CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On Stage: Get set for 'Seth' and 'Cinderella' on city stages

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: When newlywed Seth Rudetsky describes his cold, it's no surprise that it's with a musical reference. "I'm the opposite of Adelaide," he says of the sniffly, proposal-starved "Guys and Dolls" character. "I got a cold after I get married. But I'll be OK for Pittsburgh." The accomplished performer and musician, author and radio host -- he doesn't sit still for long -- sounds like he could use a box of tissues during a phone conversation as he readies to arrive at City Theatre for a weekend of "Seth's Big Fat '70s Show." In the solo exercise in hilarity, Mr. Rudetsky offers his take on variety-show moments of the era, such as a Donny & Marie medley from "Fiddler on the Roof."

‘Midnight Radio’ dials up supernatural vibe in new season

TribLIVE: Researching material for the next installment of Bricolage Production Company’s “Midnight Radio” series turned its writers into cemetery-lurking, paranormal-investigating ghost hunters.

Nothing But the Blues

Pittsburgh City Paper: The premise of Nothing But the Blues would strain credulity if it weren't based on a real story. In November 1983, Theresa Needham faced the closing of her tiny basement nightclub, which had become a Chicago blues mecca in its 33-year history, hosting big stars like Muddy Waters and launching big names like Junior Wells and Buddy Guy. Joe Plummer's 2010 play takes a fanciful look at that event for a musical revue of classic blues and blues classics.

Why Managers Should Study “I Love Lucy,” Kill Their To-Do Lists, And Get Zen

Fast Company: Jim Benson is the developer of a way of visualizing work called "personal kanban," and the co-author of a book on the subject. We caught up with Benson to learn more about workflow, "I Love Lucy," and how being nice is good business.

The New Science Of Resumes--And Why Yours Sinks To The Bottom Of The Pile

Fast Company: Keywords, social resumes, applicant tracking systems, and LinkedIn are all relatively new additions to the vocabulary associated with job searching. These systems affect the way your resume is read, interpreted, and shared. For employers looking to hire, these systems make it easier to find the right candidates. The successful job seeker must know how these work to be discovered by employers.

The Freelancer's Essential 12-Step Guide to Avoid Tax Trouble

freelanceswitch.com: One of the things that makes would-be freelancers nervous to quit their day jobs is the whole issue of paying taxes. When we’re employees, our company handles most of our tax responsibility for us, deducting required amounts so we never miss the money. As freelancers, this responsibility falls squarely on our shoulders. But tax-phobia shouldn’t keep you from pursuing the freelance life.

Iceman and Follies Big Winners at 2012 Jeff Equity Awards

Stage Directions: The Goodman Theatre’s production of The Iceman Cometh was the big winner in the Jeff Equity Awards Monday, Oct. 15. It took home six awards in the large theatre tier, winning Production - Play, Director Robert Falls, Supporting Actor Brian Dennehy, Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet and Lighting Designer Natasha Katz and the Ensemble award for its cast. Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Follies won top awards for a musical with six statues in the musical categories for large theatres. Follies won for Production -Musical, Director Gary Griffin, Music Director Brad Haak, Principal Actress Caroline O'Connor, Supporting Actress Hollis Resnik and Costume Designer Virgil C. Johnson. At the awards Actors’ Equity was given a special award to honor their 100 years of service. A full list of all the winners after the jump.

Watch a Guy Sneeze His Head Off His Shoulders

Geekosystem: Whatever your Halloween costume this year is going to be, it can’t possibly match this magician’s, which involves him sneezing his head off his body in an alleyway. Alleyways make everything creepier.

Urbanscreen Invades America- Rice University Centennial Celebration

projectionfreak.com: Giant projection specialists Urbanscreen came to Rice University to produce the 100th Anniversary spectacle that would be splashed across 3 buildings on campus. From Mike Williams Media Relations , Rice University: Thorsten Bauer went straight for the heart, rather than the intellect, of Rice University. So when he saw the Spectacle writ large for the first time, even the German artist shed a tear.

The Election and the Future of the NEA

Barry's Blog: What is the Future of the NEA post election? The election has everyone on a high anxiety level. No matter which one is your guy, you wonder: will he win, how will the swing states go? Is Hurricane / Tropical Storm Sandy a game changer in terms of voter turnout? Will Latinos and young people turn out? Will women support the GOP? It’s a cliffhanger and the country is on edge - waiting, nervously.

Ovation Awards Rule Change Sparks Outrage

backstage.com: A controversial change to the judging criteria for the L.A. STAGE Alliance’s Ovation Awards is roiling the Los Angeles theater community and could lead to an “evolution” of the rules. The peer-judged awards are meant to recognize excellence in Los Angeles–area theater. But whether that’s recognizing theater produced in and around Los Angeles, or whether that’s theater produced by Angelenos—that is the question.

The (Artios Awards) Show Must Go On

backstage.com: Because of Hurricane Sandy, what was meant to be a bi-coastal event became a West Coast evening, when all of the winners of the 28th Annual Artios Awards were announced Oct. 29 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Presenters included Atticus Shaffer, Nat Faxon, Anna Kendrick, Armie Hammer, Cedric the Entertainer, and Jean Smart. Jeremy Renner and Michael Hoffman presented the Career Achievement and Hoyt Bowers Awards.

University Job: Assistant Professor -- Theatre and Scenic/Lighting Designer, Salisbury University

academickeys.com: The Department of Theatre and Dance at Salisbury University is accepting applications for the tenure-track position of Assistant Professor — Theatre and Scenic/Lighting Designer. Primary Job Duties: Scenic/lighting design, development and budget administration for 3 – 4 theatre and 2 dance main stage productions, teaching 4 undergraduate theatre courses per academic year. Advising students and supervising practicum crews. Completing creative/scholarly activity and providing service to the Department, School and the University. Budget, report, collaborate and interact collegially with a variety of constituencies. Utilize an effective teaching style that supports a diverse student body.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Blue Man Group adds new material, including Showbot character

Entertainment / Neon - ReviewJournal.com: You have your new toys, but the Blue Man Group does too. Just don't expect Smoke Drums or a Neuronulum to fit in your pocket. Phil Stanton, a Blue Man founder and one of its three original performers, admits to phone separation anxiety like the rest of us. He doesn't just have to have it on his person: "I realize how much I actually have it in my hand."
-- Comments Here

François Hollande wants to abolish homework. Is that a good idea?

washingtonpost.com: My colleague Valerie Strauss reports that French president François Hollande has called for abolishing homework. The idea is part of a broader set of proposed education reforms, which include longer school weeks (they’re currently only four days) and hiring more teachers. The appeal to students is obvious, but is this such a good idea? François Hollande wants to abolish homework. Is that a good idea?
-- Comments Here

Stage fright: which plays have left you reeling in horror?

Stage | guardian.co.uk: The terror season is upon us in British theatre. Jack the Ripper is already stalking the streets around London Bridge, and Nosferatu will soon be rising from the dead at the Barbican. Like the late 19th-century theatregoers who flocked to the Theatre du Grand Guignol in Paris, where the blood came by the bucketful and medics were on hand to minister to those who passed out at the sight of severed limbs, modern theatregoers have a taste for theatrical splatterfests. Maybe we are not all that different from our Jacobean counterparts, who loved plays such as The Revenger's Tragedy on the grounds that "when the bad bleeds, then is the tragedy good" (in the words of Vindice, the play's sniggering antihero).
-- Comments Here

Actors told to beware fake casting scams

News - The Stage: Equity recently issued safety guidelines via its website and told performers to beware of casting directors whose information could not be checked through the Casting Director’s Guild or official sites. In the case that sparked the warning, an email account and Facebook page was set up in the name of a high profile casting director, and used in an attempt to lure actresses to auditions. One actress was asked to provide nude photographs after she responded to an advertisement for a lead role in a film.
-- Comments Here

What's the point of theatre programmes?

guardian.co.uk: What do you really want from a theatre programme? I know what I don't want: to be charged £3 upwards for an ugly piece of print which is either a bit of shameless self-promotion for the show for which you've already bought a ticket, or an ill-designed and uninformative vehicle for the selling of advertising space. You can tell quite a lot about a regional theatre's audience by the number of adverts for private schools and hand-crafted kitchens there are. Most of us can live with the adverts as long as there is interesting content, and not just a thematically related article largely culled from the internet. If there's no proper content (and no, pages of rehearsal pictures do not count as proper content), I'd prefer just to have a free cast list.
-- Comments Here

Monday, October 29, 2012

ETC, Clay Paky, coolux, and Others Recognized at LDI Awards

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: The LDI Awards were handed out on Saturday night at the LDI show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Many companies were recognized for their presentation skills at the event. ETC won best large booth and d3 Technologies won best small booth.

Carey Perloff: How to Connect the Tribes?

huffingtonpost.com: In a recent article for San Francisco magazine (October 2012) entitled "How Much Tech Can One City Take?", writer Daniel Talbot wrestles with the pros and cons of the huge explosion of tech activity and tech wealth in San Francisco. On the positive side of the ledger: increased tax receipts, vast improvements to blighted neighborhoods such as mid-Market and the Tenderloin, and bold, new, young energy in San Francisco. On the negative side: spiking housing costs, a growing divide between haves and have nots, and a seeming lack of generosity on the part of young newly-minted millionaires who have not yet demonstrated a commitment to "giving back" to the city.

NBC's ‘Fashion Star’ and IATSE Reach Deal

Hollywood Reporter: Fashion Star” producers and IATSE officials reached a deal Tuesday night that has ended a strike against the show and will bring crew members pension and health benefits. The agreement came after a meeting that began Tuesday afternoon, and after several days of picketing that began on Saturday.

Ping Chong Delivers a New Set of Undesirable Elements Plays

NYTimes.com: THE thought of Kambale Syaghuswa performing on a Manhattan stage is all but unimaginable. Just a few years ago he fled the Democratic Republic of Congo, having escaped a training camp for child soldiers on farmland that had once belonged to his father. And just one month ago he was a truck driver in Syracuse, N.Y., where he was part of that city’s robust Congolese population.

Live Sound: Getting It Right: New Technology For Classic Rod Stewart In Concert

Pro Sound Web: Lars Brogaard has been working with Rod Stewart for 27 years, and over the course of that time, the sound reinforcement rig used for what he has occasionally described as a “never-ending” tour has evolved substantially to incorporate new technology, meet changing performance demands, and exceeding the expectations of the audience.

2012 Redden Awards Announced

livedesignonline.com: Now in their fourth year, The Redden Awards for Excellence in Lighting—sponsored annually by Epic Production Technologies—honor outstanding designers in the areas of concert, theatre, and corporate/special event lighting. The 2012 Redden Awards will be presented on Saturday, October 20 on the LDI2012 show floor at the Live Design booth (#1831) at 5pm as part of LDI’s 25th anniversary celebration.

Holler: If You Can Make It Here…

HowlRound: We’ve all been there. If not about moving from the Midwest to NYC, then we’ve struggled about moving from Waukegan to Chicago, or Tucson to Los Angeles, or Saxapahaw to Raleigh. The lure of the Big City—Bright lights! Fame! Glory! Artisanal cupcakes! —Will sooner or later make us question the worth of our piddling little small-town lives. Some of us will resist that temptation, others will dip our toes in “just so that we can say we did,” and still others will dive head-first and never look back. Many before me, from EB White to Jay-Z to PrettyLady, have opined on the psychology (or psychosis) of choosing New York. I’ll keep my response focused on the questions you raise from the perspective of a mid-career theater artist who has started to build a professional presence in the city.

Stage fright: which plays have left you reeling in horror?

Stage | guardian.co.uk: The terror season is upon us in British theatre. Jack the Ripper is already stalking the streets around London Bridge, and Nosferatu will soon be rising from the dead at the Barbican. Like the late 19th-century theatregoers who flocked to the Theatre du Grand Guignol in Paris, where the blood came by the bucketful and medics were on hand to minister to those who passed out at the sight of severed limbs, modern theatregoers have a taste for theatrical splatterfests. Maybe we are not all that different from our Jacobean counterparts, who loved plays such as The Revenger's Tragedy on the grounds that "when the bad bleeds, then is the tragedy good" (in the words of Vindice, the play's sniggering antihero).

LDI New Product: Tait Pixel Tablet

livedesignonline.com: Tait developed the Pixel Tablet to form the backbone of landscape video. It is a 3"x3" RGB unit (135mmx135mm) weighing less than 1.1 lb (.5 kg), and each unit can be handheld by members of the audience, placed in holders adaptable to any environment, or mounted on a netting system to allow coverage of any landscape or architectural façade.

A People's History of 13P


Essentially a free online course about funding, promoting, and producing plays in NYC, the documentary film and website A People's History of 13P is now live at http://www.13p.org/

The film, the website, and the archive of materials and documents included were commissioned by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as part of a 2009 grant to complete our organizational mission. The goal of the History is to enable entrepreneurial artists to learn from our experiences and steal anything they like from our producing model.

The site includes interviews with playwrights Sheila Callaghan, Erin Courtney, Madeleine George, Ann Marie Healy, Julia Jarcho, Young Jean Lee, Winter Miller, Sarah Ruhl, Kate E. Ryan, Lucy Thurber, Anne Washburn, and Gary Winter, as well as Maria Goyanes (Public Theater), Caleb Hammons (Soho Rep), Rachel Silverman (New York Theatre Workshop), and others in the field.

Million Volts for David Blaine in ‘Electrified’ Endurance Test: VIDEO

NYTimes.com: David Blaine, the magician and endurance artist, is ready for more pain. With the help of the Liberty Science Center, a chain-mail suit and an enormous array of Tesla electrical coils, he plans to stand atop a 20-foot-high pillar for 72 straight hours, without sleep or food, while being subjected to a million volts of electricity.

J-O-B TD

5380uwsp

Sunday, October 28, 2012

PLASA Announces Winners of 2012 Members' Choice Product Awards

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: PLASA announced the winners of the 2012 Members' Choice Awards presented on Saturday, October 20 at the LDI and PLASA Awards Ceremony. The awards recognized newly released outstanding entertainment technology products. Voting on these awards was open to all employees of PLASA member companies who attended the LDI show from October 19 - 21 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Blue Man Group adds new material, including Showbot character

Entertainment / Neon - ReviewJournal.com: You have your new toys, but the Blue Man Group does too. Just don't expect Smoke Drums or a Neuronulum to fit in your pocket. Phil Stanton, a Blue Man founder and one of its three original performers, admits to phone separation anxiety like the rest of us. He doesn't just have to have it on his person: "I realize how much I actually have it in my hand."

The Producers of “Rebecca” Face A Crucial Deadline

ARTINFO.com: If the producers of “Rebecca,” who are the victims of one of the most mystifying frauds in Broadway history, do not manage to open the epic musical on Broadway by the end of this year, they will be facing serious financial obligations to the tune of $7 million. “Securities law on theater investments state very clearly that they will have to pay back their investors if the show does not happen very shortly,” said a Broadway producer who wished to remain anonymous. “I can’t believe that they would have proceeded without the actual funds from this clown.”

Thomas Bradshaw Talks About ‘Job’ and His Other Plays

NYTimes.com: THE work of the playwright Thomas Bradshaw has been described as depicting “life with all the boring parts taken out.” It might also be described as life with all the ghastly extremes — incest, pedophilia, rape, racially motivated murder — added back in, and depicted in a deadpan style that has prompted both big laughs and angry walkouts. In “Job,” which runs at the Flea Theater through Nov. 3, Mr. Bradshaw, 32, takes on that biblical story in a production Ben Brantley of The New York Times called “a jolting treat.” Speaking with Jennifer Schuessler by phone from Evanston, Ill., where he teaches at Northwestern University, Mr. Bradshaw talked about the play and the philosophy behind his button-pushing work. Here are excerpts from the conversation.

NBC's 'Fashion Star' Walkout: Producers Ask to Meet With IATSE

Hollywood Reporter: Fashion Star producers have requested a meeting for Monday afternoon to discuss a contract with IATSE, union organizer Vanessa Holtgrew told The Hollywood Reporter in an email. The move follows a walkout on Saturday that halted production on the NBC reality competition program.

No, You Can't Use the Nets' Specialized Lighting System

WSJ.com: And then there are the lights. The arena actually has two sports lighting systems: one for the Nets and one for everyone else. The one for everyone else is a metal-halide system, which is the sort of bright, white lighting used at most sports arenas. When the Harlem Globetrotters played the first basketball game at Barclays earlier this month, arena officials turned these lights on. They also will be used when Barclays is host to college basketball—and that includes Kentucky's game against Maryland in November. (Yes, even John Calipari will have to settle for the regular lights.) The Nets lights are different: Six flying trusses, suspended 75 feet above the court, will house 468 tungsten-halogen fixtures that will beam a warm glow squarely onto the court. Karen Goldstick, the principal at White Plains-based Goldstick Lighting Design, which was in charge of the project, said the effect is that the playing surface will pop like a stage—"theater-like," she said—and the rest of the arena will go dark. "You'll notice a big difference in color," said Goldstick, who also works as the NBA's official venue lighting consultant.

New report: Are nonprofit theaters too closely tied to commercial producers?

A&E - Boston.com: Decades before he took on the chairmanship of the National Endowment for the Arts, Broadway producer Rocco Landesman approached his friend Robert Brustein about doing a musical at Brustein’s artistic home, the American Repertory Theater in Cambridge. Brustein liked the idea, and the show, “Big River: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” opened there in 1984. It would go on to run for more than 1,000 performances on Broadway, win seven Tony Awards, including the coveted best musical, and earn the ART well over $300,000 for having premiered the piece.

What's the point of theatre programmes?

guardian.co.uk: What do you really want from a theatre programme? I know what I don't want: to be charged £3 upwards for an ugly piece of print which is either a bit of shameless self-promotion for the show for which you've already bought a ticket, or an ill-designed and uninformative vehicle for the selling of advertising space. You can tell quite a lot about a regional theatre's audience by the number of adverts for private schools and hand-crafted kitchens there are. Most of us can live with the adverts as long as there is interesting content, and not just a thematically related article largely culled from the internet. If there's no proper content (and no, pages of rehearsal pictures do not count as proper content), I'd prefer just to have a free cast list.

Getting the Most Out of Gen Y

Analysis from TRG Arts: For decades, the arts industry has chased new audiences, especially younger audiences. Today, that chase is directed at the largest population under 30 years old in human history. It’s little wonder that Gen Y (born 1981 – 2001) is a hot topic for arts marketers. As a data-informed member of Gen Y, here’s a take on my generation of arts consumers.

‘The Old Man and the Old Moon’ at the Gym at Judson

NYTimes.com: “What do you call this kind of theater?” my guest asked, excitedly, after “The Old Man and the Old Moon.” Good question. Though the show bills itself as a “play with music,” you’ll need more words than those to sum it up. For brevity’s sake, let’s just call it a really fine time.

Chinglish (The Set Changes)

Chinglish (The Set Changes) from Berkeley Repertory Theatre on Vimeo.

Vimeo: Audiences are just loving David Henry Hwang’s Chinglish, but they’re almost buzzing as much about the set. And with good reason! The set changes feature two turntables, automated armchairs, moving walls, flying screens and curtains, even walking actors – all to the energetic beats of c-pop.

Internship

Chicago Plays - Your Source For Theatre In Chicago - League of Chicago Theatres: The Production Management Intern will be involved in the daily operations of Chicago Dramatists' production of "South Bridge" and will work directly with the Production Manager, Stage Manager, Designers, and Production Staff on the realization of the production plan. Position will require about 20 hours per week. Position begins in early November 2012 and will conclude in early March 2013.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Step into Safety Right

Occupational Health & Safety: According to the National Safety Council (NSC), approximately 25,000 people a day are victims of slip-and-fall accidents. The expense of these injuries is running at $3.5 million per hour, every hour of the day, every day of the year. Moreover, compensation and medical costs associated with employee slip-and-fall accidents total approximately $70 billion annually.

WYSIWYG experts heap praise on R29


Briefingroom on LiveDesignOnline: Industry response to WYSIWYG R29, the brand new version of CAST Software’s industry standard pre-visualisation suite, has been overwhelming, with professionals hailing the release a triumph for productivity and accuracy in event design. R29 was released to members only earlier this month and quickly received widespread commendation for the variety of new features that expand the software’s potential. Particular attention has paid to the breakthrough Six Degrees of Freedom Camera and Shaded View Selection – next gen functionality acknowledged as having the power to help WYSIWYG professionals ‘raise their game’.


Actors told to beware fake casting scams

News - The Stage: Equity recently issued safety guidelines via its website and told performers to beware of casting directors whose information could not be checked through the Casting Director’s Guild or official sites. In the case that sparked the warning, an email account and Facebook page was set up in the name of a high profile casting director, and used in an attempt to lure actresses to auditions. One actress was asked to provide nude photographs after she responded to an advertisement for a lead role in a film.

Ben Sprecher, ‘Rebecca’ Producer, Explains His Fallen Dream

NYTimes.com: Broadway survives on the suspension of disbelief: Actors lose themselves in roles, audiences accept characters singing in mid-pratfall, and investors put millions of dollars into shows knowing that few ever turn a profit.

The Winding Staircase to Setting Up a Safety Incentive Program

Occupational Health & Safety: The process of putting a new safety incentive program into place is at least intricate; if you don't have a process in mind, it can be practically impossible. Implementation mistakes not only can diminish the effectiveness of a safety incentive program, they also can keep the program from even getting off the ground. I have seen safety incentive programs with the purest and loftiest of goals grind to a halt before they ever start. In one instance, it was because of an argument over whether gift cards, brand-name merchandise, or a company-sponsored picnic was the best reward. Another well-meaning group could not get past the discussion of whether an end-of-year sweepstakes drawing for a truck was better than a safety bingo card game.

The Bad Boy of Musical Theatre: Underscore, Motherfuckers

newlinetheatre.blogspot.com: Sometimes there are things about a show I don't discover until we put it in front of an audience. When we did Hair the first time, none of us truly understood it, me included, until the audience provided the final missing piece. Then it all made sense.

NBC's ‘Fashion Star’ Shut Down by IATSE Walkout

Hollywood Reporter: IATSE crew members picketed the NBC reality show “Fashion Star” on Saturday, resulting in a production halt that shut down a scheduled 1:30 p.m. taping and dismissal for the day of production personnel and audience. A union organizer told The Hollywood Reporter that the union will remain on strike against the show until a contract is reached.

Why Advocate?

Emerging Arts Leaders Symposium: October 2012 found an article in the The New York Times that stated “advocacy groups find themselves competing for financing against the very cultural organizations they were created to support, which in turn can no longer afford the dues required by some of the groups that advocate for them.” With simple and compelling arguments from individuals like Metropolitan Opera board member Robert W. Wilson-“I would rather support the arts organizations themselves”-the question now becomes… do the arts need advocates?

2012 Henry Hewes Design Award Winners Named

Stage Directions: Ten theater artists will be honored by the Henry Hewes Design Awards Committee during the dual presentation of its 2011 and 2012 Awards in a luncheon ceremony scheduled for October 29. David Korins (Chinglish), Gregg Barnes (Follies), Brian MacDevitt (Death of a Salesman) and Daniel Kluger (Tribes) will be honored with 2012 Henry Hewes Design Awards. The 2011 Henry Hewes Awards were announced earlier this year. For the 2012 honors, 86 theater artists were nominated for outstanding artistry in 57 productions presented during the 2011-2012 New York theater season.

Leading Habits

Occupational Health & Safety: Leadership entails helping others change –- to consider new methods, effectively use different tools, communicate in preferred ways, and adopt higher-level skills. However, change –- especially when people have little control over what they're to do differently -- always includes giving up accustomed methods, such as habits. These are default auto-pilot programs and reflexes (both mental and physical), ingrained thought patterns that are predictable and "comfortable."

More Often These Days, the Director Is a She

NYTimes.com: “My God, there are a lot of women directors working in the theater these days in London,” a female theater director who happens not to be from London remarked to me the other day. It’s true. More women directors are proffering their work in London than I can ever recall and at a level lately that has often eclipsed the men in their midst.

Internship

Interns Wanted 2013

Veteran stagehand exits Pittsburgh theater scene after four decades

TribLIVE Mobile: After Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre’s “Giselle” has been loaded into a truck Sunday and the stage is empty, the Benedum Center curtain will come down on a long-running backstage career.

After 40 years as an IATSE (International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees) Local 3 stagehand and 25 years as the house carpenter at the Benedum Center, Kenny Brannigan, 57, is retiring to make way for the next generation of stagehands.

“I think we’re at the point where the kids need to learn and need to take it up,” says Brannigan, who believes it’s time for new talent to take over. “I was doing this in my 30s, and the guys doing it now, I really like.”

The job title is deceptive.

Friday, October 26, 2012

LDI Show Highlights Product Innovation

PLSN: LDI opened its doors at the Las Vegas Convention Center to an anticipated 8,000 attendees from 72 countries Oct. 19-21. The 25th LDI focused once again on product innovations and refinements in lighting, sound, projection, special effects and more. What follows is a sampling of the products that were previewed and demonstrated during the three-day show.

The price is (really) right: 'Dynamic ticketing' could transform the way we pay to see live events

Features - Music - The Independent: It’s a grating quirk of travel we’ve come to accept — that the guy across the aisle with the cough may have paid tens if not hundreds of pounds less for his ticket (or we’re the smug ones with the crazy deal). But in the theatre, concert hall or sports arena, we rest assured, touts notwithstanding, that we’ve paid the same as our neighbours. Stalls? That’ll be £70, please. Dress circle? £55. Balcony, restricted view? Don’t bother. It’s simple.

François Hollande wants to abolish homework. Is that a good idea?

washingtonpost.com: My colleague Valerie Strauss reports that French president François Hollande has called for abolishing homework. The idea is part of a broader set of proposed education reforms, which include longer school weeks (they’re currently only four days) and hiring more teachers. The appeal to students is obvious, but is this such a good idea? François Hollande wants to abolish homework. Is that a good idea?

American Conservatory Theatre to Offer Free Rehearsal and Performance Space

Stage Directions: San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater has received grants from the San Francisco Neighborhood Arts Collective and The Kenneth Rainin Foundation that will enable A.C.T. to provide no-cost rehearsal and performance space to local arts orgs in their new Costume Shop theatre, a 49-seat black box space. Some of the already-confirmed partnering arts organizations include: Campo Santo Theatre Company, Magic Theatre, Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, Playwrights Foundation, PlayGround and Theatre Rhinoceros.

Taxing Donors

TheNonProfitTimes: In the middle of an acrimonious election season, policymakers in Washington, D.C., are faced with a looming “fiscal cliff” and the very real possibility that their delay in dealing with a number of fiscal policies is finally catching up with the country. The facts are stark and can be universally agreed upon: With the growth in entitlement spending and a tax code that grows more complex every year, this country faces a major need to look at all fiscal policy to determine what is the best path forward for long-term, sustained economic growth. Regardless of what mix of “revenue enhancements” and spending cuts are used, a healthy nonprofit sector will be a critical component to these changes.

Hunting Gremlins: A Veteran Sound Pro Provides The View From The Stage Side

Pro Sound Web: Much pro audio industry humor revolves around techs versus musicians. By their very nature, techs are knowledgeable problem solvers. The flip side of this nature are musicians who “don’t let knowledge get in the way” of their artistic pursuit.

Warner Bros. The Making of Harry Potter, Part 3: Sound

livedesignonline.com: The audio and video portion of Warner Bros. Studio Tour The Making Of Harry Potter, as well as show control integration, were led by Vikram Kirby, who is sound, video, control designer with Thinkwell Group. He and audio designers Colbert Davis and Kari Seekins worked closely with systems integrators at Electrosonic for this portion of the project.

IATSE Local 706 Make-up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild celebrates 75th Anniversary

Monsters and Critics: Where would NBC's "Grimm" be without Barney Burman, Stephen Bettles and company? Or Nick's "iCarly" and "Victorious" without Michael Johnston, Patti Brand, Maria Valdivia and Melanie Mills? Or ABC's "Once Upon a Time" without the work of Debra Wiebe and Sarah Graham? Not to mention the film greats for the craft, Oscar winners like Bill Corso, Ve Neill, Howard Berger and Greg Cannom? It's time to celebrate all the hardworking folks who make the characters come to life and aid the actors in their transformation, as the Make-Up Artists and Hair Stylists Guild will celebrate 75 years.

Recording: In The Studio: A Drum Recording Checklist

Pro Sound Web: Like the foundation of a house, the drums are the foundation of a recording. With a strong foundation, you can build almost anything on it that you or your clients can imagine. A little effort and time spent miking the drums and getting the sound just right can result in a recording that sounds great.

What's In Adam's Toolbox (Circa ILM Model-Making Days)

Tested: Adam's told the story of how he built his metal toolboxes back when he was at ILM, but what about the tools and supplies actually inside? Fortunately for us, he meticulously documented all the contents of these toolboxes and has shared that document with us. Along with the alphabetical inventory of the supplies he used to build models, Adam also provides annotations of what some of the tools are useful for and why he prefers them. For example, did you know that doctors' tongue depressors are an essential modelmaking tool that serve multiple purposes?

Paperless Process

Stage Directions: It began as a class discussion that went productively off-topic. My Stage Management I class at Carnegie Mellon University was discussing the increased use of computers and technology in doing their shows. The reading assignment for the day was from The Backstage Guide to Stage Management, and the chapter outlined Tom Kelly’s good-natured curmudgeonly attitude toward the modern tools we use to do our theatre. Kelly’s generation had seen many advances in technology in life and work, whereas these students had grown up using computers almost every day. With this mindset, it seemed that stage management could adapt and take advantage of these advances in the same way that other production departments have, and this led to other queries. Paperwork is both a defining aspect of the stage manager’s job and a bane of our collective existence. But if you take it out of the equation, perhaps the job becomes more than the familiar but endless printing of documents, and as a by-product, wastes far less resources. Technology could be a tool to streamline and refocus the process. The discussion became, could you actually stage manage a show completely without paper? Two juniors in the class—David Beller and Brooke Marrero—had shows coming up early in the following semester. I proposed a challenge to them: do their shows without using paper, and see how the job changes.

Beastly “Lord of the Flies” a Triumph of Theatricality at Barrington Stage Company

Berkshire On Stage: It’s a lot easier to read Lord of the Flies than it is to see it acted out on stage. When you go, you will find moments of the current production so realistic and horrifying that you may have to resist the urge to flee. Having such a visceral reaction to a play is not a common complaint. It proves the staging of this classic book has done its job, it is simply brilliant. If you have not read the book, be prepared to have your expectations for a fun evening of theatre turned upside down during the course of this two part-two hour play.

J-O-B Director, Entertainment Technical Production

5376 Carnival

Thursday, October 25, 2012

2012 Parnelli Award Winners Announced

PLSN: The 12th Annual Parnelli Awards gala, held Oct. 20,2012 at the Mirage Las Vegas, honored Charlie Hernandez, Joe Branam, Dave Shadoan and more than two dozen other individuals, companies and products. Hosted by Cory Wells of Three Dog Night fame, Billy Squier also took the stage to honor Hernandez, and Brad Paisley, Jason Mraz and Sting also prepared taped video tributes for Shadoan.

Computer Precision for Power Tools

NYTimes.com: Now computers and their tireless calculations may bolster the skills of many people who want to create well-cut picture frames, inlays or furniture but lack the dexterity. Alec Rivers, a Ph.D. student at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and colleagues have created a prototype for a compact, computerized addition to power tools that automatically performs precision measuring and cutting.

BWW TV Chicago: First Look at New Musical Kinky Boots on Stage! VIDEO

broadwayworld.com: The World Premiere of Kinky Boots, the new musical brings together four-time Tony® Award-winner Harvey Fierstein (Book) and Grammy® Award-winning rock icon Cyndi Lauper (Music & Lyrics). Directed and choreographed by Tony® Award-winner Jerry Mitchell, Kinky Boots is currently playing the Bank of America Theatre (18 West Monroe Street, Chicago, IL) through November 4, 2012, in advance of a Broadway opening. BroadwayWorld has a first look at footage from the production!

Iceman and Follies Big Winners at 2012 Jeff Equity Awards

Stage Directions: The Goodman Theatre’s production of The Iceman Cometh was the big winner in the Jeff Equity Awards Monday, Oct. 15. It took home six awards in the large theatre tier, winning Production - Play, Director Robert Falls, Supporting Actor Brian Dennehy, Scenic Designer Kevin Depinet and Lighting Designer Natasha Katz and the Ensemble award for its cast. Chicago Shakespeare Theater's Follies won top awards for a musical with six statues in the musical categories for large theatres. Follies won for Production -Musical, Director Gary Griffin, Music Director Brad Haak, Principal Actress Caroline O'Connor, Supporting Actress Hollis Resnik and Costume Designer Virgil C. Johnson. At the awards Actors’ Equity was given a special award to honor their 100 years of service.

Who in US Congress support the arts?

Art Threat: Other than the outrage caused by Mitt Romney’s promise to fire Big Bird, there’s been virtually no discussion on arts issues leading up to the November 6 elections in the United States. Cultural topics have been nearly absent in an election campaign dominated by the economy — despite the fact roughly 5 million Americans work in the arts in some capacity. With so little to go on, how does one know whether their local representatives support the arts?