn't Answer, And The Answers You Can't Let Go Of - World-building

io9: "The night before we were scheduled to shoot that scene, John Wirth and I went down to the set to see how it looked. It's late and I know the crew wants to get on their work. But here's the conversation we have:
ME: There's something…not right.
JOHN: I agree. It's just…what is it?
ME: It's not…I dunno…right.
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Could you be a little more specific? We'll fix it. But, you know, maybe a direction to go in? Font size? Pen color? Anything?
ME: It's just…I can't think of any other way to say it…but it doesn't look like a Terminator wrote it.
JOHN: Exactly.
PRODUCTION DESIGNER: Huh."

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"

Lightwright 5

John McKernon Software: "Over four years in the making, Lightwright™ 5 is the next generation of Lightwright. It is in the final stages of testing and should be released by mid August."

A&E Goes To Court To Defend Fair Use Of 12 Second Clip Of Music

Techdirt: "A&E claims that it's fair use, since the music was being used in part as a news report would use it. The article compares it to both the recent case where John Lennon's Imagine was allowed in the movie Expelled without a license... but also to the infamous Bridgeport ruling that basically said fair use doesn't apply to music at all. Some will say that A&E's case is also weaker because it had approached the children of the songwriters (who now control the copyright) about a license, and then never got one, but that, alone, doesn't change the fair use calculation."

Producer’s Perspective fails to consider the other perspective

Backstage at BackstageJobs.com: "The Joyce Theatre in NYC recently had its stagehands ask to have IATSE Local One represent them. The stagehands, and Local One, are hoping that the Joyce Theatre management will work through the first step of the process in a fair manner. Specifically: if an independent third party, chosen by the theatre, determines that a majority of the stagehands have signed representation cards (as Local One claims), then the Joyce should voluntarily recognize the union as the bargaining agent for the stagehands. This would then pave the way to begin contract talks."

ThomasNet – An Awesome Repository Of Technical Information

Make Use Of: "Normally when I am looking for technical information, it is computer related. In the last few weeks I have had to do a lot of manly tasks including polishing a garage floor and getting into some laser cutting.
I know crazy right? Real physical hands on work! Well in my quest for knowledge I found a awesome technical information website called ThomasNet."

Theater - At Stratford Shakespeare Festival, Feverish, Irrational Love

NYTimes.com: "“Reason and love keep little company together nowadays,” says Bottom in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” marveling at the suddenly smitten Titania’s professions of besotted attraction. The unreasoning nature of love — and the troubles that attend it — are on vivid display at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival here, where productions of plays and musicals spanning several centuries turn on fated attractions that rarely end happily."

Times Square: Broadway unbound

Variety: "This summer, Broadway has been radically different.
The street itself, that is.
Since Memorial Day, five blocks of Broadway, stretching from West 42nd Street to West 47th Street, have been closed to traffic in an effort to ease congestion and to turn a significant chunk of Times Square into a pedestrian promenade. And with those newly established semi-piazzas right in the heart of the theater district, reviews from legiters have been coming in all summer."

Pair of fests test the fiscal waters

Variety: "Canada's two heavyweight summer theater festivals -- Stratford and Shaw -- can be viewed as a solid indicator of how much disposable income is out there in North America. So with both orgs predicting break-even budgets for 2009, the current season echoes the cautious optimism being felt throughout the economy."

Indie Theatre: Strenghts/Weaknesses

Parabasis: "Some Thoughts on the Indie Theatre Scene From a Practitioner
NB: I am really only writing about New York here, I’d love to hear what other people’s experiences of the indie/grassroots/whatever scenes in their town’s.
NB2: This is very rough. Commentary is welcome.
NB3: Please forgive the wonky formatting."

Checklists for Parents of College Students

NYTimes.com: "Among the emails responding to my post about sending your son to college were two lists.
The first is from Houston Dougharty, vice-president for Student Affairs at Grinnell College, who has spent much of his 24-year career advising parents on how to prepare their children (and themselves) for this new chapter.
There are five things you must talk about before your kids leave (or shortly thereafter, if you read this and feel the need to play catch up…) he writes"

How to e-mail a professor

Orange Crate Art: "I've read enough e-mails to know that many college students could benefit from some guidelines for writing an e-mail to a professor. Here they are"

Friday, August 28, 2009

Theater companies near start of new seasons

Post Gazette: "Three theater companies of widely divergent approaches are ready to raise their curtains on the new season"

PBT takes steps to prep for Holocaust project

Post Gazette: "'How can you grapple with the number 6 million?' Edie Naveh asked members of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre at the company studios on Monday.
Naveh, director of the Holocaust Center of the United Jewish Federation of Pittsburgh, was helping PBT to begin preparation for 'Light/The Holocaust & Humanity Project,' a work by Austin Ballet's Stephen Mills that will have its local premiere Nov. 12-15."

Need Film Crew to Finish Web Series Pilot

Craigslist: "In need of crew. Details below summary of short film."

Chicago Jeff Nominees Include Ruined, A Minister's Wife, Bowery Boys, Sella, Ernster, Petersen, Ekulona

Playbill News: "Nominees for the Equity Jeff Awards, celebrating excellence in Chicago area theatre, were announced Aug. 27. Goodman Theatre and Drury Lane Oakbrook earned the most nominations.
The awards will be handed out Oct. 19 at the North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie, IL."

Arbitrator Favors Jeremy Piven in ‘Speed-the-Plow’ Dispute

NYTimes.com: "The most famous fish story on Broadway reached its conclusion on Thursday after an arbitrator found that Jeremy Piven did not violate his contract when he withdrew from the revival of “Speed-the-Plow,” citing a case of mercury poisoning."

New York Fringe - ‘666,’ ‘Adventures of Alvin Sputnik,’ ’49 Project,’ ‘K of D,’ ‘His Greatness’

NYTimes.com: "In its first week the New York International Fringe Festival can seem vast and impenetrable, one of the few times of year when you enter the theater with almost no idea of what to expect. By week 2, however, reviews and word of mouth spread, and for alert audiences the menu of more than 200 shows shrinks to a few hits everyone’s talking about."

Is now the best time for this?

PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE: "According to this New York Times article, Local 1 made a move on The Joyce Theater this week, in an attempt to organize and unionize the stagehands at the 472 seat theater in Chelsea."

How To Make A Calendar Template In Excel

Make Use Of: "As an avid Excel user, I often find myself trying to do things with Excel that most folks would never consider. There are several reasons for this, but the most important is that Microsoft Excel has certain features that make certain unique formatting tasks extremely simple and easy to automate.
Earlier, I introduced MUO readers to my love affair with Excel when I wrote about how you can use it to create an effective household budget. I was also pleased to read some love from other MUO authors, such as Karl’s article about how to split a monster sized Excel spreadsheet, or Eyal’s Excel printing tips.
Today I’m going to share a few additional cool features in Excel that you can use specifically to make a calendar template in Excel."

UK play on witch-burning seen as modern parable

Reuters: "Superstition, torture, and its effect on the perpetrator are at the heart of historical drama 'The Last Witch,' which although set nearly 300 years ago still resonates today.
Rona Munro's play at the Royal Lyceum Theater, commissioned for the Edinburgh International Festival, is based on sparse fact and local legend about the fate of Janet Horne, convicted and burned for witchcraft around 1727, on the eve of the Scottish intellectual Enlightenment."

'Rogue trader' scandal inspires French play

Yahoo! News: "A French Riviera theatre is putting on a play based on the rogue trading scandal at Societe Generale bank to mark one year since the onset of the global financial crisis.
'Le Roman d'un trader' (Story of a Trader), a comedy loosely based on the multi-billion euro losses blamed on SocGen trader Jerome Kerviel in 2008, will run at the Nice theatre for three weeks from September 23."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Weekend Feedback: PICT deserves praise for 'History' lesson

Post Gazette: "I was perplexed by the logic of Bob Hoover's August 16 op-ed article 'Literature is Good for You,' taking the Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre to task for publishing a seven-page list of literary references in its program for 'The History Boys.' On the one hand, Mr. Hoover laments 'the deplorable state of American education,' while on the other he criticizes PICT for its efforts to improve it. He finds the references a 'self-congratulatory piece that panders ... to the educated class' and the explanations themselves 'limit, rather than free, our interpretation of the play.'"

Blue Mango Theatre serves culturally diverse 'Moonshine & SkyToffee'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When Sandhya Krishnan got laid off from her job at Deloitte & Touche, moping was not an option. 'I decided, rather than be sad, why not start a theater company?' Krishnan says.
She founded and became executive director of Blue Mango Theatre, which makes its debut Friday at the New Hazlett Theater in the North Side with 'Moonshine and SkyToffee.'"

Swine flu hits CMU, PSU

Post Gazette: "Eight new cases of swine flu were confirmed at Carnegie Mellon University yesterday, bringing the total to 26 students with H1N1 influenza, and the number is expected to climb.
Penn State University also confirmed several cases, while other local universities reported no problems to date."

Uploads, Not Open Calls

Backstage: "It's a familiar routine for actors everywhere: Get dressed, check your makeup, fight traffic or subway crowds for an hour or more, then sit in a casting office, poring over sides for the hundredth time as you wait for your name to be called. A few minutes later, you're saying 'Thank you' and heading off to your next chance to hurry up and wait. It's just what you have to do to get a job, right? Well, maybe not anymore."

WGA Reports Dismal 2008

Backstage: "The Writers Guild of America West has posted its 2009 annual report, released to members earlier this summer, on its website, and the numbers paint a bleak picture of the fiscal year that ended March 31."

SAG Members Ratify Basic Cable Live Action Contract

Backstage: "The Screen Actors Guild has announced that members have approved a two-year successor contract to its Basic Cable Live Action agreement by a vote of 93.71% percent to 6.29% percent."

Back to School: Talk to Your Professor!

Stepcase Lifehack: "For university students around the US it’s time to go back to school
, or go for the first time for freshmen. European and other students might have a while before the next school year starts up, but this advice is for them, too.
Talk to your professors!
In one of my earliest posts here at Lifehack, I explained how to talk to a professor – today, I want to talk about why you should talk with your professors."

Visual Effects: 100 Years of Inspiration

Geeks Are Sexy: "This 5-minute clip, (made as an educational video for use as an introduction to classroom lecture), shows the history 100 years of visual effects as seen in some of the most notable movies of the past century."

Robots kiss, but don't go to second base (yet)

Crave - CNET: "With robots now doing everything from strutting the fashion catwalk to greeting hotel guests, it was only a matter of time before our humanoid friends started engaging in public displays of affection. Exhibit A: Thomas and Janet, two performance bots who made out publicly in front of hundreds during a December 2008 robotic production of 'Phantom of the Opera' in Taiwan (racy robot lip-lock video is only making the rounds now)."

Production: Beauty and the Beast (WIT #215)

ATW: "The Beauty and the Beast production team – press representative Chris Boneau, producer Michael David, associate producer Donald Frantz, production supervisor Jeremiah Harris, producer Robert W. McTyre, marketing consultant Margery Singer – discuss creating a stage musical from an animated film, costume designs, production budget and ticket prices, marketing and publicity including a literacy program, and Disney’s plans on Broadway."

In Goreyland at the Fringe Festival, With Hints of the Sinister and Ludicrous

NYTimes.com: "Programs for New York International Fringe Festival performances currently contain questionnaires issued by Theatermania.com. The seventh request: “Three words to describe yourself.” On Tuesday I saw two Fringe shows at the Robert Moss Theater. After the Riedel Dance Theater’s “Ukrainian Eggs: Terrible Tales of Tragedy and AlleGorey” my adjectives were: disappointed, underwhelmed and unenthusiastic. After Etch Dance Company’s “Testify” they were: impatient, testy and anti-Fringe."

How Four Actors Spent Their ‘God of Carnage’ Vacation

NYTimes.com: "After months of bickering and brawling, of hurling things at and on one another, of demolishing their marriages and the institution itself, the cast of “God of Carnage” needed a break."

Some Lyrics Restored to English in Broadway Revival of ‘West Side Story’

NYTimes.com: "It should be one of the most pained, poignant moments in any production of “West Side Story”: a grief-stricken Anita tells her friend Maria to end her love affair with Tony because he has just killed Bernardo, Anita’s boyfriend and Maria’s brother."

Torch Theatre to Present "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" Live Onstage

Playbill News: "Minneapolis' Torch Theater will try to 'turn the world on with [a] smile' in September when it presents ten benefit performances of the Emmy-winning TV series 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show.'"

'Addams' adds to family

Variety: "Tony-winning lighting designer Natasha Katz (“Aida,” “The Coast of Utopia”), maverick puppeteer Basil Twist and music director Mary-Mitchell Campbell (“Company”) have joined the creative team of “The Addams Family,” the upcoming Broadway musical based on Charles Addams’ iconic cartoon clan."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Arts and cultural groups make their cases for RAD funds

Post Gazette: "For a number of Pittsburgh's cultural institutions facing a recession and the ongoing state budget crisis, the Allegheny Regional Asset District may be the only place left to turn for critical funding."

Painters, Artist, Stage Designers

Craigslist: "A newly formed group of Entreprenuerial Women are having a Holiday Fashion Show in November. We are looking for people to assist us in creating BACKDROPS for our segments of the show."

Habitual multitaskers do it badly, study shows

Crave - CNET: "If you can't read through this article in one sitting, you may be in serious trouble. The good news is you wouldn't discover what your problem is. Are you still reading?
It has been my presumption that multitaskers are generally more productive than people who prefer to do one thing at a time. Typical examples of those with what I call 'occupational short attention span' tend to be workers in high-tech environments, including me and most of my CNET co-workers."

Mattress Factory's myG20 is the real deal on the action, join the Street Team

Pop City: "The hip guide to what's going down around town is here with myG20, a crowd-curated guide to the hot financial summit this September.
'It's really important to give people a voice to share what they feel is special about Pittsburgh,' explains Jeffrey Inscho of the Mattress Factory, the North Side museum that loves digital outreach. 'We hope it will serve as a real-time guide to where people can go, performances that pop up and document the event as well.'"

'Bye Bye Birdie' revival on Broadway drops scene for 'gang rape' concern

Daily News: "Should the classic bubblegum musical 'Bye Bye Birdie' be more P.C.?
Apparently so. According to Gina Gershon, who stars as Rose in the upcoming revival, the production has said bye bye to a frisky dance sequence that has been in the show since its debut in 1960."

Pete Townshend working on new musical and Who album

guardian.co.uk: "Pete Townshend has announced plans for a new musical, songs from which will appear on a new album by the Who. Forget mods, rockers and pinball wizards – the production, Floss, concerns the angst of the ageing Baby Boomer generation."

Talks Between MPTF, Patients at Stalemate

Backstage: "The Motion Picture & Television Fund on Tuesday resumed notifying individual patients and families affected by its decision to close a hospital and long-term care facility at its retirement campus in Woodland Hills."

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Producers scuttle 'Busker Alley'

Variety: "Take 'Busker Alley' off the Broadway map: Producers have scuttled the gestating production, which had been announced in 2007.
Show, with songs by Richard and Robert Sherman ('Mary Poppins,' 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang'), has fallen off track due to a combination of developments, including the 2007 death of book writer AJ Carothers and the worsening health of one of the Sherman brothers."

Pittsburgh Opera offers $10 tickets for 2008-09 shows

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Lowest-price tickets to performances by the Pittsburgh Opera have been reduced to $10 for the coming season, a 37.5 percent reduction in prices from the 2008-09 year.
General director Christopher Hahn says the organization is 'working very hard to continue to produce opera of the highest standard in the current economic climate.'"

Mime piece, 3 other works will be presented at Duquesne University theater

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Mime and actor Mark C. Thompson and a company of actors will perform 'The Hungers of Arlecchino' this weekend at Duquesne University's Peter Mills Theater.
Thompson wrote the commedia dell'arte-inspired mime piece to be performed with music that Wolfgang Mozart wrote for pantomime performance."

A Song Like That: Collaborators Reconsider Spanish Lyrics in West Side Story

Playbill News: "Producers of the Tony Award-nominated revival of West Side Story announced Aug. 25 that slight lyric changes were implemented into the production at Broadway's Palace Theatre on Aug. 20.
Two songs that had been performed in Spanish since the show's opening — 'A Boy Like That' ('Un Hombre Asi'), sung by Tony winner Karen Olivo, and 'I Feel Pretty' ('Siento Hermosa'), led by Tony nominee Josefina Scaglione — are now delivered mostly in English. The Spanish sung by the Sharks in the 'Tonight' (Quintet) remains."

On the London Stage - Playing It for Real - 'Hello, Dolly!' With a Little Less Flamboyance

NYTimes.com: "Is it possible for a Broadway musical war horse to reinvent itself in the absence of its legendary original lead? Most buoyantly, even against the odds movingly, in the case of the new London revival of “Hello, Dolly!,” the 1964 Jerry Herman musical that for a generation or two of playgoers will be forever associated with the saucer-eyed brio of Carol Channing, who originated the role of the Yonkers matchmaker Dolly Gallagher Levi. Ms. Channing was replaced many times on Broadway, not least by Ethel Merman, but in theater lore is held up to this day as irreplaceable."

Passing Strange hits the big screen

Berkeley Rep Blog: "From the stage of Berkeley Rep to the big screen, Passing Strange continues its epic journey.
After having its world premiere on Berkeley Rep’s Thrust Stage, Passing Strange, an intoxicating musical theater experience created by Stew and Heidi Rodewald, headed to The Public Theater and then to New York, where it won Stew a Tony Award for Best Book of a Musical."

The Legacy of Thirtysomething

Women & Hollywood: "It’s been over 20 years since Thirtysomething went on the air and 18 years since it departed and now finally the first season will be released on DVD today. What I find so interesting about the show is how far reaching into TV and films — but mostly TV — that the participants of the show have had on our lives."

The Unsinkable Student Organization System

Study Hacks: "As the back to school season transitions from looming to present, it’s time I turned our attention back to the technical details of becoming an outstanding student. In this post, I want to tackle a topic that’s relevant on the very first day of your new semester: staying organized."

Robots to Star in Opera

Bots 4 Tots: "“Death and the Powers” is the first Robotic Opera ever produced, and is currently in development as a collaborative project by the MIT Media Lab and the American Repertory Theater. It is scheduled to open Fall of next year (2010), premiering internationally at locations including the American Repertory Theater (A.R.T.) in Massachusetts as well as the Chicago Opera Theater. Read on! You really want to hear the rest of this, it’s good!
What do Yo-Yo Ma, Prince and Guitar Hero have in common? Tod Machover, that’s what!"

Yamaha LS 9 digital console

Ramblings of a Techie: "I have been using the ls9 for a few days and it seems to do it’s job capably. The model I have been using is the ls9-16, which it designation implies is the 16 channel version. There is also a 32 channel version of this console. The unit that I am using has a small footprint, it will sit comfortably on a standard 19″ rack. Since I have always used analog consoles this was a bit daunting to start of with. You soon realise that it has the same features as an analog desk plus a lot more. All the feature you expect are found in the menu structure or on the front panel. In fact it does not take long to get a simple mix happening."

Theatre means business at the Edinburgh festival

guardian.co.uk: "Too big, too cocky, too blatantly commercial. Over the years, those are the views I've often heard expressed by the theatre world about their comedy cousins on the fringe. For as long as I've been coming to Edinburgh, people have complained that the standups are ruining the fringe and are only there with an eye to getting discovered and snapping up a lucrative TV deal."

Pete Townshend plans new musical "Floss"

Yahoo! News: "The Who guitarist Pete Townshend, behind rock operas 'Tommy' and 'Quadrophenia', is writing a new musical 'Floss', about getting old.
'As a 19-year-old, with 'My Generation', I wrote the most explicitly ageist song in rock,' Townshend wrote on his band's website (http://www.thewho.com). The 1965 hit song includes the line 'I hope I die before I get old'.
'At 64, I now want to take on aging and mortality, using the powerfully angry context of rock'n'roll.'"

Monday, August 24, 2009

Non-Technical Difficulties: Unions Block Online Stream of Live Theater Performance

Technology in the Arts: "In 2006 Stephanie Riso, Operations Director of the Pittsburgh Irish and Classical Theater (PICT), recognized the limitations that performance space imposed on ticket sales for her popular Cabaret Pittsburgh project. She considered ways to expand the audience of the musical revue without finding a new location or having to take the show on the road, and landed on the possibilites afforded by internet streaming."

Dramaturgy at Work

Steppenwolf Theatre Company Blog: "It’s my first time working with the ensemble at Steppenwolf, and I’m here as production dramaturg in rehearsals for Eric Simonson’s play Fake."

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"

Eric Simonson on Scenic Design for Steppenwolf’s “Fake”

Chicago Theater Blog: "Steppenwolf Theatre’s Eric Simonson explains the scenic design for Steppenwolf’s upcoming show Fake"

Coating Foam

Props: "My wife and I are currently working on a project for a new show which is essentially a Styrofoam sculpture. It got me thinking about the various ways to treat and coat foam.
You need to coat foam with something. If you tried to paint raw foam, it will eat all the paint up. If you tried to use anything with a solvent, such as spray paint, it will dissolve the foam. Finally, uncoated foam is just too fragile for many uses, especially in theatre."

Douglas Aibel (DSC #229)

ATW: "Douglas Aibel, artistic director of New York’s Vineyard Theatre, reflects upon the six year run and impending closing of the Broadway musical Avenue Q, which made its Off-Broadway debut at the Vineyard and has been the company’s longest-running commercial transfer — out of a field that also includes [title of show], How I Learned to Drive, Three Tall Women, Fully Committed, Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar and Grill and Goblin Market, among many others."

Legally Blonde a bland but spirited musical

Reuters: "'Lethally bland' is perhaps too harsh a description for this derivative but harmlessly giddy musical marshmallow."

Union Accepts Cutbacks as City Opera Bumbles Along

Bloomberg.com: "The union representing most of the artists at the tottering New York City Opera has voted to accept a new contract for fewer weeks of work and seasonal pay."

Oregon Shakespeare Festival offers much to build upon

latimes.com: "Reporting from Ashland, Ore. - If the Oregon Shakespeare Festival doesn't have the most enthusiastic audience of any regional theater in the country, there must be some performing arts center out there with quite a rabid cult.
Ashland, OSF's quaint home nestled in the foothills of majestic mountain ranges and lined with arts-and-crafts boutiques and casual-nice restaurants eager to pour local Pinot Noir, is a destination town for theatergoing."

Edinburgh fringe left £900,000 out of pocket by collapse of new box office

The Observer: "The full seriousness of the failure of a new box-office system at last year's Edinburgh fringe festival has been revealed with the publication of new accounts.

At the Festival Fringe Society's AGM in Edinburgh yesterday, the board said the failure contributed to losses of £882,407, leaving the organisation in danger of collapse."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Equity Intervenes, Ending 'Twittergate' Controversy

Backstage: "Eisenberg had drawn fire on several message boards for using Twitter to comment on actors auditioning in front of her for the New York Musical Theatre Festival's 'Gay Bride of Frankenstein.' That drew the attention of Equity, which rebuked the casting director in multiple public statements."

Dow Hits 1,000, Zombies Sing, Dance at New York’s Fringe Fest

Bloomberg.com: "Tickets at $15 aren’t much more than a movie. The risk is in the paucity of information about the quality of each show. The creators themselves often don’t know what they have until the first performance.
201 Untested Shows
“We reward the untried and untested,” Elena Holy, producing artistic director of the Fringe, said of the 201 shows on tap this season, which were culled from some 800 submissions."

How to read a script

Props: "A prop master develops a prop list by reading the script. The director, designer, and/or stage manager may come up with their own prop list; you still need your own so you can get working right away, and so you can make sure the rest of the production team has considered all the props that may be in the production."

Back to school with the DormVault

DVICE: "Heading off to school can be all fun and games if you know who your roommates are gonna be. Think you can trust your new roomy? What about your roomy's creepy friends? Not to send you off to school a sniveling paranoid mess, but do you really know who you're living with?"

Peago: Flash-Based Project Management

WebWorkerDaily: "We cover a lot of project management apps here on WebWorkerDaily; it almost feels like we’re inundated with them, with a new option being launched practically every week. So I confess to being wary about trying yet another offering.
Peago, a Flash-based PM tool, has some nice features, but in my opinion they’re overshadowed by a difficult interface."

Da Vinci's Mechanical Lion Brought To Life After 500 Years

Gizmodo: "Originally designed to entertain the King of France, the robot has been recreated as part of an exhibit at the Chateau du Clos Luce in France—Leonardo's last residence."

Taking Multicultural Stages to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

NYTimes.com: "If Barack Obama had gone into theater instead of politics, he might have been something like Bill Rauch, the artistic director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival."

David Singer - Offstage Player Turns Into a Playwright

NYTimes.com: "ALLOW David Singer to present his business card. He’s got three actually. The one designating him Esq. he carries for his entertainment law practice. The card for DS Entertainment he uses when he’s being an impresario or producer. The third, with a prancing little abstract figure blowing into a musical instrument, is his all-purpose arts patron ID. Although he has had a variety of connections, including some board memberships, with theatrical institutions like the Steppenwolf Theater, the Signature Theater and New York Stage and Film, he doesn’t have a card yet for being a playwright."

A Playwright at Ease in His Own Pigeonhole

NYTimes.com: "CAN a New York playwright be too Jewish? If that sounds like wondering whether a pizzeria is too Italian or a matinee idol is overly handsome, tell that to the 36-year-old writer Daniel Goldfarb, who says that in his decade of writing dramas about assimilation and Jewish identity, well-meaning friends and colleagues have repeatedly suggested that maybe he should consider writing about, you know, something else."

It’s Broadway Gone Viral, With ‘Next to Normal’ Via Twitter

NYTimes.com: "At a recent performance of “Next to Normal,” the Broadway musical at the Booth Theater on West 45th Street, Alice Ripley, who won a Tony for her portrayal of Diana, a suburban mother with bipolar disorder, was reaching to answer a cordless telephone when she knocked it off the stage. Fourth wall broken, Ms. Ripley asked, with a smile, “Could you hand that to me?”"

Unlikely Survivor - ‘39 Steps,’ Sole Straight Play on Broadway

NYTimes.com: "The 1,000-watt celebrities have either gone home or on vacation. The enriching revivals from canonical playwrights have finished their runs, and the Tony winners have packed up their trophies. Starting on Monday there will be just one nonmusical on Broadway: “Alfred Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps.” This joyously wacky four-person show has endured cast changes, runs in three different Broadway theaters and a recession, outlasting pretty much every other straight play without the benefit of elaborate sets or well-known stars."

Intiman Theater’s No-Frills Approach to Replacing Bartlett Sher

NYTimes.com: "When the esteemed Intiman Theater here needed to hire a new managing director last year, the trustees went the route that most major nonprofit theaters take: spending about $50,000 on a national search, retaining consultants and an interim managing director, and devoting countless hours to discussions of the candidates."

Rocco Landesman, New Chief of National Endowment for the Arts, Will See What Plays in Peoria

NYTimes.com: "Rocco Landesman, who was confirmed this month as the new chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, has accepted an invitation to visit Peoria, Ill., an offer proffered in response to public comments he made about the city."

At Shaw Festival, Brushing Up Their Coward With ‘Tonight at 8 - 30’

NYTimes.com: "In a prodigious theatrical feat that Noël Coward undoubtedly would have toasted with some bubbly, the Shaw Festival in Ontario is staging his collection of one acts known as “Tonight at 8:30.” The plays, several of which include his songs and lyrics and one of which inspired the film 'Brief Encounter,' have not been performed in simultaneous repertory since their London premiere 73 years ago. And like a tuxedo jacket — except the ones that Coward wore constantly — most are rarely dusted off for the public to admire."

Theaters cherish roles in their communities

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "During intermission on a recent Thursday evening, Leigh Ann Frohnapfel was returning the glue to the props area at Little Lake Theatre when she heard a dripping noise above her head."

Local dance companies take to the streets

Post Gazette: "Dancing in the streets is nothing new in Pittsburgh, where movement can be found at casual block parties or formally staged outdoor festivals. This summer, two companies are adding to Pittsburgh's dance fabric, confounding onlookers as they hit the pavement."

Decemberists maintain stage worthiness with "Hazards of Love"

Post Gazette: "Somewhere in what must have been a soul-searching process it was determined that Colin Meloy's, 'The Hazards of Love,' was not destined to be the Broadway musical he originally intended to write. One would naturally conclude from that that the project should thus be written off as some sort of failure."

Young Playwrights Fest on tap

Post Gazette: "City Theatre launches its 10th annual Young Playwrights Festival Sept. 29 with six original works, three by middle schoolers and three from high school students, winners in its Young Playwrights Contest."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Pittsburghers who danced for Merce Cunningham recall his genius

Post Gazette: "The first time the Merce Cunningham Dance Company came to the fledgling Pittsburgh Dance Council series at Heinz Hall in 1970, people walked out in droves.
Having been a music major at Duquesne University, I wasn't as shocked by John Cage's quirky music score. But when the dance and the music happened to climax by 'chance' (one of Cunningham's favorite choreographic devices), I took great pleasure in it."

California Pays to Lure Filmmakers Back

Backstage: "After a decade of watching film production slowly abandon Hollywood, lured away by financial incentives first in Canada, then other U.S. states, California hopes to woo the movies back home."

Casting Director's Tweets Trigger Debate

Backstage: "Call it Twittergate. Casting director Daryl Eisenberg has drawn fire on several message boards for using Twitter to comment on actors auditioning in front of her this week for the New York Musical Theatre Festival's 'Gay Bride of Frankenstein.'"

CTG receives $1-million grant for experimental productions

Los Angeles Times: "Experimental theater in L.A. is getting a significant financial boost thanks to a $1-million grant to Center Theatre Group's new play production program from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The three-year grant will be used to develop stage productions with L.A.-based artists that use new technologies and a non-textual approach to performance, said CTG in its announcement Wednesday."

Theater Criticism Reconfigured

Village Voice: "By the end of this paragraph, the producers of Burn the Floor will be sore at the Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. When the news broke that these two organizations, which jointly manage Broadway's annual Tony Awards, had decided to remove the first-night theater press from the ranks of Tony voters, my first action was to e-mail my editor that I wouldn't be reviewing Burn the Floor, Broadway's new ballroom-dance compilation, an Australian import that has been trekking around the world for some years. As a Tony voter, I might have felt obliged to go: The nominations are so eccentric that you never know what may or may not end up on the ballot, and the ballot always specifies that you may not vote in a given category unless you've seen all the nominees. My new non-voter status has liberated me from events like Burn the Floor. Unluckily for its producers, my editor has no space outside my column for it either, so their show will get no Village Voice review. Let the League and the Wing deal with it."

Money, Divorce, Jennifer Westfeldt Fuel ‘Burning’

Bloomberg.com: "Still young, Cusi Cram has a roster of plays to her credit, as well as an animated children’s TV program, and a clutch of awards. “A Lifetime Burning,” her new play at New York’s 59E59 Theaters, an intimate space that brings us into unsettling proximity with four oddly behaving characters who buffet us between fascination and annoyance."

Proof of Income: A Freelance Problem

FreelanceSwitch: "If you’re renting an apartment or buying a new home, you’ll probably be asked to provide proof of your income. In some cases, the same goes when starting a new service or opening a line of credit. Before I had health insurance, I even had to provide proof of my income every time I needed to get a doctor to sign for a renewed prescription."

Freshman 15: Coping with the First Year of College

Stepcase Lifehack: "We’re coming up on back-to-school time, and for thousands of young people everywhere, that means taking their first great big step into adult life: college. Going to school, whether you stay at home or travel across the country or around the world, can be terrifying. It can also be your life’s greatest adventure."

Best Plays of 2008-2009

Women & Hollywood: "When I went to graduate school way back in the dark ages I remember that we needed to read the best plays of the 1920s, 1930s, 1940s etc before we started classes. I remember distinctly that there were very few plays written by women in those books and actually also remember saying something about it on my first day."

Schadenfreude for Spider-Man?

PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE: "Rumors started on the street last week that Spidey was in trouble when the multi-million dollar renovation of the Hilton theater was halted. It was called a 'cash-flow problem', which is corporate for, 'we're not putting up another cent.'"

Tent and Decor set up and strike

Craigslist: "Special Events company looking for extra crew for installation from Tuesday 18th"

Obama honors Poitier, Rivera

Variety: "President Barack Obama awarded the nation's highest civilian honor to 16 'agents of change' on Wednesday, highlighting their accomplishments as examples of the heights a person can reach and the difference they can make in the lives of others."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

'SPIDER-MAN' BROADWAY SHOW PRODUCTION PUT ON HIATUS AFTER MONEY RUNS OUT

New York Post: "SPIDER-MAN has vanquished Green Goblin, Electro, Doc Ock and Lizard.
But when it comes to the greatest supervillain of them all -- The Riedeler -- Spidey has met his match.
The $45 million 'Spider-Man,' directed by Julie Taymor and written by Bono and The Edge, is caught in my net, and I can report today that escape is virtually impossible.
Mwahahaha!"

'SPIDER-MAN' NEEDS RESCUE

New York Post: "THERE was a twitching on my web this week, and when I crawled out to see what I'd caught, there -- all tangled up and weary from the struggle -- was Julie Taymor's 'Spider-Man.'
The $45 million Broadway musical -- otherwise known as 'The Show Produced By People Who Have No Idea What They Are Doing' -- is in deep, deep trouble."

'Pure greed' of 800% rise in venue fees

Scotsman.com News: "THE director of a leading independent Fringe venue accused Edinburgh City Council yesterday of 'pure greed' in crippling small Festival operators with a huge rise in theatre licence fees.
Julian Caddy, co-director of Sweet Entertainments, a rising player on the Fringe, said fees had risen a staggering 800 per cent in the past three years."

Theater tickets shouldn't come with a return policy. 'El Grito del Bronx' included.

Chicago Tribune: "At the end of the opening night of the Collaboraction production of Migdalia Cruz’s “El Grito del Bronx” [REVIEW] at the Goodman Theatre, the actor Eddie Torres took the stage for the usual post-show thanks and party announcement. But he had something unusual to add: Anyone who didn’t feel like they had enjoyed the evening’s show should now make their way to a table in the lobby, where they could pick up a refund for what they’d spent on their tickets.
Cash money on the spot."

Culture Czar Must Say Art Means More Than Money

Bloomberg.com: "After the U.S. Senate confirmed Rocco Landesman’s appointment on Friday as chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, I wondered how long it would take Broadway’s favorite cowboy to shoot himself in the foot.
One day."

What to Do With the Mellon Arena?

PopCity: "This is an emerging story, one that will gather momentum this September as the city enters the Master Planning phase of the its most expensive piece of available real estate: the 28 acres of the Lower Hill.
With the creation of the new Consol Energy Center, 2010 home of the Penguins, the current Mellon Arena will become obsolete – and destined for what?
Some say its an eyesore, a white elephant, a symbol of the failed 1950s urban renewal efforts that should be demolished – as were its late cousins, Three Rivers Stadium, Pitt Stadium, and Forbes Field.
Others say, no, the building is an engineering marvel, a symbol of Pittsburgh pride and achievement, and should be preserved, re-used, and will serve as a celebration of its past and the neighborhood in which it stands."

How to Make Stage Blood

Props: "Asking how to make fake blood is kind of like asking how to make food. Sometimes you need a light breakfast, sometimes a heavy dinner. You need to ask yourself what the blood needs to do. While trying out new recipes can be fun, it is not terribly useful unless you know what you are trying to achieve. So when dealing with making stage blood, I will first look at the preparation you must do, than introduce some of the basic chemistry which can lead to some blood recipes for you to try."

Long Reach Long Rides Meet and Exceed Goals

iSquint | Entertainment Lighting News & Review: "The Long Reach Long Riders announce the successful completion of their 6th annual charity motorcycle ride. The 2009 ride raised over $42,000.00 for the ESTA Foundation’s Behind the Scenes program and Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, making it the second largest amount raised to date. The combined LRLR total raised since the first ride in 2004 has now exceeded $200,000.00 Donations for the 2009 ride will be accepted until September 1, 2009."

Living Healthy on a College Campus

Lifehacker: "College is full of temptations, including, but not limited to credit cards, alcohol, study drugs (and otherwise), and frat parties on weekdays. Why complicate that with an unhealthy life otherwise?"

Museum Turns Off Lights in Protest

WDUQNews: "The Westmoreland Museum of American Art is turning off its lights to bring attentions to the fight in Harrisburg over arts funding. The museum turned off the lights in the main floor galleries from 11:00am to noon Wednesday and will add an hour each day until the lights are off for 5 hours Sunday."

10 Must-Dos for the First Week of College

Lifehacker: "With the start of the academic year, it's time to switch out of vacation mode—pronto. What you do the first week of classes can majorly impact your grades four months from now, so don't skip these first week must-dos."

On the London Stage - A Seductive Twist on a Classic Tale

NYTimes.com: "There’s genuine pleasure to be had when a playwright you think you know takes you somewhere else — whether you’re talking Eugene O’Neill, that avatar of domestic despair and gloom, penning the comedy “Ah, Wilderness!,” or Shakespeare launching his most knockabout work, “The Comedy of Errors,” with an extended consideration of discord and death. Now along comes Shakespeare’s Globe with a buoyant production of what would appear to be a theatrical oxymoron: a Euripides play, “Helen,” that actually has a happy ending. What would the Gods make of that? Mere mortals have until Aug. 23 to decide for themselves."

'George Bataille's Bathrobe' and 'Blood on the Cat’s Neck' - Fassbinder and Foreman on the Limits of Language

NYTimes.com: "The alien Phoebe Zeitgeist in Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s “Blood on the Cat’s Neck” has been sent to earth to learn about “human democracy.” But there’s a problem: “Although she has learned the words, she doesn’t understand human language.”"

Not So Strictly - ‘Ballroom’s Best’ and ‘Burn the Floor’ Aim to Sex Up the Genre

NYTimes.com: "The genre known as ballroom dance has grown unrecognizable in recent decades. When I, as a clumsy youth of 15, and other boys and girls of my age and background learned the waltz and other dances from Murielle Ashcroft and her colleagues in Colchester, England, in 1970, we had no clue that ballroom dance (which in those days seemed quaint) would become exemplified by women wearing elaborate versions of the bikini and men with their shirts open to the navel."

Production Design Assistance for Short Film

Craigslist: "Looking for help in executing the production design for a short film shooting locally this fall. Great opportunity for a student! Experience always welcome, but not required."

'Boys' online show blocked

Post Gazette: "Actors' Equity Association, the union representing actors in the cast of 'The History Boys' here, has blocked Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre's plan to offer a live video stream of Sunday's production on the Internet. Called LIPLO, the Web operation would have been a free test run of an entertainment portal designed by PICT's Stephanie Riso and fellow Carnegie Mellon graduate Alex Geis."

Musical looking like Broadway 'Catch'

Variety: "Commercial producers of the new tuner version of 'Catch Me if You Can,' which opened at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theater Aug. 6, have decided to bow the show out of town without a subsequent Broadway run yet confirmed. But now, with a generally upbeat reception from the local press, the show's Broadway odds are looking good."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Stephen Adly Guirgis: At the Ojai Playwrights Conference

Los Angeles Times: "Each summer for more than a decade, a select group of playwrights from across the country has converged on the idyllic town of Ojai, north of Los Angeles, to escape the distractions of their everyday lives and write. So, for a week, guests at the Ojai Playwrights Conference write, rewrite and write some more alongside others there to write, rewrite and write some more."

Queues round the block at the sexiest fringe yet

The Guardian: "Doctor Johnny Long has a PHD, only not of the seven-years'-study-and-thesis variety. Long is a porn star, and his 'PHD' stands for 'pretty huge dick'. Yes, it's pretty basic stuff, but that's kind of the level in Porn: The Musical, part-funded by Cameron Mackintosh, and one of many fringe shows on the subject of sex and all things related."

Britain's Royal Opera wants you to make tweet music

Reuters: "Britain's Royal Opera House (ROH) wants Twitter users to help create the 'world's first online opera.'
The Covent Garden institution, which stages performances of ballet, opera and other classical music productions wants Internet-savvy tweeters to write the words to an opera using 140 characters or less at a time."

Around the horn: NEA edition

Createquity.: "Fox News's misleading attacks on the NEA, coming as they did just prior to the confirmation of a new Chairman for the organization, seem to be raising a lot of hackles in the arts world. Is the concern justified? Barry Hessenius thinks so, and warns that things might get a lot worse as conservatives gear up for a new culture war. Barry also links to a report that I meant to cite in last week's essay, but forgot: 51 Republican Congressmen signed a letter to NEA Acting Chair Patrice Walker Powell demanding that the money from the 'offending' grants be returned."

Getting Things Done Explained for Students

Lifehacker: "If you're into productivity, then you must have at least heard of David Allen's Getting Things Done productivity opus. Let's take a look at how to apply GTD to your school work.
GTD is basically a 'workflow for life,' so if all you want to do is get papers in by their deadlines, it's overkill. Luckily, some of the GTD precepts work for the student workflow—so that's what I'll share here."

metaDRAMA: Copywrong

'kül: "I'm no legal expert, but what?!? We'll never know if it'd hold up in court, as Spinal Tap has declined to fight this in court (yes, this is real), but Lego refuses to allow a fan-made music video onto a Spinal Tap DVD because it features Lego characters in 'inappropriate' situations. I already think copyright law is ridiculous, but this is a real low point in the precedence department. Essentially, if I buy anything, be it a G.I. Joe, a Calvin Klein suit, or a Pepsi, and then try to make it into art, I can technically be harassed with copyright infringement for not upholding the unwritten standards of the product?"

The Future Of Work: Will Right-Brained Workers Own the 21st Century?

WebWorkerDaily: "Pink has been the subject of much attention lately, with his assertions that “right-brainers will rule this century,” as well as high-profile appearances at TED and a recent interview with Oprah Winfrey. These assertions offer some intriguing insights into “the future of work in a post-broadband world” — notably the patterns of work, business relationships, structures and skills that we’ll perhaps require in the future."

Candidates for SAG board set

Hollywood Reporter: "The Screen Actors Guild released its official list of national officer and board candidates Monday night.
The candidates for national president are Seymour Cassel, Ken Howard, Anne-Marie Johnson and Asmar Muhammad. Howard represents the top of the Unite for Strength party ticket, and Johnson, the current 1st national vp, represents the top of the MembershipFirst party ticket."

Matter-of-fact Cinderella makes own wishes come true

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "It didn't take long for Premiere Entertainment director Ernie Watson to decide on his second show since changing the theater troupe's name from Flatwoods Productions earlier this year. Following the company's debut with its new identity in June and a production of 'Nunsense,' he came upon the script for a modernized version of the classic fairy tale, 'Cinderella.'"

Review: It's fun to go back to school with Pittsburgh Irish & Classical's 'History Boys'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Playwright Alan Bennett would have made a terrific teacher.
His play 'The History Boys' turns what sounds like a dry topic -- the purpose and usefulness of education -- into a lively, frequently funny and yet thoughtful drama."

Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre books class acts in 'The History Boys'

Post Gazette: "Meretricious or disingenuous -- which quality would you choose in a teacher?
These are the lofty labels presented in Alan Bennett's 'The History Boys,' winner of the 2006 Tony award for best drama, now in a lively revival at Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre."

Monday, August 10, 2009

"Spider-Man" Halts Production, But Will Still Open

Backstage: "Spider-Man appears to be caught in a web of financial troubles. 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark,' the Broadway musical based on the Marvel comic-book superhero, reportedly hit a financial speed bump last Friday, halting pre-performance production at the Hilton Theatre until further notice due to 'unexpected cash flow problems.'"

A performing arts renaissance for Boston

The Boston Globe: "Ironically, “Jersey Boys’’ and “The Comedy of Errors’’ represent a parting of the ways between two men whom the arts community had hoped would forge a strong bond between Boston’s commercial and artistic worlds - Josiah Spaulding, president and CEO of what’s now the Citi Performing Arts Center, and Steven Maler, artistic director of Commonwealth Shakespeare. Spaulding and Maler joined forces in 2003, with Spaulding infusing money into Shakespeare and Maler hoping to bring new artistic projects to the Shubert and Wang."

Did the show change, or did I?

Los Angeles Times: "In these cash-strapped days, people are lucky to get to see a show once, never mind a second or third time. But with 'Spamalot' now playing at the Ahmanson Theatre more than four years after it opened on Broadway and a couple of years after it premiered in Las Vegas, there are a number of returning customers, Monty Python addicts chief among them."

Good, bad and gimps kick off at Edinburgh Fringe

Reuters: "The good, the bad and the gimps of comedy got into full swing on the first night of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.
U.S. comedian Janeane Garofalo got off to a shaky start with reviewers, earning the ire of Scots by talking trash about their fondness for deep fried Mars bars and alcohol, while ribbing them about the performance of England's cricket team."

After 20 Years, Still Honoring Spartan Roots

NYTimes.com: "WHEN the Signature Theater won this year’s Tony Award for regional theaters, it was the culmination of a 20-year journey. The company began in a converted school library, spent some time as a black-box theater in a leaky former garage in an industrial park and now occupies a spiffy new home anchoring a development of restaurants and boutiques."

Broadway Spidey Hits a Bump

NYTimes.com: "There’s been another setback for those eagerly awaiting Spider-Man’s arrival on Broadway early next year."

Easier Lies the Head That Wore the Artistic Director Crown at Shakespeare and Company

NYTimes.com: "AS her 68th birthday approached three summers ago, Tina Packer decided the time was right to step away slightly from her job — artistic director of Shakespeare & Company, the Berkshires theater company that she founded 31 years ago — and return to her first love, acting, by playing Gertrude in a major production of “Hamlet” here."

BAM's 2009 Next Wave Festival to Open with Binoche's In-I

Playbill News: "Brooklyn Academy of Music's 2009 Next Wave festival will kick off Sept. 15 with the U.S. premiere of In-I, an evening-length dance collaboration conceived, directed and performed by Oscar-winning actress Juliette Binoche and British choreographer Akram Khan."

Makeup/Wardrobe Interns Wanted

Craigslist: "Makeup/wardrobe interns needed for short dramatic film shooting this fall.
Will include taking care of makeup and wardrobe on set, as well as setting wardrobe before shooting begins and buying specific items we may need."

Review: It's fun to go back to school with Pittsburgh Irish & Classical's 'History Boys'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Playwright Alan Bennett would have made a terrific teacher.
His play 'The History Boys' turns what sounds like a dry topic -- the purpose and usefulness of education -- into a lively, frequently funny and yet thoughtful drama."

Dance Alloy Theater's new artistic director thrives on passion and dance

Post Gazette: "Dance without passion quickly reduces movement to uninspired activity. For Greer Reed-Jones, passion without dance is next to impossible. It is something that she experienced at her first dance lesson and it still drives the Penn Hills native as she begins a new journey as Dance Alloy Theater's artistic director."

Cirque du Soleil sets Oct. shows in Pittsburgh

Post Gazette: "Cirque du Soleil will bring its Alegria Arena Tour to the Petersen Events Center on the University of Pittsburgh campus for eight shows, Oct. 7 to 11."

Mellon grant creates Arena org

Variety: "Arena Stage has received a $1.1 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create the American Voices New Play Institute, an initiative to help further new play development within American theater."

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Stagehands union protests work by out-of-state firm

The News-Gazette.com: "A local union of stagehands and riggers has filed a grievance with the University of Illinois over renovation work being done in the Assembly Hall.
The university this spring awarded a nearly $1.2 million contract to Hoist Sales & Service of Florida to remove an old hoist system and install a new one in the Assembly Hall. The work began in July. Hoist systems hold stage equipment in the air, such as theater curtains and lights."

Arcola to build UK's first all-green theatre

The Stage: "North London’s Arcola Theatre is laying plans to create the UK’s first environmentally friendly arts “campus”, in a multimillion-pound project that will see the company’s new home constructed from straw bale.
If given the green light, the company will relocate from its current building on Arcola Street to a nearby 20,000 square feet plot of land next to Dalston Junction station, which is due to open next year.
It will house a total of six performance spaces, including a 300-seat main auditorium in a permanent “eco-venue” made from sustainable materials, a separate theatre complex with four studio spaces and an additional stage called the Launch Pad, for eco-focused and entertainment events."

Agnes Gund: The Obamas: An Opening in the Arts

HuffingtonPost: "In Act One of their administration - the well-lit, heavily reviewed and widely watched opening months - Barrack and Michelle Obama have positioned themselves actively in the arts. For the country, and especially for those of us interested in culture, it has been remarkable to see how quickly and how seriously the President and the First Lady have incorporated the arts into their national presence."

The Media Arts Center

Pittsburgh Filmmakers: "The School of Film, Photography and Digital Media offers one of the most comprehensive artistic and professional media arts curricula in the United States. Pittsburgh Filmmakers is an accredited institutional member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design (NASAD), offering university students and the general public (see For Prospective Students). Because they are part of a fine arts program, all classes stress aesthetics and the use of techniques to create polished works of art."

J-o-b - Props

Hartford Stage seeks resourceful, committed individual to join an established production team. We require a team player with outstanding problem-solving abilities, budget management skills, diplomacy, communication and artistic vision. Candidate should have familiarity with many different fabrication skills as well as painting, and various crafts techniques. Comprehensive knowledge of period style is important. Strong supervisory skills are fundamental. Hartford Stage is committed to a high standard of production excellence. Annual position which includes salary and benefits. Send Letter, resume, and references to: Bryan Holcombe, Production Manager, HARTFORD STAGE, 50 Church Street, Hartford, CT 06103. Email: BHolcombe@hartfordstage.org. No calls, please. EOE.

One Killed, Scores Injured in Canadian Stage Collapse

PLSN: "A woman attending the Big Valley Jamboree country music festival was killed when a storm caused the main stage to collapse just before 6 p.m. on Aug. 1. An estimated 75 were injured."

Mix And Match At West Virginia’s Contemporary American Theatre Festival

Live Design: "Which came first? It is a sort of “chicken or the egg” issue when you ask about the play selection process for the 19-year old Contemporary American Theatre Festival. Founder and producing director Ed Herendeen has two venues for four full productions each summer on the campus of Shepherd University in West Virginia’s idyllic small town of Shepherdstown on the banks of the Potomac River. One is a classic proscenium hall, the 499-seat theatre in the Frank Center for the Performing Arts on a hill overlooking the campus. The other a small, arena-style black box, the 129-seat Studio Theatre in the middle of the campus."

Mark Fisher on The Future of Concert Design

U2 On Tour » Blog Archive: "Production designer for U2 Mark Fisher discusses the movement toward more kinetic and three dimensional design."

Injured Workers & Advocates National Statement on Downey Toxic Dump Scandal And The Cover-up

Salem-News.Com: "Film workers from IATSE, Laborers and SAG as well as hospital workers who are members of the SEIU at the Downey Kaiser Hospital complex have been seriously injured as a result of the lack of proper clean-up and in what we believe is a cover-up by the developer Stuart Lichter."

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Rocco Landesman, New Endowment Chairman, Sees Arts as Economic Engine

NYTimes.com: "Now that the Broadway producer Rocco Landesman is officially chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts — he was confirmed on Friday — his straight-talking style, Missouri roots and affinity for baseball and country music are expected to give him a leg up with many legislators."

Landesman confirmed as NEA Chair

Createquity.: "It's official: Rocco Landesman will be the next Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. He was confirmed by voice vote by the Senate yesterday along with Jim Leach for the National Endowment for the Humanities and a host of other public officials."

Tool Link: RFID tells you if you've left anything behind

DVICE: "Always losing stuff? If you carry an assortment of expensive gear around, here's a great idea that will assure you you'll never again leave anything behind. DeWalt teamed up with Ford Trucks to create Tool Link, a radio-frequency identification (RFID) tag reader that electronically accounts for each item on which you place a small transmitting tag. Using two RFID antennas in the truck bed, when you press a button on the in-dash computer screen it does an electronic roll call, showing you if any of those valuable tools are missing."

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"

Remembering Bruce, the Mechanical Shark from Jaws

Gizmodo: "In honor of Summermodo and Shark Week, we wanted to run a piece on Bruce, the mechanical shark from Jaws. But then we realized that Time had beat us to the punch, way back in 1975. (cheaters)"

High Fidelity, With Stef Tovar as Record-Shop Owner, Makes Chicago Premiere

Playbill News: "The Route 66 Theatre Company launches the Chicago premiere of High Fidelity, the short-lived Broadway musical by Tony Award-winning Next to Normal composer Tom Kitt and lyricist Amanda Green, beginning Aug. 8."

Open Stage Theatre closing, will mull options

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "After 17 seasons, Open Stage Theatre will cease operations, at least temporarily.
'We intend to spend the next six months making strategic plans for the future of the organization,' longtime board member Susan Smerd said on Friday. 'We very much hope that Open Stage will be back.'"

Veteran Canadian actor comes to Pittsburgh for Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Threatre production of 'The History Boys'

Post Gazette: "'Just as the meter's about to run out, you get a part like Hector,' says Bernard Cuffling.
He's not as old as that sounds -- just 60-something. But the lead role in Alan Bennett's witty tragi-comedy, 'The History Boys,' energizes him. A native Englishman, then a Canadian for 35 years, he first played Hector last year at the Vancouver (Canada) Arts Club, and now he's making his U.S. debut, tackling Hector again for Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre."

Longevity key to success Off Broadway

Variety: "Who says Off Broadway is dead?
Commercial producers used to, certainly. And some still do, bemoaning the impossibility of making a buck there given Off Broadway's limitations of money, space and media profile.
But a recent string of offerings propelled by strong reviews and promising sales are working to prove that an extended stay on the scene isn't unattainable."

Broadway's the place for second acts

Variety: "When F. Scott Fitzgerald said, 'There are no second acts in American lives,' he must have been looking westward at his own failed career in Hollywood. Certainly, he couldn't have been glancing back over his shoulder at Broadway.
It can appear these days that the theater is nothing but second acts for creatives looking to jumpstart their careers."

Brookman makes inroads in Asia

Variety: "At just 31, Torben Brookman is already an industry vet.
The son of Sydney Theater Company g.m. Rob Brookman, he has been around the footlights since birth. His 20s were spent with Andrew Lloyd Webber's Really Useful Company forging touring routes through Asia, where he developed a network of contacts."

Friday, August 07, 2009

Interview | Jake DeGroot, Lighting Designer for CAROLINE IN JERSEY

Williamstown Theatre Festival Blog: "Sarah Slight: I really wanted to interview you because I feel like people, myself included, don’t know a ton about lighting design. It would be really interesting to hear you talk about the different ways you think about it. I imagine you think about realistic lighting but you also enhance theatrical moments. What is all the thought that goes into lighting design?

Jake DeGroot: Well, for me lighting is all about story-telling."

Thursday, August 06, 2009

AFTRA Confab Under Way

Backstage: "More than 240 delegates from the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists gathered Aug. 6 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Chicago for the their 62nd national convention. While the agenda for the three-day gathering is wide open, Roberta Reardon will likely be re-elected as the union's national president."

Building to Code Not Always Easy

Backstage: "Whether actors have just arrived in New York or are planning to move here soon, chances are they will come into contact with Actors' Equity Association's showcase code, which sets the parameters for a significant amount of work done in smaller theaters. In recent years, producers and other theater artists who regularly work under the code called for changes to be made, and in late May a few were instituted."

Theatre festival fatigue in New York

guardian.co.uk: "While I love my work as a drama critic and used to very much enjoy my days of frantic Fringe-ing, I have begun to view this late-summer ritual with something approaching dread. It's not the fault of the Fringe, but rather the fact that in recent years New York has come to suffer from a condition called festival glut. And it's an acute case. Not very long ago, Manhattan theatre used to take a summer holiday. A few shows demanded attention, such as the Public's Shakespeare in the Park, but, for the most part, a critic could have a holiday – some time to relax and indulge in other passions. Dagger-sharpening, say. Or making small children cry."

Now playing: Garth Drabinsky stars in The 7-year stretch

TheStar.com: "Ontario Superior Court Justice Mary Lou Benotto smacked down the hopes of defence counsel for soft conditional terms for the two defendants. Instead, the crimes at Livent Inc. and its predecessor company, MyGar, evolved, Benotto said, from an early kickback scheme to systemic accounting fraud, a fraud made cozy in a corporate culture of dishonesty presided over by the defendants."

First Wives Club the ultimate in crassness

Reuters: "Less than a year after the debut of Dolly Parton's '9 to 5: The Musical,' here's another pre-Broadway tuner based on a film comedy from yesteryear about fed-up women scheming to wreak revenge upon chauvinist-pig men."

London theatre booming despite recession

Reuters: "Record numbers are flocking to London's theatres as cash-strapped Britons follow the global trend of taking holidays at home during the recession."

Robodinos: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Wired: "Built for the stage show Walking With Dinosaurs: The Arena Spectacular—based on the similarly named 1999 BBC TV miniseries—the dinobots turned the production into a hit. Thanks to robotics work of Melbourne-based Creature Technology Company, the beasts pulled in $110 million in 600 shows across North America. Now the company has two new projects in the works: live adaptations of King Kong and next year's film How to Train Your Dragon."

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