CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

'Deliberative Theater' to tackle Marcellus Shale

PostGazette: "Two words guaranteed to spark debate in Western Pennsylvania: Marcellus Shale.
Tonight there will be, in the words of one of the event's organizers, a 'robust discussion' on the subject, but this foray into public discourse won't abide shouting or grandstanding.
'Managing Marcellus: A Deliberative Theater Event' promises measured, civilized response from many sides of what has become such a hot-button topic. And that in itself is remarkable."

Thomas Middleditch: Ready for anything after riffing Bard

Variety: "When Thomas Middleditch was asked to be a part of the Improvised Shakespeare Company -- a Chicago-based improv troupe that performs spontaneous plays in stilted, Elizabethan-sounding English -- his first thought was 'That sounds impossible. Sure.'"

Web Spy: iDoneThis

College Candy: "I’m a huge fan of to-do lists. If I don’t write it down, there’s a good chance I’ll forget to do it. Some days, however, time gets away from me and I don’t end up getting as much done as I’d planned — and then I’m stuck with a bunch of leftover tasks that have to get added to the next day’s list. This is one of my pet peeves, because there is nothing more satisfying than looking at my to-do list and seeing all that I’ve crossed off it."

Idea/Expression Dichotomy Is Dead; Judge Allows Photographer's Lawsuit Against Rihanna To Move Forward

Techdirt: "Well, this is unfortunate. Back in February, we wrote about what seems like a positively ridiculous lawsuit from photographer David LaChapelle, against the singer Rihanna for her video S&M. LaChapelle claims that scenes in the video infringe on certain photographs he's taken."

Simplify Your Productivity Tools To Get More Done

lifehack: "Anytime a new productivity app hits the App Store or the web it’s a race to see if it’s the next best thing; the last app you will ever need to become more productive, a better human being, or, hell, even cuter. Anytime a new “productivity guru” tells us how to get more work done we may as well spend a week or month to give it a try."

Jorma Elo brings new work to Aspen Santa Fe Ballet "Jorma Elo confesses that he doesn't especially enjoy sitting in a theater, watching a dance performance. In particular, what he doesn't like watching are the dances he has created: “I feel like, that's not what I want to do — sit down and look at what I've done,” Elo, an athletically built, 49-year-old native of Finland, said last week."

Can you understand theatre when you don't speak the language? "How much can you get out of a play if it's performed in a language you don't understand? This question was very much on my mind at the Avignon festival in the south of France. It was my first time at this large-scale, artistically ambitious arts shindig, which bears similarities to the Edinburgh International festival. Both started in the 1940s to cheer up a post-war populace; both have a large fringe festival alongside the main programme (though in Avignon this is known, delightfully, as the 'Off'); both entirely commandeer their host town."

George Lucas Loses U.K. 'Star Wars' Copyright Case

The Hollywood Reporter: "A prop designer who made the original Stormtrooper helmets for Star Wars has won his battle with director George Lucas over his right to sell replicas, according to the BBC ."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cobalt Scenic Painting Summer – Day One 7.25

(td)squared: "So here I am laying in my bed, in a giant farm house along with 8 other scenic artists for 3 weeks of learning, painting, and overall just having a great time.
I am currently at Cobalt Scenic Studios. It is everything I could ask for and more.
I will do my best to make a post for each day I’m here but forgive me if some days have shorter posts – sometimes I procrastinate ( gasp)."

Would Fashion Copyright Have Made Kate Middleton's Knockoff Wedding Dress Illegal?

Techdirt: "Right after the big royal wedding a few months back, Susan Scafidi, the law professor who is one of the leading supporters of putting in place a totally unnecessary and economically damaging 'fashion copyright,' used the wedding to support her arguments for fashion copyright. She suggested how unfortunate it would be that Kate Middleton's wedding dress would now be knocked off and used by other brides. It seems the 'Kate Middleton's dress' example is popular among supporters of fashion copyright. In the NY Times, Steven Kolb, director of the Council for Fashion Designers of America (the main organization pushing for this bill), described Kate Middleton's wedding dress as the perfect example of what fashion copyright could protect:
Mr. Kolb said that Kate Middleton’s wedding dress would probably be a good example
Interesting. Except... as Johanna Blakley points out, it turns out that Kate Middleton's dress... was a knockoff itself!"

CBS Goes Behind the Scenes of Zarkana

Fascination! Newsletter: "Cirque du Soleil’s new acrobatic spectacle, Zarkana, officially opened at Radio City Music Hall June 29, following previews that began June 9. Here, CBS News goes behind-the-scenes at Radio City and also offers footage from the Cirque rehearsals to show Zarkana’s journey to New York City."

Flash musical breaks out in Market Square

Post Gazette: "The Market Square lunch crowd was the audience today as a group of high school students staged an impromptu 'flash musical' to draw attention to Darfur."

An AutoCAD Hip Tip on Turning Splines into Plines

Lynn Allen's Blog: "Cadalyst Magazine released my latest Tips and Tricks Tuesday video on turning Splines into Polylines. This was a welcome addition to AutoCAD 2010 - but I find that many of you out there in AutoCADland don't seem to know about it."

AFTRA in Talks With 'AMC,' 'OLTL' Web Producer

Backstage: "The American Federation of Television and Radio Artists is in discussions with Prospect Park over the entertainment firm's plans to turn 'All My Children' and 'One Life to Live' into Web series."

Burning Man sells out; first time in 25 years

The Denver Post: "It's a big bummer for 'Burners' who don't have their tickets.
Burning Man organizers say the eight-day counter-culture festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert has sold out for the first time in its 25-year history."

‘Red Cloud Rising’ Is Theater on Lower Manhattan Streets "For 250 years Bydder Financial has been one of the most powerful forces in the global economy. It has underwritten the expansion of American multinational corporations, shaping the destiny of smaller countries to suit the priorities of the United States and of Bydder itself. From its august headquarters on Broad Street, barely a block from the New York Stock Exchange, Bydder stands astride international commerce like a colossus (or perhaps Croesus)."

News: 'Class Dismissed'

insidehighered: "It's no secret that this country has an education problem. Whether pre-K or post-grad, the consensus is clear: we need more and better education. Too few students make it through high school, and fewer still make it through college; in any case they are not learning enough, or they are not learning the right things in the right way. The child left behind in school will never go to college, and the child who doesn't go to college becomes the adult who will never attain a reasonably well-paying job. Education, then, is the key to prosperity -- for individual workers and for the nation that comprises them."

Monday, July 25, 2011

St. Vincent closes season with funny 'Steps'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "'Taking Steps,' the final show in St. Vincent Theatre's summer season, is a combination of comedy and farce.
'Generally speaking, comedies tend to have a little more meat to them than farces do,' says director Colleen Reilly. 'They have characters with a little more depth, and some of the humor arises from the nature of these characters themselves.'"

Pittsburgh CLO's 'Sound of Music' proves sweet, sassy and surprising

PostGazette: "It's easy to assume we already know what we're getting with 'The Sound of Music' -- familiar and family-friendly entertainment that's as sweet as apple strudel.
But the CLO's production has altered the recipe a bit, resulting in a confection that's surprisingly crisp and has bite while preserving the show's wholesomeness."

Canada's Shaw hits 50

Variety: "Like many who reach the mid-century mark, Canada's Shaw Festival, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this season, is going through a bit of a midlife crisis."

The future of lighting: walls of light, LEDs, and glowing trees

arstechnica: "Light bulbs haven't been sexy tech since Thomas Edison's day, but innovation has come to an industry that has seen relatively little of it for a century. Today, the lighting industry is in a remarkable state of flux, and much of it has been driven by government action."

Rebecca Akins: Surviving Forty Years of Making Props

Props: "On the second full day of this year’s S*P*A*M conference, we watched a presentation by Rebecca Akins. Ms. Akins has designed costumes for Childsplay Theatre (our host in Arizona) for the past twenty-five years, and has been constructing costumes, puppets, costume props and masks for at least that long as well. She divided her presentation in two parts. The first was on materials and methods she’s used in the past which she now knows to be hazardous to your health. The second was on “new good things”, which are less-toxic replacements for these."

Safety Rules for Tablesaws: the PTI POV

Popular Woodworking Magazine: "There are a couple of techniques I use to sort out thorny and complicated issues; follow the money and check the math. I also try to remember that my little corner of the world is just that, it isn't necessarily a reflection of the world at large. Like most serious woodworkers I don't want to see any one get hurt, and at the same time I don't want my personal choices limited by someone else, so I'm concerned about the petition before the Consumer Product Safety Commission to mandate 'flesh detection technology' on new table saws."

How to Write Better and Faster

lifehack: "I remember when I was younger and how I truly hated writing. If I had a paper due in school I would wait until the absolute last night before it was due to start writing. In doing that I would always set myself up for failure. My papers ended up being a mish-mosh of ideas that didn’t make any sense, spelling mistakes, and usually a paper that didn’t meet the length requirements."

New Table Saw Safety Regs – PTI Speaks Up

Popular Woodworking Magazine: "Over the past few weeks, the debate over proposed Consumer Product Safety Commission regulations for table saw safety has been in the news. Curiously, the reason for it being in the news wasn't any new development; CPSC has been holding meetings with representatives from both SawStop and from the Power Tool Institute, but these meetings are part of the long, drawn out process of deciding whether or not safety mandates should be established. The debate has been in the news because it was in the news. National Public Radio covered the news on its Morning Edition program and soon other woodworking magazines and blogs were picking up the story. We chose not to cover the story at that time because there really wasn't anything to report. No one from CPSC issued a press release, no new meetings were scheduled, and no action was taken."

AFTRA Re-elects Reardon as President

Backstage: "Delegates to the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists' national convention in Seattle voted Saturday night to re-elect Roberta Reardon to a third two-year term as the union's national president. The result had been widely anticipated, as the New York actor faced no serious challengers for the post. In a statement made to the convention early Saturday, Reardon reiterated support for the current effort to merge AFTRA and the Screen Actors Guild."

Network Primetime Residuals Chilly for SAG/AFTRA, Guilds

Backstage: "When the WGA announced its studio deal earlier this spring, a notable concession by the union was that network primetime TV residuals were frozen at 2010-2011 levels. These residuals apply when rerunning a non-cable TV program on network primetime TV—for example, if a network TV show is rerun on network primetime TV, the residual is payable."

'Spider-Man': Julie Taymor's fall from grace "Times Square on a warm recent Friday night had the character of an amusement park. The streets were thick with tourists in shorts, snapping pictures, clutching drinks and ice cream cones. Gigantic theme restaurants were jammed. Broadway theaters beckoned with entertainment meant to be the equivalent of a Disneyland ride (and Disney itself is no small presence here). How much longer before the Great White Way hosts attractions like the Great White Wave? Put on your swim suit and jump in."

London Theater Journal: Funny Then and There, Here and Now "There is timely comedy, which is what most satire, stand-up and sitcoms are. And then there is timeless comedy, which, properly performed, should feel as old as the hills and as fresh as ocean air. Or in the case of “One Man, Two Guvnors,” Richard Bean’s smash play at the National Theater, ocean air scented with the fumes of warm beer, melting taffy and frying fish and chips."

World War I Reverberates in ‘Silver Tassie’ and ‘War Horse’ "Ms. Hynes, whose Druid Theater production of the 1928 Sean O’Casey play “The Silver Tassie” arrives on Sunday as part of the 2011 Lincoln Center Festival, is hardly alone in feeling the urge to remind people just how bloody the conflict stretching from 1914 to 1918 was. “The war to end all wars,” as Woodrow Wilson optimistically called it, failed woefully in achieving that goal, to the point where the historian Adam Hochschild titled his acclaimed recent book about the period “To End All Wars.”"

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Much to like about 'Sound of Music'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "If you like 'The Sound of Music,' you're going to love the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera production.
Even if you loathe the musical for its syrupy tale of the power of music and love to overcome loss, restore families and help people escape the Nazis, you can still admire this production's many redeeming qualities."

Love Changes Everything

Pittsburgh City Paper: "Indulge me: Give a serious listen to the Andrew Lloyd Webber song 'Don't Cry For Me, Argentina.' What is this song even about? The lyrics are odd, spidery and hardly make sense. If you've seen Evita, the words are confusing. If youhaven't seen Evita, they're total gibberish. Why would Argentina weep for Eva Perón? What 'promise'? How could Argentinians not keep their distance? Perón is standing ontop of a building!"

Comic Potential

Pittsburgh City Paper: "Britain's very prolific Alan Ayckbourn -- oops, pardon me, Sir Alan Ayckbourn -- has written more than 75 plays. I often feel, erroneously, like I've sat through all of them. But most of what I have seen involves two things:(a) Sir Al manipulating stage time in such a way that real time seems weird and (b) suburban infidelity … especially the sort where the more piggish-acting the man, the more all the women want to sleep with him."

London Theater This Summer Touches Deep "“MY dear Lady Disdain,” as she is sometimes called, has been struck by a compelling need to confide. And so Beatrice, in the beguiling person of Eve Best, walks to the edge of the stage at Shakespeare’s Globe — the popular Thames-side theater — shedding self-possession with every step. She is wearing an expression we have never seen on her before: elated, aghast and altogether undone."

Interview | Joey McKneely

Time Out Chicago: "In our June 2–8 issue, I talked with Broadway dance director Gary Chryst about how choreography evolves on the Great White Way, specifically Bob Fosse’s moves for Chicago, which Ann Reinking adapted andChryst oversees.
On Tuesday 19, West Side Story opens a four-week stay at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. I called that show’s dance director, Joey McKneely, in New York to hear how he and West Side’s author, Arthur Laurents—who died on May 5 at the age of 93—negotiated similar challenges regarding the work of choreographer Jerome Robbins."

London’s Pub Theaters Still Thrive "Bartenders are rarely shy about offering an opinion or four. But on a recent evening at the Finborough Wine Cafe, in between pours of Beaujolais, the bartender Van Badham was memorably on point about the new play “Mirror Teeth”being performed in an upstairs room: A Christopher-Durang-meets-Caryl-Churchill satire about racism, sex and control in the British family, capped by a corker of an ending in which a desperate father pimps out his unstable 18-year-old daughter."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Urban Impact

Carnegie Mellon University: "When a performing arts company donated millions of props and costumes to Urban Impact in Pittsburgh, they thought that theywould never have to purchase another item for a play or musical again. But, the magnitude of the items quickly became overwhelming — simply locating specific items within the warehouse was virtually impossible."

'Sound of Music' just the start of some acting journeys

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Seven weeks after winning this year's Gene Kelly Award for best actress and three weeks after becoming one of three finalists for the National High School Musical Theater best actress award, Kirsten Hoover is making her professional debut in the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera's 'The Sound of Music.'"

New Olde Bank Theater extends invitation to jump into 'Moral Abyss'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "People need to laugh.
That's the uncomplicated motivation behind the New Olde Bank Theatre's annual one-act play festival, says its creator and the group's artistic director Sean O'Donnell.And, it remains the catalyst for this year's five offerings -- presented under the umbrella title of 'The Moral Abyss Strikes Back!' -- from the Freeport's native's pen. It opens at 8 p.m. Friday and continues on Saturday, and July 29 and 30 in Verona."

Baker & Tarpaga blend African, American movement

PostGazette: "Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project apparently has a penchant for oxymorons. Witness a recent work called 'Disorder Inside Order' and their newestpiece, 'Beautiful Struggle.'
Kelly-Strayhorn Theater audiences saw the latter in development form on Friday, although it will be at Jacob's Pillow Dance on Wednesday as part of the festival's Inside/Out series."

Top 10 Open Source Project Management Apps for Freelancers

>FreelanceSwitch: "Successful freelancers know that time is money. Efficient task and time management are the key factors for freelancers. One freelancer may simultaneously lead several projects, need to communicate with a dozen of clients, and have numerous deadlines to hit. To turn freelance chaos into prioritized work order, there are many project management tools in the getting things done software market.
However, most project management tools are expensive or don’t meet freelance needs. Let’s face the truth: the majority of freelancers are budget-limited, work in small teams with multiple clients located worldwide, or are scattered all over the country. Thus, freelancers want cheap, ideally free, highly customizable project management solutions for efficient team-working.
Let me introduce 10 free, open source project management products that are likely to fit your freelance requirements"

Live Nation-backed group declares war on StubHub, ticket resellers "Backed by Live Nation Entertainment and Ticketmaster, a group of concert promoters and artist managers on Monday declared war on ticket resellers such as those on StubHub, Razorgator and others. The newly formed group, dubbed Fans First Coalition, lashed out at 'scalpers' and others who buy tickets in bulk and then resell them."

Women in theatre: let's get rid of the equality myth "We already know how the cuts in arts funding are going to reduce a lot of good companies to one show a year and possibly put some companies out of business entirely. But what I've not seen any discussion of, anywhere, is how these cuts will affect women working in the industry, possibly even more disproportionately than within other industries. Instead we seem content to parade a few 'success stories' as examples of how all-inclusive the arts are, reducing legitimate achievements to a headline and unwittingly shutting the door to more women through sheer ignorance."

Weinsteins pull the plug on 'Finding Neverland' musical at La Jolla Playhouse "'Finding Neverland,' a planned stage musical based on the popular 2004 movie, has been officially grounded.
The La Jolla Playhouse said it was removing the musical from its 2011-12 scheduleand replacing it with a revival of 'Jesus Christ Superstar' imported from the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Canada. The La Jolla Playhouse said 'Finding Neverland' was canceled because Weinstein Co. withdrew from the project."

Joffrey Ballet reaches tentative contract agreement

Chicago Sun-Times: "The dancers of the Joffrey Ballet and the company’s management have reached a tentative agreement on a newcontract.
The dancers are expected to officially ratify the new deal next week, and the company’s fall season — the company premiere of the full-length ballet, “Don Quixote” — will be presented at the Auditorium Theatre in October as planned."

'No Country's' Bardem Calls for Global Actors Rights

Backstage: "In 'No Country for Old Men' Javier Bardem's hitman character mercilessly collected unpaid debts with a deadly bolt gun.
When it comes to movie pirates, the 42-year-old Oscar winner is more understanding."

Opera Unions Request Investigation and Injunction

Backstage: "The unions representing performers at New York City Opera have requested that New York's attorney general investigate the company for allegedly committing fraud and breaching its fiduciary duty. The American Guild of MusicalArtists and Local 802 of the American Federation of Musicians also announced on Monday that they have asked the attorney general to seek an injunction preventing City Opera from leaving Lincoln Center."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Play About Proposition 8 by Dustin Lance Black "A new play based on the Proposition 8 trial over same-sex marriage in California, written by the Academy Award winner Dustin Lance Black (“Milk”), will be performed in a staged reading on Broadway in September and then produced at Carnegie Mellon University, Northwestern, the University of Michigan, and elsewhere."

The BFA Musical Theatre Degree Should Die

TACT: "I have come to believe that data should play an important part in any discussion of the state of theatre and theatre education today. So it comes as a welcome treat that Broadway producer Ken Davenport has posted some really interesting statistics on the state of musical theatre on Broadway, as well on plays. His blog posts detail the decline in how much theatre Broadway actually produces, and by inference how many fewer jobs there actually are. The numbers are here, here, and here. The statistical reality (no surprise here) is that there is far less of anything being produced today. Size of musical casts went from 69% of musicals with casts over 30 in the 1950s to 27% today. In the 1940s, the number of new plays on Broadway averaged 49.4. In the 2000s, it’s now 11.7 (10.9 in the 1990s). New musicals? In the 1940s the number of new musicals each season was 14.9. In the 2000s, 9.3, an uptick from the 1990s (7.5). Broadly speaking (pun intended), Broadway is about half the size it was in the 1940s."

Three powerful Stratford Shakespeare Festival offerings highlight rebirth

PostGazette: "Yes, they still produce Shakespeare at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. This year's 12 offerings are almost half Shakespeare -- four by the Bard and one about him.
But advance booking of hotels here and at the Shaw Festival meant that when the two festivals' schedules were announced last fall, last month's Post-Gazette Shaw/Stratford theater trip was bard-less. Odder still, at Stratford we saw two musicals and a recent version of an American classic."

All good, no evil in 'Sound of Music' role

Post Gazette: "Variety is too weak a word for Lisa Howard's recent roles.
The actor best known for originating the role of Rona Lisa Peretti in 'The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee' on Broadway will play Mother Abbess in 'The Sound ofMusic' at the Pittsburgh CLO Tuesday through July 31."

Dwarfs get makeover in children's musical version of 'Snow White'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "The Brothers Grimm would never recognize the band of little men in Tim Kelly's musical adaptation of 'Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs' being staged at Apple Hill Playhouse.
The playwright's mischievous dwarfs are named Sarge, Gabby, Gloomy Gus, Ticklish, Sprightly, Snore and Slowpoke in this children's production -- and their personalities match their monikers."

'Ring of Fire' recaps life, music of iconic singer

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "An ensemble cast is bringing the music and life story of country legend Johnny Cash to the Mountain Playhouse, starting on Tuesday.
'Ring of Fire' is pulled directly from Cash's autobiography and will feature 40 musical numbers, some of which will be true to Cash's originals and others that are spiced up for the stage, according to musical director Chris Blisset."

Broadway matinees mix it up

Variety: "Matinees aren't just for Wednesdays anymore.
This summer, Broadway's selection of weekday afternoon performance has expanded beyond Humpday to include two shows, 'Baby It's You!' and 'Rock of Ages,' performing Friday matinees, and another, 'Chicago,' trying out Thursday afternoons."

Views: Perspective in Math and Art

Inside Higher Ed: "As a mathematician, I expect that people at parties will tell me that they're no good at math. I'm used to my fellow professors confessing their ignorance of my subject. I understand that many of my students think math ishard and scary. That's why I was so eager to do drawing -- something I figured would be easy and approachable -- in my math classes."

Developing a Venetian Contour Curtain and Sophisticated Motion Control System

Rosebrand: "Here’s an interesting story on a gorgeous grand drape and rigging project that we did for Delta Stage, who was hired by Holy Land Experience toinstall theatrical equipment & lighting for the new Church of All Nations. Delta brought Rose Brand on board to help with certain aspects of the job, including the development of a Venetian Contour curtain and a motion control system."