CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Ken native opens ballet school in Oakmont

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: The strength and beauty that is synonymous with ballet has just twirled into a second-floor studio in Oakmont with the new Western Pennsylvania Youth Ballet. New Kensington native Michael Villella, who has danced professionally with Ballet Austin II and the Oklahoma City Ballet, says he is providing the region with one of the few dance schools dedicated solely to this traditional form of dance, requiring training and then more training, not to mention discipline.

Pittsburgh Musical Theater's 'Spring Awakening' well worth the visit

Post Gazette: There's a moment you know you're seeing something special. In Pittsburgh Musical Theater's "Spring Awakening," it comes when Logan Williams hits all the right notes as Melchior in the second song of the show. His leading lady, Kathlene Queen, has already set the stage for positive things to come with a voice that should have the audience settling in for a memorable night.

CLO Cabaret's 'Ruthless' skewers film divas, demons

Post Gazette: "Ruthless! the Musical" was so much fun the first time, Van Kaplan couldn't resist directing it again. The Pittsburgh CLO executive producer directed the show in the 1990s for the Casa Manana theater company in Fort Worth, Texas, and wasn't about to give it to someone else when he programmed the show for the CLO Cabaret. It marks his directing debut at the venue.

College endowments rebound from recession

Post Gazette: A survey being released today finds that Pittsburgh's three largest universities, and several smaller campuses in the region, had endowment growth in 2011 that outpaced many of their peers around the nation. Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and Duquesne University are among 823 public and private schools that participated in a joint survey by the National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. The annual survey covered a 12-month period ending June 30, 2011, and offered evidence that campus endowments are continuing to rebound from the recession.

AFTRA Sound Recording Agreement Ratified

Backstage: AFTRA singers and other members have ratified the union's sound recording agreement with the major labels, the union announced Monday. The move, by a vote of almost 99 percent in favor, was expected.

'Raisin' and 'Springer' Lead LADCC Nominations

Backstage: The nominees and special award recipients for the 43rd annual Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle Awards, honoring distinguished achievements in L.A. theater during 2011, were announced on Monday. Ebony Repertory Theatre Company's revival of Lorraine Hansbury's classic drama " A Raisin in the Sun," currently restaged at the Kirk Douglas Theatre with one lead role recast, and the Chance Theater's Southern California premiere of "Jerry Springer: The Opera" both lead the nominations with a total of eight each.

Working in the Theatre - Casting Directors 2012 - February, 2012

American Theatre Wing: Casting Directors David Caparelliotis, Tara Rubin and Daniel Swee and moderator Patrick Pacheco discuss the role of the casting director; their collaboration with directors; recasting shows; and whether stars are necessary for success on Broadway today.

Vectorworks in the Cloud and Possible iOS App In a teaser email the Vectorworks just sent out, they demonstrate an architect on site in the middle of a build project looking at his drawing on an iPad. He notices a detail in incorrect. He notifies his design team and it is quickly “updated in the cloud”. Does this mean that Vectorworks will be living in the cloud?

Actors Theatre of Louisville Unveils New Artist Housing

Stage Directions: Just in time to begin preparing for the Humana Festival, the Actors Theatre of Louisville has opened 18 apartments for visiting artists in the nearby 300 Building in downtown Louisville. They partnered with FBM Properties, which invested $1 million on behalf of Actors Theatre to support construction. Smaller donations were accepted, too—ATL set up a gift registry at Bed Bath and Beyond to help furnish the apartments. ATL unveiled the apartments at a public reception Monday, January 30.

New Standard for Control System for Chain Hoists in Public Review

Stage Directions: PLASA has a new draft standard in public review, this one surrounding control systems for chain hoists. BSR E1.6-4 - 201x, Portable Control of Fixed-Speed Electric Chain Hoists in the Entertainment Industry is available for review and comments until March 26.

Who Is More Important? The Event Or Organization?

Butts In the Seats: I had a small disagreement about marketing with one of the people partnering on a show with us that raised the question about what is more important, the artist or the organization. The disagreement was pretty simple. We had designed an ad to promote a show. Between the sponsor and creator logos/credits and the general design of the ad, there wasn’t a lot of room left. To maintain a clean, attractive look for the show, I suggested that we omit the three names of the presenters. We would have the name of the theatre, but not “presented by X, Y, Z groups, each of which were fairly long.

China's State TV Making Huge Global Expansion

The Hollywood Reporter: The killing of a South Korean coast guard officer by a Chinese fisherman should have been tailor-made for China's CCTV News as it embarks on an ambitious plan to become a global network with assertive international coverage.

London Theater Journal: Big Ideas in Small Spaces Some plays are worth defying claustrophobia for. As a capacity audience crowded onto the benches that surrounded the rectangular stage of the tiny black-box space of the Royal Court Jerwood Theater Upstairs, I could feel my chest tightening and my breath growing shorter. It didn’t help that layers of white balloons covered (and lowered) the ceiling in molecular formations. I had to admonish myself, as I do in such circumstances, “Theater critics do not faint on the job – except, on rare occasion, metaphorically.”

Lincoln Center Theater to Open New Space With 'Slowgirl' Lincoln Center Theater will open its newest stage, the Claire Tow Theater, with the world premiere of “Slowgirl,” a play by Greg Pierce to be directed by Anne Kauffman (“Maple & Vine,” “This Wide Night”). “Slowgirl,” which is Mr. Pierce’s New York debut, is a two-character play about a young girl who escapes the aftermath of a horrible accident by turning to her uncle’s retreat in the Costa Rican jungle. Performances will begin June 4, with a June 18 opening.

In Toronto-vs-Chicago theatre war, tax credits are the new ammo

The Globe and Mail: A new front has opened in the long-standing battle between Toronto and Chicago for the title of North America’s second theatre city: tax credits.While the subject matter would make for a mind-numbing musical, an act passed by the Illinois Legislature quietly over the holidays has essentially launched the opening shot in a war over War Horse, the West End megahit that Toronto is about to become the third city in the world to stage. Or it might be called the first punch in the Thrilla for Priscilla: Queen of the Desert, the colourful drag-queen musical that entertained Torontonians before it became a hot, Tony-winning ticket on Broadway.

Signature Theater Opens New Home in a Frank Gehry Building During the depths of the recession in 2009, leaders of Signature Theater Company had a showy selling point in their pitch to raise $38.5 million to build a new home: models of the 70,000-square-foot complex by a star architect, Frank Gehry. Yet Signature, a respected but frills-free Off Broadway nonprofit, lacked a grand space in which to show the models and to entertain prospective donors.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Making 'Billy Elliot: The Musical'

Post Gazettte: It's a tale about a coal miner's son who wants to be a ballet dancer against his father's wishes. The family drama plays out against a major strike in which the government is out to break the union. Sound familiar?
This scenario could have happened in Western Pennsylvania. But they're actually the dynamic threads that drive "Billy Elliot: The Musical," a quintessentially British production that hit the London stage in 2005, then moved to New York City in 2010, sweeping up a gaggle of awards, including those for best musical, book, score and choreography.

Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre opens the post-holiday season with an uncommon program

Post Gazette: There's not much that's ordinary about the centerpiece of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's 2011-12 season.
Rather than the usual switch this time of year from the grand Benedum Center to the more intimate Byham Theater for a few performances, dancers will mount "Uncommon" for seven days at the August Wilson Center for African American Culture, Downtown. The program, set to live chamber music, opens Friday with nine chances for audiences to see the lineup of Dennis Nahat's "Brahms Quintet," Mark Morris' "Maelstrom" and a world premiere from Complexions Contemporary Ballet's Dwight Rhoden.

Appealing young cast highlights 'Hansel and Gretel'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Pittsburgh Opera's welcome revival of "Hansel & Gretel" in a new production Saturday night featured an especially appealing cast drawn from the young professional singers of its Resident Artists program and impressive stage direction by Ted Huffman.

'Billy Elliot' actors put their own spin on the same role

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Ty Forhan is 13 years old, tall and blond with a specialty in hop-hop and a love of acting.
J.P. Viernes is 15, dark-haired, danced for two years with City Ballet San Francisco and has an interest in astronomy as well as dance.
They are two of the quartet of young men who, along with Kylend Hetherington and Zach Manske, share the title role in the national touring production of "Billy Elliot the Musical."

AFTRA Board of Directors Approves SAG-AFTRA Merger Package

Backstage: The AFTRA board of directors Saturday approved a proposed merger with SAG, triggering a membership vote that could unite the unions by the end of March into a single union, to be called SAG-AFTRA. The move was expected and came a day after SAG’s board passed a similar motion.

SAG Board of Directors Approves Merger Package With AFTRA

Backstage: The SAG board of directors Friday approved a proposed merger with AFTRA, bringing the two unions a step closer to uniting, eight decades after they were founded on opposite coasts and during very different times. The move was expected, as was the new union’s name: SAG-AFTRA.

How Do We Identify Good Ideas? I’ve always been fascinated by the failures of genius. Consider Bob Dylan. How did the same songwriter who produced Blood on the Tracks and Blonde on Blonde also conclude that Down in the Groove was worthy of release? Or what about Steve Jobs: What did he possibly see in the hockey puck mouse? How could Bono not realize that Spiderman was a disaster? And why have so many of my favorite novelists produced so many middling works?

John Shaffner Elected Chair of Art Directors Council

The Hollywood Reporter: Production designer John Shaffner has been elected to a three-year term as Chair of the Art Directors Council, effective immediately. Shaffner replaces Thomas A. Walsh, who will continue as president of the overall Art Directors Guild.

AFTRA Board Approves Network Code

The Hollywood Reporter: The AFTRA national board Saturday unanimously voted to recommend the terms of the 2011-2014 Network Television Code agreement to AFTRA members for ratification, as was expected. Ballots will go out to all members in good standing on Monday with a return date of Feb. 22.

Why Children's Theater Matters Want to boost literacy? Teach your child to imagine the unimaginable? Cultivate curiosity? Get thee to the theater, and bring your kids.
The children's theater movement is led by Europe, but the U.S. is not far behind. And we're not just talking about the bustling theater town of New York. The third largest children’s theater in the world is tucked away in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Other mid-sized cities—from Dallas, to Tempe, to Nashville, are also cooking up kids’ fare in full-time children venues.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

AFTRA board agrees to tie the knot with SAG The long-sought marriage of Hollywood's two actors unions cleared another hurdle Saturday when the board of American Federation of Television and Radio Artists endorsed a plan to merge with the larger Screen Actors Guild.
As expected, the AFTRA board approved a recently-negotiated merger plan by 94% to 6%, echoing a similar endorsement on Friday by SAG's national board.

UK Court Says You Can Copyright The Basic Idea Of A Photograph

Techdirt: We've talked a lot in the past about the "idea/expression dichotomy." This is an important concept in copyright law that says you can only copyright the specific expression, and not the idea. This is supposed to protect people from getting accused of copyright infringement for basically making something similar to what someone else made. Unfortunately, as we've been noting with dismay over the past few years, the idea that there's some bright line between "idea" and "expression" has been slowly fading away, and courts are, increasingly, effectively wiping out the distinction. In the US, we've seen this with the ridiculous case between a photographer, David LaChapelle, and the singer Rihanna, because some of her videos were clear homages to his photographs. The expression was entirely different, but the judge didn't think so, and Rihanna ended up having to pay up.

Bar Fight! Sony Sues Karaoke Distributor For Infringement; Gets Sued Right Back For 'Copyright Misuse'

Techdirt: A great many drinkers have watched helplessly as their BAC became inversely proportionate to their common sense, throwing around cash as thought it were Monopoly money before grabbing the mic to belt out Adele's latest track. Karaoke has been the go-to bar sport for thousands of people who feel the only thing keeping them back from superstardom is sobriety. It's a proven money-maker, but does it make ridiculously large damages-type money?

Is the three-act dead?

Berkeley Rep Blog: As Berkeley Rep’s new Ground Floor initiative revs up its engines, it’s a good time to talk about what makes new theatre. Is it contemporary stories, contemporary forms, or both? At a company meeting this fall, Artistic Director Tony Taccone declared, “Artists are moving away from the three-act structure. Not because it is a trend, but because the three-act no longer reflects how people think and feel.”

Getting to the ‘What’ of it

HowlRound: Last Monday I was fortunate enough to be able to attend TEDxBroadway at New World Stages in New York City. With no direct experience, but a keen interest, in the Broadway scene, I was excited to have the opportunity to spend the day listening to fourteen experts, industry and outsiders, answer the question: “What’s the Best that Broadway can be Twenty Years from Now?” Many have done an incredibly thorough job reporting on the event and so I won’t attempt to offer a complete summary. (If you’re interested in such a recap, I recommend Howard Sherman’s live blog of the day’s activities here.)
Much of the conference was spent discussing who Broadway should be attracting (in terms of both audience and industry), how Broadway could be courting said targeted audiences (largely capitalizing on social networking), and why theater. The why was most succinctly and quotably summed up by Gregory Mosher: “You can’t Google a broken heart. That’s what we need Shakespeare for.” A conversation about what the theater in the theaters should look like and what it should address was slightly less fleshed out. I wanted to take a minute to distill the what in hopes of continuing the conversation that was started on Monday.

Rose Brand Accepting Applications for Action Design Competition at USITT

Stage Directions: Think you’re a great designer? Think you can work fast? Think you can collaborate successfully in a short time, under pressure, with total strangers? If so, Rose Brand wants you to prove it at USITT this spring. Rose Brand is launching the Rose Brand USITT Action Design Competition at this year’s USITT exhibition in Long Beach, Calif.

Black and white and read all over

WBEZ: When I interviewed Timothy Douglas about his decision to resign as Artistic Director of Remy Bumppo, he said a series of gracious things about divergent artistic visions. These remarks were barely distinguishable from the equally gracious comments made by his successor Nick Sandys. So what is there to write about?
There’s this: When, at the end of the interview, I asked Douglas what else I should have asked him, this is what he said:
"Well, the question is bound to be, ‘Did this have anything to do with race?’ And yes, that was a part of the dynamic.

SAG Merger Ballots to Include Opposition Statement

The Hollywood Reporter: The merger referendum materials that will be sent to SAG members will include an opposition statement, The Hollywood Reporter has learned, even though merger opponents on the SAG board did not reach the threshold necessary to require this.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Sundance Debut

Carnegie Mellon University: A feature film debut at the Sundance Film Festival is something Roxanne Benjamin has always strived for.
This year she reached that goal.
Benjamin, a 2009 graduate of Carnegie Mellon University's Master of Entertainment Industry Management (MEIM) program will debut her movie V/H/S in Park City, Utah as part of the premier showcase for independent film.

Stage actors find appearances in order for long-running TV series

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Read the cast bios of almost any professional theater production, and you might think that a role on one of the versions of "Law & Order" is a professional requirement.
That might be a bit of an overstatement. But it's rare to find a regional theater or national-touring production without a few performers who list "Law & Order" among their credits.

NYC Sets TV Production Record in 2011

Backstage: Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced on Thursday that television production in New York City hit a record high in 2011, Variety reported. The city was the location for 23 series in the 2011-12 season, compared with just nine a decade ago.

John Ford’s ‘Broken Heart’ and ‘ ’Tis Pity She’s a Whore’ THE 17th-century playwright John Ford never met a character he didn’t want to kill: gruesomely, ingeniously, poignantly. He liked them stabbed, starved, poisoned, burnt, bled and assaulted by roving packs of bandits. His two best plays — both having forthcoming New York revivals — boast body counts nearly as long as the cast lists.

Survey reveals effect of being openly gay on actors' careers

The Stage: Almost half of all gay performers have not come out to their agents, with more than a third admitting they have experienced homophobia in the industry.
The figures are among the findings of a survey conducted by Equity investigating whether it is safe to be ‘out’ in the entertainment industry. The survey was open to all the union’s members, with the majority of those who took part working as performers.

The Data We Need on Women and the Entertainment Industry

ThinkProgress: I’m pretty excited about the new initiative that’s a partnership between the Sundance Institute and Women in Film to provide more data on the experiences of women in film and television. I think it’s important, though, that we get away from simply reporting the number of movies and television shows that are written, created, directed, or executive produced by women, and to try to get some of these kinds of other numbers

Hacker Spaces Come Meet Your Makers

Between the Lines: This week I had the opportunity to visit the Noisebridge Hacker Space in San Francisco with an Autodesk colleague Gregory Miller and Alex Peake. Alex is on Kickstarter with a game project named Code Hero where you not only learn about pioneers and computer science heros such as Charles Babbage, Ada Lovelace, and Alan Turing but learn how to code in the process of the game. It is nice to see not another mind numbing zombie killing game, but one where you learn some programming languages such as JavaScript and Unity3D, and exercise your problem solving skills.

Eiko Ishioka dies at 73

Variety: Eiko Ishioka, who earned an Oscar for the costumes in "Bram Stoker's Dracula," a Grammy for her design of Miles Davis' album "Tutu" and two Tony nominations for her work on "M. Butterfly," died of pancreatic cancer on Saturday in Tokyo. She was 73.

The Truth About Sleep & Productivity Arianna Huffington talks often about how the key to her productivity is sleep.
It's a smart suggestion, not least because so many of us still imagine that the more we work, the more productive we are. For over a hundred years or more, this has been deemed nonsense.

One Secret to Finding New Audiences, or What I Learned from Mohegan Sun.

Ken Davenport - Opinions from a Broadway Producer: Casinos have a lot on the ‘line’, which is why there is a lot to learn from everything they do.
I stumbled upon a simple little trick that I’ve started using for my shows already, and it has been so successful, I had to share it with you.
It’s simple . . . if you want to get a new audience to the theater, you may have to get that new audience to the theater.

Vectorworks Releases Entertainment and Lighting Design with Vectorworks Spotlight, First Edition Perfect timing! If you are a student looking to enter the 2012 Student Lighting Design Competition, Kevin Lee Allen’s new book, Entertainment and Lighting Design with Vectorworks Spotlight, First Edition might just be what you are looking for! Not only in Kevin Lee Allen one of our judges for the SLDC, he is also an award-winning lighting and scenic designer whose work includes theatre, film, TV, museums and corporate environments.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Pittsburgh Musical Theater casts teen actors in controversial Tony winner 'Spring Awakening'

Post Gazette: Art can be risky or risque, classical or contemporary, or all of those at once, as in the case of "Spring Awakening." The risque part caused the initial buzz when it clocked into Broadway, and the timeless message and award-winning songs keep it ticking.
The 1850s German play of the same name, about coming-of-age teens coping with clueless abusive adults, was banned in its own time.

Main character takes 'Ruthless' approach

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: For Van Kaplan and Kiesha Lalama, putting a big show on a small stage is a new challenge.
As executive producer of Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, Kaplan usually works on a broader campus, such as overseeing or directing that company's musicals for the 2,800-seat Benedum stage or as the producer and director for the National High School Musical Theater Awards at Broadway's 1,621-seat Minskoff Theatre.
That's also true of Lalama, who choreographs for the National High School Musical Theater Awards and the upcoming big-screen film "Perks of a Wallflower."

When you apply for a job and hear...nothing

Fortune Management: The last time I looked for a new job, about four years ago, the most discouraging part of the process was applying for a position, even going through more than one interview, and then hearing nothing back. Now, it's happening again. I applied for an opening at a company where I've always wanted to work. They called me in for an interview, which I think went really well, about three weeks ago. I've followed up by phone and email a few times to reiterate my interest since then, but I've heard nothing. Nada. Not a peep.

Behind the Scenes: Flying With Cirque du Soleil Aerialists at ‘La Nouba’ at Downtown Disney

Disney Parks Blog: I recently headed backstage to learn more about the performers in “La Nouba” by Cirque du Soleil at Downtown Disney. There, I met Anna Cueller, Captain of the Silks, who was kind enough show me a thing or two about aerial ballet, one of the many amazing acts performed in the show.

Watch the Walt Disney Concert Hall Get Prepped for "Mahler Project" Rehearsal

Los Angeles magazine: In the February issue we tell you about “The Mahler Project,” the Los Angeles Philharmonic’s ambitious, nine-symphony program currently underway and culminating at the Shrine Auditorium on February 4, when more than 1,000 musicians will perform Gustav Mahler’s Symphony no. 8.

Occupy and the Arts: Curating by Consensus in Lower Manhattan

Createquity.: In late September 2011, I started following Occupy Wall Street’s (OWS’s) Arts and Culture committee with the goal of understanding, and critiquing, its organizational structures for a Createquity article. However, I soon found that the same way the movement as a whole resists neatly following one set of demands (though its anti-corporate greed and income disparity message has always been clear), its Arts and Culture activities resist falling into one organizational model—or at least the systems are constantly evolving. This is especially the case now, well into the movement’s post-physical occupation phase. At first I thought this might present barriers to participation for artists, or to arts administrators and curators seeking to donate their organizational skills. Yet I eventually came to believe this looseness could be one of the Arts & Culture movement’s strengths—or at the very least, it has opened up a fertile space for debate about an alternative, “Occupied Art World.”

Fabric origami with Chris Palmer

Berkeley Rep Blog: Berkeley Rep's shops are filled with pretty awesome, talented artisans who are always curious and ready to learn new things (and build some awesome things too). That tradition continued last Friday when the costume shop hosted an in-house fabric origami workshop taught by the amazing artist Chris Palmer, author of Shadowfolds. He taught members of the costume, prop, and scenic shops his method of folding fabric to make three-dimensional geometric designs.

Long Day's Journey Into Crushing Irony “Constellations” is the celestial title for the nearest I’ve come across in ages to a play that feels heaven-sent. One wants to say more, of course, but in some ways, one really shouldn’t, since the element of surprise is crucial both to the impact of Nick Payne’s script and of Michael Longhurst’s deeply felt production. The show looks quite likely to be the town’s new hot ticket as it hurtles toward a Feb. 11 close at the Royal Court’s tiny Theatre Upstairs.

London Theater Journal: Comfortably Mousetrapped It was a dark and stormy afternoon when I ventured into the old building with the twisting staircases, on one of those London side streets that always seems to be in different places when you look for them. Oh, I knew what I was in for: screams, gunshots, a whistling psychopath, fraught minutes in the dark and rigid postures of fear. But I hadn’t come to St. Martin’s Theater to be frightened or even stimulated. I was there for comfort.

'As You Like It' and 'Into The Woods' Will Be This Summer's Central Park Productions This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, and to mark the occasion, the Public Theater on Thursday announced a production meant to take full advantage of that setting: a revival of the 1987 Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical “Into the Woods” that is based on an acclaimed London staging performed outdoors in Regent’s Park there.

‘Into the Woods’ Production Born at Catering Firm Like so many great and fully implausible schemes, a two-nights-only production of “Into the Woods,” running this week on the Lower East Side, was hatched in a crevice of time, when its masterminds were madly busy with other things.

Short plays: the key to dramatic perfection? Living in Cambridge has many advantages (architecture, libraries, punting), but access to contemporary playwriting is not one of them. But this week spring has arrived early with the advent of Hotbed, a festival of new plays produced by Menagerie Theatre. The theatrical equivalent of a three-day bender, Hotbed is now a decade old (as someone who first collaborated with the company back in 2002, that anniversary is yet more unwelcome evidence of advancing age). But there've been some great memories from that ten years – all of them short.

Can theatre save Europe? Even three years later, the idea of 43 Germans – actors, technicians, etc – landing in Rennes for three weeks is not something the National Theatre of Brittany can forget. "The regulars were wondering what was going on," says François Le Pillouër, director of the TNB. "All the markings had been dubbed into German. Some spectators said it reminded them of the old days … Seriously though, there was a mad energy running throughout the theatre. We had never seen anything like it."

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Press Release: CMU Drama Students Explore Theatrical Boundaries in "Playground: Festival of Independent Student Work"

Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama will present its ninth annual “Playground: A Festival of Independent Student Work” in and around the Purnell Center for the Arts Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 2-4.
The festival opens at 6 p.m., Feb. 2 with musical performances, new plays, lighting and art installations, murals, multimedia projects and other dramatic presentations in the Purnell Center lobby.

'Spring Awakening' tells the age-old story of youth

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Asked why he included "Spring Awakening" among his season selections, Pittsburgh Musical Theater founding director Ken Gargaro answers with his head and his heart.
"First of all: the title. It's a recognizable title and I thought it was a modern, popular piece that was a work of art," he says, knowing that it's easier to sell seats for a familiar, recent Broadway hit.

Review: Solo performer's work lights up 'Night'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: The opening-night audience gave Daniel Beaty's "Through the Night" a warm and enthusiastic reception.
Beaty wrote, directed and performed this one-man drama that looks at the stories of six black males struggling to fulfill their hopes for a better life.
He's an engaging and creative performer who uses only his talent, his voice and his posture and gestures to bring the show's numerous characters -- both male and female -- to life.

Young singers tackle two 'children's' operas

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: The explorations and self-discovery of youth have extra dimensions for singers. They have to learn how to fit convincingly into a wide range of characters, with the flexibility to master different musical styles, and often singing in a foreign language.

Creativity shines through despite tight staging in Kuntu's 'Ma Rainey's Black Bottom'

Post Gazette: When August Wilson's "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" erupted on Broadway in October 1984, the American theater discovered a new star playwright. But Pittsburgh had met him earlier, first as young Freddie Kittel, then under his new name, well before the first version of "Jitney" premiered here in 1982, launching his 10-play Pittsburgh Cycle.

Stage and screen share symbiotic bond

Post Gazette: For decades Broadway producers regarded Hollywood as the agent of death. They fought to delay film adaptations of "West Side Story," "Hello, Dolly!" "The Wiz" and other shows for fear that those movies would decimate ticket sales for the Broadway originals and their national tours.

Daniel Beaty is a tour de force in 'Through the Night'

Post Gazette: As the hopeful American motto has it, "e pluribus unum" -- "out of many, one."
That's just how "Through the Night" proceeds, establishing its many characters and meandering along, only gradually revealing the bonds between them, aiming toward a final midnight when their trials will narrow to a poignant focus. Will they make it through the night?

Stuff To Ponder: Active Interpretation of Culture

Butts In the Seats: There are numerous television stations, radio shows and newspaper columns featuring people with high levels of expertise talking about sports, yet thousands of people feel no reservation about expressing a contrary opinion loudly in public places and in blog posts. They can hold opposite opinions about games and players from those of their close friends and still remain close. They are not intimidated by those with greater expertise or by the prospect of hurting their personal relationships.
But have you ever been afraid to express your opinion about an artist or arts experience you have had for fear of either appearing elitist to the people around you, even close friends? Or on the other side of the coin, been afraid of appearing insufficiently knowledgeable? Why is that? Feeling unable to discuss these topics, of course, creates a vicious cycle where people continue to feel they can’t discuss these things.

The Conversation After The Show

2AMt: When a theater is only open to the public for 15 minutes before and after a performance—and is otherwise closed and locked, with the public let in and, if necessary, kicked out—the question arises of how to make the performing arts a conversation, a participatory activity more articulated than active listening. Here’s a simple story of how that engagement happened, in a town of 7,000 people, in a way that I have rarely seen elsewhere.

SDC Wins Arbitration Against Spider-Man for Employment Bonds

Stage Directions: SDC has prevailed in arbitration against Producers of Spider-Man concerning the Producers’ refusal to post the required bonds for the employment of Director Philip W. McKinley and Choreographer Chase Brock.
Arbitrator Carol Wittenberg has just released her ruling that the Spider-Man producers are bound by the grievance and arbitration provision of the Collectively Bargained Agreement and violated the Agreement when they failed to post security bonds for both Chase Brock and Phillip W. McKinley. In addition, Ms. Wittenberg granted SDC’s request for pre-judgment interest.

SDCF Masters of the Stage - Directing Shakespeare: Shakespeare's Theatre - April, 2001

American Theatre Wing: In 2001, Michael Lupu, senior dramaturg for the Guthrie Theatre, provided directors at the "Directing Shakespeare Symposium" with a brief lesson he called "Shakespeare 101." In this twenty-minute discussion Lupu talks about audience expectations in the Elizabethan period, the history of Shakespeare's company "Lord Chamberlain's Men," and how the shifting of Shakespeare's theatre midway through his career may have affected his writing.

Spider-Man Producers Sue Taymor and Stage Directors and Choreographers Society for Conspiracy

Stage Directions: The producers of the musical SPIDER-MAN Turn Off the Dark today filed an answer and countersuit in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York Tuesday against Julie Taymor and her company, LOH, Inc. The producers’ answer responds to the complaint that Taymor and LOH filed on November 8, 2011, in which they assert that the current version of the musical infringes Taymor’s alleged copyrights and also raise certain contractual and state law claims, including a claim seeking to bar the producers from bringing SPIDER-MAN Turn Off The Dark to non-Broadway venues.

Ownership Mentality: Art Gallery Prohibits Sketching

Techdirt: I've always been a bit baffled by No Photography signs in museums and art galleries. Presumably they exist to make the exhibits more exclusive and attractive, but that misses the point of why people visit museums: they want to see these things in person, which is a vastly different experience from simply knowing what they look like. Nobody has ever seen a photo of a dinosaur skeleton or Michelangelo's David and thought "oh good, now I don't need to go see that for real."

10 Takeaways from TEDxBroadway

Ken Davenport - Opinions from a Broadway Producer: I had high expectations for the first ever TEDxBroadway, but we were blown away by the presentations given by our big-brained speakers. It was an exciting and inspiring day and all of us were so thankful to each and every presenter, and especially to each and every audience member who gave up a day's worth of work and $100 to focus on what Broadway could be in twenty years.

SAG-AFTRA merger means some union dues will rise as others fall The proposed merger between the Screen Actors Guild and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists will bring higher dues for some actors and lower dues for others, depending on which labor group they already belong to before the marriage.

The End of Public Domain?

Dvorak News Blog: Congress may take books, musical compositions and other works out of the public domain, where they can be freely used and adapted, and grant them copyright status again, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Tyro Technics: Young Designer To Watch, Anthony Mattana

Live Design: Anthony Mattana, Sound Designer and Composer
Home base: Brooklyn, NY
Current project(s): A workshop with The Deconstructive Theatre Project: The Orpheus Variations; Execution of Justice at New School University

Rave Promoters Paid Millions to L.A. Coliseum Union Workers Under the Table and in Cash, Sources Say

Los Angeles News - The Informer: More than $2.5 million in cash was paid to union hands who worked concerts, mostly controversial raves, at the publicly run L.A. Coliseum and Sports Arena, according to sources and documents obtained by the Weekly.
On Tuesday lawyers for the Coliseum planned to amend the body's lawsuit against the rave promoters and its former managers to include allegations that this money was misappropriated, according to a statement.

Scene Shop Supervisor

Harvard University - Job details: The Scene Shop Supervisor directly supervises scenic craftsmen and casual laborers in the construction and installation phases of each production according to plans produced by and within guidelines set by the technical director. Manages the maintenance and operation of equipment related to the construction of scenery as well as that relating to the facility itself. Manages budgets relating to inventories, supplies, tooling, and repairs, as well as cost estimating for pertinent improvement projects. Assists in the planning of shop work flow, and advises on technical and procedural solutions to construction problems.

IATSE, Teamsters focus on health care

Variety: With healthcare costs expected to dominate, Hollywood's below-the-line unions have set March 5 as a start date for contract negotiations with the congloms -- less than four months before the current master contract ends July 31.
The first round of negotiations with the Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers should last for several weeks. The unions -- the West Coast locals of the Intl. Alliance of Theatrical & Stage Employees and Local 399 of the Intl. Brotherhood of Teamsters -- are expected to negotiate jointly on healthcare and retirement issues while holding separate bargaining on the remainder of their contracts.
Reps for IATSE, the Teamsters and the AMPTP had no comment on the negotiations.

Tax Break Bill Gives Incentives for Broadway Shows

Gapers Block Mechanics | Chicago: Part of the recently passed "Tax Break Bill," or SB 397, includes the Live Theater Production Tax Credit Act. This act will give any for-profit production that does a long run or a pre-Broadway run in Illinois up to $2 million in tax credits for one fiscal year.
The only other state that has a similar tax credit for theatrical productions is Louisiana, although New York City also has a tax exemptions for theatrical productions.

Daniel Renner to Join TDF as Director of Education

Stage Directions: Theatre Development Fund (TDF), the not-for-profit service organization for the performing arts, has named Daniel Renner to the position of Director of Education. Mr. Renner, who is one of the country’s leading theatre arts educators, is currently the Dean of the National Theatre Conservatory and Director of Education for the Denver Center of the Performing Arts. He will begin his duties full-time with TDF this May and will consult with the organization until then.

ETCP examinations at USITT 2012

LSi Online News: The ETCP examinations will be given at USITT's Annual Conference & Stage Expo in Long Beach, CA. All three examinations will be given at the same time and are scheduled for the morning of Saturday, 31 March. Candidates who wish to take more than one exam should contact ETCP. Interested applicants must submit their application, along with supporting materials and fee, to the ETCP office no later than 1 March 2012.

University Job: Assistant Professor (Technical Director/Production Manager), University of Texas, Arlington

academickeys: Serve as the departmental technical director for seasonal productions; fulfill duties as production coordinator; supervise Scenic Studio Supervisor and work/study students; and, teach Stagecraft, Practicum Lab and other courses or design assignments, as workload will allow.

University Job: Technical Theatre Director, Chipola College

academickeys: Design and manage technical aspects of theatre productions; instruct, supervise and evaluate students involved in stagecraft, lighting, sound, audio and other technical operations; supervise volunteers, guest artists and contract employees involved in set design and construction; electrical, lighting and sound board operations; set dressing; fly wall/scene change activities; skilled crafts; and, other technical aspects of theatre productions. Participate on College committees, as needed.

University Job: Contract Faculty Position/Production Stage Manager and Teacher, Ball State University

academickeys: Contract faculty position available August 17, 2012, in stage management. Responsibilities: teaching courses in stage management, design awareness, stagecraft, and other related theatre courses at the undergraduate level; training and supervising all student stage managers within the department’s undergraduate Production Option and working in collaboration with theatre and dance faculty, staff, and students in facilitating the production program at Ball State University, including two dance concerts per season.

University Job: Technical Director, Lecturer in Theatre Arts, Baylor University

Academic Keys: M.F.A. in technical direction required. Share technical direction responsibilities for an 8-show season. Teach undergraduate courses in basic scenic construction and technical theatre practices. Knowledge of CAD, Vectorworks, and competence at computer drafting is essential. Co-supervise student workers in scene shop, as well as a staff shop foreman and assistant technical director.

After 320 years, Paris theatre's stage hands demand égalité

The Independent: The most prestigious theatre company in France, the Comédie Française, has been thrown into confusion over a 332-year-old pay agreement.
The classical theatre company has cancelled its published programme after backstage staff called an indefinite strike against a pay and bonus system which has been unchanged since 1680.

Catch Me If You Can Tour Will Launch As Non-Equity This Fall The first national tour of the Tony Award-nominated musical Catch Me If You Can, based on the Dreamworks film about a charming young con-man on the run for money and adventure, will hit the road in a non-Equity production this fall.

'Phantom of the Opera' epitaph: We did well to survive six years

Las Vegas Sun: In Twitter-speak, it was hashtag-buzzkill.
The information from Scott Zeiger to the “Phantom -- the Las Vegas Spectacular” team was imparted in halves. The co-CEO of BASE Entertainment called a backstage meeting of the company that stages and stars in the Venetian spectacle after the performance Jan. 10.

College Majors That Are Useless

Yahoo! Education: If you're considering going back to school in hopes that you'll graduate to more opportunities, there are certain degrees that you might want to avoid.
Consider the National Association of Colleges and Employers' (NACE) 2012 Job Outlook study, which surveyed almost 1,000 employers on their future hiring plans. Many areas of study, such as fashion design and the performing arts, didn't even make the list.

'Wit,' Starring Cynthia Nixon, Took the Long Road to Broadway "Wit," a drama about a poetry professor with stage-four ovarian cancer, opened off-Broadway in 1998 and quickly began racking up accolades. It picked up numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize, and was soon was being staged around the country.

Live Design Expands Master Classes Brand, Announces BMC Dates

Live Design: Live Design has announced changes and additions to its burgeoning Master Classes franchise, adding several new events to the calendar, new venues, and price structures for its existing events, and other exciting features.

Monday, January 23, 2012

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Cirque du Soleil's Ovo: How to make costumes that look like bugs

LA Weekly: "I was always fascinated by insects since I was a child. I would go into my backyard and look under rocks, to see what the insects were doing," says costumer Liz Vandal, whose first assignment for Cirque du Soleil is Ovo, a show about the insect universe.

This Guy Didn't Know He Shot Himself in the Head with a Nail Gun

Gizmodo: Dante Autullo is a tough guy. He's also, according to his wife, a very accident prone guy. So when he accidentally hit his head with a nail gun and only saw a scratch, he didn't think anything of it... EVEN THOUGH HE HAD A FREAKING NAIL LODGED IN HIS BRAIN.

Why I Won’t Hire You

Golem Technologies: I will be very honest with you in this post. Most interview articles only show obvious mistakes, as if most people don’t know showing up late is bad form. I will tell you the things I didn’t really know about until I was the one interviewing, and interviewing for a variety of positions and person-types. No interview prep article ever prepared me in the right way for how interviewers really think. That is what I will be sharing with you today.
When you first walk in to my office, I am expecting you to be one of the 99%+ people who I know I won’t hire in the first 5 minutes. I am hoping I will be proven wrong, because I really want to hire you and be done interviewing. Unfortunately, most people looking for jobs don’t deserve them. Here are the most common ways I know you don’t deserve any job I have to offer.

10 Questions for a Broadway Pro: This guy cleans up on Broadway.

Ken Davenport - Opinions from a Broadway Producer: Bruce Barish and his wife Sarah could be the busiest couple on Broadway. What do they do? Well, you know how most theater folk are night owls? Well, these two can't be . . . because if they slept in, 80% of Broadway would be naked.

Follow-up to Indiana State Fair Stage Canopy Collapse

TheatreFace: Following the weather-induced collapse last summer of the stage canopy at the Ind..., the Indiana State Legislature announced today that a Senate Bill was authored that addresses the need to have outdoor entertainment structures inspected before use. The bill was passed and forwarded to the House for consideration.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

10 Questions for a Broadway Pro: This guy cleans up on Broadway.

Ken Davenport - Opinions from a Broadway Producer: Bruce Barish and his wife Sarah could be the busiest couple on Broadway. What do they do? Well, you know how most theater folk are night owls? Well, these two can't be . . . because if they slept in, 80% of Broadway would be naked.

Follow-up to Indiana State Fair Stage Canopy Collapse

TheatreFace: Following the weather-induced collapse last summer of the stage canopy at the Ind..., the Indiana State Legislature announced today that a Senate Bill was authored that addresses the need to have outdoor entertainment structures inspected before use. The bill was passed and forwarded to the House for consideration.

San Francisco

HowlRound: There’s an old (and annoying) line about how if you’re smart and ambitious you move to New York, if you’re ambitious but not smart you move to LA, and if you’re smart but not ambitious you move to San Francisco. Sixteen years ago I arrived here by accident in someone else’s car, and since then I’ve found myself often engaged in the examination of the kind of ambition that we have in this city.

This Guy Didn't Know He Shot Himself in the Head with a Nail Gun

Gizmodo: Dante Autullo is a tough guy. He's also, according to his wife, a very accident prone guy. So when he accidentally hit his head with a nail gun and only saw a scratch, he didn't think anything of it... EVEN THOUGH HE HAD A FREAKING NAIL LODGED IN HIS BRAIN.

Five Best Online Meeting Services

Lifehacker: If you work at a company with employees in offices around the globe, or you work in a small company but want to collaborate with a contractor who works from home or vendor across the country, you need a service that will let you connect with your team, share documents, collaborate on them, and in some cases even share your screen or webcam with them. Here are five of the best services to conduct productive online meetings, based on your nominations.

Can Women Write Good Plays?

2AMt: I’m 22 years old, a student at NYU’s Dramatic Writing Program. I’m sitting in a coffee shop, surrounded by friends. The topic of conversation is how a teacher admitted that he couldn’t name a female playwright he liked. I don’t know if this story is true. I don’t care since I don’t have a class with him.

Key SAG Rule to Survive Merger

The Hollywood Reporter: SAG’s Global Rule 1, which requires members to work only under a union contract, will be retained in a merged SAG-AFTRA, The Hollywood Reporter has learned. Opponents of merger had raised the possibility that this would not be the case, since AFTRA has no analogous rule.

SAG Merger Skeptics Retain Law Firm

The Hollywood Reporter: Declaring themselves “hesitant” to support the proposed merger of SAG and AFTRA, a group of unnamed SAG actors posted a statement saying that they have retained a local law firm “to represent us in our legal quest to compel SAG to conduct a feasibility/impact study [regarding the effect of merger on the SAG pension and health plan] and publicly announce the results of the study prior to the merger referendum vote.”

Theatre company to call time on the rule of Blanchett and Upton ''IT'S been an interesting experiment but enough is enough.''
This was the thinking behind the Sydney Theatre Company deciding to end the reign of Cate Blanchett and her husband, Andrew Upton, as co-artistic directors running the company next year.
It is believed the decision by the couple and the STC board was mutual.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

'Flashdance' national tour to start here

Post Gazette: Oh, what a feeling: "Flashdance -- The Musical," the stage adaptation of the movie that was shot in Pittsburgh, will open on Broadway in the fall, then launch its national tour at Heinz Hall on New Year's Day 2013.
Casting and additional cities for the touring company, coming here as part of the PNC Broadway Across America -- Pittsburgh series, will be announced in the coming months.

'Flashdance' heads to Pittsburgh stage

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: "Flashdance -- The Musical" will launch its national tour in Pittsburgh on Jan. 1, 2013.
The show will be presented at Heinz Hall as a presentation of the PNC Broadway Across America -- Pittsburgh series.
The musical follows Alex Owens, a working-class girl from Pittsburgh who spends her days working at a steel mill, her evenings performing as a dancer at a local bar and dreams of becoming a student at a prestigious dance academy.

Some performers seek different career path after last dance

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Change might be inevitable. Sometimes, it's even predictable, but managing the transition and adjusting to it emotionally can be challenging.
Dancers retire anywhere from age 20 to 45, says Terrence S. Orr, Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre's artistic director.

Costumes help set the mood in 'As You Like It'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: For anyone who doubts that we need another production of "As You Like It," Gabriel Berry has a ready answer.
"It's January in Pittsburgh," Berry says. "This is a chance to get to the countryside and watch the flowers bloom."
Berry is the costume designer for "As You Like It," which began previews Thursday at the O'Reilly Theater, Downtown.

Nominations Open for PA Tech Awards

TECHBurgher: The PA Tech Awards 2012 announced the opening call for nominations for the annual gala that celebrates and honors the brightest technology leaders and innovators from across the state. Set for Friday March 30, 2012 at Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in Harrisburg, the PA Tech Awards brings together hundreds of attendees from companies large and small for what promises to be the networking event of the year.

Costume Designers Guild Announces Awards Nominees

Below the Line: The Costume Designers Guild announced the nominees for the 14th Annual Costume Designers Guild Awards. The winners will be revealed at the awards gala hosted by award-winning film and television actress, Jane Lynch, with Lacoste as presenting sponsor and Disaronno as supporting sponsor on Feb. 21 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Honorary awards will be announced next week.

Parts of a Cigar, Cigarette, Pipe and Matchbook

Prop Agenda: Theatre and films seem to have an awful lot of tobacco smoking in it, so it can be useful to the props person to be able to identify the parts and anatomy of common smoking devices. Cigars, cigarettes and pipes have endless variations of shapes and styles and have evolved much throughout history, but they do have parts that have remained somewhat consistent over time.

'Spider-Man' Producers File Nasty Countersuit Against Julie Taymor

Hollywood Reporter: In a filing today in New York federal court, Michael Cohl's 8 Legged Productions alleges that Taymor failed to live up to her obligations by declaring that "she could not and would not do that she was contracted to do, thereby causing significant unneccessary expense, delay and other harm."

Cirque du Soleil's Ovo: How to make costumes that look like bugs

LA Weekly: "I was always fascinated by insects since I was a child. I would go into my backyard and look under rocks, to see what the insects were doing," says costumer Liz Vandal, whose first assignment for Cirque du Soleil is Ovo, a show about the insect universe.

Productivity Made Simple: The Key to GTD

Lifehack: At this point you already know what the main elements of productivity are and where to start with GTD. This is all great, but we’re still lacking one important piece of information…
What the hell to do with all this stuff?!

Prepare to Ace Your Job Interview with This Interview One-Sheeter

lifehacker: As you know, preparation is the key to doing well on a job interview and hirers tend to ask the same kinds of questions. This job interview one-sheeter is like a CliffsNotes for getting your strategic answers together.

Job Search Tips That Will Get You a Job in 2012

Wise Bread: Unemployment has dipped to 8.6%, but there are still quite a number of people who are searching for jobs. Even among my circle of friends, I see that some of them are still facing layoffs or are struggling to find jobs. There really is a trick to job hunting, and interviewing is a skill you can pick up. Make sure you're not doing the wrong things by reading a roundup of the best job search tips we've featured in the past, and use those to get your dream job in 2012!

Stage role for TED

Variety: This week, Broadway types are just as likely to be talking about holograms and genomics as they are about ticketing and "Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark" lawsuits.
TEDxBroadway, a day-long conference organized by a trio of legiters, aims to get theater folk thinking ahead -- way, way ahead: The theme of the Jan. 23 event is "What Can Broadway Be in 20 Years?"
It's an unusual confab for the small, close-knit industry, which usually focuses more on day-to-day concerns of putting up and running a show. It's also an event that could make waves precisely because the community of Broadway movers and shakers is relatively small.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Theater Notes: Pittsburgh Westinghouse picked for musical theater project

Post gazette: Pittsburgh Westinghouse 6-12 has been chosen to participate in the "Make a Musical" Junior Theater Project, which aims to create sustainable musical theater programs in underserved middle and high schools. The initial 20-city program is being launched by NBC (which will premiere the pilot "Smash," about the making of a Broadway musical, on Feb. 6) and Music Theatre International.

'Creative Clash!' brings titans of tech and art together to plan the future

POP City: Pittsburgh Technology Council is billing "Creative Clash!" as "The future of creativity, technology and a new innovation community in Pittsburgh." As the first event of PTC's new Creative Technology Network, in partnership with the Carnegie Museum of Art, the Jan. 26 presentation, panel discussion and reception will bring together some heavy hitters in the tech/arts community

Cue the Water! Pittsburgh, the Setting of "Flashdance" Movie, Will Launch Musical's National Tour in 2013 Flashdance – The Musical, the stage adaptation of the 1983 pop-filled hit film, is aiming for a Broadway launch in fall 2012, but its producers have already announced a second company for a national tour that will kick off in early 2013.

The Toxic Avenger, With New Musical Glow, Opens at the Alley Theatre Jan. 20 A new incarnation of the Off-Broadway sci-fi rock musical The Toxic Avenger, starring Tony Award nominee Constantine Maroulis as a nerd turned radioactive super hero, officially opens Jan. 20 at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX.

Mike Garl New President of Tomcat

Stage Directions: TOMCAT, a market leader in the fabrication of aluminum truss, structural components and custom stages for the entertainment, audiovisual, exhibition and worship industries and a brand of The Vitec Group, is pleased to announce that Mike Garl has joined the TOMCAT team as president and general manager. Garl, who joins TOMCAT from James Thomas Engineering, where he was previously the president and managing partner, will be responsible for all the day-to-day activities at TOMCAT.

MTV's New Crusade: Helping Students Battle College Debt With A Facebook App

Fast Company: To combat the staggering growth of college debt, MTV has launched a Facebook-powered campaign centered on college affordability. The star of the campaign is My College Dollars, a Facebook financial affordability app for the college-curious and those at risk of dropping out. In addition to hosting star-studded videos and basic application information, the app automatically alerts users to eligible scholarships based on their Facebook profile data.

Hate When Companies Don’t Provide Feedback On Job Applications? StartWire Is For You.

TechCrunch: If you’ve ever been on the job search, you know how frustrating and time consuming it is to manage the process. (If not, just ask one of the more than 13 million people in the U.S. currently there.) You spend untold hours filling out the right forms and fields, adding more action verbs to your resume, etc., and you fire off the application. Then comes the infuriation: Your prospective employer doesn’t respond, so you send a follow-up. Nothing. And another follow-up. Still nothing.

Playbill goes Boffo with its brand.

Ken Davenport - Opinions from a Broadway Producer: The battle of the Broadway websites just got real, yo. could sit back and stay fat on its yellow striped cover and trademarked font and still have more traffic than the 405 in LA.
But no . . . ever since young Turk-ish Blake Ross took the reins years ago, Playbill has been operatin' like a startup, adding new features left and right and all the way 'round.

Beyond the Bechdel Test

2AMt: Soon after I wrote this Forum Theatre post on the Bechdel Test, the question arose: what might be a similar test for LGBT characters? Being both gay and up for the challenge, I gave it a try. Here it is:
The Test – Does the movie have?
1. An identifiable LGBT character
2. Who has a conversation with someone else*
3. About something other than sexuality

6 Tips to Avoid IRS Audits for Freelancers

freelanceswitch: No one actually knows for sure what the logic behind the IRS audit red flag is. Over the years, accountants have seen commonalities within their client base and have noticed trends in businesses that seem to be audited more often than others. This article isn’t meant to scare you; it’s meant to encourage you to keep solid books.

Conference peers 20 years into Broadway's future

Yahoo! News: What will Broadway be like in 20 years?
Will people still come to see shows in 2032? Will actors still be performing live? Will Times Square still be the crossroads of the world? Will "The Phantom of the Opera" still be open?
Those and many other questions will likely be mulled over Monday at the inaugural TEDxBroadway, a one-day conference bringing together producers, marketers, entrepreneurs, economists and artists. All will try to imagine what Broadway will be like in two decades.

The Legal Fight Over Karaoke is Getting Loud

Hollywood Reporter: Two weeks ago, KTS Karaoke, a CD and DVD manufacturing giant was fed up by the suggestion that it might owe $1.28 billion for 6,715 acts of alleged song infringement. The company decided to drag Sony/ATV Music Publishing into a California federal court for being an aggressive nuisance in the karaoke marketplace.

‘War Horse’ Stage and Screen Versions Help Each Other FOR decades Broadway producers regarded Hollywood as the agent of death. They fought to delay film adaptations of “West Side Story,” “Hello, Dolly!,” “The Wiz” and other shows for fear that those movies would decimate ticket sales for the Broadway originals and their national tours. But this winter producers of the hit Broadway play “War Horse” have been cheering Steven Spielberg’s new screen version, while those on the musical “Rock of Ages” have been helping rush the movie version (starring Tom Cruise and Alec Baldwin) toward a June release.

Who Owns My Ticket? AT this moment, all over the United States, consumers are buying tickets to games, concerts and other live events under the impression that they have the right to give away, donate or resell the tickets they purchase. They assume that they can do so whenever and with whomever they wish and (as long as they don’t violate the few remaining laws against scalping) at whatever price they choose.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Public Theater adds a ragtime score and a turn-of-the-century backdrop to 'As You Like It'

Post Gazette: Shakespeare and ragtime, a match made in the mind of Pittsburgh Public Theater chief Ted Pappas, was established with an original score by Michael Moricz and unleashed by the company in the form of a jaunty "As You Like It."

Monologuist Mike Daisey takes on technology and a corporate giant in 'The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs'

Post Gazette: Mike Daisey's "The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs" is a story of love, loss and discovery. Technophiles, prepare to be both fascinated and disheartened.
Mr. Daisey will be performing the piece Saturday at the Byham Theater during a brief break in its run at New York City's Public Theater.

Review: Attack Theatre has devilishly good time with 'Soldier's Tale'

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: A classic fable was freshly told with uncommon brilliance Wednesday evening when Attack Theatre and seven Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra musicians teamed up to present Igor Stravinsky's "The Soldier's Tale."

Mike Daisey examines the love affair, cost of high-tech communications

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Since 1997, Mike Daisey has been telling his stories on five continents and in theaters, large and small.
"I'm a monologist. I tell stories for a living," he says in a phone interview. "I tell stories on stage in a primal form. I don't speak as an actor."
He has performed one or another of his 15 monologues in prestigious locations that include the Public Theater in New York City and remote islands in the South Pacific.

As You Like It, With Gretchen Egolf, Christian Conn, Begins Jan. 19 at the Pittsburgh Public Pittsburgh Public Theater continues its season with a new production of William Shakespeare’s As You Like It, beginning Jan. 19, prior to an official opening Jan. 27, at the O'Reilly Theater.

Working in the Theatre - The Playwrights' Voice 2012 - January, 2012

American Theatre Wing: Playwrights Lydia R. Diamond, David Henry Hwang and Suzan-Lori Parks discuss their work and other American playwrights and how they influenced them; the moment each was aware they wanted to be writers; their process; experiencing their work on Broadway for the first time; and the role mentors played in their lives and their role as mentors.


Prop Agenda: I saw the film Hugo last month. Have you seen it yet? A large portion of the plot revolved around an old automaton shaped like a metal man. When the characters managed to repair the automaton, it drew a picture on its own. While that was cool, it became even cooler when I later found out that this automaton was created without CGI or visual effects. The prop makers actually built an automaton that could draw an entire picture with a pen and ink.

Work Smart: Overcoming Consensus

Fast Company: How do you make everyone happy in a creative project with multiple constituencies? You can't. And trying to please everyone will result in a mediocre outcome. Here's my advice for how to avoid becoming burdened by consensus.

Why I Won’t Hire You

Golem Technologies: I will be very honest with you in this post. Most interview articles only show obvious mistakes, as if most people don’t know showing up late is bad form. I will tell you the things I didn’t really know about until I was the one interviewing, and interviewing for a variety of positions and person-types. No interview prep article ever prepared me in the right way for how interviewers really think. That is what I will be sharing with you today.
When you first walk in to my office, I am expecting you to be one of the 99%+ people who I know I won’t hire in the first 5 minutes. I am hoping I will be proven wrong, because I really want to hire you and be done interviewing. Unfortunately, most people looking for jobs don’t deserve them. Here are the most common ways I know you don’t deserve any job I have to offer.

Lepage launches new epic

Variety: Thirteen legit orgs around the world have commissioned a new 12-hour, four-part stage outing from prominent theater and opera helmer Robert Lepage.
"Jeux de Cartes (Playing Cards)" will play each of the venues (collectively called the 360° Network), all of which are capable of staging productions in the round.

‘Smash’ on NBC, About Broadway, With Katharine McPhee DECADES before his elaborate film productions like “E.T.” and “Saving Private Ryan,” Steven Spielberg cut his teeth as a high school stage manager in Phoenix, feeding lines to forgetful actors in “Guys and Dolls” and trying to keep the members of a large “Brigadoon” cast from turning into bumper cars. Backstage drama provided the first adrenaline rush of his career, he said, and always struck him as good material. So much so that, a few years ago, Mr. Spielberg began shopping around a television series set on Broadway, but he met with rejection from HBO (where he made “Band of Brothers”) and the broadcast networks.

'Peter and the Starcatcher' Will Land on Broadway in March Peter Pan is coming back to Broadway – though not the flying, singing Peter who audiences know well. Rick Elice’s play “Peter and the Starcatcher,” which had a well-reviewed Off Broadway run at New York Theater Workshop last spring, will begin preview performances at the Brooks Atkinson Theater on March 28 and open on April 15, the producers of the show said on Thursday.

‘Spider-Man’ Producers Sue Taymor for Breach Using caustic private e-mails as weapons, the producers of the popular Broadway musical “Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark” marshaled a muscular counteroffensive in federal court in Manhattan on Tuesday against a lawsuit by Julie Taymor, the $75 million show’s former director. In it they essentially seek to erase Ms. Taymor from the “Spider-Man” universe going forward.

Should theatre leave more to the imagination? Ordinarily, the prospect of Rupert Goold tackling CS Lewis's The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, as he will do in Kensington Gardens this summer, would be a lip-smacking one. From the hellish industrial kitchen of his Macbeth to the tawdry glitz of his Las Vegas Merchant, the places Goold creates are always vivid, inventive and full of high-definition detail. So who better to create the grand landscapes of Narnia, Lewis's fantastical world within a wardrobe?

National Theatre claims victory over Spielberg in War Horse race Given the choice between a hit West End play and a successful Hollywood blockbuster, most producers would doubtless plump for the latter. However, artistic director Nicholas Hytner has claimed that War Horse will prove more profitable for the National Theatre than it will for Steven Spielberg's studio.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

'Alexander' returns to Kidsworks stage

MakeShop Announces Micro Grant Opportunity

Pittsburgh Art + Technology: The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, with funding from the Grable Foundation and support from The Sprout Fund and The Pittsburgh Foundation, will provide “Maker” micro grants to organizations who work with children and youth.

Local playwright Tammy Ryan's still developing play, 'Lindsey's Oyster,' among the 8 productions staged at IUP during the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival

Post Gazette: Festival, they call it.
Not the festival, and certainly not a festival, but just Festival, as in, "we do it this way at Festival." It's a noun, sometimes an adjective and maybe even a verb, subsuming everything -- a life-form of its own.
The fuller name is KCACTF, the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.

Pausch Bridge continues professor’s creative legacy

SmartPlanet: Just as Randy Pausch’s work bridged art and science, the memorial Pausch Bridge connects the Purnell Center for the Arts and the Gates Center for Computer Science on the campus of Carnegie Mellon University. The 230 foot long bridge incorporates more than 7,000 LED lights and runs through 11 lighting sequences, five of which are newly designed by interdisciplinary teams of students.

PLASA Focus, First Such U.S. Event, Opens February 22

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: PLASA Focus, the first in a new style of regional events, opens in February 22, 2012 at the Austin Renaissance Hotel, in Austin, Texas. It will showcase the industry's hottest technology, spotlight the region's exciting lighting designers and sound engineers, provide free training opportunities, and feature the dealers and distributors who make Austin a leading community in the live music market.

David Dower Speaks More About the Move to Emerson

Stage Directions: Last week Arena Stage and Emerson College announced Emerson College would become the new home to the research and documentation portions of the American Voices New Play Institute, forming the Center for the Theater Commons at Emerson College. David Dower, currently leader of the Institute at Arena, and Polly Carl, currently Director of the Institute, are also moving with the Institute, maintaining their current positions and responsibilities vis-à-vis the Institute/Commons. You can read more about the move in my post from last week. Dower and I spoke for about 30 minutes last Friday, and in that time he clarified the reasons behind the move, and related a stronger vision about what the move to Emerson means for the Commons and for himself.

Henry Hewes Design Awards Honors Best NYC Design of 2010-2011

Stage Directions: The American Theatre Wing and the Henry Hewes Design Awards committee have announced the winners of the 47th annual Henry Hewes Design Awards. From 86 artists representing 61 productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Off-Off-Broadway during the 2010-2011 theatre season, four have been honored for their excellence in scenic design, costume design, lighting design and “notable effects,” which include sound, music, video, puppetry and other creative elements. The winners this year are: John Lee Beatty, scenic design, for his work on The Whipping Man at Manhattan Theatre Club (his seventh Hewes Award); William Ivey Long, costume design, for his work on The School for Lies at Classic Stage Company (his fourth Hewes Award); Jeff Croiter, lighting design, for his work on Peter and the Starcatcher at the NY Theatre Workshop; and David Rockwell (scenic design) and Batwin+Robin (projection design) won the Hewes Award for Notable Effects thanks to their work on The Normal Heart on Broadway.

SOPA Loses Steam With Hollywood Union Members

WebProNews: Obviously, some of the most voracious supporters of the oft-maligned protection acts working their way through the houses of government are members of the entertainment industry. You may know at least two of these associations better by their choice of acronyms: The MPAA and the RIAA. Clearly, these to entities have the most to lose in a non-SOPA protected world, at least if let spokespersons from each group tell it.

Diversity in the Booth

Stage Directions: Imagine that someone charges you with the task of hiring a Black production manager. Once you have successfully navigated the why’s, wherefores and “say whats?” that making such a charged request would elicit in our current socio-political climate, you would find that you had very few options before you. Your hiring pool would be extremely meager, albeit spectacularly talented. Your hiring pool would consist of two individuals: David Stewart, production manager and SM instructor for the University of Wisconsin–Madison; and Tayneshia Jefferson, production manager/stage management lecturer for Indiana University’s Department of Theatre and Drama. Us.

New Repertory Theatre’s production of ‘Art’ draws on local talents

The Boston Globe: Robert Walsh doesn’t break up fights; he usually starts them. David Remedios reads words but hears sound. Both men bring their talents to the New Repertory Theatre production of “Art,’’ which opens next Sunday at Watertown’s Arsenal Center for the Arts.

Online petition started for Super Bowl stagehands - 13 WTHR

Online petition started for Super Bowl stagehands - 13 WTHR: The NFL says for the first time in Super Bowl history, online protestors are calling for minimum wage and insurance protection for hundreds of halftime volunteers.

The online petition calls for the NFL "to offer 500 halftime workers at the Indianapolis Super Bowl minimum wage and protection if they are injured on the job," setting up Madonna's stage.

RSC's London home could be flatpack 975-seat theatre, says Michael Boyd The long-term future of the Royal Shakespeare Company in London is likely to be flatpack, albeit not something anyone would tackle alone with paper instructions and an Allen key.
Instead, this would be flatpack on an enormous scale: a 975-seat replica of its main auditorium in Stratford which could be constructed in London every time the RSC wanted to bring down its biggest productions.

NYC City Opera Reaches Tentative Deal With Union

Backstage: The New York City Opera and the union representing its orchestra have reached a tentative contract agreement.
A union spokesman said orchestra players would be casting their votes until 4 p.m. Thursday.
He did not release details.

Confessions of a Serial Intern

HowlRound: By all measures of intern metrics, my experiences as an intern at seven theater organizations in New York and Chicago have all been pretty wonderful. I’ve cultivated crucial relationships with artistic leaders in the new play world I have always aspired to play in. I have had significant insight into the structures and functions of a hefty handful of respected institutions. I’ve gained access to the work of writers that I would never have known about otherwise. I’ve improved my writing and communication skills, become savvy to industry politics, and gained an insider vocabulary that enhances my credibility as a serious theater practitioner. But the “dark side” of the internship has taught me not to speak up or make independent decisions, and demanded my gratitude for the privilege of having my intelligence and labor exploited. I’ve learned to accept whatever breadcrumbs I’m given. I’ve learned to apologize incessantly or, even better, shut my trap. I’ve become accustomed to working outside of the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, and gotten used to sucking up sexism. Internships have been responsible for eroding my sense of my own value.

Electrical Safety in the Theatre

Theatre Safety Blog: Electricity can pose a serious hazard in the workplace, however, it is unlikely that we’ll be doing much without it in the foreseeable future. Lighting, sound, rigging, projection, and tools all require it. A 12-year study by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) identified 244 workplace deaths that were the direct result of an electrical accident. Misuse or neglect of electrical equipment puts employees at risk of electrical shock, electrocution, fires, and explosions. Making your crew / staff / guests / employees aware of the risks and teaching them to following basic safety principles will help reduce the chance of electrical-related accidents at your venue.

The Rise of the New Groupthink SOLITUDE is out of fashion. Our companies, our schools and our culture are in thrall to an idea I call the New Groupthink, which holds that creativity and achievement come from an oddly gregarious place. Most of us now work in teams, in offices without walls, for managers who prize people skills above all. Lone geniuses are out. Collaboration is in.


BAM is in search of a new Director of Building Operations. The responsibilities and job description are detailed below. I know that this may seem unrelated to Production, but we think that it takes a Production Manager attitude and skill set to do this job right. BAM is a big place – 3 buildings with a budget that approaches $50 million. This would be an opportunity for someone to take a new direction and a perhaps a bigger role all at once while still staying very close to the Arts.

Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), an internationally recognized presenter of contemporary performing arts and cinema, seeks Full-Time Director of Building Operations to plan, direct and coordinate activities concerned with the security, public safety, operation, repair, maintenance and minor construction of BAM facilities, equipment, buildings and grounds to minimize interruption and improve efficiency.
Job Responsibilities:
  • Ensure that external and internal building security services, maintenance functions, labor and associated costs will continue within budget and with minimum interruption/downtime
  • Ensure that BAM campus buildings are clean, safe and appropriately climate-controlled
  • Establish working relationships with all departments occupying BAM-campus buildings to ensure that their concerns are addressed; and, especially that fundraising events, performances and regular work days proceed smoothly and efficiently.
  • Efficiently utilize available funds to complete current jobs in order to reduce costly repairs in the future.
  • Write and administer Building Operations department budgets
  • Hire, train and supervise management, unionized and non-unionized building service personnel
  • Assign staff to duties such as security, maintenance, repair or renovation and may obtain bids for additional work from outside contractors
  • Review reports of expenditures for previous fiscal year and proposed improvements to facilities in order to prepare budget estimates for upcoming fiscal year
  • Liaise with and monitor work of contractors
  • Planning, designing and development of plant facilities, formulation of work-related operating rules and procedures
  • Oversee purchase of security and public safety-related supplies, building and maintenance supplies, machinery, equipment and furniture
  • Negotiate vendor service agreements and participate in the selection of contract services
  • Work closely with Capital Projects to ensure that all building alterations and construction are performed in accordance with building standards and local code requirements
  • Interpret collective bargaining agreements, conduct and/or attend disciplinary hearings, up to and including arbitrations. Attend collective bargaining agreement negotiations
  • Ensure institutional compliance with applicable federal, state and local laws, codes, regulations and/or BAM policy
  • Inspect plant facilities and review inspection reports to determine repairs, replacements or improvements required
  • Oversee implementation of fire safety, disaster and emergency preparation plans
  • Solicit and analyze bids
  • Plan and coordinate department’s projects
  • Arrange interoffice relocation of staff; refurbish offices and other workspaces
  • Outfit offices with furniture, supplies and other items in accordance with budgetary guidelines
To view this opening, click on the link: Director of Building Operations