CMU School of Drama

Sunday, January 31, 2010

CMU grad's dream comes true 'In the Heights'

Post Gazette: "A bottle of champagne welcomed Kyle Beltran to 'In the Heights' and the role originated by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the creator and star of the Tony-winning musical.
It happened onstage, and it wasn't a gift during the encore.
Mr. Beltran, a recent graduate of Carnegie Mellon, plays Usnavi in the company that comes to Pittsburgh Tuesday. The tour started in October in Tampa, and it was on the sec­ond night,"

HD grows in Brooklyn

Variety: "In the expanding world of live theatrical HD broadcasting, most of the business gets done not in some bustling hi-tech office space, but by a husband and wife in a Brooklyn brownstone with a stroller in the front hallway."

Tuners tubthump on TV

Variety: "It's expensive. It's labor-intensive. And it may or may not lead to a quantifiable box office benefit. But Broadway shows still push to get musical numbers featured on TV talkshows and other smallscreen outlets."

The arts teach about lives and times

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Most people who go out for entertainment don't want a lecture about it. But a significant minority is grateful for context and guidance, and knows that docents at museums and pre-concert talks can increase appreciation and enjoyment of artistry."

Review: 'Clockmaker' challenges audiences on multiple levels

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Stephen Massicotte is a playwright for whom the realities of time and place bend to do his bidding.
Both Massicotte's 'Mary's Wedding' that was done at City Theatre last season and 'The Clockmaker' that opened there Friday evening journey into an unexpected territory where time exists on multiple, simultaneous planes and is measured by a different clock."

Families chase their dreams 'In the Heights'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Eight times a week, Kyle Beltran returns to his old neighborhood of Washington Heights.
Beltran, a 2009 alumnus of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, plays Usnavi in the national touring production of 'In The Heights,' which begins performances Tuesday at the Benedum Center, Downtown."

American Conservatory Theater Offers 3 World Premieres "Like the thrill of settling into a plush seat as the curtain rises on a highly anticipated production, there’s the excitement over the announcement every March of the American Conservatory Theater’s coming season, with its promises of innovatively staged classic plays, bold new works by powerful writers and acclaimed productions imported from beyond the Bay Area."

Ethan Hawke Tackles Sam Shepard’s ‘Lie of the Mind’ "SAM SHEPARD already had “Buried Child,” “True West” and other plays about dysfunctional families to his credit in 1985, when he directed the premiere of his ensemble drama “A Lie of the Mind,” which depicts two families torn by violence and resentments. Starring Harvey Keitel, Geraldine Page, Amanda Plummer and Aidan Quinn, the production ran off Broadway for six months and won the Drama Desk Award for best play, among other honors."

On New, Spare Broadway, Less Scenery to Chew "You don’t hear many audible gasps these days when the curtain rises, or when scenery transforms to reveal a theatrical vision."

Autodesk Project Butterfly: Shifting from Desktop to Web

CAD Insider: "Autodesk is being very generous. They will let you use Project Butterfly, their very convenient online drawing review and collaboration tool, and all you have to provide is your name and email address. Project Butterfly lets you call up a DWG file without having AutoCAD on your computer. You can view it, mark it up, even share it with anyone who has an Internet connection, with each of you having the same view and markup ability (Autodesk is calling it 'co-editing'). Did I mention it was free? You don't have to buy anything -- or even download it. It's just..available."

Type-A-Plus Students Chafe at Grade Deflation

Post Gazette: "When Princeton University set out six years ago to corral galloping grade inflation by putting a lid on A's, many in academia lauded it for taking a stand on a national problem and predicted that others would follow."

A Big Bold Crack in the Glass Ceiling

Women & Hollywood: "This is a big, bold blast in the glass ceiling for all women directors.
Last night in the wee hours here on the east coast, Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman EVER to win the DGA top honors for feature filmmaking."

Cultural Olympiad: Audience controls the show in interactive gaming event, Best Before

Vancouver Sun: "The multi-player video game is a fairly recent phenomenon, allowing players to compete anywhere, anytime. If it doesn’t sound like fun to sit in your underwear at home, doing battle on the computer in Call of Duty 4 with thousands of people around the globe in what’s dubbed the “massively multiplayer online role-playing game,” then Best Before is a better bet for testing the concept."

Oysters - the Tudor version of cinema popcorn

Yahoo! News: "Elizabethan theater-goers chomped on an exotic array of foods while enjoying the latest plays of the day, new evidence found at the sites of Shakespearean playhouses in London suggests.
Archaeologists say choice Tudor snacks included oysters by the cartload, crab and other shellfish like mussels, whelks and periwinkles."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Pittsburgh Public Theater's 'Midsummer' blossoms as a midwinter pleasure

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "If you're a regular theatergoer, you're probably wondering whether you really need yet another production of 'A Midsummer Night's Dream.'
Possibly William Shakespeare's best known, most frequently produced comedy, it also has delighted or tormented legions of high school or college students since its creation circa 1595."

New iPhone App for Stage Managers "I just heard from Daniel Murfin, the Lighting iPhone app developer that brought us ShowTool LD, that he has just released a new iPhone app, ShowTool SM. If you are a Stage manager, you might be interested to hear about this one. The app includes a timer that you can time and label events during the course of a show. It also features a mark, Checklist and props section all right in the app."

Designing Punks

Steppenwolf Theatre Company Blog: "It’s almost 2am, and I find myself sitting on the floor of my apartment, surrounded by half-empty cans of spray paint, a roll or two of duct tape, a defaced Beatles t-shirt, what appears to be contents of at least three “junk drawers” and something that fell off of a streetlight that I’m using to create a makeshift leg brace for an expatriate of French Canada. When I wake up tomorrow, I will insert zippers in the side seams of a pair of blue jeans so that the actor can remove his paints without taking off his roller skates during a simultaneous costume-and-hair quick change that needs to clock in at five seconds or less."

In the next Room wins the Glickman Award!

Berkeley Rep Blog: "Congratulations to Sarah Ruhl! Her In the Next Room (or the vibrator play) has been selected as the winner of the annual Will Glickman Award, which is chosen by a panel of top Bay Area theatre critics and given to the author of the best play to have its world premiere in the Bay Area."

An Argument for Quitting Facebook

Study Hacks: "At the end of his first semester at Penn, a student whom I’ll call Daniel was disappointed to learn that his GPA was a lackluster 2.95. Following the Study Hacks orthodoxy that study habits should be based on evidence — not random decisions or peer pressure — Daniel asked himself a crucial question: What are the better students doing that I’m not?
When he surveyed his classmates, he noted something interesting: “the high-scoring kids weren’t on Facebook.”
Emboldened by this observation, Daniel decided to do the unthinkable: he deactivated his Facebook account.
His GPA jumped to an exceptional 3.95."

What is This 1950? Women Are Missing as TV Creators

Women & Hollywood: "It’s pilot time in Hollywood. The time of the year when all the networks look at the submitted scripts and decide which ones to take to pilot. Then after they see the pilots, the networks then decide which shows to put on the air next season. It is a cut throat and difficult process."

Top 10 Tips and Tools for Freelancers

Lifehacker: "Freelancing isn't something you should just jump into, but it makes sense for a good number of workers. If you're looking into, or getting started with, working on your own, here are 10 resources we think every freelancer can learn from."

Pasadena Playhouse Will Shut Down; Bankruptcy Eyed

Yahoo! News: "Pasadena Playhouse, the State Theatre of California, announced on Jan. 29 that it will shutter Feb. 7 after the run of Camelot. But the not-for-profit's leaders intend 'to explore viable options of financial reorganization, including bankruptcy.'"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Feeling Unsettled At a Feel-Good Show "“I KNOW there is nothing a white person can say to a black person about race which is not both incorrect and offensive,” James Spader’s hard-driving lawyer says in the new David Mamet play, “Race.” “I know that. Race is the most incendiary topic in our history. And the moment it comes out, you cannot close the lid on that box. That may change. But not for a long long while.”"

» 10 Cove Cutting Jigs, How To’s and Calculators Blog: "Does anyone cut coves on their table saws anymore? Something tells me it’s a dying art – Popular Mechanics from the 50’s and 60’s wrote about it several times but it’s dropped off since then in the woodworking and handyman mags."

My Dirty Little Task Management Secret

WebWorkerDaily: "Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I have a little problem with my task list.
I use Hiveminder for managing my tasks, and am pretty organized when in comes to creating tasks and getting them done. A big part of why I love Hiveminder and prefer it over other task management systems is because I make heavy use of prioritization…if you define “heavy use of prioritization” as someone who marks everything as urgent."

The Six C’s of Management Put to the Test

Behind the Scenes at Taylor Studios, Inc: "When a direct report doesn’t complete a task that has been assigned to them it can be frustrating. In my early years (I started my business when I was about 25) I would become very aggravated. I would think, “I told them to do this. I sign their paychecks. What’s the problem here?”"

Top German actors' vodka binge takes drunken satire too far "A performance at Frankfurt's prestigious Schauspielhaus theatre ended in chaos after four of Germany's top actors decided 'as an experiment' to substitute vodka for water during a performance of a play described in the programme notes as a 'crazy depiction of one of the most famous alcoholic benders in world literature'."

World celebrates Russia's "immortal" Chekhov at 150

Yahoo! News: "Literature lovers around the world on Friday held celebrations and paid tribute to Anton Chekhov on the 150th birthday of Russia's most universally acclaimed playwright.
Chekhov fans said the author famed for combining a raw emotional writing style with detailed studies of the human condition at the turn of the last century maintains his relevance more than 100 years after his death."

Thursday, January 28, 2010

In Lititz, Pa., a Haven for Rock ’n’ Roll Entrepreneurs "This small town in Pennsylvania Dutch country, in the midst of cornfields and dairy farms, would seem an unlikely home for a warehouse filled with the detritus of rock concerts past and future — a large section of the stage for the next Black Eyed Peas tour, the sets for an Elton John concert and gigantic lips from the Rolling Stones."

Band gets center stage, too, in PMT's 'Rent'

Post Gazette: "When those big voices are rocking out or belting power pop ballads in 'Rent,' the unsung heroes are right there onstage with them.
Instead of a pit orchestra, 'Rent' calls for a house band, which in the case of the Pittsburgh Musical Theater production, includes Paul Thompson, who started playing with PMT 18 years ago, at age 18."

Point Park University's dance program took the right steps

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Success can be measured many ways, but its aura is unmistakable.
Point Park University's dance program, part of its Conservatory of the Performing Arts, has achieved national renown for the quality of its graduates. They often return to Pittsburgh as part of touring ballet companies, such as Les Ballets de Monte Carlo and Hubbard Street Dance, as well as Broadway musical theater shows like the Rockettes."

'Lucretia' tells tale of legendary Roman figure

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Central to the improved quality of Pittsburgh Opera over the past decade has been expansion of the repertoire. Under Artistic Director (and now-General Director) Christopher Hahn, the company has made modern operas part of the mix."

City Theatre's 'Clockmaker' a perfect show for live theater

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "What director Tracy Brigden likes best about 'The Clockmaker' is that it's highly unlikely to be showing soon at a multiplex or even an art-house cinema near you."

Leap of Faith, Menken's Gospel-Filled Musical Comedy, Will Premiere in L.A. "Following a recent Manhattan workshop presentation of Leap of Faith, the new musical with songs by Alan Menken and Glenn Slater, Center Theatre Group is taking its own leap of faith: It will produce the world premiere this summer at the Ahmanson Theatre."

George Picks Up the Black Ball...

An Angry White Guy in Chicago: "Sunday was the day that the DCA Theater folks arranged to have The (edward) Hopper Project be ADA Compliant for one show. Specifically, they hired two sign language interpreters to sit onstage and translate the show for anyone deaf and a guy who describes the show via individual headset units for the blind."

CreHAITIve: Pittsburgh Creatives Mobilize for Haiti

Pittsburgh Art + Technology: "Representatives from Pittsburgh Ad Fed, PRSA Pittsburgh, Daniel Pipitone Design, IABC Pittsburgh, and AIGA Pittsburgh will host the CreHAITIve: Pgh Creatives Mobilized for Haiti Fundraising Event at Villa Southside on Thursday, February, 4, 2010 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. $5 donations will be collected at the door with all proceeds going to the America Red Cross Haiti Fund."

Proxxon Mini Saws

Cool Tools: "For my work building models and automata, I own two Proxxon miniature power tools, and they are both amazing. Not amazing for their size—just plain amazing."

It's Best To Practice

Popular Woodworking: "Talk is cheap. We always talk about how important it is to practice, but do we practice what we preach? Yes we do. Practice improves your woodworking abilities and provides a chance to see what the end product or component will look like as it takes shape."

A Sound/Show Control Guy's Take On the grandMA2

- John's Blog Main Page - : "After years of work by my CityTech colleagues Charles Scott and John Robinson, we recently got a brand new MA Lighting grandMA2 system at the school. We got two main consoles: a GrandMA2 Full Size, and a GrandMA2 Light; a VPU Video Processing Unit; and network DMX processors. I was lucky enough to sit in on the excellent training session, done by Jason Baeri of A.C.T. Lighting, and I'm going to give you a little perspective on the console from a sound/show control guy's perspective."

Point Park's Conservatory Theatre Company Premieres TIME AFTER TIME

BroadwayWorld: "Point Park University's Conservatory Theatre Company is premiering the new musical Time After Time at Point Park University's Pittsburgh Playhouse Feb. 26 through Feb. 28 and March 11 through March 14. A preview performance is open to the public on Thursday, Feb. 25. The musical is based on the novel of the same title by Karl Alexander; leading the way is a noteworthy team of artists including director Gabriel Barre, with book and lyrics by Stephen Cole and music by Jeffrey Saver."

Great Weekend Brings Shepard’s ‘Moon,’ Titanic, Brandy Library "In Sam Shepard’s “Ages of the Moon,” the owner of a rundown Appalachian mountain home, Ames (Stephen Rea), shares the porch, a lot of bourbon and a love of Roger Miller songs with his buddy Byron (Sean McGinley)."

New theater work is inspired by Internet chat groups for the suicidal "If you Google the phrase 'suicide group,' naturally you'll come up with page after page of support groups and hotlines. But somewhere in those pages, deep in the recesses of the Internet, are the people whose version of help is a little bit different."

'Minding the Store' at Equity

Backstage: "Mark Zimmerman and John Connolly spent the last few years carrying on the work of their late friend Patrick Quinn. When Quinn stepped down as president of Actors' Equity Association in 2006 to become executive director of the union, Zimmerman, then Equity's 1st vice president, stepped into the vacated position. After Quinn died of a heart attack that year before he could assume his new role, Zimmerman helped recruit Connolly, a former president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, to take the directorship. Quinn, Zimmerman, and Connolly had been close, going back to their days as young actors on the Philadelphia stage. For a grieving organization, it felt appropriate to place Quinn's legacy in the hands of his trusted friends."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Fellowship Program

Berkeley Repertory Theatre: "Berkeley Rep provides a year-long fellowship program for serious-minded, highly motivated individuals who are ready to embark upon a professional theatre career. Fellows are directly exposed to the Theatre’s daily operations and given the opportunity to provide support for the award-winning company’s ambitious and innovative body of work. They learn alongside an accomplished company of artists, administrators, guest directors and designers. Click here to see a few of the artists and theatre professionals with whom past fellows have worked."

Film scripts face test at CMU

Post Gazette: "Hollywood A-listers are coming to Carnegie Mellon University for a panel discussion at 9:30 a.m. Jan. 30 called 'Scripted Readings: Does the Story Work?'"

CMU grad's film to screen at Sundance

Post Gazette: "'Armless,' a feature film directed by Carnegie Mellon University graduate Habib Azar and starring Pittsburgh native Daniel London, will play at the Sundance Film Festival."

Carnegie Mellon University's Stephen Schwartz, 7 others join Theater Hall of Fame

Post Gazette: "There I sat Monday night, with Rosemary Harris on one side of me and Vanessa Redgrave on the other, in some sort of theatrical heaven."

Kennedy Center tops noms

Variety: "The Kennedy Center's 2009 season of plays and musicals was a hit with judges for D.C.'s Helen Hayes Awards, garnering 20 nominations for the annual prizes to be presented April 5. Org's tally of noms was the highest for any single theater."

Joe Walsh (famous guitarist) teaches Joe Walsh (Republican candidate) about copyright law

The Hollywood Reporter | Esq. | Entertainment and Media Law: "Another musician is claiming that a political candidate is tone deaf to the nation's intellectual property laws. And this one has an amusing twist."

Walter Mosley Takes On St. Peter in His First Play "The author Walter Mosley specializes in his own kind of flawed Everyman: easy to underestimate, easy to overlook, like the title character from his allegorical 2008 novel, “The Tempest Tales.” But a new spotlight will fall on Tempest Landry and the other characters from the book as they wrestle with big questions about perceptions of good and evil in Mr. Mosley’s first play, “The Fall of Heaven,” which opens on Thursday at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park."

ENORMOUS DOLL HEADS that you can WEAR! With fluttery eyelids!! Cool!

Craftster: "I almost forgot to explain that we made these for a hair show. The hair/wigs was done by a hairdresser. We made the heads. The wigs are AMAZING. There were 6 heads made in total, each had it's own style."

Pittsburgh college grads provide a financial leg up for “Armless" "When director Habib Azar was looking for investors for his indie black comedy “Armless,” he knew it would be a tough sell convincing anyone to finance a film about a man who secretly wants to have his arms chopped off.
So, Azar turned to people he knew as his financiers: 18 former classmates at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh."

Wednesday Link-i-mage

Props: "This week, we have a visual link-o-rama, focusing on sites with vintage advertisements, posters, and other ephemera. Sometimes, you need to find historically accurate ads for props, other times, you can use them as research sources for your period."

Building Sound

Scenography – The Theatre Design Website: "Ella Finer and Fabrizio Manco present ‘Building Sound’, an on-going research experiment in ways to describe and articulate experiences of sound making and reception within theatre, theory and practice."

Tech Director & Associate Production Manager - Astoria Performing Arts Center

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "The Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC), Astoria's premier professional theatre. For more information about APAC please visit"

Asst. SM, Assoc. Set/ Props Designer, Casting Intern - Astoria Performing Arts Center

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "The Astoria Performing Arts Center (APAC), Astoria's premier professional theatre. For more information about APAC please visit"

An Extraordinarily Composed Score

Steppenwolf Theatre Company Blog: "Working on these plays is one of the most artistically fulfilling projects I have been fortunate enough to be a part of. My imagination gets to play on an exquisitely equipped playground. These plays require such immense creativity, and equally important, extraordinary precision, specificity, and pace. So yeah, they are very, very hard. But when a moment clicks into gear, when it pops, and you can taste the potential of all the other moments, it is thrilling. There is magic in these plays, and of course it may not always be clear at first, but the answers really do dwell in the words, in the Awe Full score that is The Brother/Sister Plays."

Arden Forest Blooms in Sam Mendes ‘As You Like It’ "The British and American collaborative Bridge Project is back at the Brooklyn Academy of Music with “As You Like It.” Cleverly directed by Sam Mendes, it does very nicely without absolute stars, although Stephen Dillane, Juliet Rylance and Thomas Sadoski bring considerable reputations to an elegant production."

Toronto's Romeo and Juliet is just too racy for Nashville "When Shakespeare wrote in Hamlet 'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so,' he must have had the city of Nashville in mind."

How Arthur Miller Found His 'A View From the Bridge' "When it premiered at Broadway's Coronet Theatre in 1955, Arthur Miller's 'A View From the Bridge' dramatized the family tenement life and the slang of thousands of Brooklyn-Italian longshoremen—dockworkers like the play's tragic hero, Eddie Carbone. The play being revived at the Cort Theater this week, with Scarlett Johansson as Eddie's 17-year-old niece, reaches back to what is now a distant world, where New York longshoremen carrying hooks still unpacked incoming cargoes at hundreds of piers around the port. Eddie's Red Hook neighborhood was then, the play's narrator explains, 'the slum that faces the bay' and 'the gullet of New York swallowing the tonnage of the world.'"

Announcing the Richard Christiansen Theater at the Victory Gardens Biograph

The Theater Loop: "The new studio space inside the historic Victory Gardens Biograph Theater is soon to get an even newer name: The Richard Christiansen Theater."

AFTRA Delays Joint-Bargaining Decision

Backstage: "The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists may be moving closer to a return to joint bargaining with the Screen Actors Guild, but not as quickly as some had expected."

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On the London Stage - A Defining Play for New York in the 90s Gets a London Revival "“How do we keep the experience?” asks the Manhattan sophisticate Ouisa Kittredge near the end of John Guare’s “Six Degrees of Separation,” posing a question that has a particular resonance for those of us who love the theater. It’s in the very nature of the live arts that our purchase on them is forever slipping away. That’s why a truly great night at the theater or ballet or whatever is at once exhilarating and gently sad, as well. Go back to see it again, and the event may have substantially altered. Or, more likely, it has simply passed on."

How Much is Intellectual Property Worth?

An Angry White Guy in Chicago: "Last week, within the melee of press coming out for WNEP's most recent offering, I decided to post the reviews on this blog. Part because - hey, that's what you do - and part, knowing that we were going to get a LOT of review press coming out, as an experiment in looking into the practice and pragmatism involved in theatrical criticism."

Autodesk Alias Sketch for AutoCAD Technology Preview Download Available Now

Between the Lines: "Get your stylus pens fired up and ready to freehand sketch in AutoCAD! As I mentioned awhile back “Glimpse at Alias Sketch for AutoCAD 2010” a new product was coming. Alias Sketch for AutoCAD is a marriage of the awesome Autodesk SketchBook technology and AutoCAD products. This is an AutoCAD add-on application for sketching and image editing for experimentation with creative concepts all without exiting AutoCAD."

Tech Positions - Ash Lawn Opera Festival

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "The Ash Lawn Opera Festival located in Charlottesville, Virginia. The Festival is recognized by Money Magazine as one of the international top-20 warm weather summer opera companies."

The Steeltown Film Factory Presents:”Scripted Readings: Does the Story Work?”

Pittsburgh Art + Technology: "On Saturday, January 30, 2010, FILM FACTORY will hold its second event of the season with a public event entitled “Scripted Readings: Does the Story Work?” The ten semi-finalists will have their screenplays read publicly by the Acting Students of Carnegie Mellon University’s prestigious School of Drama"

Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger approved: What's in it for you? "Almost a year after Ticketmaster and Live Nation announced their intention to combine into one massive megacorporation, setting off a thorough anti-trust investigation, the U.S. Department of Justice has approved the merger. As of yesterday afternoon, the way is clear for the two concert-industry giants to become one, under the name Live Nation Entertainment. Ticketmaster currently sells tickets and manages artists, while Live Nation books tours and owns venues, among other things. So what does their merger mean for you, the everyday ticket-buying consumer?"

Shakespeare goes digital

The Guardian: "In an ordinary room off a beige corridor in a dull 1930s Oxford building, four priceless early editions of Hamlet lie thrillingly open on a large round table that once belonged to John Ruskin.
It's hugely tempting to touch, but this is a situation where discretion is the better part of valour."

What were Macbeth and his wife Gruoch really like? Living: "Scottish historian, writer and broadcaster Fiona Watson sighs wearily as we discuss the Macbeths' dark, demonic reputation. Thanks to William Shakespeare, she acknowledges, there are few places in the world where the name Macbeth is unknown, and few societies untouched at some point in their histories by the kind of reign of terror over which he supposedly presided."

The play's the thing on London's small stages

Yahoo! News: "If you're scouring London for impressive theater to suit a budget reduced by the recession, chances are it's just around the corner.
Emerging theatrical talent and some internationally recognized names are treading the boards at scores of tiny, independent theatres in pubs, under railway arches and in old warehouses across the British capital."

Joint Bargaining Still on SAG/AFTRA Table

Backstage: "SAG and AFTRA may yet again sing from the same negotiating hymnal, but there was nothing like full harmony even among members of an AFTRA committee discussing the issue Sunday."

LADCC Reveals Theater-Award Nominees

Backstage: "The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle, which consists of L.A.-area theater journalists in various media, has announced nominees and special awards for its 41st annual awards ceremony, to be held March 22 at Burbank’s Colony Theatre."

Dancers With Oscar Dreams Audition for Big Show

Backstage: "Lined up in sweats and leotards, hundreds of sinewy dancers wait with paper numbers pinned to their chests and a singular hope within. Under gray, rainy skies, in dance shoes and bare feet, they've come to an open audition at a place called Center Staging with one dream: dancing on the Academy Awards."

Monday, January 25, 2010

NFTRW Weekly Top 5

Here are the top five comment generating posts of the past week:


Props: "In most venues by now, real cigarette smoking is viewed as the next plague. The fear is that lighting a single cigarette for a few seconds in a large, well-ventilated theater, is worse than the constant outpouring of pollution from 250 million cars, 600 coal power plants, and every other industrial process. But I digress."
<-- Comments Here

For Lady Gaga, Every Concert Is a Drama "In her stunningly gruesome extravaganza at Radio City Music Hall, Lady Gaga scowls more than she smiles, muses about dying and appears on vast video screens vomiting, being slapped and generally being abused. “Fame is killing me,” she says. Death becomes her."
<-- Comments Here

Stage Review: A witty, contemporary 'Mikado' at CMU

Post Gazette: "It isn't usual for me to get to shows by the CMU Music School (as opposed to Drama), but the current 'Mikado' offered three powerful attractions: it's Gilbert and Sullivan, and I'm an addict; it's directed by Gregory Lehane, an inventive director of comedy (disclosure: we work together on the annual 'Off the Record' spoofs); and it's designed by Peter Cooke, the new head of CMU drama, in what I'm pretty sure is his creative debut here."
<-- Comments Here

No snow at Olympic site leaves VANOC scrambling

CBC News: "'We are planning that we will not have snow,' said Cathy Priestner Allinger, executive vice-president of sport and Games operations for VANOC.
Contingency plans are now being rolled out. They include using straw and wood in place of snow to build up the courses. Snow will then be brought in to layer over the straw and wood to build the course."
<-- Comments Here

In Colorado, lobbying to keep smoking onstage "Actors can't smoke - even tobacco-free cigarettes - during a play, no matter how crucial smoking is to the script, the state's high court rules. Two theater groups will continue to battle the ban."
<-- Comments Here

Cooke Designs

Carnegie Mellon University: "Peter Cooke, head of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama, is a renowned scenograpgher, a theater professional who not only designs the set of a theatrical production but also designs the costumes. Cooke recently used his distinguished expertise to design the costumes and the set for 'The Mikado,' an opera set in an imaginary Japanese society."
<-- Comments Here

Most stagings of Shakespeare don't go far enough "When a high-profile Shakespeare production gets inventive with the Bard, critics sometimes grumble. But occasionally the shock approach can help us appreciate how radical the playwright really was"
<-- Comments Here

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stage Review: A witty, contemporary 'Mikado' at CMU

Post Gazette: "It isn't usual for me to get to shows by the CMU Music School (as opposed to Drama), but the current 'Mikado' offered three powerful attractions: it's Gilbert and Sullivan, and I'm an addict; it's directed by Gregory Lehane, an inventive director of comedy (disclosure: we work together on the annual 'Off the Record' spoofs); and it's designed by Peter Cooke, the new head of CMU drama, in what I'm pretty sure is his creative debut here."

Serendipity casts its spell in Pittsburgh Public Theater's 'Midsummer Night's Dream' - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When Ted Pappas sets out to create a new production, a calendar and his Rolodex of contacts are two of his most valuable tools.
Artistic ability and a vision of what you're hoping to achieve is important, says Pappas, producing artistic director of the Pittsburgh Public Theater. But they're no substitute for having the right artists at the right time."

Pared-down shows fare well

Variety: "While the fully recouped 'Hair' and 'West Side Story' hum along on Broadway, full-scale musical revivals took a blow this month when 'Finian's Rainbow' and 'Ragtime' closed abruptly, losing their entire capitalization after short runs. The radically pared-down 'A Little Night Music,' on the other hand, performs at 100% capacity thanks in large part to Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, a starry combo that has made some auds forget, or simply not care, that there are only eight musicians in the pit. Waiting in the Broadway wings is an equally reduced 'La Cage aux Folles,' set to open in April, with Kelsey Grammer's marquee power justifying the $137 ducat for a Cagelle chorus of six and a band of eight."

Dennehy’s Vivid Performances Fit Chicago Stage "When Brian Dennehy steps onto the stage at the Goodman Theatre and launches into his bravura portrayal of Erie Smith, the washed-up hustler at the heart of Eugene O’Neill’s “Hughie,” you sense that you are watching a man who is very much at home." Offers Pay-Per-View Theater and Dance "Ms. Lee’s play is one of seven theater and dance works to be made available through, the first online, pay-per-view series dedicated to presenting progressive contemporary performances from around the world. “The Shipment” was recorded by four HD cameras and a sound technician during its run in October at On the Boards and edited, with her input, under the direction of Matt Daniels of Thinklab, a Seattle production company."

Melvin Van Peebles Stages ‘Sweet Sweetback’ "“I didn’t even know I had a legacy,” he said between rehearsals for his latest project, a musical-theater adaptation of his 1971 film “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song.” “I do what I want to do.”"

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Bandit Lites Strives for 80% Green by December 2011 "Here is an interesting story from Bandit Lites in Nashville. With the huge kick to “Go Green”, Bandit Lites has taken it one step further. While most companies are working on ways to develop and manufacturer low energy usage lighting fixtures, Bandit Lites is re-thinking their entire operation, starting with the logo."

The Building Stage Presents THE RING CYCLE, Opens 2/13 2010/01/23

BroadwayWorld: "The Building Stage, a Chicago theater company noted for its unique retellings and adaptations of various media to the stage announces their newest and largest endeavor to date: The Ring Cycle. The Ring Cycle is a non-operatic theatrical re-imagining of the famous Richard Wagner opera cycle, The Ring of the Nibelung. This epic project opens in previews January 30, 2010 and will synthesize 16 hours of opera into a six-hour theater piece co-directed by The Building Stage Artistic Director Blake Montgomery and Associate Artistic Director Joanie Schultz."

A Look Behind the Scenes of Presidential Advance

The White House: "Ever wonder how much effort goes into planning a President’s trip to, well, anywhere? So did we. Fortunately, the White House Presidential Advance team allowed us to invade their world for a couple weeks as they made arrangements for President Obama’s trip to Ohio later today."

Bruce Hornsby Musical Will Premiere in Virginia in January 2011

Yahoo! News: "Virginia Stage Company in Norfolk, VA, will offer two world premieres in its 2010-11 season, including Bruce Hornsby's musical, SCKBSTD, a show known in its development as Sick Bastard.
The production will be part of VSC's American Soil Project, the company's new-play development project 'that explores the cultural fabric of southeastern Virginia.'"

For Lady Gaga, Every Concert Is a Drama "In her stunningly gruesome extravaganza at Radio City Music Hall, Lady Gaga scowls more than she smiles, muses about dying and appears on vast video screens vomiting, being slapped and generally being abused. “Fame is killing me,” she says. Death becomes her."

2 PA's and 1 Spark needed

Criagslist: "Need 2 PA's and 1 Electric for Tuesday 26th shoot"

Friday, January 22, 2010

Showcase draws children's theater presenters to Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "At first glance, the audience awaiting the start of 'Mr. Freezy' seems a bit tall -- and old.
Inventive, funny and delightfully messy, 'Mr. Freezy' uses food, utensils, packaging and equipment that would be found in an ice cream truck to create an imaginative epic aimed at theatergoers ranging in age from 5 to 12.
But on Thursday morning, the audience that Arena Theatre Company from North Melbourne, Australia, hoped to entertain was almost universally adults."

Settlement reached in TV discrimination cases

Hollywood Reporter: "Seventeen TV networks and studios and seven talent agencies have reached a $70 million settlement of 19 legal cases that alleged age discrimination against TV writers over the age of 40."

The Steppenwolf Apprentice Experience

Steppenwolf Theatre Company Blog: "I moved to Chicago this past August to begin my yearlong apprenticeship at Steppenwolf Theatre Company. I am halfway through my apprenticeship and I’ve got a few numbers for you."

There is Art in Everything!

Behind the Scenes at Taylor Studios, Inc ©: "This saying is a bit of a running joke around Taylor Studios’ office. I like to remind my number crunchers that even the game of business is art. There is art in predicting where the market is going to move, what our clients are going to love, how many staff members we are going to need in six months, how many projects are going to be delayed, and on and on."

Textile Artisan - January, 2010

American Theatre Wing: "Textile Artisan Gene Mignola works closely with costume designers, taking patterns and creating fabric that ultimately conveys their vision. He explains how printing fabric has evolved over the years from designs done by hand on paper to computer-aided drawings, and from using single-color silkscreens to digital printers. He also talks about how his interest in fabrics began in childhood, the foundation for his work experience, and why he loves his job."


Props: "In most venues by now, real cigarette smoking is viewed as the next plague. The fear is that lighting a single cigarette for a few seconds in a large, well-ventilated theater, is worse than the constant outpouring of pollution from 250 million cars, 600 coal power plants, and every other industrial process. But I digress."

Most stagings of Shakespeare don't go far enough "When a high-profile Shakespeare production gets inventive with the Bard, critics sometimes grumble. But occasionally the shock approach can help us appreciate how radical the playwright really was"

Performers Announced for 'Broadway Backwards'

Backstage: "Hosted by Florence Henderson, the event features performers singing familiar Broadway tunes written for the opposite gender but with all the lyrics, including the pronouns, unchanged. The show will be directed and choreographed by creator Robert Barley, with musical direction by Wayne Barker."

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Audience gets clued in early and often in city theatre's performance of "The Clockmaker"

Post Gazette: "Time is of the essence in 'The Clockmaker,' playwright Stephen Massicote's fast-paced play in which wit and wordplay, situation and setting, imagery and memory build to conclusions about ... well, all in good time.
Massicote, whose 'Mary's Wedding' was a highlight of City Theatre's season last year, kicks off 2010 for City with the U.S. premiere of 'The Clockmaker,' which won Canada's Betty Mitchell Award for best new play of 2009."

Public Theater takes the production up a notch for "A Midsummer Night's Dream"

Post Gazette: "'I have had a dream past the wit of man to say what dream it was. Man is but an ass if he go about to expound this dream.'
Few have followed the advice of Bottom the weaver about 'A Midsummer Night's Dream,' the expansive Shakespeare comedy about love and magic in which he plays such a marvelous role."

With 'Pigeon Party,' popular stories take wing

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "A mischievous pigeon from a series of children's books will be acting out his shenanigans on several Pittsburgh-area stages for the next two weeks.
In 'Pigeon Party!' -- the latest production of the Pittsburgh International Children's Theater -- the pigeon from author Mo Willems' award-winning series will demonstrate onstage the comical adventures from three books -- 'Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!', 'The Pigeon Finds a Hot Dog!' and 'Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!' The British-based Big Wooden Horse Theatre Company produces the show."

'Room Service' fresh look at old comedy

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When Rich Keitel agreed to direct 'Room Service,' he became a ghostbuster.
When many older movie fans hear the title 'Room Service,' it calls up images from the classic 1938 Marx Brothers film.
That madcap comedy finds Harpo, Groucho and Chico Marx playing desperate theater professionals who have run out of money and are trying to avoid eviction from their Broadway hotel room while they try find a backer for their show."

Dancer CAT-apults to Broadway tour

Post Gazette: "When Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'Cats' opens at the Benedum Center next week, on stage will be a cat called Cassandra, an extrasensory Abyssinian who hails from Egypt.
In real life, Cassandra is neither a cat nor from Egypt. She's Schenley High School graduate and former Murrysville resident Stephanie Campbell, 25."

No snow at Olympic site leaves VANOC scrambling

CBC News: "'We are planning that we will not have snow,' said Cathy Priestner Allinger, executive vice-president of sport and Games operations for VANOC.
Contingency plans are now being rolled out. They include using straw and wood in place of snow to build up the courses. Snow will then be brought in to layer over the straw and wood to build the course."

NEA Offers $250,000 Grants for U.S. Cities That Enhance Arts "The National Endowment for the Arts said it will grant as much as $250,000 apiece for urban design projects that promote the arts."

The prayers of Peter Brook

The Guardian: "Peter Brook looks straight through you. As he holds out his hand to greet you, you can almost feel the ­actors whose hopes ­foundered as his pale blue eyes took the temperature of their souls. To see the great man, you must cross the stage of the former Paris ­musical hall Brook calls his mosque, and climb up a narrow, twisting ­staircase to a kind of platform where the most influential theatre director of the past 60 years spends his days, perched like a Himalayan holy man, a futon in the corner, above the railway lines of the Gare du Nord, scene of some of the most baleful comings and goings of the last century, from the trenches to the camps."

Tyler Perry kids around with fans during 'Madea' play

Los Angeles Times: "Attending a Tyler Perry play is unlike any experience in mainstream theater. The actor-writer-director has an established fan base and seems to thrive on audience connection. If this means frequently breaking character, then so be it."

A Ghostly Awakening: Duncan Sheik's 'Whisper House'

Yahoo! News: "'It's set in and around an isolated lighthouse in Maine during World War II,' Duncan Sheik says. 'There's a young boy named Christopher whose father was shot down over the Pacific by the Japanese. His distraught mother has been taken to a sanitarium, and he has been sent to live with his Aunt Lily, who is not so great with children, to use a bit of [an] understatement.'"

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

'Cinderella' actors enjoy time as royalty

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "If Brittney Basenback and Lindsey Ferguson -- both of Latrobe -- are feeling a bit regal lately, it's only because they are sharing the lead role of the mistreated stepdaughter-turned-princess in the Stage Right Family and Youth Theatre Series production of 'Disney's Cinderella.'"

Blackburn finalists named

Variety: "Annie Baker, Young Jean Lee, Lucy Prebble and Melissa James Gibson are among the female scribes tapped as finalists for the 2010 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, awarded every year to an English-language play written by a distaff playwright."

TBL This Is Broadway - Dennis Rosa

American Theatre Wing: "Director Dennis Rosa talks about the unique look of Dracula by set designer/illustrator Edward Gorey."

24 Free iPhone Apps for Job Hunting

Web Worker Daily: "If you’re looking for a new job, I’ve rounded up some useful iPhone apps that can help you with your search and preparation for interviews. Here are 24 free apps to get your job hunt moving in the right direction."

The muscle behind the magic

The United States Army: "An army of children and adults fill the stage inside of Heidelberg’s Roadside Theater, belting out song lyrics, and rehearsing lines of dialogue.
In the far corner of the theater sits Sandy Everett and her team of volunteers. The group is studying a stack of papers, “blueprints,” containing notes on the 16 set changes needed to pull off their latest production, the musical “Oliver.”"

An Epic 22-Minute Behind-the-Scenes of Avatar

Gizmodo: "We've all heard allusions to Cameron's massive sets, motion cap system and 3D/virtual cameras used to create Avatar, but this 22-minute clip actually shows us these techniques."

NY Proposes $420 mil For Film, TV Tax Credits

Backstage: "New York Governor David Paterson on Tuesday proposed $420 million per year in state money for the continuation of tax credits for film and TV productions in the Empire State through 2014."

Incentives Keeping $710 Mil in California

Backstage: "About $710 million in movie and TV production spending will remain in California this fiscal year because of production incentives passed a year ago, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger boasted Tuesday."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

LINES Ballet produces thoughtful program

Post Gazette: "In the five years since Alonzo King's LINES Ballet last appeared in Pittsburgh, the San Francisco-based group has celebrated its 25th birthday and the prolific King now finds himself in great demand at top ballet companies around the world. His style, which stretches ballet to new limits, has taken on a global range and his dancers have achieved a comfort level in the abundant terpsichorean playground that he has created for them."

Daring dancers ready for Olympiad

Post Gazette: "The Canadian city staging the Olympics will first host New York visitors performing a special feat: death-defying dance.
'It's a mixture of slam dancing, exquisite and amazing human flight, and wild action sport,' says Elizabeth Streb, the daredevil founder of the Brooklyn-based STREB Extreme Action Company. 'We feel we're close to the achievements of the Olympics.'"

PCHE Statement

Carnegie Mellon University: "Carnegie Mellon President Jared Cohon and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary President William Carl recently presented a statement on behalf of the Pittsburgh Council on Higher Education opposing proposed Pennsylvania state legislation to place an essential services fee on property owned by nonprofit institutions and taxes on future land purchases."

Cooke Designs

Carnegie Mellon University: "Peter Cooke, head of Carnegie Mellon’s School of Drama, is a renowned scenograpgher, a theater professional who not only designs the set of a theatrical production but also designs the costumes. Cooke recently used his distinguished expertise to design the costumes and the set for 'The Mikado,' an opera set in an imaginary Japanese society."

Auden, Britten and Rothko in ‘The Habit of Art’ and ‘Red’ "Straight lines have never been part of the geometry of Alan Bennett, a writer known for his endearingly corkscrew approach to matters erudite. But with his “Habit of Art,” an amiable dodge of a play that imagines a late-life meeting between the poet W. H. Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten, he never seems to stop circling his subject. And you start to wonder if it’s because he’s afraid of not getting it right."

Theatre fire codes must be heeded, but good luck finding them

Backstage at | Life behind the scenes…: "A user’s e-mail lead me to this discovery. This person had discovered that the theatre they were working in had no fire extinguishers. This would seem odd to pretty much any theatre person in the US, if not the world. The reasoning given by building management was that because the sprinkler system could be manually activated through pull bars, they were not required to keep portable fire extinguishers."

Emily Mann - January, 2010

American Theatre Wing: "As she celebrates her 20th season as artistic director of Princeton's McCarter Theatre, Emily Mann recalls the factors she considered when taking on the job; counsel she received at the time from directors Peter Hall and Mark Lamos; how she has evolved the McCarter audience in the direction of the work that most appeals to her; and her unique role as artistic director, director and playwright"

Academy Award for virtual lighting tech developers

Boing Boing: "Light Stage is a special effects system for films that records how people and objects look when lit from every possible direction. That way, virtual versions of actors can be accurately 'lit' to perfectly match the background set."

Google Wave Versus the Rest, Feature by Feature

Lifehacker: "We got a great response to last week's frequently asked questions about Google Wave, and decided it's worth expanding further on the differences between Wave and the current crop of web-based collaboration offerings."

Quick Takes: If You Liked 'High School Musical,' You'll Love Yale

Inside Higher Ed: "While Yale University does not lack for applicants, it is trying something new on the admissions recruitment front this year and has just unveiled on YouTube a video called 'That's Why I Chose Yale.' The video opens with what looks like a standard admissions briefing for would-be applicants and family members, but about one minute in, following a student's question, the admissions rep breaks into song"

SketchUp Collection and the Official SketchUp Blog

Popular Woodworking: "I've always felt a bit guilty about our collection of SketchUp models on Google's 3D Warehouse. It is such a great resource for our readers (and us) that it doesn't seem possible that it's free. This resource is available to anyone with a web browser, we don't have to pay for it and you don't have to pay for it."

Obama, Michelle Sing Duet, Chorus Chants ‘Yes We Can’ "On Sunday evening I sat thumping my chair in a suburb of Frankfurt, accompanying Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton singing “Yes We Can,” and thinking No I Can’t stand any more of this."

In Colorado, lobbying to keep smoking onstage "Actors can't smoke - even tobacco-free cigarettes - during a play, no matter how crucial smoking is to the script, the state's high court rules. Two theater groups will continue to battle the ban."

Lazaridis family gives $5M to Stratford

CBC News: "RIM co-founder Mike Lazaridis and his wife, Ophelia, have pledged $5 million to the Stratford Shakespeare Festival, the theatre festival announced Monday."

Sunday, January 17, 2010

New technology need not kill live theater

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Deny it if you choose.
Condemn or celebrate it according to your preferences.
The fact remains.
As we enter the second decade of the 21st century, technology is changing live theater, how we view it and even how we define it."

Broadway checks out 'View'

Variety: "If there's a formula for producing a Broadway play that makes it into the black, 'A View From the Bridge' seems to be adhering to it.
Take a well-known title, add a buzz-drawing celeb name with about a dozen weeks to commit to a show's run and make some quick coin from a limited engagement. Recent proofs of the theorem include Jude Law + 'Hamlet,' Katie Holmes + 'All My Sons' and Angela Lansbury + 'Blithe Spirit.'"

Broadway Awaits Arrival of Delayed 'Spider-Man'

Backstage: "The drawing of a familiar superhero stares out from the double doors of the dark Hilton Theatre on 42nd Street, just west of Times Square.
The red-and-blue-clad figure looks trapped inside the building, unable to get out, an apt metaphor perhaps for the show he is trumpeting: 'Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark,' a $50 million — and counting — Broadway musical celebrating the exploits of America's most famous web slinger."

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Broadway League Donates $100,000 to Haitian Earthquake Relief; BC/EFA and Others Also Give "Once again, Broadway proves that it cares. In response to the devastating earthquake in Haiti on Jan. 12, The Broadway League will donate $100,000 to the Haitian relief efforts on behalf of the Broadway community."

Theatergoers Chase All the Works of Shakespeare and Others "Theatergoers had various reasons to attend the recent opening night of “The Two Noble Kinsmen” by a small New York company called the Guerrilla Shakespeare Project. Some were lured by the play’s tale of two Theban soldiers. Others were friends of the cast or crew, or were there for the free Trader Joe’s sauvignon blanc."

For Melanie Joseph’s Foundry Company, the City Is the Stage "THE restaurant Veselka, in the East Village, has featured Ukrainian borscht on its menu, individual banana cream pies on its daily specials board, and, in 2008, at the fourth table from the entrance, “Etiquette,” a performance piece in which the ticket holders were also the actors. Presented by the Foundry Theater and its artistic producer, Melanie Joseph, the work called for two people at a time to play the parts of a young woman and an elderly philosopher, with the dialogue fed to them through headphones."

‘South Pacific’ and ‘Rock of Ages’ - Sublime and the Silly "REMEMBER double features? I barely do. They had mostly gone the way of VistaVision and drive-ins by the time I became a movie-mad youth. On a few occasions I created my own, sneaking in to see “Grease” one more time after paying for another movie. (Apologies, AMC Theaters; the check’s in the mail.) Luxuriating in a two-movie afternoon was the closest thing to decadence a 13-year-old can achieve. Or at least should."

10 Reasons Why Your Last Collaboration Did Not Work

FreelanceSwitch: "Whether you are fresh out of design school or a professional with twenty years of experience you have collaborated. And if you are anything like me, half of those endeavors failed miserably. The good ones produce the best work of your career, and the bad ones…oh, the bad ones. The bad ones make you age horribly, keep you up at night, and question your profession. Successful collaborations force us to learn from one another they make designers grow, and they test their limits. Collaborations are what being a designer is all about."

The amazing Athol Fugard

Berkeley Rep Blog: "Tonight, on the Thrust Stage, Athol Fugard's Coming Home begins previews (opening night is Wednesday, January 20). This incredibly moving play, directed by Gordon Edelstein, addresses the complexities of contemporary post-apartheid South Africa in a deeply personal way."

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"

FCC gives the official finger to theatres and live entertainment

Backstage at | Life behind the scenes…: "The Federal Communications Commission has ordered all users of wireless microphones to find new broadcast frequencies by June 12th, 2010. Friday’s order came after years of legal wrangling over the 700 megahertz band by Broadway (the only entertainment grouping that could afford to challenge it) and cellular phone and internet providers."

‘Legally Blonde’ Mixes Perky Tunes, Gaping Holes: London Stage "The heroine’s costumes are so brightly pink in London’s latest musical “Legally Blonde” that they should carry a retina-specific health warning. The terrific dazzle almost blinds one to the holes in the plot."

Kennedy Center, Clooney, Madonna Lead Arts Response to Haiti "Mobilizing for Haitian earthquake relief, the U.S. arts and entertainment communities scheduled two major fundraisers for next Friday."

Stars and Songwriters Will Celebrate Sondheim at Roundabout Spring Gala 'Sondheim 80'

Yahoo! News: "Bernadette Peters, Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams, Rita Moreno, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Duncan Sheik, Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey are among the artists who will pay tribute to composer-lyricist Stephen Sondheim at Roundabout Theatre Company's benefit Sondheim 80 on March 22."

Friday, January 15, 2010

Actor Bill Pullman still remembers the feeling of being young actor

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Bill Pullman as an 18-year-old auditioning for a college play and Bill Pullman as a 50-year-old auditioning for a Broadway play aren't really all that different.
At 18, Pullman was a college student auditioning for his first role, then taking the long walk down the theater department hallway to find out if he got the part.
At 50, there's Pullman auditioning for a Broadway play, putting his everything into a two-day audition, then heading home to Los Angeles for a long wait to find out if he got the lead.
And even with years of experience and numerous movie roles, Pullman at 50 felt the same way he did as a teen."

Oakland dinner, show celebrates Scottish heritage

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "It began as a platonic friendship, set in 18th-century Scotland. But then the characters in Mike Gibb and Kevin Walsh's musical 'Clarinda' found their fondness for each other growing.
Soon it evolved into love.
The lauded musical will make its way across the Atlantic for the first time, unfolding before an audience at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association in Oakland on Jan. 23. The performance coincides with the St. Andrews Society of Pittsburgh's annual Burns dinner."

Step Afrika! makes the whole body alive with music

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "In 'stepping,' a performer's body becomes like a big musical percussion system, with the hands and feet becoming like drums and cymbals.
On Sunday, steppers from an internationally touring group will be bringing the African-American art form to the Byham Theater. The show by Step Afrika! will dazzle the audience with the sophistication of sound the performers create from such simplicity, says C. Brian Williams, founder and executive director of Washington, D.C.-based group. Except for a few drums and some voices, the sound comes from the percussive dancing style, where the performers create intricate rhythms and sounds through a combination of footsteps, claps and spoken word."

Lines Ballet offers 'Signs and Wonders' at August Wilson Center

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "For choreographer Alonzo King, founder of San Francisco's Lines Ballet company, the audience has an essential role to play in any performance.
'Everyone, when looking at ballet, has to meet it and experience it directly, without a docent. It seems so odd to me to play beautiful music in the background, to have Bach on and not really listen. No, you have to participate,' he believes."

Alonzo King's ballet troupe mixes classic, contemporary

Post Gazette: "For choreographer Alonzo King, dance isn't just an art form -- it's a vehicle for exploring the self and the world around us.
'Movement and dance make up the entire phenomenal world,' King said. 'If you look at the constellations that are in the sky, if you look at the rhythm of sunrise and sunset, the hustle and bustle of the city ... it's all movement.'"

London season gears up

Variety: "With a little less than two months to go before its March 9 opening, advance sales for 'Love Never Dies,' Andrew Lloyd Webbers follow-up to 'The Phantom of the Opera,' have reached a reported £8.5 million ($13.7 million). Compare that with Lloyd Webber's previous new musical, 'The Woman in White,' which opened in 2004 with an advance of just $4.8 million."

Study Focuses on the Care and Feeding of Playwrights "When the playwright Tracy Letts handed over his “August: Osage County” for production in 2007, the board of the Steppenwolf Theater Company here agreed to forgo a balanced budget to finance this 13-character drama and its three-floor set. The bet paid off. The play earned rave reviews, moved to Broadway, won a Pulitzer Prize and a Tony Award, and recouped its investment."

Local Theaters Are Pulling Strings "The humble puppet, often crafted from rags, paper or even wire, is having its moment in Chicago theater. Once relegated to puppet-specific stages, the use of marionettes alongside actors in mainstream productions is “exploding,” said Roell Schmidt, the director of Links Hall performance space."

Know What Your Email Address Says About You

Lifehacker: "Earlier this week we asked you what your email prejudices were. We dug through the comments, and now we're back to highlight how you feel about certain email addresses and what they say about the people who use them."

Women's right to choose was not meant to be about Botox

The Guardian: "This lady has a tattoo on her right buttock. That lady's breasts are slightly lopsided. The woman to the left has an ample tummy that jiggles when she bounces. As a quotidian consumer of contemporary culture, I consider myself inured to nudity. But, on a chilly evening earlier this week, before a stage full of naked, whooping strangers, I realised that I don't know women's bodies at all."

Los Angeles Location Production Drops in '09

Backstage: "The industry erosion continues: On-location production in the Los Angeles area slid 13% in the fourth quarter, yielding a 19% plunge in such shoots in 2009."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Alonzo King's ballet troupe mixes classic, contemporary

Post Gazette: "For choreographer Alonzo King, dance isn't just an art form -- it's a vehicle for exploring the self and the world around us.
'Movement and dance make up the entire phenomenal world,' King said. 'If you look at the constellations that are in the sky, if you look at the rhythm of sunrise and sunset, the hustle and bustle of the city ... it's all movement.'"

Kids can learn from Alexander's 'Bad Day'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Abby Waldron can relate to the lead character she plays in the Theatre Factory KidWorks' production of 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.'
The musical is based on the popular children's book by Judith Viorst, who also wrote the stage adaptation. The story is about a young boy who experiences a day in which everything goes wrong."

Universities and Non-Profits Against Bill That would Charge Tax-Exempt Land

WDUQNews: "A State Senate Democratic Policy Committee Meeting on tax-exempt properties occurred in The South Side today.
The hearing was held to discuss a bill sponsored by Senator Wayne Fontana that would allow municipal government to impose am 'essential services fee' on tax-exempt organizations such as universities and non-profits within the municipality."

'Spider-Man' back on Broadway "“Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark,” the $50 million Broadway musical by Bono and The Edge, is back on – but not until fall 2010."

SDC ratifies new work contract

Variety: "Legit helmers' union Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, or SDC, has ratified a new work contract with the Broadway League, the trade association for legit producers and presenters."

Knightley and Outhwaite Heat Up London’s Winter "With this city all a-shiver from a crippling cold snap — “the big freeze,” as the tabloids call it — it only made sense to visit two of the hottest women in town. So on Saturday I made my way through desultory snow flurries to the West End to see the young movie star Keira Knightley playing a young movie star, and then across the Thames to the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, where the seasoned song-and-dance gal Tamzin Outhwaite was portraying a seasoned dance hall hostess."

Next To Normal: The Road to Broadway - November, 2009

American Theatre Wing: "The creative team behind the hit musical Next To Normal - Director Michael Greif, Composer Tom Kitt, Producer David Stone and Book Writer/Lyricist Brian Yorkey - discuss the unique road the show took to Broadway beginning with its start at the BMI Workshop; the origin of the show's subject matter and the challenges of getting acceptance for it; the reasons behind a title change and what that represented for the creative process; why they took the unusual step of going from off-Broadway to out of town before Broadway; what influences the press and audiences had after the off-Broadway opening in their decision process; why some songs were dropped, others changed and the reasons behind the addition of new material; and 4 songs are performed in studio that illustrate the changes in the various stages of the production."

Does Harold Pinter's private life shed light on his plays? "Does knowledge of a writer's private life help to illuminate the work? It's an age-old question. But it's also one thrown into sharp relief by the publication of Antonia Fraser's book about her life with Harold Pinter, Must You Go?, which I wrote about at length recently. The book is obviously a personal memoir rather than a study of the plays. All the same, I'd argue it sheds a good deal of light on Pinter the dramatist."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

IATSE, B'way League strike deal

Variety: "The Broadway League and IATSE, the international labor union of stagehands and other backstage workers, have struck a new three-year deal for IATSE members who go on the road with legit shows."

Broadway League taps officers

Variety: "Gotham legiters Paul Libin, Nick Scandalios and Alecia Parker have been elected to leadership positions on the Board of Governors for the Broadway League, the trade association of Rialto producers and presenters."

On the London Stage - New Varnish for the Boards - British Theater Undergoing a Renewal "A funny thing has happened imperceptibly yet unmistakably to the British theater of late: an entire generation of stage actor has pretty well passed from view."


Props: "For some productions, the set decoration and dressing can be thought of as an entirely separate area of design. From just a few clues in a script, you need to fill a space with a lifetime’s accumulation of objects. Even the most detailed of set designers will not specify every single item on a stage; for the props person who enjoys dressing a set, choosing these objects is a vital skill."


Ramblings of a Techie: "From January 1st, everyone is now under an award. Technicians, floor crew, musicians, strippers. Everyone.
Suddenly everyone working behind the scenes in entertainment is covered by a national minimum award wage system. The Fair Work Act provided simplified awards from January 1st 2010 to all workers including those not unionised."

Theatrical Lighting Database, Split Gels and Other Stories

On Stage Lighting: "Funded by the New York Stage Council For the Arts , the lighting database is a great collection of lighting paperwork for a few of Broadway’s legendary shows, designed by the a few of biggest names in lighting design such as Tharon Musser, Richard Nelson and Jules Fisher."

OISTAT Sound Design Working Group Webinar #1

Scenography – The Theatre Design Website: "In this presentation we will explore the debate about the evolutionary origins of music and language, and the various theories regarding the origins of theatre. After looking at these independently, we will look the fundamental role that music played in what is generally regarded as the first autonomous theatre, Greek theatre. These origins will serve as an aesthetic foundation establishing the primal role that music plays in all theatre activities."

Scott Ellis

American Theatre Wing: "With Theresa Rebeck's The Understudy soon to close at the Roundabout and Douglas Carter Beane's Mr. & Mrs. Fitch beginning rehearsals at Second Stage, director Scott Ellis discusses his attraction to both projects and the delays and opportunities that caused each of them to land in New York a bit later than originally expected. He also discusses his early and absolute conviction that he was destined for a career as an actor, and how quickly that changed; how his friendship with John Kander and Fred Ebb from his acting in The Rink helped him to land his very first directing job, a revival of Flora the Red Menace at the Vineyard Theatre; the enormous opportunities afforded to him by artistic director Todd Haimes at the Roundabout, where Ellis is Associate Artistic Director; how and why he and Susan Stroman came to devise And The World Goes Round; his early work on the plays Picnic and A Month in the Country after his successes with A Little Night Music at the New York City Opera and She Loves Me -- Roundabout's first musical; the opportunity to collaborate on the creation of Steel Pier and the challenges of opening an original book musical in New York without benefit of an out-of-town tryout; why he feels The Look of Love, his Bacharach and David revue didn't succeed -- and why he thinks it was always meant to be done 'drinks in hand'; and how he tackled Twelve Angry Men, a seemingly familiar work which had never been produced professionally in New York."

Stick Your Government Arts Subsidy in This Hole

An Angry White Guy in Chicago: "One of the aspects of the diversity conversation that seems to be avoided is questioning the assumption that more diversity is good or desired. Why is it so goddamn important to us that theater present a rainbow of experiences? After all, most of the audience is white - is this about teaching that predominantly Caucasian crowd the intricacies of ethnic lifestyle and culture? Is it to bring more blacks and Latinos and Asians into the theater or to expand our box office take? To get some of that juicy Diversity in the Arts grant dough?"

Computer Tracking System Revolutionizes Green Screens

io9: "One of the most challenging aspects of filmmaking is matching shots against green-screens, with backgrounds added in post-production. Now, Roomba co-creator Eliot Mack has devised a way to integrate the virtual backdrops seamlessly with scenes as they are shot."

What's Your Email Address Prejudice?

Lifehacker: "Is an or address a risk on a job application? Do cutesy usernames mean a surefire path to the trash can? Chicago Tribune writer Nancy Anderson ponders the impact an email address can have on your career and job search."

Design for Stage and Screen in New Zealand

Scenography – The Theatre Design Website: "The Bachelor or Design for stage and screen at Toi Whakaari is the only course of its kind in New Zealand. It is one of the School’s newest courses and graduates of the Design course have already gone on to be Chapman Trip Theatre Award winners for set and costume design, worked on major movies and created opening ceremonies for Bloomberg and Deutche Bank."

‘Spider-Man’ Musical Will Refund Tickets "After weeks of complaints from ticket holders, the producers of the Broadway musical “Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark” announced on Tuesday morning that they will refund tickets through Ticketmaster for preview performances that had been scheduled to start Feb. 25 but are now, as expected, canceled."

Nude Chanteuse Sings Brecht, Kids Hawk ‘Hair’ at Public "The Public Theater’s Under the Radar Festival, running in New York through this weekend, was established as an outlet for shows considered too marginal for the main stage."

The Real Shakespearean Tragedy

Theatre Communications Group - American Theatre: "It's a Thursday evening and you've gotten home early to eat a quick dinner with your spouse before driving downtown for a night of theatre. A friend has given you tickets for King Lear. Freshly showered and nicely dressed, you slip on your coats, have a nice twilight drive, park, glide into the theatre and take your seats. The lights dim, the audience quiets down, you squeeze your partner's hand, and up goes the curtain."

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Event programs offer insights, timelines, interviews

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When audience members open their programs, they're likely to find more than a cast list and technical credits.
Increasingly, performing arts presenters and producers offer historical timelines, biographies, background information and directors' notes to educate and inform their audiences."

America's Favorite Plays "Facts, it's said, are stubborn things. Anyone curious about the state of American theater will find plenty of stubborn facts to chew on—some of which are tastier than others—in American Theatre's annual list of the 10 plays and musicals, not counting Shakespeare revivals and seasonal shows, that are produced most frequently in the U.S."

Arthur Miller, Elia Kazan and ‘A View From the Bridge’ "IN 1947, while doing research for a screenplay in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, Arthur Miller heard a story that reminded him of the plot of a Greek tragedy. An Italian-American longshoreman had turned in to authorities two illegal immigrants, relatives he had been sheltering in his home, in order to stop one of them from marrying his niece. Having violated an unwritten proscription against informing, he was disgraced and later disappeared — possibly, as rumor had it, murdered by one of the men he had betrayed."

Christian Camargo and Juliet Rylance in Bridge Project "TWO actors might work all their lives and never receive higher praise. In back-to-back productions of Shakespearean tragedy with Theater for a New Audience last season, Juliet Rylance’s brave, gracious portrayal of Desdemona was hailed in The New York Times as “exquisitely moving” and the dark, lean and hungry Hamlet of Christian Camargo as “virtually perfect.” At the time few knew they were newlyweds; their work was judged independently, on the merits."

The Top 10 (U.S.) Arts Policy Stories of 2009

Createquity.: "OK, so I know I’m a little late to the party with the year/decade-in-review lists, but since no one other than me apparently cares enough about arts policy to make a top 10 list about it, I’m happy to be the doofus who takes the plunge. 2009 featured no shortage of tumultuous and game-changing events in arts policy, and it was a pleasure (though sometimes an exhausting one) to cover them here on the blog."

Wendy Carlos and color perception

Boing Boing: "In addition to being one of the most historically significant pioneers in electronic music, Wendy Carlos is fascinated with how people see and hear. I am, too. She has been conducting experiments on color perception for over 50 years. Wendy created a cool little red/green color lightbox and a series of pages that show how two monochrome images can create full-color images when combined."

It’s not easy for a new cast to keep a Broadway hit successful

The Boston Globe: "Such was the challenge facing Robert Fox and Stuart Thompson, lead producers behind “God of Carnage,’’ Yasmina Reza’s Tony-winning comedy that did boffo business with its original performers and now has been recast with Jimmy Smits, Christine Lahti, Annie Potts, and Ken Stott."

Friday, January 08, 2010

Gemini Theater lets viewers be a part of 'Beauty & the Beast'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Beauty & the Beast,' the moving and humorous classic tale about an odd romantic pairing, will be unfolding onstage this month with music at Gemini Theater."

'The Chief' is back for its farewell performances

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "At first glance, the idea of combining sports and theater is sure to produce a match doomed by irreconcilable differences.
And yet, a remarkable number of stage plays and revues have surfaced recently -- in some cases repeatedly -- that do just that."

'Menopause' guides women through physical, emotional milestone

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "When it began, Pammie O'Bannon had no idea how long 'Menopause' would last.
'This will be the 10th year, next March. I thought it was cute,' O'Bannon says. 'But I really didn't know it would last this long.'
O'Bannon is referring to 'Menopause the Musical,' for which she created the role of Earth Mother in the original production that debuted in 2001 in Orlando, Fla."

B'way grosses $1 billion in 2009

Variety: "Broadway's finally hit a billion.
In year-end figures compiled by the Broadway League, the cumulative Main Stem gross for calendar year 2009 hit the fabled benchmark of $1 billion -- although it's as much a feat of bookkeeping as anything else."

Under the Radar and More "ONCE upon a time, the first half of January was considered a slow, even dead, stretch for the performing arts in New York. Not anymore."

Go Beyond 3D to Digital Prototyping Virtual Event

Lynn Allen's Blog: "I've been working this week on an AutoCAD Mechanical and AutoCAD Electrical presentation I'll be giving during the 'Go Beyond 3D to Digital Prototyping virtual event'. There is quite an impressive line up of presenters and topics so check it out! It isn't an entirely 3D/Digital Prototyping event since my topics are primarily 2D."

Stage Managers - Busch Gardens Williamsburg

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "SEEKS:Stage Managers in the Entertainment department"

Technical & Design Staff - Forestburgh Playhouse

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "SEEKS:Design and Technical Staff: Technical Director, Set Designer/Painter, Costume Designer, Lighting Designer, Master Electrician, Asst CD/Wardrobe Supervisor, Properties Master, Sound Designer/Engineer, and Carpenters and technical interns. Positions contracted for full summer season."

Stop The Ticketmaster Merger Monopoly

Intentional Foul: "The potential Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger sounds like a bad deal for those of us who actually like to attend live events, be it sports, concerts or otherwise. If you think purchasing tickets has bad surcharges now, imagine what it will be like when two ticket giants like Live Nation and Ticketmaster become one. Without any competition, the new monster will be able to put whatever extra charges on a ticket purchase it sees fit. Without the specter of “I’ll take my business to your competitors” to scare them away, companies like the new TickemasterNation won’t have to fear consumer blow back, because if you want to go see the Los Angeles Lakers play bad enough, and if the new TicketMonster is the only game in town, you’ll pay what they tell you to or you’ll be watching Kobe Bryant do his thing on television."