CMU School of Drama

Monday, January 31, 2011

College not just about academics

The Tartan Online: "Last week, the editorial board of The Tartan wrote a response to a USA Today article concerning a student’s first two years at an American university. The USA Today article reports that 45 percent of students involved in the study it referenced showed no significant gains in learning during their first two years of college and also that students spend less time studying than they did a few decades ago. The Tartan responded that these first two years should be used as building blocks for later study and that, “if the majority of the nation’s college students are unable to get anything out of their first two years, perhaps a re-evaluation of the way students structure their time is necessary.”

Vectorworks Spotlight Video Tutorial 2010

On Stage Lighting: "Learning complex CAD software can be confusing, and it’s often useful to be able to revisit things you tried out in training sessions sometime in the future. So, I created a set of videos based on the very basics of Vectorworks in 2D that a beginner needs to get through before they can move on. Here is the series of six, using VW 2010, for the readers of On Stage Lighting to enjoy(?!) if CAD floats yer boat, please excuse the streaming head cold I had when recording them.

Deduct The Costs Of Your Job Search

The Consumerist: "It's hard to get a break when you're out of work, but there are a few tax breaks you do qualify for. Did you know that you can deduct travel expenses for job interviews?

The Pomodoro Technique:

Stepcase Lifehack: "If you spend any time at all researching life hacks, you’ve probably heard of the famous Pomodoro Technique. Created in the 1980s by Francesco Cirillo, the Pomodoro Technique is one of the more popular time management life hacks used today. But this method isn’t for everyone, and for every person who is a passionate adherent of the system, there is another person who is critical of the results.

Cirque du Soleil may leap for new partner

Telegraph: "Cirque du Soleil, the modern circus troupe which has transformed the way the once old-fashioned theatrical event is viewed, would be willing to sell a further 10pc equity stake to a strategic partner, founder Guy Laliberté has admitted.

The Bigelow Effect - Why We Care

Women and Hollywood: "Why do we care about women’s presence in the awards race? Specifically, why do we care so much about a woman getting nominated for best director? That is a great question raised in an very well-written piece by a young woman director named Lindsay on the website Canonball. One thing she asks is if we have been left out of the awards for so long, why should we as women change what we do in order to fit in?

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Take a chance on a new play or company

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "February is a good time to venture into the unknown by exploring new venues or taking a chance on an unfamiliar work, playwright or production company. If the Benedum, the Byham, Heinz Hall and the O'Reilly are your usual haunts, you may be surprised to know that there are at least three other theaters within the cultural district that contribute to the rich diversity of area theater where you can do this.

'Spider-Man' keeps multiple balls in the air

Variety: "It's well-established that Broadway tuner 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' will have obliterated the record for total preview performances by the time the musical is scheduled to open, March 15, after a series of delays. Creatives have repeatedly assured theatergoers that work is being done to hone the show in advance of opening while making sure that record doesn't grow.

‘Sound of Music’ Tribute by Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata

NYTimes.com: "With their similar grooves, “ABC” and “Do-Re-Mi” from “The Sound of Music” seemed like a natural mash-up to Peter Kiesewalter of the Brooklyn Rundfunk Orkestrata, an instrumental quartet that mixes rock, jazz, R&B and more. But the Rodgers and Hammerstein organization, which holds the rights to that songwriting duo’s catalog, is famously persnickety. So when the organization’s legal department sent a cease-and-desist letter to Mr. Kiesewalter, he was a little nervous. He hadn’t just messed with “Do-Re-Mi”; he had also made mash-ups and covers out of all the songs from the 1959 “Sound of Music.”

‘Other Desert Cities,’ Jon Robin Baitz, With Stockard Channing and Stacy Keach

NYTimes.com: "LAST year the writer Jon Robin Baitz removed his five-character family drama “Other Desert Cities” from Broadway’s 2010-11 lineup and took it off Broadway to Lincoln Center Theater, which had produced several of his works, including “The Substance of Fire” and “Ten Unknowns.” Among the reasons? He and his director, Joe Mantello, could choose the actors they wanted rather than face the Broadway pressure of casting household names.

Francis Ford Coppola, copyfighter

Boing Boing: "You have to remember that it's only a few hundred years, if that much, that artists are working with money. Artists never got money. Artists had a patron, either the leader of the state or the duke of Weimar or somewhere, or the church, the pope. Or they had another job. I have another job. I make films. No one tells me what to do. But I make the money in the wine industry. You work another job and get up at five in the morning and write your script.

After 3D, here is the future of film

Roger Ebert's Journal: "If sound were a new idea today, it might not be tried. The studios now seem to work in concert when it comes to issues like this. Had they been so unified back in 1930, sound would never have emerged because, as I'm sure you know, all the studios were convinced that it had no value. Check out the newspaper clip that I found. Jack Warner's logic about the 'international language of the silent picture' is absolutely true. It's just that Jack didn't consider how much richer 'the picture business' could be when supplemented by sound. Jack had to actually be tricked to show up at the Vitaphone demo. He was that disinterested.

Landesman Comments on Theater

NYTimes.com: "Count on Rocco Landesman to stir the pot. Speaking at a conference about new play development at Arena Stage in Washington on Thursday, Mr. Landesman, the chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, addressed the problem of struggling theaters. “You can either increase demand or decrease supply,” he said.

You're Mad -- What Are You Going to Do About It?

Arts Marketing: "In his speech, Chairman Landesman said 'there is a disconnect that has to be taken seriously — our research shows that attendance has been decreasing while the number of the organizations have been proliferating,” He continued by saying 'You can either increase demand or decrease supply. Demand is not going to increase, so it is time to think about decreasing supply.” I must say that hearing those words spoken by the chairman of the National Endowment of the Arts initially struck me pretty hard, but then I decided to reflect upon them.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Stage Review: Lovely to look at 'Camelot' holds court at Public Theater

Post Gazette: "The legend of King Arthur was given wings by Sir Thomas Malory in the 15th century and inspired writers from Tennyson to T.H. White, whose 'The Once and Future King' is the foundation of Lerner and Loewe's musical 'Camelot.' Songs from the show -- first seen on Broadway 50 years ago -- and subsequent movie became pop standards, and the title became the slogan for the youthful Kennedy presidency. 'Camelot' has since been retold, revived and parodied uproariously in 'Monty Python's Spamalot.'"

Review: The Public goes big for 'Camelot'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The classic Lerner and Loewe musical focuses on the power of human emotions to disrupt even the best of intentions. It's not just the love triangle and the push-pull of loyalties and affections between King Arthur, Guenevere and Lancelot that bring the kingdom to ruin. The musical's creators also place much of the blame on Mordred, Arthur's nasty illegitimate son, as well as Arthur's inability to heed Merlin's lessons."

Tait Towers: Custom Stage Design

Autodesk - AutoCAD - Customer Showcase: "Founded by lighting designer Michael Tait in 1978, Tait Towers designs and constructs entire concert stage sets, making the visions of the music industry’s top artists and concert production designers a reality. Tait Tower’s innovative approach to stage design, engineering, and construction enables increasingly dazzling shows. From telescoping towers to huge video displays to intricately choreographed lighting, Tait Towers’s design professionals model each element in AutoCAD® software. They use Autodesk® 3ds Max® Design software to review near photo-realistic visualizations of stages with their clients before manufacturing. As a final step, Tait Towers’s manufacturing team employs AutoCAD designs to help guide the construction of the sets. Recently, for rock band Bon Jovi’s The Circle Tour, Tait Towers used a combination of AutoCAD and Autodesk 3ds Max Design software to help"

Bon Jovi's The Circle Tour Stage Designed Using AutoCAD and 3ds Max Design

Between the Lines: "Chances are if you have seen a concert or touring entertainment show in the past 20 years, you have seen and experienced a design by Pennsylvania based Tait Towers. Tait Towers designs and manufactures entire stage sets for the top shows and talent in the entertainment industry using AutoCAD and 3ds Max Design like the massive Bon Jovi Circle Tour concert stage set."

Manually synchronizing the new Disney park light-shows


Boing Boing: Ricky from Inside the Magic sez, "After independently covering the world premieres of Disney's new high-tech projection shows at Disneyland and Walt Disney World, I've synchronized videos of both shows side-by-side. They feature the same soundtrack and similar visuals, but one is projected on Cinderella Castle, the other on the "it's a small world" facade. The result is a simultaneous view that's impossible to get in real life, but entirely enjoyable. 1080p HD full screen for the best experience."

Theatre Exchange

Backstage: "On Jan. 28 the Old Vic, the London theater at which Laurence Olivier performed and Kevin Spacey is now artistic director, will begin receiving applications for the 2011 TS Eliot US/UK Exchange program."

Boston Job Fair

Backstage: "On Saturday, March 26 the Regional Entertainment Production and Administration (REPA) will host a job fair to help production and administrative professionals find employment in the performing arts."

Plays & Reality TV

thestar.com: "Jersey Shore, live on stage? Not quite. Or at least not yet. Movies and television routinely blur the line between fantasy and reality. But innovative stage companies are only beginning to explore the possibilities of what might loosely be dubbed “reality theatre.”

Friday, January 28, 2011

Fritz Weaver among Theater Hall of Fame inductees

Post Gazette: "The 2010 inductees into the Theater Hall of Fame included three actors, a playwright, music director, stage director, director-librettist and playwright-director -- a taste of the many talents that create the American theater.

Mark Clayton Southers melds troupe, center

Post Gazette: "The Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company's upcoming production of 'King Hedley II' will move from Playwrights' intimate home at 542 Penn Ave. to the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, a change announced earlier this month.

The Playwright Matthew Lopez and ‘The Whipping Man’

NYTimes.com: "MATTHEW LOPEZ is ready for the question but continues to refine the answer. How did he, a self-described “foxhole Episcopalian” from the Florida Panhandle, the son of a Puerto Rican father and a Polish-Russian mother, come to write a play about a Jewish Confederate soldier and two former slaves raised as Jews who, in the charred wreck of a Virginia home after the Civil War, celebrate Passover together?

SDCF Masters of the Stage - Stage Direction, Chicago Style

American Theatre Wing: "On October 18, 2010, SDCF hosted a sixty-minute discussion on Stage Direction, Chicago Style at Steppenwolf Theatre moderated by Sheldon Patinkin and featuring panelists Seth Bockley, Timothy Douglas, Gary Griffin, Kimberly Senior and Dennis Zacek. The panel discusses Chicago's actor-based process, from actor-based companies such as Lookingglass to the exploratory rehearsal process embraced by Chicago directors. Topics include the influence of Second City, the dynamic system of mentorship amongst Chicago directors and the sense that in Chicago one is 'allowed to fail.' This conversation gives an inspiring look at one of the country's great theatre cities and the values it runs on. Afterward, David Cromer presented the 2010 Zelda Fichandler Award to director Michael Halberstam of Writers' Theatre.

Extraordinary Alum Passes

Carnegie Mellon University: "For his dedication to Carnegie Mellon, Chosky was selected as the 2001 recipient of the Andrew Carnegie Society Recognition Award. He also received CMU's Alumni Service Award, the Andrew Carnegie Philanthropic Award and the university's Distinguished Alumni Service Award.

Black Swan: Amy Westcott Interview

Clothes on Film: "Black Swan costume designer, Amy Westcott, BAFTA and CDG nominated for her work on the film, puts the record straight on controversy surrounding herself and Rodarte’s contribution, exactly what her role comprises, and how she feels about that Academy Award snub.
Amy Westcott worked with Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky previously on The Wrestler in 2008, plus has been costume designer on over twenty features and seventy episodes of TV series Entourage.

Kill Your To-Do List

FreelanceFolder: "We’re all well acquainted with the concept of the to-do list. Whether or not we get along with them is another matter entirely.
Sometimes to-do lists just don’t cut it, and at the end of the day, the checked boxes are buried amongst all the empty ones. Well, gee, if that isn’t a morale boost, I just don’t know what is.
In this post, I’ll discuss a to-do list alternative–The Single Day Schedule. I’ll explain how freelancers can use this better system to become more productive.

SAG Improvements

Backstage: "Can a flying squirrel help SAG serve its members?
The guild certainly hopes so. Rocky, along with Bullwinkle, Natasha and Boris are the union's internal names for a quartet of new residuals processing machines intended to speed up the guild's notoriously slow payment process.

Theatres babysit for dads and mums

guardian.co.uk: "Theatres will do anything to get audiences through the doors. But, as the New York Times has reported recently, the NYC-based Playwrights Horizons has decided to go one step further than most and is now offering a babysitting service for selected performances. According to Leslie Marcus, the venue's managing director: 'The combined cost of theatre tickets and childcare is the factor most often cited by people with young children as the reason they rarely attend the theatre.'

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Katrina is the backdrop for a coming-of-age tale at City Theatre

Post Gazette: "Jocelyn Bioh teaches dance moves to 'Sunshowers' by Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band, singing softly as her two co-stars, Larry Powell and Bria Walker, follow her lead. The man in charge and seated facing them in the large, open room quickly downloads the music onto his iPad. Speakers are summoned, and soon the trio is moving to the music, which is punctuated by the sound of rain.

Bricolage readings to show solidarity with Belarusian artists

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "During a reading organized by Bricolage Productions, Mark Staley and the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh, local actors and others will read excerpts from the Belarus Free Theatre's latest work 'Being Harold Pinter' and movement pieces from Caryl Churchill's play 'Mad Forest.'

'Cats' to pad the Byham

Post Gazette: "Back in May 2008, when the partnership between Robert Morris University and Pittsburgh Musical Theater was young, then-seniors Kate Queen and David Toole played the star-crossed lovers Maria and Tony in PMT's 'West Side Story.'

'Marcus' a sweet role for its main actor

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet,' now in previews for a Friday opening, is the third and final play of McCraney's trilogy 'The Brother/Sister Plays' and serves as a companion piece for 'The Brothers Size' that the South Side theater company produced in 2008.

Baroque staging adds layers to 'Rinaldo'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Pittsburgh Opera will present 'Rinaldo' by George Frideric Handel at performances starting Thursday at the Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts School, Downtown. Conductor Michael Beattie will lead Chatham Baroque, filled out with other musicians playing period instruments. The singers are all members of the opera's resident artists program, young professionals at the start of their careers.

OSHA not reviewing death of stagehand

ReviewJournal.com: "State safety officials think they have significantly improved the way they hold employers accountable for on-the-job accidents, according to a Nevada Occupational Safety and Health Administration letter sent Tuesday to federal officials, who faulted a state investigation of a stagehand's death. The 20-year-old part-time stagehand was killed in 2009 by a fall in a showroom at MGM Grand.

'Law & Order: SVU' Switches Shoot Schedule Due to NYC Snowstorm

The Hollywood Reporter: "'They were supposed to be out on location today. Being aware of the impending snow, they switched the schedule yesterday so that they were inside the studio today,' an NBC rep, Sharon Pannozzo, tells The Hollywood Reporter.

Kyle Dean Massey Is Lucky Guy in Musical About Nashville Dreamers; Merman, Collela, Jordan on Board

Playbill.com: "Varla Jean Merman, Leslie Jordan, Jim Newman, Jenn Collela, Savannah Wise and Kyle Dean Massey will kick up their heels in the new Off-Broadway country-western musical comedy Lucky Guy, producers announced.

Playwright Anna Mashutina Among Victims in Moscow

NYTimes.com: "Anna Mashutina hated compliments. When praised for her plays, she would look down in embarrassment, or respond by listing their shortcomings. She was so bashful about her success that she sometimes seemed to be apologizing for it.

Manhattan Theater Club’s Benefit Dinner

NYTimes.com: "IN a year when the star of the most talked-about Broadway show is a superhero in Spandex, it’s hard to fault other theater companies, on or off Broadway, for feeling a bit overshadowed.

Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "Bentley Meeker Lighting and Staging, a leader in NYC’s event industry, is currently looking for freelance Lighting and Audio/Video shop personnel for its Spring 2011 season. This position is ideal for anyone looking to start out in the events industry.

Theater sprouts from local roots

Post Gazette: "In June 2009, seven 20-somethings, three of them Pittsburgh natives, decided to start a new venture in the South Hills.
Despite the rough economic climate, the college graduates didn't choose a safer bet such as a new Internet company or website design firm. They started a theater company.

Rockwell: New Laser Line Table Saw

Tool-Rank.com: "We have miter saws with lasers, drills with lasers, and even hand saws with lasers, but up until now I have never seen a table saw with a laser. Rockwell has finally given us the laser line table saw you never knew you needed. The laser is designed to make it easier to see exactly where the saw blade will meet the wood, and should really come in handy for getting accurately sized miter cuts.

On Rocco Landesman and Muhammad Yunus

Theatre Ideas: "If you follow the Twitter discussion at #newplay, you'll see that several people took umbrage at his suggestion that if theatres were deer we'd have to shoot much of the herd. Indeed, Trisha Mead called them 'fighting words.' Landesman's conclusion follows directly and logically from a thought process that goes something like this: 1) it is appalling that theatre artists can't make a livable wage in the theatre (true); 2) there has been an explosion of arts organizations, and so supply exceeds demand (partially true); 3) the NEA has limited funds (true); conclusion: the NEA needs to give bigger grants to fewer theatres and let the other theatres go away. Call the cops!

Record Level of Stress Found in College Freshmen

Post Gazette: "The emotional health of college freshmen -- who feel buffeted by the recession and stressed by the pressures of high school -- has declined to the lowest level since an annual survey of incoming students started collecting data 25 years ago.

Pittsburgh puts entertainment technology on center stage

Post Gazette: "The film industry has benefitted many local businesses and individuals in southwestern Pennsylvania -- from production crews to extras and caterers to trucking companies. A new initiative to be announced today aims to help the region's untapped resources in entertainment technology also play starring roles in Hollywood productions.

For Some, a Favorite Show Becomes a Way of Life

Backstage: "It was intermission at the final Broadway performance of 'Next to Normal,' and Natalie Chernicoff, who was seeing the show for the 32nd time, was talking mascara with Kathleen Parker, who was seeing it for the 42nd time.

For Odysseus, it's Ithaca or bust

StarTribune.com: "Our limited lifespan renders us generally incapable of looking at the big picture in terms of time's arc; it's hard enough to picture the world a century from now, much less conceive of it nearly three millennia in the past. But Homer's 'Odyssey' survives, in all its antiquated strangeness, and writer William Randall Beard has adapted it for the stage in a lineage from antiquity to the contemporary tundra that seems to have lost much of its fire in the translation.

For Odysseus, it's Ithaca or bust

Review | `The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee'

MiamiHerald.com: "How do you spell 'adorable?' Technically speaking, of course, the answer is a-d-o-r-a-b-l-e. But if you check out the newest production at Actors' Playhouse, you'd swear ``adorable'' equals The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

City Theatre stages his Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet.

Pittsburgh City Paper: "Though he's getting better known for a trilogy of plays set in a fictional Louisiana bayou town, Tarell Alvin McCraney feels ever further from having a home of his own. That's one price you pay when you're among the English-speaking world's hottest playwrights.

Chinese arts and censorship

PRI.ORG: "The Chinese government has strict control over its citizen's production and access to media, but after living there for a combined total of 30 years, rapper Jeremy Johnston and actress Rachel DeWoskin believe the creative arts are thriving.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Elite Training Weekend - May 12-14, 2011

USITT: "Don't miss this great opportunity at the Cirque du Soleil Training Center. Eight student technician openings are available in each area of automation, media projection, rigging and sound.

2011 Holiday Card Student Design Contest

ESTA Foundation: "Behind The Scenes is proud to announce its annual holiday card student design contest.

Bill Thunhurst, ex-manager of Civic Light Opera, dies

Post Gazette: "Mr. Thunhurst took charge of the CLO as managing director after the company took a two-year hiatus and re-launched it in its new Downtown home in grand style, with a 'Broadway Tonight' gala that featured stars such as Ethel Merman, Alfred Drake and Gwen Verdon.

BREAKING NEWS UPDATE: All Blue Man Group performances canceled

The Northern Iowan: "Five sprinkler pipes broke at the Gallagher Bluedorn Performing Arts Center this morning, releasing several gallons of water onto the electrical equipment in the Great Hall and leading the GBPAC to cancel all three sold-out performances of the Blue Man Group.

On stage, taking risks

The Boston Globe: "“I’ve had more than enough people say that they’ve gone to ‘Spider-Man’ for the ghoulish reason of thinking that they would be present when an accident happens,’’ said fight director Rick Sordelet, whose scores of Broadway credits include “The Lion King’’ and who also works as a stunt coordinator in television and film.

Rigging FAIL: The most dangerous kind of runaway.

Backstage at BackstageJobs.com | Life behind the scenes…: "A counterweight fly system should never be out of balance when the heavier part of it is higher than the lighter part. Counterweight should have been stripped from the lineset’s arbor before any lights or goods from the batton were removed. Simply trying to keep the lineset arbor heavy, and trusting the lock and some temporary weight (usually bodies holding on to the batten) not only goes against the design of the system, but is ridiculously unsafe. It is unconscionable that this would be done in a student environment: teaching these students that this unsafe practice is acceptable.

The Thinness of Chicago Theater

AWG:Chicago: "There is an argument to be made that all theater - all artistic endeavor - is political in nature. The act of creating work designed to evoke an emotional response is some powerful stuff and, if underscored by an actual idea worth promoting, is deadly to any government bent on control. Likewise, there is an argument to be made that, if all theater is political in nature, then the ideas underscoring the work is either in favor of the status quo or in opposition. The Belarus Free Theatre makes me feel small.

Gear Motors Raise Viva Elvis Stage

Entertainment Engineering: "The design of the Elvis Theater for Cirque du Soleil’s production Viva Elvis resembles an opera house. The stage is wide and the backstage area and wings are vast. The sides and the rear of the stage are fixed areas while the center is composed of 16 platforms, separated into 12 sections which can rise to a height of ten feet. Depending on the scene, the platforms may at various times in the show support performers, singers, dancers, or set elements.

Stop Bashing Theatre Technology

Stage Directions: "Thanks to the increasing presence of multimedia in theatre productions, and pushed into prominence thanks to the very public, outrageous—and seemingly continuing—accidents on the Broadway production of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark, theatre “technology” has become a bit of a whipping boy lately. But—while absolutely affirming that these accidents were horrific, absolutely unacceptable, and an anathema to creating a safe space where art can flourish—these accidents seem to have spurred a rising sense of “technology is the death of true theatre.”

Ovation Awards Honors L.A. Theatre

Stage Directions: "Congrats to all the Ovation winners and nominees! The peer-judged Ovation Awards are produced by the L.A. Stage Alliance to recognize “excellence in theatrical performance, production and design in the Greater Los Angeles area.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Why 3D doesn't work and never will. Case closed

Roger Ebert's Journal: "I received a letter that ends, as far as I am concerned, the discussion about 3D. It doesn't work with our brains and it never will.
The notion that we are asked to pay a premium to witness an inferior and inherently brain-confusing image is outrageous. The case is closed.
<-- Comments Here

Is ‘Spider-Man’ a train wreck in the making?

MiamiHerald.com: Everyone loves a good train wreck, literal or otherwise.
In 1913, somebody decided it would be fun for two locomotives to collide in an explosion of steam and shrapnel at the California State Fair. Film of the event has been viewed perhaps millions of times in old newsreels and silent-movie compilations and, of course, on YouTube.
<-- Comments Here

45% Of Students Don't Learn Much In College

huffingtonpost: "A new study provides disturbing answers to questions about how much students actually learn in college – for many, not much – and has inflamed a debate about the value of an American higher education.
The research of more than 2,300 undergraduates found 45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years.
<-- Comments Here

7 Reasons You Should Never Check Email First Thing In The Morning

sidsavara.com: "When it comes to email, ignorance is bliss. That’s why if you’ve got something important you want to make progress on, I have these four words for you:
Don’t check your email.
<-- Comments Here

Synetic Theater in Washington Does Wordless Shakespeare

NYTimes.com: "For their first attempt at wordless Shakespeare — that’s right, wordless Shakespeare — the husband-and-wife leaders of the Synetic Theater company chose to apply their physical-theater aesthetic to “Hamlet,” counting on audiences’ familiarity with the plot.
<-- Comments Here

Monday, January 24, 2011

Petronio dancers perform with purpose

Post Gazette: "With dance tumbling forward like an ongoing meteor, I would wager that there isn't a company that combines hyperdance with such distinction as the Stephen Petronio Dance Company, which made a return appearance at the Pittsburgh Dance Council on Saturday.

Theater Hall of Fame Ceremony, Honoring Linda Lavin, Brian Dennehy, Michael Blakemore, Presented Jan. 24

Playbill.com: "The 40th Annual Theatre Hall of Fame ceremony will be held Jan. 24 in the Gershwin Theatre's North Rotunda. Pia Lindstrom hosts the evening.
The 2010 Theater Hall of Fame inductees include actors Brian Dennehy, Linda Lavin and Fritz Weaver; director Michael Blakemore; playwright Caryl Churchill; conductor/music director Paul Gemignani; director-librettist James Lapine; and, posthumously, director-playwright Joseph Chaikin.

Artists and Admirers on Ellen Stewart’s Legacy

NYTimes.com: "ELLEN STEWART, who died on Jan. 13, was in her early 40s when she founded La MaMa Experimental Theater Club in 1962. At an age when some people settle into complacency, she built one of New York’s most influential cultural institutions. Half a century and more than 3,000 productions later, she leaves behind a legacy that includes pioneering the Off Off Broadway movement, importing international theater work before it was popular, and providing a home in the East Village for experimentation. While an era has ended, her theater and its vast population of artists and admirers carry on. A few of them were asked by Jason Zinoman to recall the woman known as Mama. Here are excerpts from their responses.

Mark Twain Impersonators Gain Popularity

NYTimes.com: "McAvoy Layne climbed the stage chomping on an unlighted cigar, his shock of spray-painted white hair bright in the spotlights. “You can’t beat an audience that’s been waiting 100 years,” he said to the crowd.

Why 3D doesn't work and never will. Case closed

Roger Ebert's Journal: "I received a letter that ends, as far as I am concerned, the discussion about 3D. It doesn't work with our brains and it never will.
The notion that we are asked to pay a premium to witness an inferior and inherently brain-confusing image is outrageous. The case is closed.

PRG Expands into Media Services with Recent Purchase of Pow! Pix

iSquint.net: "Production Resource Group, L.L.C. (PRG) announced today that it has acquired New York-based Pow! Pix. The acquisition marks PRG’s entry into the rental of post-production equipment and services, specializing in on-site editing for live event and other broadcasts.

Win a GTD Productivity Package from Daze End Software

Ian's Messy Desk: "One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to “get organized,” and one of the most broken New Year’s resolutions is to “get organized.” Daze End Software can help people achieve their goal this year by giving both the process and tools necessary to become more productive.

SAG Allocates $70K to Task Force for Merger with AFTRA

Backstage: "SAG's national board unanimously voted Sunday to allocate up to $70,000 in additional funding to its SAG-AFTRA Relations Task Force, which is working to 'develop a framework for the formation of a new union combining the members of Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA,' according to a SAG statement.

'Baby' gets Broadway birth

Variety: "Warner Bros. Theater Ventures is steering its second show this season to Broadway, producing golden-oldies pop tuner 'Baby It's You!' with American Pop Anthology in a run that opens at the Broadhurst Theater in the spring.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Show Biz Kids: Local children, Logan Rowland and Rachel Mracna, in the spotlight on Broadway and tours

Post Gazette: "Logan Rowland, a freckle-faced kid who feels right at home navigating a century-old Broadway theater, bounds up the winding staircase that leads to his dressing room.
He leads the way up and up through the Lunt-Fontanne Theatre on West 46th Street, just off Broadway. We pass a rack of clothing that occupies the nook outside Nathan Lane's dressing room door and a paper thermometer that indicates the tens of thousands of dollars raised by the cast of 'The Addams Family' for Broadway Cares charities."

The pageantry of 'Camelot'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Sometimes, an intimate performance space is just the right size for a really big show.
Over the years, Pittsburgh Public Theater has produced such sizeable classics as 'The Mikado,' 'Man of La Mancha,' 'A Midsummer Night's Dream' and 'Medea' on the intimate O'Reilly stage.
This season, the theater company adds 'Camelot' to the list. The Lerner and Loewe musical is in previews for its opening Friday at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown."

William Finn's Spelling Bee Opens at the Paper Mill Playhouse Jan. 23

Playbill.com: "The Paper Mill Playhouse's production of the award-winning musical The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a co-production with Philadelphia Theatre Company, officially opens at Paper Mill Jan. 23 following previews that began Jan. 19."

Rare Reprises for an Unlikely Collaboration

NYTimes.com: HESPER ANDERSON remembers the path that ran through the woods between her family’s home and that of Kurt Weill and Lotte Lenya, in the hamlet of New City, in Rockland County, N.Y., in the 1940s.

David Auburn Adapts ‘The New York Idea’

NYTimes.com: WHEN you write one of the most produced plays of the decade at the age of 30, you can presumably shift your focus to whatever you want. But for David Auburn, who earned that distinction (on the basis of subsequent professional stagings) with his 2000 play, “Proof,” a chunk of the last 11 years has been spent doing what others have asked him to.

No Need to Call a Sitter, Playwrights Horizons Has Done It

NYTimes.com: Any parent of small children knows that the cost of hiring a baby sitter is often higher than the cost of tickets to a play. So now Playwrights Horizons is offering affordable, professional child care during three of its Sunday matinees.

Syyn Labs's League of Extraordinary Nerds

Fast Company: "We're a sensationalism service," says Brent Bushnell.
Ask cofounder Adam Sadowsky and he says, "We're a one-stop production company: We make physical art that moves people."
"We want to be the 'engineering is cool' group," Bushnell adds.
Another cofounder, Eric Gradman, sums it up this way: "We're a glorified drinking club with an art problem."

AFTRA Moves Closer to Merger with SAG

Backstage: AFTRA's national board Saturday continued down the path towards merger with SAG, "overwhelmingly pass(ing) a resolution formally authorizing AFTRA leadership to continue working with Screen Actors Guild in the Presidents' Forum for One Union and its 'Listening Tour,'" according to an AFTRA statement.

Is ‘Spider-Man’ a train wreck in the making?

MiamiHerald.com: Everyone loves a good train wreck, literal or otherwise.
In 1913, somebody decided it would be fun for two locomotives to collide in an explosion of steam and shrapnel at the California State Fair. Film of the event has been viewed perhaps millions of times in old newsreels and silent-movie compilations and, of course, on YouTube.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Spider-Man: 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' previews should be reviewed

LATimes.com: "Even though 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' has delayed its official opening for the fifth time, the L.A. Times' Charles McNulty says critics should weigh in on previews of the expensive musical so that audiences will know what they're paying for: a problem-plagued work in progress.

Readings give New York theater fanatics a chance to see a show's birth

Seattle Times Newspaper: "New Yorkers love nothing more than to boast, 'I was there first,' whether it's getting a reservation at a buzzworthy restaurant, snatching up the latest handbag or seeing a film before the rest of the country. That same quest extends to the theater. Seeing a show before it hits the big time is the stuff of legend (or of tales told by people who weren't actually there). Anyone who was at the first performance of 'A Chorus Line' or 'Rent' — to name just two shows that started small and ended up conquering Broadway — has real bragging rights. One way to catch the next potential 'It' play or musical is to attend a reading. Before a show gets a full-fledged production, it has to start somewhere; a reading is a work in progress needing feedback. The format can be simple (a group of actors with scripts on music stands) or more elaborate (a workshop with choreographed numbers and musicians). Many readings are free and open to the public, although reservations are often required, and some are open only to theater subscribers.

Costumer Theoni V. Aldredge Dies at 88

Backstage: "She was born on Aug. 22, 1922, as Theoni Athanasiou Vachlioti, in Salonika, Greece. Her father, Athanasios, was an army general and politician. Her mother, Meropi, died when she was 5 years old. She studied at the American School in Athens. Her father encouraged his grown daughter to travel, and she immigrated to the United States in 1949 to attend Chicago's Goodman Theatre on a scholarship. In New York, on her way to Chicago, she saw the 1946 film version of 'Caesar and Cleopatra' and was inspired to become a costume designer.

Broadway Marquees Will Dim in Tribute to Theoni V. Aldredge

Playbill.com: "The marquees of Broadway theatres will be dimmed for one minute at 7 PM Jan. 25 to honor the work and life of Tony Award-winning costume designer Theoni V. Aldredge, who died Jan. 21 at the age of 88.

Surface Thrills: Remembering the Costumes of Theoni V. Aldredge

NYTimes.com: "Theoni V. Aldredge, who died on Friday, created clothes that required sunglasses. I don’t mean as an accessory for those who wore them; I mean for the people looking at them.
Sure, she could do the bread-and-butter contemporary stuff with subdued elegance in naturalistic productions like “The Best Man” (1960), “A Delicate Balance” (1966) and “That Championship Season” (1972). But more than perhaps any other Broadway costume designer of the past half century, she understood that for a certain kind of show, nothing less than all-out dazzle would do.

Road presenters raise Broadway stakes

Variety: "In the traditional Broadway model, New York producers create Main Stem fare that eventually fans out to the rest of the country via road productions.
But these days, regional players are increasingly involved in creating and producing the Rialto fodder that will later play on their stages.

The Producers Guild of America Moves to Certify Films' Producing Credits

The Hollywood Reporter: "The Producers Guild of America is determined to leave its mark on the movies its members produce. As the organization, which represents more than 4,500 producers nationwide, readies for its 22nd annual Producers Guild Awards — set for Saturday at the Beverly Hilton — its leadership has been meeting behind the scenes with studios to promote a new credit designation that would spotlight producers’ contributions.

Synetic Theater in Washington Does Wordless Shakespeare

NYTimes.com: "For their first attempt at wordless Shakespeare — that’s right, wordless Shakespeare — the husband-and-wife leaders of the Synetic Theater company chose to apply their physical-theater aesthetic to “Hamlet,” counting on audiences’ familiarity with the plot.

Various Technical Jobs- West Virginia Public Theater

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "WHO: West Virgina Public Theater
SEEKING:
  • COMPANY MANAGER
  • ASSISTANT COMPANY MANAGER
  • TECHNICAL DIRECTOR
  • CARPENTERS.
  • STAGE MANGERS (PSM and ASM)
  • RESIDENT COSTUME DESIGNER
  • Resident Wardrobe Supervisor
  • Wardrobe Staff
  • 2 RESIDENT SCENIC DESIGNERS
  • SCENIC CHARGE
  • RESIDENT /LIGHTING DESIGNER
  • LIGHTING DESIGN ASSISTANT / MASTER ELECTRICAN
  • PROPERTY DESIGNER/ MASTER
  • SOUND DESIGNER
  • SOUND (A2)
  • MARKETING ASSOCIATE
  • INTERNSHIPS

House Republicans unveil plan to end federal arts and humanities agencies and aid to public broadcasting

Culture Monster | Los Angeles Times: "Any way you want to describe it, the Republican Study Committee, made up of about 165 GOP members of the House of Representatives, on Thursday announced a budget-cutting plan aimed at slashing federal spending, and it calls for the elimination of the nation's two leading makers of government arts grants: the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Also on the chopping block is the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

ASM- Keen Company

The Producer's Perspective Classifieds: "ASMs for its Keen Teens program. KT brings top professional playwrights (Greg Kotis, Mike Lew, and Jenny Schwartz), directors, and designers together with high school student actors from across the tri-state area to create new plays that are given world premiere Off-Broadway productions in the Kirk Theatre at Theatre Row in the spring.

Globe theatre to show Shakespeare in 38 languages

TheStar.com: "Shakespeare said all the world’s a stage. Next spring, all the world will be on stage at Shakespeare’s Globe theatre. The theatre is planning a six-week run of the bard’s 38 works — to be performed in 38 languages by troupes from around the world.

Alexander 'Sandy' Speer: An appreciation of ATL's master stage manager

The Courier-Journal: "Sandy Speer sees all. And he did. Sandy collected every shard of information available and then made the decisions that made Actors Theatre of Louisville a national and international power in its field. He was the chess master of arts management.

Union Plus Scholarship Apps Available

Actors' Equity Association: "Applications for the 2011 Union Plus Scholarship Program, which grants scholarship awards to union members, their spouses and dependents, are now available. The application deadline is January 30, 2011.

AEA Safety Procedures Statement|

Actors' Equity Association: "We start to identify potential risks in new productions as early as possible, examining such potential risk elements as raked stages, smoke and haze, stunts, firearms, flying, and unusual or overly-demanding choreography.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Personality Test: 'Nunsense' creator Dan Goggin

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Dan Goggin owes most of his professional career success to nuns.
Since 1986 when he wrote and created 'Nunsense,' Goggin has watched over an ever-expanding collection of shows that chronicle the activities of that fictitious order Little Sisters of Hoboken.

‘Angelina Ballerina’ musical gives many kids first taste of theater

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "As much as children — particularly little girls— love reading the 'Angelina Ballerina' book series by Katharine Holabird, something extra-special happens when fans see the dancing Angelina onstage, in front of them, says the artistic director of the musical version.

Broadway Revival of Evita, with Ricky Martin and Elena Roger, Due in March 2012

Playbill.com: "The Michael Grandage-directed production of Evita — which opened at London's Adelphi Theatre in June 2006 starring Argentine actress Elena Roger — will arrive on Broadway in spring 2012, with Roger repeating her work for New York audiences. Previews, according to an Equity casting notice, will begin in March 2012 prior to an official opening in April.

Theater Talkback: Stepping From The Rock Arena to the Broadway Stage

NYTimes.com: "Rock is mostly retro on Broadway, where the jukebox musical has taken up firm residence. The notable exception is “American Idiot,” which received a heady injection of pop excitement this month with the return of Green Day front man Billie Joe Armstrong to the role of St. Jimmy. (Of course, rumor has it there’s a score for some new show by a rock band called U2, but I haven’t heard a lick of it yet. Some distant day, perhaps.)
Now comes word that Melissa Etheridge will slather on the eye makeup and take over Mr. Armstrong’s role during a week of “American Idiot” performances beginning Feb. 1.

Play Readings at New York Theaters

NYTimes.com: "NEW Yorkers love nothing more than to boast, “I was there first,” whether it’s getting a reservation at a buzzworthy restaurant, snatching up the latest handbag or seeing a new film before the rest of the country.

7 Reasons You Should Never Check Email First Thing In The Morning

sidsavara.com: "When it comes to email, ignorance is bliss. That’s why if you’ve got something important you want to make progress on, I have these four words for you:
Don’t check your email.

Should non-profits have websites for their shows?

PRODUCER’S PERSPECTIVE: "I was honored to have been asked to speak on a panel about marketing last night at The Women's Project. During the panel, search marketing and organic rankings came up as a Producer expressed her frustration with Google. The problem? When she googled her latest show, a bunch of ticket-hawking brokers came up first, and the official page for the show on her website failed to make it into the top 10 organic Google recommendations.

"Viva Elvis receives a subtle but instrumental makeover"

Las Vegas Weekly: "It’s almost a classic chicken and egg story. Which came first? Originally, it was the old Elvis Presley recordings that stayed out of the spotlight in Cirque du Soleil’s Viva Elvis at MGM CityCenter’s Aria. They were raw -- and to be honest -- ancient in terms of our digital age. As the show continued to change, tweak and polish itself to perfection, the masters of music went to work, and now it’s their new soundtrack that drives the spectacular.

Of Pre-Med Schedules and the Possibility of Finishing Your Work Before Dinner

Study Hacks: "Of all Study Hack readers, pre-meds are among the most skeptical. They tell me that although they like my philosophy of doing a small number of things well, this is impossible for them. Their course load is too demanding. Filling most waking hours with work is unavoidable.
Then there’s Nathan.

Connecticut High School Will Perform 'Joe Turner'

NYTimes.com: "Joe Turner will indeed come to Waterbury, Conn. After three hours of discussion on Wednesday night and testimony from community members and other interested parties, including the dean of the Yale School of Drama, the Waterbury Board of Education allowed a public school’s production of the August Wilson play “Joe Turner’s Come and Gone” to proceed in February.

Globe Theater to Show Shakespeare in 38 languages

Backstage: "Shakespeare said all the world's a stage. Next spring, all the world will be on stage at Shakespeare's Globe theater.
The theater is planning a six-week run of the bard's 38 works — to be performed in 38 languages by troupes from around the world.

Chicago to hear 'Noise' in April

Variety: "Show, currently skedded for an eight-week stint at Chi's Royal George Theater beginning April 1, looks to be keeping an eye on its potential for a New York run with a team of producers that also includes Holly Way, Jay Strommen and Tom Leonardis.

It's official: 'White Noise' rock musical will open in April at the Royal George

The Theater Loop: "Dates are now official for 'White Noise,' the edgy new rock musical about a white separatist singing duo that's headed to Chicago this spring — with an eye on a future Broadway gig. Whoopi Goldberg is one of the producers, along with Holly Way, Jay Strommen and Tom Leonardis. The show, which features a cast of 19, will begin preview performances at the Royal George Theatre on April 1, with an official opening slated for April 9. Tickets will go on sale in early February for an eight-week run, but it is hoped that the Chicago run will be significantly longer than that.

Attack Theatre battles dance cliches

The Pitt News: "Tonight through next weekend, Attack Theatre — a local dance company known for producing shows that are cerebral yet athletic and marked by high-contact partner dancing, inventive uses of multimedia and a unique outlook on staging — will commemorate its 15th anniversary season at the New Hazlett Theater. This will be their 58th production at that venue. They have titled the show, simply, “Show #58.”

Belarus troupe to open at Goodman Theatre

Chicago Sun-Times: "Plans are now in place for the Belarus Free Theater Group to make its Chicago debut on the stage of the Goodman Theatre later this month. Although it was announced Monday that the politically engaged company, which is at risk in its homeland of Belarus, would have an unprecedented residency in Chicago for most of February (under the auspices of the Goodman, Northwestern University and the League of Chicago Theaters), the heavily booked Goodman seemed unable to be the first venue to present the company. But the Goodman is now hosting the initial performances of the troupe’s acclaimed show, “Being Harold Pinter.” The members of the company, who recently performed at New York’s Public Theatre, are in peril because in December they actively protested what has widely been determined to be the fraudulent re-election of Aleksandr Lukashenko as president of the former Soviet republic of Belarus.

Three disparate productions highlight haunting aspects of Africa

Chicago Sun-Times: "South Africa was the subject of much powerhouse theater throughout the apartheid era, and Wole Soyinka wrote about Nigeria decades ago. But until recently, plays about other parts of Africa have been few and far between, despite the fact that the continent has been the focus of countless headlines, with datelines ranging from Kenya, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Sierra Leone to, most recently, Sudan and the Ivory Coast.

Moore: What we can learn from from "Assassins," "Talk Radio"

The Denver Post: "In times of sudden national tragedy, theater isn't the most immediately responsive of art forms. When something horrible happens like, say, the Sept. 11 attacks, it can take years for playwrights to gather and present their thoughts before a live audience.

From stage to screen: 10 great adaptations

The Denver Post: "Lindsay-Abaire has taken on the historically difficult problem of adapting plays for the screen ... and perhaps solved it.

Final curtain for Country Dinner Playhouse: Jaws, ghosts and Bloody Marys

The Denver Post: "Demolition of the venerable dinner theater in Arapahoe County, affectionately known as 'The Barn,' began early Tuesday, and is expected to take about two weeks. The Playhouse staged nearly 200 productions, including 'too' of 'Fiddler on the Roof' — as in, 'too many to count,' so the joke went.
As a single excavator chewed through the structure like paper, former producer Paul Dwyer tossed his set of keys into the rubble. 'I won't be needing those anymore,' said Dwyer. 'And I can't protect it anymore, either.'

‘Nunsense’ revels in lighthearted farce

The Pitt News: "When nuns began to modernize — in particular, loosening restrictions on their clothing — a Dominican brother gave his friend Dan Goggin a mannequin outfitted with an old, traditional nun’s habit. It was a fantastic conversation piece, and eventually inspired him to create the original line of “Nunsense” greeting cards, which features nuns in full habit alongside sayings like, “Have Ruler, Will Travel.”

Thursday, January 20, 2011

3 avant choreographers to challenge August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble

Post Gazette: "One of Pittsburgh's up-and-coming repertory companies will stage works from three of modern dance's freshest choreographers when the August Wilson Center Dance Ensemble presents 'The Dynamic Men of Dance ... Celebrating the Black Man' on Friday and Sunday.
The performance will give audiences a taste of what's turning heads on the contemporary dance scene.

The road to Camelot: New Zealander, Hayden Tee, will wear King Arthur's crown in Public Theater production

Post Gazette: "The White House is occupied by a youthful couple and their two preteen children, pockets of the world are at war, and 'Camelot' will be onstage, expressing the ideals of powerful nations struggling with the concept of might vs. right.
That's 'right' as in 'the right thing to do,' a sign of the changing times since the Alan Jay Lerner/Frederick Loewe musical 'Camelot' debuted in 1960 and was turned into a lavish 1967 film.

Attack Theatre not 'Trapped' in the past

Post Gazette: "Anniversaries can be for reminiscing or for looking ahead to what's next.
Attack Theatre's upcoming production at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side is a mix of both. As part of the modern dance company's 15th season, it will restage starting Friday three works from its repertoire and premiere a new piece in 'Attack Theatre Presents Show #58.'

Attack Theatre's new show honors the magic of everyday moments

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Artists are so creative, not to say tangential, these days in coming up with titles for their work that sometimes it seems no one thinks of the literal meaning.
Attack Theatre's co-director, Michele de la Reza, says she's been asked so often what the title of their next production, 'Show #58,' means that she set up a Facebook competition for the best answer.

Stage Right cast feels magic of 'Disney's Sleeping Beauty Kids'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The forces of good versus evil come alive Disney-style in Stage Right Student Theatre Company's production of 'Disney's Sleeping Beauty Kids.'
Cast member Carolyn Cole, of Jeannette, a junior at Greensburg Central Catholic High School, says she and her fellow actors are 'feeling the magic' of performing the stage adaptation of the classic fairytale -- even though there are challenges in taking on one of the major roles.

Stephen Petronio Company celebrates 25 years

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Anniversaries serve many useful purposes. For creative artists they naturally suggest a retrospective show.
Of course, for audiences the value of retrospectives depends on the quality of the work. Stephen Petronio had a lot of dance to select from in creating a 25th anniversary show for his dance company. He has 'long been one of the brainiest and hippest of New York's modern-dance choreographers' according to the New York Times.

Costume Designers Guild Award Nominees Announced

The Hollywood Reporter: "The Costume Designers Guild Award nominees were announced Thursday.
The ceremony will be held Feb. 22 at the Beverly Hilton, hosted by Sex and the City's Kristin Davis.

Broadway's 'Spider-Man' Gets New Flying Finale

The Hollywood Reporter: "The new finale now includes a flying scene where the superhero propels triumphantly around the theater, according to the New York Times. The Hollywood Reporter previously wrote that previews in the play were closed to the press the week of Dec. 13 so that the ending could be retooled.

To the Waterbury Board of Education

American Theatre Wing: "To the members of the Waterbury Board of Education:
Stephen Sondheim, a singular voice in the American theatre, famously wrote the lyric, “Art isn’t easy.” I am reminded of this as I read of the current debate within the Waterbury school system over the Arts Magnet School’s proposed production of Joe Turner’s Come and Gone by August Wilson, another singular voice in theatre.

45% Of Students Don't Learn Much In College

huffingtonpost: "A new study provides disturbing answers to questions about how much students actually learn in college – for many, not much – and has inflamed a debate about the value of an American higher education.
The research of more than 2,300 undergraduates found 45 percent of students show no significant improvement in the key measures of critical thinking, complex reasoning and writing by the end of their sophomore years.

Downstage Center - George C. Wolfe - January, 2011

American Theatre Wing: "Playwright/director Geroge C. Wolfe discusses the seven year development of John Guare's A Free Man of Color, from approaching Guare with the idea of merging Restoration comedies and life in New Orleans leading up to the Louisiana Purchase, to receiving a script that would have run some five hours, to the just-finished production at Lincoln Center Theater. He also recalls his earliest directing urges as a child in Frankfort KY; provides the details of the first play he ever wrote, Up for Grabs, while a student at Pomona College; recounts the 'horror' of his first professional productions, his musical Paradise! in both Cincinnati and New York; describes the sudden success of The Colored Museum and the subsequent development of Spunk, the latter being the first time he directed his own work; explains who he sees as his collaborators when he's both writing and directing; recounts his combative but ultimately fruitful work with Gregory Hines on Jelly's Last Jam; lays out the whirlwind of work that surrounded the Broadway production of Angels in America and his concurrent hiring as artistic director of New York's The Public Theater; acknowledges that his role as The Public's producer forced the artist in him to take a back seat; considers his ongoing artistic relationship with actor Jeffrey Wright; reveals the conceptual work that animated the household objects that were so integral to the story of Caroline, or Change; and answers the question of whether he will ever write another play.

Costume Design: Visually Supporting the Story and Characters

Below the Line: "“The actors are in the foreground, so the costumes are in the foreground,” comments costume designer, Jeffrey Kurland, Oscar-nominated for Bullets Over Broadway. Yet whereas a period or fantasy costume might pop off the screen due to the nature of the clothing and the spectacle of the films, the average viewer may not even notice contemporary costumes because they are so integrated into the experience of a film as a whole. If that is the case, how does one not only vote for costume design, but first recognize costume design that is award winning?

WTF Receives the 2011 Commonwealth Award for Achievement

Williamstown Theatre Festival Blog: "Given every two years by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Commonwealth Awards shine a spotlight on the extraordinary contributions that arts and culture make to education, economic vitality, and quality of life in communities across the state. The Awards ceremony is also a chance for the Massachusetts nonprofit cultural sector to come together, assert its value, and make the case for public investment in its work.

Awards launched to recognise stars of the London fringe

The Stage: "A new set of theatre awards aimed specifically at off-West End and London fringe venues is to launch next month - with a ceremony hosted by Simon Callow.
The Off West End Theatre Awards, or the ‘Offies’, has been launched by offwestend.com - a website focussing on independent theatres in London. The inaugural awards ceremony will be held at Wilton’s Music Hall on Sunday February 27. Around 300 invited guests will attend, including many stage stars who began their careers working in fringe theatre such as Simon Russell Beale, Janet Suzman and Michael Pennington.

'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' previews should be reviewed

latimes.com: "Even though 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' has delayed its official opening for the fifth time, the L.A. Times' Charles McNulty says critics should weigh in on previews of the expensive musical so that audiences will know what they're paying for: a problem-plagued work in progress.

The Midnight Ride Effect

Scientific American: "With the country on the verge of civil war in 1860, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote a patriotic poem about Paul Revere, a little-known Massachusetts silversmith and minor hero of the Revolutionary War. “Paul Revere’s Ride” played fast and loose with the facts of the now famous 1775 events, but the narrative had the psychological effect the author intended. It got Americans wondering how history might have turned out differently without that heroic act—and how the country might never have come to exist. By focusing on the nation’s precarious origins, the poem bolstered nationalism at a time when it was sorely needed.

'Spider-Man' Divides N.Y. Critics

Backstage: "It is the most expensive show in the history of Broadway and it has not even officially opened. Despite packed previews and big box-office success, the producers of 'Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark' have delayed the show's opening date for a fifth time, pushing from Feb. 7 to March 15. Lead Producer Michael Cohl attributed the postponement to the show's complex stunts and effects, saying it 'is 10 times more complicated to tech than anything else,' and assuring theatergoers that 'this will be the final postponement.'

Globe to build Jacobean theater

Variety: "Shakespeare's Globe theater has announced the go-ahead to complete the planned building of an indoor, 320-seat Jacobean theater adjacent to its 1,500 seat open-air home.
Fundraising will begin in February to recreate an English renaissance indoor theater. Major construction work is skedded to begin in November 2012, with a projected opening season from November 2013.

Director Michael Langham brought stability to the Guthrie

StarTribune.com: "Michael Langham, credited for reviving a flagging Guthrie Theater in 1971, died at age 91 Saturday as a result of pneumonia. Langham was artistic director at the theater from 1971 to 1977, directing signature productions of 'Love's Labor's Lost,' 'Cyrano de Bergerac,' 'The Taming of the Shrew' and 'Oedipus, the King.' For all his noteworthy skill as a director, he is remembered for stabilizing a company that was foundering eight years after its birth in 1963.

Brothers Size playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney is busier than ever as City Theatre stages his Marcus; or The Secret of Sweet.

Pittsburgh City Paper: "Though he's getting better known for a trilogy of plays set in a fictional Louisiana bayou town, Tarell Alvin McCraney feels ever further from having a home of his own. That's one price you pay when you're among the English-speaking world's hottest playwrights.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Video: “Magic, Memories, and You!” show premieres projected onto Cinderella Castle at Walt Disney World’s Magic KIngdom

Inside the Magic: "Tonight at a special media-only event, Disney premiered their new “Magic, Memories, and You!” show on Cinderella Castle. That’s right, it takes place ON the castle. That is, the entire show is projected onto the castle’s surface.

Depression On The Rise In College Students

NPR: "Researchers say severe mental illness is more common among college students than it was a decade ago, with most young people seeking treatment for depression and anxiety. A study presented at the American Psychological Association found that the number of students on psychiatric medicines increased more than 10 percentage points over the last 10 years.

Report: First two years of college show small gains

USATODAY.com: "Nearly half of the nation's undergraduates show almost no gains in learning in their first two years of college, in large part because colleges don't make academics a priority, a new report shows.

ABTT Theatre Show 2011 for June 15-16

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: "Building on the success of previous years, the 33rd ABTT Theatre Show., scheduled for June 15-16, promises to deliver a packed showcase, while celebrating The Association of British Theatre Technicians 50th anniversary.

Lightwave Lasers Brighten Arizona Mountain During Fiesta Bowl

PLSN: "Nike rallied to the support of the University of Oregon's football team, the Ducks, commissioning Lightwave International's laser projections from the 2011 Fiesta Bowl stadium grounds to the face of a mountain about two miles away.
The rocky face of Camelback Mountain served as a projection canvas for a laser light show, with images hundreds of feet wide including the Nike Swoosh, the phrase, 'Just Do It,' and the 'O' logo for the Ducks.

MASS. MARKET: Despite Oscar buzz, local film industry needs a rebound

The Patriot Ledger: "When Hollywood gathers for its annual Academy Awards ritual in Los Angeles next month, it’s a safe bet that Massachusetts flicks will be in the spotlight.
You’ve got “The Social Network,” which is practically a lock for a Best Picture nomination. Other locally-set films, such as “The Fighter” and “The Town,” will likely earn a few nods as well.
But back in the Bay State, the film industry might not be breaking out the champagne just yet. Sure, the latest crop of Massachusetts movies is a great reflection of our state’s talented crew base, diverse scenery and generous tax credits. But these films are being celebrated after the number of movies that were shot here declined for two straight years.

A Whimsical Look at Imagined Broadway Flops

NYTimes.com: "With its cascading delays and cast injuries, the troubled birth of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” on Broadway has attracted a great deal of attention. Thus inspired, City Room paged through yellowed clippings to bring you some other notable theatrical misfires through Broadway history.

Wireless Update: What Does the FCC Decision Mean for Your Church?

Church Production Magazine News: "The ongoing changes regarding wireless frequency availability are complex and, as mentioned in previous articles, for the present time, reflect a constantly shifting landscape. The most recent changes, adopted and released on September 23, 2010 (but not yet published in the Federal Register as of this writing), are detailed in an 88-page Second Memorandum Opinion and Order document. These changes focus on availability of TV channels that wireless systems such as microphone, in-ear monitor, and intercom systems can operate in without interference from Television Bands Devices (TVBDs).

Federal officials criticize state safety agency's inaction in fatal fall

ReviewJournal.com: "Federal safety officials are accusing Nevada's workplace safety agency of failing to combat reluctance, evasion and falsehoods from two local employers when the state investigated the fatal fall of a 20-year-old part-time stagehand at the MGM Grand hotel in 2009 .

Arena Stage Hosts #NewPlay Festival and Convening on New Play Development

Stage Directions: "The discourse surrounding new play development continues within the American Voices New Play Institute at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, as the company presents the #NewPlay Festival from January 19-30. In addition to performances and readings of plays supported by the National Endowment for the Arts New Play Development Program (NEA-NPDP), the #NewPlay Festival will also include a four-day convening bringing together more than 100 theatre practitioners from across the country to further the dialogue around new play development.

'Dracula' team nearly yanks clothes, props from flop show

NYPOST.com: "The final performances of 'Dracula' last weekend played less like a Gothic thriller and more like the backstage farce 'Noises Off.'
The antics -- which Tony-win ning costume designer Willa Kim calls 'the most bizarre experience of my career' -- began Friday, the day The Post reported that the artistic team was owed $100,000 in fees and expenses by the show's producers.

Chandelier one of the stars of "Phantom -- The Las Vegas Spectacular"

ReviewJournal.com: "The one that spectacularly assembles itself each night at the start of the show. Later, for even more thrills, it whooshes down for a simulated crash right over the heads of gold-circle patrons.
It even has a name: Maria.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Why and How I Switched to a Standing Desk

Lifehacker: "I spend about 45 to 50 hours a week working on my computer. Up until a week ago, I did that work sitting on my ever-expanding behind.
Last Monday I adjusted my desk to standing height (pictured right). I spent the week working on my feet, and I'm never going back to a sitdown desk again. Here are some questions and answers about the change.
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Black Swan: Interview with Darren Aronofsky

Clothes on Film: "Director Darren Aronofsky came to prominence with 1998’s Pi, a bold and imaginative take on the body shock genre. His latest film Black Swan harks back to that work; the tale of a young ballerina undergoing psychological transformation, her identity thrown into question on the most visceral of levels.
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Confirmed! Disney's Aladdin to Play Seattle's 5th Avenue in July 2011 2011/01/12

broadwayworld.com: "BroadwayWorld.com's Seattle sources have exclusively confirmed for us that Disney's Aladdin will indeed open at Seattle's 5th Avenue Theatre in July of 2011. The stage production will feature all the songs from the film as well as restored songs from early drafts of the score.
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Troubled Spider-Man musical has new ally: Glenn Beck

The Globe and Mail: "The Spider-Man musical on Broadway has a big-name cheerleader with a big megaphone – Glenn Beck. The conservative commentator has seen the $65 million Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark twice, and he's giving it glowing reviews both on the air and on his Twitter account. “This is better than Wicked!” he raved Wednesday on The Glenn Beck Program, which has an estimated 6 million listeners.
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August Wilson, Mark Twain and “The N-Word”

AmericanTheatreWing: "I found myself particularly upset last week when I first read that David Snead, superintendant of schools in Waterbury CT, was planning to shut down an Arts Magnet School’s production of August Wilson’s play Joe Turner’s Come and Gone because it contained a hateful racial epithet, one sufficient incendiary that all reportage on the matter substituted the phrase “the n-word” in its place.
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Department of Consumer Affairs Now Satisfied with Spider-Man Advertising

Playbill.com: "New York City's Department of Consumer Affairs, the New York Times reports, is now satisfied with the updated advertising for the new musical Spider-Man Turn Off the Dark, which now more clearly indicates that the production is currently in previews prior to its official opening March 15.
 

‘Spider-Man’ Producers Defend Delay

NYTimes.com: "The producers and director of “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” defended on Friday their decision to postpone the musical’s opening by another five weeks, saying that a show of this unprecedented complexity could not unfold according to Broadway tradition. New productions usually have four weeks of preview performances to work out kinks and not the record-setting 15 of “Spider-Man” before critics review it.
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