CMU School of Drama

Monday, October 31, 2011

Back to the roots of rock: 'Million Dollar Quartet' celebrates a real fab four

Post Gazette: You can't help but wish the walls could talk within the tight quarters of the Union Avenue storefront in Memphis. The displays of photographs include some of the biggest names of the rock 'n' roll era, with one larger than all the rest. It shows the day in 1956 that Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis gathered for a one-time only jam session at Sun Record Studios, a moment at the birth of rock that lives on in that image and also in the recordings that surfaced decades later. Well, some wishes do come true...

Music and dancers excel in 'Peter Pan'

Post Gazette: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre took another visit this past weekend to the second star on the right, which happened to be conveniently (if temporarily) located at the Benedum Center. It was only 2007 when the company first explored Neverland in Septime Webre's all-American, Broadway-inspired version of "Peter Pan," so it was a surprise that artistic director Terrence Orr decided on this encore presentation so soon. More than that, he chose a little-known choreographer from Western Canada, Royal Winnipeg Ballet former principal dancer and current school staff member, Jorden Morris. Well, sprinkle me with fairy dust.

Arts groups increasingly skipping intermission

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: If the performing arts maintained an endangered species list, intermissions might well be ranked somewhere near the top. During the past decade, many theater and dance events and some concerts have downsized to performances of 90 minutes or less, eliminating the need for a 15-minute break. Neither "Electra" nor "Red,"the first two plays on Pittsburgh Public Theater's 2011-12 season feature an intermission. Mark Power, managing director at City Theatre, points out that, on average, half of the company's productions are performed without the traditional break.

Magic/Bird, the New Basketball Play, Aiming for March Opening on Broadway; Casting Has Begun Producers Fran Kirmser and Tony Ponturo are shooting for their production of Eric Simonson's basketball play, Magic/Bird, to have a March 21, 2012, Broadway opening following a Feb. 27 first preview. A theatre is yet to be announced for the open-ended run of the six-actor, 95-minute play about the professional rivalry and friendship between basketball stars Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Larry Bird. Producer Ponturo told on Oct. 31 that casting is ongoing for the title roles, and four other performers.

Review: Narrative, spectacle balanced in 'Peter Pan'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Overactive interpretation is the bane of many contemporary theatrical settings of familiar stories, which can be lost in the process. Choreographer Jorden Morris took a more direct approach in his version of "Peter Pan," which Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre presented this weekend to open its season at the Benedum Center, Downtown. Narrative and spectacle are well-balanced in the production Morris, a former dancer at the Royal Winnipeg Ballet in Canada, created in 2006. He delights in using classical ballet dancing for action and expression of feeling, supplementing it with a lot of mime. The story is faithfully told, its progress always crystal-clear.

Elephants Really Do Fly at the Disneyland Resort

Disney Parks Blog: He’s baaack! Last May, one of our African bull elephants from the Jungle Cruise needed a “check-up.” (This happens once every 7-10 years.) Our special elephant, however, can’t be removed by boat or car. This is Disneyland Resort, where elephants fly! So our popular pachyderm was hoisted into the air by a helicopter and flown backstage, where a team waited to refurbish him. Now he’s gone back to the jungle.

Artists, Institutions, and the Decline of Public Discourse

HowlRound: My two disturbing moments taken together, in what I will admit is a bleak interpretation, amounted to something like: arts administrators don’t want to be bothered talking about how artists feel disenfranchised anymore because they find the conversation both insulting and passé, and artists don’t believe what arts administrators have to say so why should an arts administrator bother to engage in the first place. All I can think is we’re mimicking congressional politics. We’re all happily ensconced in our immovable worldviews and we’re willing to manipulate whatever the other side says to prop up our own vantage point. This form of public discourse is straight out of certain disreputable news rooms most of us complain about. Our own discourse is no more fact-based, careful, or informed.As artists and institutions, we are actively participating in the decline of public discourse taking over our nation. And frankly, I think we should stop it.

LDI 2011: Saturday Recap Besides visiting with and getting my shiny new A Theatre Project book signed by Richard Pilbrow, today was another jam-packed day on the show floor. I found myself intrigued by the BrickBlaster Pro by The Black Tank. While the fixture itself has been out for awhile, it has some nice upgrades. For those unfamiliar with these little gems they are 4″ cubes that are 50w of power, and come in a variety of combinations: WNC (Warm/Neutral/Cool White, with an output of 3110 lumens), UV Blacklight (output of 6,660 mW), and RGBW (1200 lumens). 48 of them can run off of a single 20A circuit, and beam angles are quickly changed via a front lens plate. They operate flicker free, so they are great for film needs, and can be re-configured by ganging them together, and can hang via yoke or track mount. They are available individually or bundled in 2, 4, or 8 packs. The 4 and 8 packs have an option of a case, which has laser cut foam inserts for a perfect fit, and the case itself is water tight. They don’t daisy chain (they are only 4″ cubed after all!) but they pack quite a punch.

LDI: Friday recap This year is feeling rushed, and I learned why. The show floor in the past has been 9-6, and this year it is 10-5. The sessions are also 9-5, so there is a lot more juggling that needs to happen to see what needs to be seen, which is much more stressful than I thought it would be. Friday I attended a wonderful talk titled: Conversations with Richard Pilbrow and Tony Walton, highlighting their careers, their work together, and promoting their latest publications; it was great fun to hear their stories. Richard Pilbrow’s book “A Theatre Project” is out now, and is 468 pages of yummy goodness (a review will follow at some point once I absorb the 468 pages). Richard Pilbrow had a book signing Friday from 4-5, but there is another chance Saturday from 2-3 for folks who missed it or who are here only for the day. For more information on the book itself, visit his site here: A Theatre Project. An interactive e-book will also be available before the end of the year. Look for the Designs of Tony Walton to be out from USITT at their conference in March.

Esther Freud’s ‘Lucky Break’ Explores the Actor’s Life WHEN Esther Freud set to work on her seventh book, “Lucky Break” — a comic, wrenching tale of a decade and a half in the lives of three British drama students — she thought she ought to read some other novels on the art and business of acting. But she couldn’t find any.

Stephen Sondheim Chicago Tribune interview with Chris Jones At the top of "Look, I Made a Hat," the second half of his exhaustively detailed two-volume set of collected lyrics to such incomparable musicals as "Gypsy" and "Follies," Stephen Sondheim addresses some of the complaints about the first book, "Finishing the Hat." "The most common of them," he writes, "is that I didn't speak enough about my personal life, 'personal' being the euphemism for 'intimate,' which is the euphemism for 'sexual.'"After saying that he had been as personal as he could be about his creative life — a creative life that, among many other highlights, included early tutoring from surrogate father Oscar Hammerstein II and collaborations with such giants as Jerome Robbins, Leonard Bernstein, Arthur Laurents, Ethel Merman, James Lapine, Bernadette Peters, et cetera — Sondheim writes that these volumes are collections of lyrics, plus interpolations, not a memoir. "Look, I Made a Hat" deals principally with his work after 1981 and will be published by Knopf on Nov. 22. "If I'd wanted to write a memoir," he writes, "I would have, but I don't, and I didn't."

Calling out bad behavior by theater audiences

The Denver Post: Last week, while attending a quiet play called "The Road to Mecca," a theatergoer's cell-phone vibration went off. Not unusual, and not as bad as a ring, but noticeable enough to anyone in the vicinity. The caller must have left a message, because 90 seconds later, we all heard a 3-second reminder buzz. How do I know it was 90 seconds later . . . and lasted for 3? Because it happened again, every 90 seconds, for the remainder of the play — even after the intermission. Plenty of opportunities to count it out. I finally got the tiniest sense of what waterboarding is all about.

Review of The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs show by Mike Daisey in New York Like any addict in recovery, Mike Daisey has learned that admitting the sin upfront is the crucial first step. And thus, seated behind a table at the Public Theater, he spits it out as if a 31/2-inch floppy disk were stuck in his digestive tract: "I am a worshipper," he says, as if making his first declaration at Alcoholics Anonymous, "in the House of Mac."

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Seth Rudetsky builds laughs while deconstructing Broadway voices

Post Gazette: Seth Rudetsky's "Big Fat Broadway Show" requires a fistful of tissues. You'll laugh, you'll cry, and you'll cry again from laughing until your sides ache. The word "unique" gets thrown around a lot but rarely is it as apt as describing Mr. Rudetsky's kooky one-man show, which doubles as a master class in deconstructing the voices that dominate Broadway, pop music and 1970s DVDs. He lip syncs and dances along with the likes of Barbra Streisand, Liza, Cher and The Brady Bunch (making video and audio appearances) but follows the beat of his own daffy drummer when it comes to deconstructing vocal qualities.

Amateur opera singers will vie for votes in final competition

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: By day, William Andrews works as a meter reader for a subcontractor of Columbia Gas. Katie Manukyan teaches Russian and Russian literature at the University of Pittsburgh. And Tonita Davison does freelance public relations and serves as the president of Pittsburgh Black Media Federation. By night, they belt out the operatic melodies of Verdi, Puccini, Mozart and Tchaikovsky.

Bill Irwin Talks About the History and Mystery of the Fool's Gold of Lear Tony Award winner Bill Irwin, the famed American clown, discusses the challenge and joy of playing King Lear's Fool, the foul-weather friend of Shakespeare's famous broken monarch, now at the Public Theater.

Forty Years of Fireworks at Walt Disney World Resort

Disney Parks Blog: The Walt Disney World Resort has marked several 40-year milestones this month, including the debut of Magic Kingdom Park, Disney’s Contemporary Resort, Disney’s Polynesian Resort and the Electrical Water Pageant. Another 40-year milestone that we marked this week was the anniversary of the first fireworks display ever launched at Walt Disney World Resort.

Habits To Take On To Become An Overachiever

The Consumerist: Attaining more success could be simply a matter of tweaking your daily routines to make yourself more productive. By making better use of downtime and taking steps to avoid distractions, you may surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish.

What's the one thing you would change about Broadway?

Ken Davenport - Opinions from a Broadway Producer: Yesterday's "Robot Vomit" poll got me in a pollin' mood. So, I had Intern Emily and a few of her friends hit Times Square, armed with a clipboard and a question. This one was more general. Emily et al asked 100 theatergoers in Times Square, "If you could change one thing about the theater . . . what would it be?"

Fast Facts: Artists and Arts Workers

Art Works: Move over David Letterman, we have our own top ten list! In our new research note Artists and Arts Workers in the United States we unearthed some surprising facts about the 2.1 million strong cadre of working artists, as well as data on arts-related industries, and states and metro areas where artists live and work. We asked questions like: What’s the most popular arts profession? Who makes the most? When do artists arrive at work? Which cities have the most artists?

How to Do a Simple Productivity Audit

Stepcase Lifehack: Do you ever feel overwhelmed or have too much to do? Have you been known to move around like a headless chicken? If so, maybe it’s time to do a Productivity Audit.

Echo Base News interviews Jabba the Hutt Bo shuda! Today we have Part 1 of a very special two-part interview months in the making. It's an interview with Jabba the Hutt! Well, not exactly, but it's the closest we could get. Chris and I were able to chat with four of the amazingly talented puppeteers and sculptors that brought everyone's favorite loathsome slug to life in Return of the Jedi nearly thirty years ago.

Maker Faire and the Growth of Do-It-Yourself Mark Frauenfelder noticed them everywhere he went: bleary-eyed souls peering up over their laptops and monitors, craving something more tactile than a keyboard, plus a measure of control over their surroundings. And then it began: They started making things, things that didn't necessarily have anything to do with 1s or 0s. From handcrafted furniture to bespoke clothing to homemade robots, the Maker Movement took hold in California's geek-heavy communities in the early 2000s and has since grown into an international phenomenon. We asked Frauenfelder, founder of and editor-in-chief of Make magazine, to weigh in on the impact and reach of DIY.

A LIFE IN THE THEATRE: Broadway Carpenter Charlie Rasmussen Meet house carpenter Charlie Rasmussen, the oldest active member of Local One of IATSE. Charlie Rasmussen arrived on Broadway as a production carpenter at the Broadway Theatre in 1950. Sixty-one years later, at age 85, Rasmussen is in his office at the Broadway Theatre, one floor below the stage where Sister Act has finished a Wednesday matinee — and where he has been, since 1980, the theatre's house, or head, carpenter.

All eyes on RSC transition

Variety: News that the Royal Shakespeare Company's Michael Boyd and Vikki Heywood, respectively a.d. and chief exec of one of the world's best-known legit outfits, are to step down in 2012 has caused a whirlwind of rumor and speculation. Names thrown out to replace Boyd include Michael Grandage, Marianne Elliott, Dominic Cooke, Sam Mendes and Kenneth Branagh. Whoever takes the reins of the RSC will arrive with the org in a position vastly improved from the one Boyd inherited in 2002, when the troupe was demoralized and drowning in acrimony.

‘SeeWatchLook’ - Street Scenes at the High Line Last Sunday evening in Chelsea, a man robed like an Arab sheik crossed 10th Avenue while gently swinging a blue suitcase. On the opposite corner stood another man who appeared to be a Hasidic Jew, ringlets dangling under his black hat. Just as they were inches apart, the suitcase popped open — and out poured packets of condoms by the dozen. The two scrambled to scoop them up, with the help of passers-by who were plainly stifling laughter.

Friday, October 28, 2011

'Expendables 2' Stuntman Dies In On-Set Accident

MTV Movie News| MTV: A stuntman was killed when an accident occurred involving a rubber boat and an explosion. Two stuntmen were involved in the scene, which was filming around 7 p.m. local time on Thursday night. The second man suffered serious injuries, but he is now said to be in stable condition.

Writers group 'digs in' to spooky tales Saturday

Post Gazette: The Ligonier Valley Writers will set the mood for Halloween when they read scary short stories Saturday at Red Barn Books in Greensburg, beginning at 7 p.m. The six original stories are prize winners chosen from 72 submissions to the group's 2011 Flash Fiction Contest, which required the setting to be in a graveyard, mausoleum, cemetery or other burial place.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch Benefit Concert Is Sold Out Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS' one-night-only performance of John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask's Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which is set for Oct. 31 at New World Stages in New York City, is completely sold out.

SAG and AFTRA Condemn IMDb Revealing Performers' Ages

Hollywood Reporter: The Screen Actors Guild and AFTRA struck out at IMDb and its owner on Thursday, condemning their practice of revealing ages of performers without the actor or actresses' permission -- and then refusing to delete or change it even when that person requests them to do so.According to a press release issued by the guilds, there were recent behind the scenes talks with IMDb about this practice that involved SAG, AFTRA and other unnamed guilds, but those talks have now broken down.

The Division of Labor


Big Ford grant for Public

Variety: The Public Theater has scored a $2 million grant from the Ford Foundation to put toward the ongoing renovation of the legit company's downtown home, now on track to be completed by summer 2012. Grant was announced Wednesday evening at a Ford Foundation screening of doc "Joe Papp in Five Acts," about the Public's founder. The Public's new lobby will be named after the foundation, a philanthropic grantmaker.

‘69°S.,’ Shackleton Tale, Comes to BAM Next Wave Festival OF all the things we pay money to sit in a theater and watch, puppets are surely the strangest. By and large they are not particularly good at the thing we most often ask them to do — imitate us, that is — and yet people (some people anyway) love them precisely for their limitations. Puppetry may even be enjoying one of its periodic revivals right now. “War Horse” is such a hit in large part because of its marvelous lifelike horses, and in “Compulsion” last winter a marionette of Anne Frank was the only character with enough stage presence to stand up to Mandy Patinkin. In our enlightened era some fortunate puppets have been allowed privileges denied to the likes of Howdy, Kukla, Ollie and the rest. Basil Twist, arguably the master of avant-garde puppetry, has incorporated them into a drag show, while in “Avenue Q,” they get to talk filth and have sex.

Memories of Joseph Papp Abound at Public Theater Celebration Fresh out of the Yale School of Drama in 1975, Meryl Streep was 90 minutes late for her first audition with Joseph Papp, the artistic director of the Public Theater and the New York Shakespeare Festival in Central Park. Her train from New Haven had been delayed, and there were, of course, no cellphones or e-mail then. She arrived to find Papp sitting in one of his signature white suits, his impatience conveyed with a grimace and twitchy crossed-leg kicks. Yet a few minutes later, the potential of a great actress had transformed his mood, and soon he was offering a small role to Ms. Streep in what would be her Broadway debut: “Trelawny of the ‘Wells’” at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, in an era when acting work in New York was hard to find.

'South Park' Goes Broadway and Leaves Us Speechless Going into this latest installment of the Comedy Central cartoon series, there was certainly much anticipation for the reunion of Mr. Lopez and the “South Park” creators, Trey Parker and Matt Stone — the three collectively wrote the Tony Award-reaping musical “The Book of Mormon.” And that excitement was further stoked by early clips from the episode, which appeared to offer “South Park”-style takes on Broadway fare like “Wicked” and “The Phantom of the Opera.”

Who Wrote Shakespeare? Who Cares? May I make a confession? And I realize that this may be regarded as a heresy by the members of my tribe, by which I mean those of us who were and always shall be nerdy English majors. I don’t care who wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

NEA Chairman Rocco Landesman Announces New Research on the Value Added By Cultural Industries There are 2.1 million artists in the United States workforce, and a large portion of them -- designers -- contribute to industries whose products Americans use every day, according to new research from the National Endowment for the Arts. Artists and Arts Workers in the United States offers the first combined analysis of artists and industries, state and metro employment rates, and new demographic information such as age, education levels, income, ethnicity, and other social characteristics.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Light as Art

Carnegie Mellon University: The 230-foot-long Randy Pausch Memorial Bridge is a well-trod connection between the Gates Center for Computer Science and the Purnell Center for the Arts. It's also a symbol of the collaborative, creative spirit of the late Carnegie Mellon University professor and alumnus. Now, two years after its dedication, the span with more than 7,000 programmable LED lights has become a unique teaching resource as well.

Cèilidh Weekend

Carnegie Mellon University: The inventor of A world-renowned cancer researcher. The production designer for the "Spider Man" trilogy. A decorated Naval officer. And a Grammy Award-winning musician. Carnegie Mellon's Alumni Association will honor these and 11 other distinguished individuals during the university's inaugural Cèilidh Weekend, Oct. 27-30. This new fall event combines the university's Homecoming, Family Weekend and International Festival into one celebration.

Pedagogy in the 21st Century

The Ghost Light Collective: Alan Kay, who was one of the few legendary computer scientists who was not associated with Carnegie Mellon, wrote “the best way to predict the future is to invent it.” Here’s our most recent attempt to live up to that. The Ghost Light Collective is currently hosting guest director Anne D’Zmura. Anne is the Head of Directing at Cal Stage Long Beach, and she is shepherding a group of intrepid students through the process of devising a theater piece. I say we’re hosting her; in truth, she’s not here yet, but she is teaching classes. This is made possible through the miracle of modern technology.

"Smash" Star Megan Hilty Will Share Cool Yule With Seattle Men's Chorus Megan Hilty, who will star in the upcoming NBC musical series "Smash," will join the Seattle Men's Chorus for Cool Yule. Cool Yule: The Big Band Theory will be presented in Seattle, Everett and Tacoma, WA, Nov. 26-Dec. 23. Hilty will be the special guest of the Seattle Men's Chorus for the Nov. 26-27 engagements at Seattle's Benaroya Hall.

Unmasking Specter Studios

Pop City: The MTV show Rob Dyerdak’s Fantasy Factory just aired an episode that involved cast members in tiger, leopard and panther costumes. A member of the rock band The Flaming Lips recently donned a bear costume to perform their song Bear on stage. The cat and bear costumes—as well as two more bear costumes that will appear in a Volkswagen commercial to air in the United Arab Emirates and a bear’s head that recently appeared on the cover of Bloomberg Business Week—all hail from a warehouse located on a secluded side street in Sharpsburg.

Fun with voices at 'Seth's Big Fat Broadway Show'

Post Gazette: If you've never heard Seth Rudetsky deconstruct the vocal qualities of past and present Broadway greats, it's about time. Get ready for some attitude, backed with expertise and laced with sass, and some audio and video to help him along when "Seth's Big Fat Broadway Show" arrives at City Theatre this weekend.

Pittsburgh Musical Theater starts the season with Cold War rock opera 'Chess'

Post Gazette: Cold War defection ... Adultery! Sexual awakening ... Nudity! Religious revolution ... Crucifixion! Jilted blonde ... Revenge! Sounds like R-rated fare at the local cineplex and not what you'd expect from Pittsburgh Musical Theater, a company that for 21 years has nurtured young performers in student and professional stage productions.

Passionate ideas, skillful staging at odds with personal drama at City Theatre

Post Gazette: When does dedication become passion, or obsession, or even addiction? And when does the reporter or photographer become part of the story, in spite of the mantra of purist detachment? Those are a few of the questions posed by "Time Stands Still," the recent play by Donald Margulies, now staged with complete, polished assurance by Tracy Brigden at City Theatre.

Review: 'Time Stands Still' examines validity of reporting vs. taking action

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Two equally compelling themes weave their way through Donald Margulies' "Time Stands Still," which opened Friday night at City Theatre on the South Side. On the surface, this contemporary drama is about a couple whose relationship has been destabilized by their war experiences.

'Seth's Big Fat Broadway Show' creator fell in love early

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Though he doesn't remember much about his life before he turned 3, it's safe to say Seth Rudetsky has always been obsessed with musical theater. The proof is in an old reel-to-reel audiotape of Rudetsky, circa age 2, singing the opening number -- "Ooh My Feet!" -- from the Broadway musical "Most Happy Fella." Rudetsky grew up in Queens and Long Island. His parents took him to see his first Broadway musical, "Hair," when he was 4.

Critical Juncture

Theatre Communications Group - American Theatre – September 2011: Whenever I told friends that I was writing about 12 of the most influential theatre critics in America, I made sure to pause for the laugh. Are there a dozen out there? In this atomized age of Twitter and Facebook, with media outlets shedding arts staffers and shredding budgets, what constitutes influence? How was this list compiled? Not scientifically, to be sure. But these 12 journalists made the cut for specific reasons: years on the beat, quality of writing, reach of their voice through syndication, and, lastly, understanding of the field. Another criterion is quite blunt: Many of them are "last man or woman standing" in their communities; after they retire or take a buyout, it's unclear if some blogger or junior critic will step up to fill the void. As such, they form a vital phalanx of critical opinion that chronicles and weighs work that national media outlets are content to ignore. These dozen writers may not be flashy prose stylists or even revolutionary thinkers about their art form. But they have dedicated years to the field—and certainly not to get rich.

U.S. Government Mulls Changes to Copyright Rules

Hollywood Reporter: The U.S. Copyright Office this week quietly announced its priorities for the coming months, and some of the issues it's studying could bring path-breaking changes to both intellectual property law as well as the entertainment and media industries. The priorities range from the possible establishment of a new small claims circuit to a way that websites and blogs can register continually changing material for copyright protection.

It's Time to Really Think About Email

Lifehack: It’s gone on long enough. Email has managed to take hold of too many lives, distracting us from what we really should be doing by sucking us back into responding to messages coming at us on an ongoing basis. The technology of email is wonderful in that we can actually communicate with each other from opposite ends of the globe or from right next door with just a few keystrokes and a “whoosh” from our computer’s speakers, but it has come at a cost that is getting out of control.

13 Office Productivity Software Suites for Freelancers and Others

FreelanceFolder: No matter what your freelancing specialty is, odds are that you can benefit from the use of an office productivity suite. In fact, you may already be using one. What is an office productivity software suite? Simply put, it is a group of business-oriented software packages that are bundled together for distribution. The most common bundles include word processing and spreadsheet software, but other bundle configurations exist as well. Office productivity suites used to cost businesses hundreds of dollars, but freelancers should be aware that many low cost and even free options are now available. In this list, I’ve included 13 of the most popular office productivity software suites.

Every Role a Starring Role – Disneyland Resort Cosmetologist

Disney Parks Blog: I’m no expert when it comes to hair and makeup, but Erin Zachary sure is! As a Disneyland Resort cosmetology lead, Erin and her team ensure resort performers always have a good hair day.

Same-Sex Marriage Will Lead To Gay Kisses In High School Plays, Conservative Warns

ThinkProgress: The Family Institute of Connecticut’s Peter Wolfgang appeared on MSNBC with Thomas Roberts this afternoon to discuss the controversy surrounding a play featuring a same-sex kiss at Hartford Public High School.


2AMt: Over the past 48 hours, the culture pages in England have been filled with reports which are all variants of the same story: “Walkouts abound at The Royal Shakespeare Company’s Marat/Sade.” I first spotted this on Sunday in The Daily Mail and since then, the BBC, The Guardian and The Telegraph, among many others, have all piled on. Marat/Sade, while an acknowledged modern classic, is a challenging work with content that surely doesn’t appeal to all audiences. So it shouldn’t really surprise anyone that a play about the Marquis de Sade might provoke squirming and even early exits; I suspect that Doug Wright’s Quills, also about de Sade’s incarceration at Charenton, sent some people fleeing from assorted theatres as well. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if artists involved in various productions of both of these plays see the odd hasty retreat as a sign that they’re succeeding, a badge of honor.

10 Great Conferencing Apps for Freelancers

FreelanceFolder: Conferencing can be a great tool for freelancers. You can get on a conference call with a prospect to walk them through a proposal. (Whenever I do this, the prospect gets excited to work with me). You can also use telephone or video conferencing to collaborate with clients and other outsourced staff on joint projects, such as a website, an article, or even a logo design. You can even set up training through a conferencing application.

How President Obama Is Helping Lower Monthly Student Loan Payments

The White House: President Obama has made historic investments in making college more affordable for millions of students. But many people who took out loans to pay for their education are struggling to make monthly payments on those loans, making our tough economic times a little bit more challenging. We can't wait to help these people keep up with their student loans.

The 7 Golden Rules for Writing and Editing

Lifehack: When you write, you constantly feel the pressure of mastering the art of using commas. You are required to understand the difference between a colon and a semi one, the misplaced modifier, and the rules on splitting the infinitive. Really, who has a brain to for that? Not me, for sure. Do we really need to go back to school and learn grammar and punctuation all over again? Do we really need to take writing classes to understand the basics of forming intelligent sentences? No and no. You need to do these things but you don’t necessarily have to go back to a classroom setting.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Three traditional CMU celebrations merge: Cèilidh Weekend

The Tartan Online: Cèilidh Weekend, which draws its name from the Scottish Gaelic word meaning “visit,” is “a celebration for the entire Carnegie Mellon family, combining the traditions of Homecoming Weekend, International Festival and Family Weekend,” according to Carnegie Mellon’s website. Traditionally, a cèilidh (pronounced kay-lee) is a party hosted in the homes of family and friends, characterized by music, dancing, and storytelling.

Annual Alumni Awards recognize admirable, diverse achievements

The Tartan Online: The Alumni Awards ceremony, organized by the Alumni Association every year, honors and celebrates alumni, faculty, and students for their contributions to Carnegie Mellon on Friday in Rangos Hall (See map 13 on A8). The ceremony is free and open to the public, and it will be followed by a reception in the Great Hall of the College of Fine Arts building (See map 14 on A8).

The Only Thing Worse Than Making Theatre is Not Making Theatre

Fierce & Nerdy: The trouble with addiction isn’t that it’s expensive. It’s not that addiction is self destructive, all consuming and extremely harmful to family and friends. No, the trouble with addiction is that it’s fun. I mean, don’t get me wrong- it’s not fun watching your teeth rot or selling your parents’ TV or being dead- but, at some point or another, whatever you’re addicted to was lots and lots of fun.

D.C.'s Historic Lincoln Theater and the Trickle-Up Effect

Huffington Post: The Historic Lincoln Theater on U Street is sparking an important and emotional debate about arts infrastructure in the District of Columbia. The city-owned Lincoln has a looming budget shortfall, and is on the brink of closing, and D.C. politicians are split about the responsibility government has to keep the venue operating.

Can DigiFab and Manual Craftsmanship Co-Exist?

MAKE: Among MAKE readers, we’re nearly unanimous in agreeing that the rise of digital fabrication is a complete game-changer for crafters, hackers, and tinkerers of all stripes. Laser cutters, CNC mills, and 3D printers have altered the way we think about design, and raised the bar for quality and precision in our work. I’m a passionate adopter of these technologies, but am also wary of the cultural shift they represent as they become more ubiquitous.I was talking to a friend about this recently, voicing my disappointment in so many talented colleagues of ours who stay strictly within software, afraid to pick up tools with which they could alternatively realize their creations. His response surprised me: “I’m more comfortable with a Wacom and Photoshop. I grew up with computers and I can’t imagine creating with anything else. I think digital fabrication is the future and I want to be a part of it.”

Huffington Post Doesn't Get Lincoln Theatre's Woes

Arts Desk: Huffington Post D.C. contributors have not quite wrapped their heads around the Lincoln Theatre. Recently, DC Advocates for the Arts chair Robert Bettmann beat a familiar drum on the issue of the theater's still unsolved fiscal crisis: Throw more public money at it. Last week, Eli Lehrer, a vice president of the libertarian think tank Heartland Institute, countered that the Lincoln should be dumped because it's not "culturally notable."

What Will Happen To The U2 360 Claw?

Live Design: After three years on the road and 112 live shows to over 6.8 million fans, U2’s record-breaking $700 million grossing 360° tour ended this past summer, leaving its iconic stage, nicknamed The Claw and built by Stagco, up for sale. Until then, Stageco welcomes the systems back to its US and Belgium headquarters. Stageco was involved from the earliest stages of the Claw’s planning and conception, working closely with U2, show director Willie Williams, set designer Mark Fisher, and production manager Jake Berry to determine how it would be engineered, and logistically, how such a large structure could be transported the 70,000 miles the tour encompassed.

Lost Marvels of Revolution-Era Russian Theater

Coilhouse: Some excellent detective work by Ghoul Next Door has uncovered the origins of this 101-year-old photo. The stunning image was brought to our attention by guest blogger Angeliska, who writes, “I’ve become totally obsessed with this carte de visite depicting Maria Germanova of the Moscow Arts Theatre, costumed for her role [as the fairy] in Blue Bird. She is my perfect style icon, now and forever.”

Arena Stage to Host Live Discussion Between Peter Mark and Howard Sherman

Stage Directions: Arena Stage is proud to announce Theater Beyond Twitter: A Moderated Discussion Between Peter Marks and Howard Sherman in the Arlene and Robert Kogod Cradle at the Mead Center for American Theater, November 19 at 5:00 p.m. EST. Following one of their frequent, unprompted Twitter debates, Howard Sherman, the former executive director of the American Theatre Wing and noted arts management consultant, proposed to The Washington Post theater critic Peter Marks that they should expand their spirited 140-word count exchanges to a live, in-person discussion. Arena Stage offered to host the event, which will also be livestreamed to the web via #NEWPLAY TV at

State, stagehands union in court today over search Lawyers for the state and a stagehands union moved closer to an agreement today on turning over documents related to the Indiana State Fair stage collapse. A lawyer for the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 30 said he was willing to hand over apprenticeship training files on employees who worked the fair during the accident Aug. 13. A court hearing this morning to resolve a dispute over a search warrant was continued until Nov. 3 before Marion Superior Judge David Shaheed.


Job Posting

TechnicalDirector/Lecturer in Technical Theatre

MFA required. Share technical directionresponsibilities for an 8-show season. (Baylor Theatre employs TWO TechnicalDirectors to combat the perennial problem of “TD burnout” while allowing formaximum productivity with minimum stress.) Teach undergraduate courses in basic scenic construction and technicaltheatre practices. Knowledge of CAD, Vectorworks, and competence at computerdrafting is essential. Co-supervise student workers in scene shop, as well as astaff shop foreman and assistant technical director. Experience in stagemanagement will be considered a plus. Begin date is August 2012.

About the Department
Themission of the Department of Theatre Arts at Baylor University is to nurture a close-knit community ofintellectually-curious and artistically-daring theatre practitioners whilepreparing students for future success through liberal arts education andprofessional training.  We offer the BA,BFA, and MFA degrees. With a student body of 130 and 15 full-time facultymembers, the department is a lively and dynamic community. Visit our websitefor more information about the academic programs and our production work:

AWord from the Chairman
Why should you consider working as partof our theatre program?  We have createda rare environment at Baylor where friends and colleagues work in a mutuallysupportive and positive environment, encouraging each other to do our best workand challenging one another to stretch ourselves artistically andintellectually.  We are a uniquefaith-based institution that is intellectually curious, artistically daring,professionally engaged and eager to create work that is provocative,enlightening, and deeply moving. Finally, we are proud to say that Baylor Theatre is not only anationally ranked theatre program, but a great place to work.  We hope you will consider joining us.  You can learn more about the “personality” ofour department by visiting our website at

Submit letter of application, currentcurriculum vitae, transcripts, and three current letters of recommendation to:Stan Denman, Search Committee Chair, BAYLOR UNIVERSITY Theatre Arts, One BearPlace #97262, Waco, Texas 76798-7262 Materials may be submitted electronicallyto: of applicants will begin October 15, 2011.  The search will remain open until theposition is filled.

Chartered in 1845 by the Republic ofTexas, Baylor University is the oldest university in Texas and the world’slargest Baptist University. Baylor’s mission is to educate men and women forworldwide leadership and service by integrating academic excellence andChristian commitment within a caring community. Baylor is actively recruitingnew faculty with a strong commitment to the classroom and an equally strongcommitment to discovering new knowledge as Baylor aspires to become a top tierresearch university while reaffirming and strengthening its distinctiveChristian mission as described in Baylor 2012. Baylor is a Baptist universityaffiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas.

As an Affirmative Action/EqualEmployment Opportunity employer, Baylor encourages minorities, women, veterans,and persons with disabilities to apply.

CMU Opera to present "Sacred and Profane" pair of operas

The CMU School of Music isexcited to present its fall Opera Production: "Sacred and Profane," athematic pairing of Puccini's SuorAngelica and the Brecht/Weill work Mahagonny Songspiel. As the former of thesetakes place in a convent and the latter a city of sin, the pairing's title isdescriptively apt. Interestingly, both operas are also part of larger works insome ways. Suor Angelicais the second in Puccini's famed "triptych" of short operas oftenperformed together (it is preceded by Iltabarro and followed by GianniSchicchi), and MahagonnySongspiel was written as a preparatory exercise for Brecht andWeill's eventual full-length opera TheRise and Fall of the City of Mahagonny. The CMU production featuressingers from the School of Music. Maria Sensi Sellner and Robert Page willconduct, and Dorothy Danner will stage direct.

"Sacred and Profane" will take place this weekend, October 27-30, atthe Philip Chosky Theatre in the CMU School of Drama. Performances will beThursday, Friday and Saturday evenings at 8pm, and will conclude with a matineeat 2pm Sunday afternoon. Adult tickets are $15, Seniors are $12, andStudents/Faculty are $10.