CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Planning is key to have hassle-free celebration at First Night Pittsburgh

TribLIVE: Planning is essential, they said, and can save a meltdown before the countdown during Highmark First Night Pittsburgh.
“Check out the website in advance and decide what you want to see,” said Cory Cope of Flyspace Productions, which produces and manages the annual New Year's Eve celebration.

CMU responds to 'stress culture' on campus

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: On a campus whose hard-charging culture exacts an emotional toll on some students, Carnegie Mellon University junior Soniya Shah told a group of freshmen this fall something they may not often hear.
Every so often, it's OK to fail.
Her simple message -- delivered in a new course -- is one often lost on those who were the best in their high school class but quickly discover when they arrive at Carnegie Mellon that no matter how many all-nighters they pull, everyone around them seems just as smart or smarter.

Curtain going up - earlier than ever Empires rose and empires fell, but if there was one thing the world could depend on, it was the 8 p.m. curtain time for theater, opera, and classical music performances. That, however, was back in the 20th century.
In the 21st century, if you don't check daily listings, you may be late for Act One. Though the Philadelphia Orchestra holds steady with music at 8, a weeknight performance at the Wilma Theater, the Arden Theatre, Philadelphia Theatre Company, or 1812 Productions may start as early as 6:30. For Sunday-night touring Broadway shows at the Academy of Music, all traditional bets are off.

In 2013, KC’s theater scene rode a wave of winning efforts Is there something in the air? The same year Sporting Kansas City won the MLS cup, the Kansas City Royals made a semi-convincing run at the playoffs and the Kansas City Chiefs steamrolled into a playoff slot, the city’s leading nonprofit theater company accomplished something it never had before: It got a show to the Big Apple.

Learning the language of the Bard Astine: (verb). To walk when leaves are falling.
It’s not a word that exists in the English language — yet — but that likely wouldn’t have mattered to Shakespeare, who gave the world many of his own invented words, including “lustrous,” “unearthly” and “bedazzle.”

Monday, December 30, 2013

Why So Down on Millennials? Most, if not all, of us have been to conferences, workshops and seminars where the topic of “millennials” (those born between 1983 and 2010) has been addressed at great length, generally by way of a lecture of some sort, with PowerPoint slides citing data indicating that today’s generation of college students is the laziest, least motivated, least socialized and most self-involved generation the Earth has ever seen.
My experience with the current generation of undergraduate college students is quite different, however.

CMU professor turns to Steel City Improv to make point about ideas

TribLIVE: Justin Zell was adamant that his plan would work.
His students weren't so sure.
“Be really, really bold and give me your faith that this is going to work out in the end,” the improv master said, barking out orders to a group of befuddled Carnegie Mellon University graduate engineering students a week before final exams.

Expensive cities are killing creativity

Opinion - Al Jazeera English: On May 5, musician Patti Smith was asked what advice she had for young people trying to make it in New York City. The long-time New Yorker's take? Get out. "New York has closed itself off to the young and the struggling," she said. "New York City has been taken away from you."
Smith was not the only New Yorker to reject the city that had nurtured artists for decades. In October, musician David Byrne argued that "the cultural part of the city - the mind - has been usurped by the top 1 percent". Under Michael Bloomberg, New York's first billionaire mayor, homelessness and rent both soared, making one of the world's centres of creative and intellectual life unliveable for all but the richest.

Hey, Stars, Be Nice to the Stagehands. You Might Need a Loan. They create the technical razzle-dazzle when the Rockettes take the stage for the “Radio City Christmas Spectacular.” They raise the 45-foot-high Christmas tree for “George Balanchine’s The Nutcracker.” And on New Year’s Eve, they will make the opulent ballroom set spin for the Metropolitan Opera’s new “Die Fledermaus.”

Learning to Ask, Asking to Learn

American Theatre – January 2014: WE’RE LIVING IN WHAT IS SOMETIMES called the Information Age—an apt name for the constant flow of facts and data in which we swim, all made possible by ever-accelerating breakthroughs in computing. The catch, of course, is that, in a society where the one constant seems to be technological change, we may have too much information to process, too many systems to learn—and much of it will be obsolete by the time we’ve taken it in.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Four Suggestions For Surviving In The Pro Audio Business

Pro Sound Web: One of the first things I think I need to get into is money. They aren’t going to teach you the real money side of the production world in tech school.
The conservatory, Full Sail or wherever…They aren’t going to get into the survival side of it. I spent most of my career broke. It creates a strain on your mind, your wallet and your family.
Just want to share a few things I should have learned in the early days.

An august assemblage of film talent

SFGate: By the time John Wells graduated from the prestigious drama department at Carnegie Mellon, all he could think about was running a repertory company. He was besotted with the classics and imagined mounting Shakespeare or Brecht as a way of life.
It was his particular desire to work at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco, where fellow Carnegie alum Bill Ball was doing exactly what Wells dreamed of and becoming nationally known for it.
"If I had gotten a job at ACT, I never would have ended up doing anything else,"

Frickin’ Lasers: Exploring Better Drum Sound

Pro Sound Web: The Sennheiser Technology & Innovation lab in California has created a new concept microphone designed to explore new tools for drum capture.
At its core, the Element system offers the ability to detect when an individual drum has been physically hit. This allows the engineer to carefully craft the sound of the drum set with less bleeding and tighter control over tone and dynamics.

Vegas show's star counts on his dresser for success Paula Nyland stands in the shadows, waiting for her star. The curtain barely hits the floor before the backstage calm erupts into measured chaos.
Mammoth sets on wheels glide past like icebergs in the darkness. Dozens of singers, dancers, musicians and stagehands hurry silently through a warren of passageways. Suddenly, Eric Jordan Young, the lead performer in "Vegas! The Show" stands before Nyland.

Equalizing The Room—What It Really Means

Pro Sound Web: “I’m going to equalize the room.” We’ve all heard that statement so many times that we scarcely think about what it literally means. We know that in practical terms it means adjusting an equalizer to suit your taste. It may be done with the latest high-technology analysis equipment, voodoo magic or simply tweaking away “until it sounds right.”

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Legion Of Boom: Subwoofer Evolution And Recent Developments

Pro Sound Web: While we tend to think of extended bass as a modern invention, audio folks have been expanding frequency response for decades. Way back in 1932, A.C. Thuras received a patent for a bass reflex ported design, and in 1934, Andre D’Alton was granted a patent for a bandpass design.

More than 80 Hurt, Four Seriously in Apollo Theatre Ceiling Collapse

FOH online: More than 80 people were hurt, four seriously, in a ceiling collapse at the Apollo Theatre here on Dec. 19. The 775-capacity theatre, which first opened in 1901, was nearly full when the ceiling fell a little after 8 p.m., according to reports. The staged production, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, had been underway for about 40 minutes when it was halted amid the fallen debris and dust.

38 Special Cancels SeaWorld Concert Amid Controversy

PLSN: The band 38 Special has followed Martina McBride, Willie Nelson, REO Speedwagon, Trisha Yearwood, Barenaked Ladies, Cheap Trick and Heart in cancelling their upcoming performance at Orlando's SeaWorld amidst intense public pressure fueled by the documentary film Blackfish. 38 Special’s announcement came after more than 1,500 people signed a petition to encourage artists to cancel on SeaWorld’s annual "Bands, Brew, and BBQ" concert series.

Andrew Lloyd Webber May Not Be Able to Afford to Do More New Musicals In an interview prior to the opening of his new musical Stephen Ward, composer Andrew Lloyd Webber told the Evening Standard that he didn't believe he had the finances to continue to produce large-scale musicals in the West End.

Seven PLASA Standards for Reaffirmation Are Posted for Public Review

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: Seven PLASA standards up for reaffirmation are posted for public review on the PLASA TSP website at the URL below. No changes are planned at this time for the requirements in the standards. Any changes would be limited to changing "ESTA" to "PLASA," updating the PLASA office address and copyright date, and so on. However, this public review period is a time when the public is invited to tell PLASA if they think changes are needed.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cleaning Up 'Deadliest Catch' It’s almost 10 years since sound designer and mixer Bob Bronow was asked by television producer Thom Beers to work on “the crab show.” Nine seasons and 140-plus episodes later, Bronow has collected two Primetime Emmy Awards and three CAS Awards for his work on Deadliest Catch, a reality TV series from Original Productions that follows the fortunes of the Alaskan king and snow crab fishing fleet in the icy Bering Sea.

A vintage year onstage as classics blended with provocative premieres Much that was old was new again in 2013, which turned out to be a very good year for the classics.
It wasn't a bad year for new work either, even if too many of today's most provocative playwrights are getting short shrift from this town's nonprofit heavyweights.

5 High Tech Music Concerts From 2013

5 High Tech Music Concerts From 2013: Stages are built digitally before a show comes to life
TAIT, a world leader in stage design uses these high-tech tools to create concert experiences that rock!

Theatre A La Carte redirecting drama to the stage

Tallahassee Democrat | In the wake of crisis, Theatre A La Carte has decided that the show must go on.
The Tallahassee performance group was sucker-punched in April by the arrest of its former president, Eric Hurst, whose identity was so closely associated with its scores of productions over two decades, that the board pondered whether it should close. Instead, it quietly shuttered a planned summer production of the Broadway hit, “Avenue Q,” and created a new plan.

Sets, Lights, and Lunacy: A Stage Designer’s Adventures on Broadway and in Opera by Lloyd Burlingame

Theatre content from Live Design Magazine: Sets, Lights, and Lunacy is the story of Burlingame, recipient of the prestigious Robert L.B. Tobin Award for sustained excellence in theatrical design; designer for more than 40 Broadway shows who worked extensively off Broadway, in opera and regional theatre; and head of the Department of Design for New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts from 1971 until 1997.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Kinky Boots Tour Plans September 2014 Las Vegas Launch The national tour of the Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots, featuring a book by Tony Award winner Harvey Fierstein and a score by Tony and Grammy winner Cyndi Lauper, will open Sept. 4, 2014, at the Smith Center in Las Vegas.
Based on the 2005 film of the same title, the Northampton, U.K.-set musical has a new book by Fierstein (Torch Song Trilogy, La Cage aux Folles, Newsies) and a score by "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" hit-maker and "True Colors" songwriter Cyndi Lauper.
Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (2004's La Cage aux Folles, Legally Blonde, Catch Me If You Can), who created the high-energy dances that sent audiences and cast members into a frenzy during Hairspray, directs and choreographs Kinky Boots, which is bedazzled with a series of show-stopping numbers by Porter and a bevy of drag performers.
Kinky Boots premiered on Broadway March 3 following an out-of-town engagement at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago last fall. It opened to acclaim April 4 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

Art Installation Uses Google Glass To Reveal Hidden Content

PSFK: Art is often about hidden meanings and interpretations that are difficult for others to see, and New York artist David Datuna‘s latest piece is no exception. The only difference is that this piece of art isn’t about digital interpretation; Viewpoint of Billions requires viewers to use Google Glass in order to fully experience the artwork.

JK Rowling to co-produce new Harry Potter stage play at West End theatre

Mail Online: Truly it’s beyond wizard. I can exclusively reveal that a play based on J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter tales will open in the West End within two years.
Rowling will not write the stage piece — however, she will co-produce and collaborate with a playwright.
Rowling’s seven-volume Harry Potter series began with The Philosopher’s Stone, published in 1997.
All told the books have sold well in excess of 450 million copies and been translated into 77 languages.
Eight movies were made featuring Daniel Radcliffe as the boy wizard with the thunderbolt scar on his forehead, and Rupert Grint and Emma Watson, as Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, his best pals at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
But the play, to be steered by prominent London and New York producers Sonia Friedman and Colin Callender, will mine (according to a statement sent to me, as a mudblood, by Owl Post yesterday) ‘the previously untold story of Harry Potter’s early years as an orphan and outcast’.

Need for leaders at D.C. arts institutions could be a golden opportunity or a squandered one

The Washington Post: One down, so many, many more to go. The Kennedy Center recently announced that Deborah Rutter of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association will become its new president, but many high-profile Washington cultural and arts institutions are still searching for new leaders to fill their top posts.
The Smithsonian Institution announced in October that its secretary, Wayne Clough, would be stepping down next year. Richard Koshalek, the former director of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, resigned in May after the demise of his seasonal inflatable structure project, dubbed “the Bubble.” The Corcoran Gallery of Art paused its search for a new director because of a planned merger with the University of Maryland after financial woes and leadership battles. And it seems as though the Obama administration has all but forgotten about the chairmanship vacancy at the National Endowment for the Arts since former chairman Rocco Landesman stepped down last December. In April, former U.S. representative Jim Leach of Iowa departed from the National Endowment for the Humanities, thereby leaving the two national grant-making agencies without appointed leaders.

Difficult truths to face as theater leaders talk diversity, economics In 21st century America, there is one subject even more difficult to discuss honestly in public than race: money.
It took a while but near the end of Monday evening's diversity forum featuring the artistic leaders of Southern California's most prominent nonprofit theaters, the issue everyone was skirting was finally being loudly addressed.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Here's What a Musical Based on the '80s Classic 'Heathers' Looks Like

Movie News | One of cinema’s snarkiest, most quotable films, Heathers, is making its off-Broadway debut in spring 2014. The Michael Lehmann-directed movie about a group of mean girls at an Ohio high school, the Heathers, and the rebellious outsider (Christian Slater) who draws one of them (Winona Ryder) into his nefarious plan to get rid of the other girls, has been a hit at the Hudson Backstage Theatre in Los Angeles with plans for a “limited engagement” at New World Stages, according to THR, and previews start March 17

Dance review: Point Park students find Petrov's magic in 'Romeo and Juliet'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Two generations converged this week at the Pittsburgh Playhouse in Oakland. The cast of "Romeo and Juliet," presented by Point Park University's Conservatory Dance Company, was made up mostly of students -- the dancers, choreographers and artistic directors of tomorrow. The choreography they performed was by longtime Point Park dance professor Nicolas Petrov, who after 67 years in dance chose to close his career with the ballet that helped set it in motion.

Power Tool of the Year 2013 - Winner Announced Flashing lights, red carpets, tuxedos and champagne were the order of the evening on Friday as we welcomed our Power Tool of the Year nominees to our annual Power Tool Oscars. In attendance were Makita, DeWALT, Bosch, Metabo and Hitachi, each company feeling the nerves of anticipation as they awaited your choice of Toolstop's Power Tool of the Year.

Top 3 Wireless Microphone Problems and How to Solve Them Wireless microphones are prone to interference, noise, drop-outs, and many more bothersome RF problems. These problems can be disastrous for both live productions and installed systems. Everyone remembers an embarrassing time when a wireless mic suffered harsh static or intermittent dropouts. Even brief malfunctions can destroy a presentation or performance, and drive everyone involved crazy. Below are the three most common problems, and a few basic techniques to solve them.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Women Directors Nearly Absent in 2013 Awards Season

Variety: “The movie industry is failing women,” says New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis. “And until the industry starts making serious changes, nothing is going to change.” For 15 years, the percentage of women represented in the top 250 domestic grossers has fluctuated between 5% and 9%, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State U. (In 2012, it was 9%.) The center’s executive director, Martha Lauzen, cites a variety of factors as to why the imbalance continues, but stresses perception is a key one.

Contour Roller Mouse or Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

CAD Insider: To use a computer mouse over 20 hours a week is to risk carpal tunnel syndrome1. Yikes! To call the Contour input device a Roller Mouse is not to do it justice. But maybe Computer Input System Alternative to the Mouse If You Are Having Medical Issues was just a little too long.

In a New Play, Trusty Sidekick Is a Supercomputer

NPR: Fed up with human shortcomings, the characters in Madeleine George's play turn to high-tech companions. Could machines be assistants, friends, and even partners? The (Curious Case of the) Watson Intelligence explores the amazing things technology can do for us...and what it can't.

Financing Not Fundraising: Stop Apologizing for Needing Money

Social Velocity: It becomes increasingly obvious to me that the nonprofit sector suffers from a lack of confidence. Centuries of being sidelined as “charities” while the real work of the world (business) took center stage has made the nonprofit sector continually apologize for the work they do and how they do it.

Monday, December 23, 2013

Draining The Daring From A High School Production Of 'Rent'

NPR: Quite a show has been going on in Trumbull, Conn. Last week, the principal of Trumbull High School canceled a student production of Rent scheduled for next March. Rent is Jonathan Larson's 1994 rock musical about a group of colorful young people living and loving in a colorful wreck of a brownstone on New York's Lower East Side, when struggling young artists could afford the rent there.

Real life Jurassic Park exists in Australia and everyone needs to go We're going to Australia, everybody. You, me, your mother, my neighbor, your dog, the guy on the subway, the girl in the book store, everybody. Why? Because they've built the closest thing to a real life Jurassic Park there. Called Palmersaurus Dinosaur Park, it's home to 160 animatronic dinosaurs that move, blink, roar and just look freaking awesome looking like dinosaurs.

Setting the Stage With the Right Screen Choice In a world where the industry professionals often focus on the more complicated technology in an image delivery equation, projection screens do not get the respect they deserve. All too often the designer spends hours looking at the projector and ignores the surface on which the image will be projected and viewed. Many have a tendency to expect the projector to do all the work and they rely on the good old, tried and true, matte white, unity gain screen to complete the task. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Book Excerpt: 'The CG Story': How Pixar Saved 'Toy Story' From Becoming A Disney Disaster The history of special effects and CG in film and their close relationship with today’s top-notch digital animation is the focus of author Christopher Finch’s new lavish 368-page book The CG Story: Computer Generated Animation and Special Effects, which peels the curtain back on CG pioneers like George Lucas, Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, and Pixar founders John Lasseter and Ed Catmull and their respective contributions to film. As part of Deadline’s weekend programming, read an exclusive excerpt from The CG Story, available now via The Monacelli Press (large format hardcover, $75), detailing the near-disaster that almost was when the upstarts at Pixar pacted with Disney to make their first feature: Toy Story.

No Name Players present this weekend 'The Truth About Santa'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Santa Claus is coming to town tonight. But he’s not the jolly old St. Nick of your youth. It’s “The Truth About Santa,” presented by the No Name Players at Arcade Comedy Theater, Downtown. “It’s ‘An Apocalyptic Holiday Tale,’” according to the subtitle and the show’s director, Don DiGiulio. “A musical play, it re-imagines Santa Claus as the God that he once was and the various forms he has taken over the years.

'Theatre Festival in Black & White' brings diverse audience

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: If you haven’t caught up with the “Theatre Festival in Black & White: Holiday Edition,” there’s still time with performances tonight and Tuesday at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre, Downtown. These are the final nights of the 10th annual festival presented by the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company. Each evening offers five short plays written and produced by local playwrights, directors and actors.

It's their turn: Joe Calarco and Sherri L. Edelen talk about Gypsy at Signature

DC Theatre Scene: Stephen Sondheim is the Shakespeare of musical theatre, Joe Calarco told me. To extend the comparison, does that make the role of Mama Rose in Gypsy Sondheim’s Lear? Certainly the power and appeal of that part helps to explain why Gypsy has had more revivals on Broadway than any other musical from the later half of the 20th Century that I can think of. Is there another role that has won three actors a Tony award? I can’t think of one. (And Ethel Merman would likely have won in any year in which The Sound of Music hadn’t also opened.)

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Watch how stop-motion artists brought AT-ATs to life for the Battle of Hoth

The Verge: Computer-generated lightsabers, laser blasts, and aliens may have filled the Star Wars prequels, but the original trilogy featured some stunning practical effects that still stand up today. On YouTube, Star Wars has posted an old behind-the-scenes video of how the filmmakers made one of the series' most impressive effects: the AT-ATs moving at the Battle of Hoth. The video shows time-lapse footage of animators adjusting large AT-AT models frame-by-frame, while Industrial Light & Magic effects artist Dennis Muren explains how they planned out the shoot.

Kinks Musical Coming to London

Music News | Rolling Stone: A new musical based on the life of Kinks frontman Ray Davies is coming to London next year. The BBC reports that Sunny Afternoon, named after the Kinks' 1966 hit, will use songs by the band to tell the story of Davies' early life as well as the rise of the band he founded with his brother Dave in 1964.

The Unsustainable State of Art

HowlRound: If you want to make great art, you must suffer. If you are truly compelled, truly gifted, you will find a way to make art and be heard. So attest our collective wisdom and a handful of recent HowlRound articles. An artist’s poverty becomes a testament to the value of his or her art—an artistic virtue. She crams artistic pursuits into evenings and weekends, to fit around her day-job, because what artist can live on art alone? Young artists, making their way out of increasingly expensive educational institutions into unpaid internships (if they are lucky) and life-long professionals in the field alike stack jobs like coffee cups and unpaid bills. Here we are.

Through The Years: A Look At Notable Microphone Developments

Pro Sound Web: Microphones as we know them date back to about the mid-1800s, when many different inventors were trying to electronically transmit sounds from one place to another. Before then, the term microphone was used to describe an acoustical device (like an ear trumpet or stethoscope) that helped amplify sounds.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Geena Davis' Two Easy Steps to Make Hollywood Less Sexist (Guest Column)

The Hollywood Reporter: I never intended to become a data head. I could never have predicted it would play such an important role in my life. Yet here we are: My Institute on Gender in Media has sponsored the largest amount of research ever done on gender depictions in media, covering a 20-year-plus span. I'll give you the basics as to how I got here, then we'll get to the fun part. Because I was fortunate enough to be cast in movies like Thelma & Louise and A League of Their Own, I developed a heightened awareness of how women are portrayed in media. Enough that when I started watching G-rated videos with my daughter about eight years ago, my "Spidey" sense caused me to immediately notice how few female characters there were in entertainments aimed at the youngest of children. Surely in the 21st century kids should be seeing boys and girls share the sandbox equally?

Little Lemon: A Case for Reimagining the University Season

HowlRound: Most university theater departments produce an annual season of plays. Generally, as my experience has suggested, these departments establish that the purpose of producing these plays is twofold: 1) to serve the growth of students in preparation for advanced study and/or entry into the profession, and 2) to serve their audience. Each individual department has its own specialties and interests, however, most departments likely return to those two guiding principles.

Stage Right's 'La Befana' musical tells Italian Christmas tale

TribLIVE: An original musical that looks at the traditional Christmas story from a different perspective will usher in Christmas week at Greensburg Garden and Civic Center. “La Befana: A Christmas Musical,” written by Stage Right artistic director Tony Marino, is based on an old-world Italian legend coinciding with the Jan. 6 religious celebration of Epiphany, known as La Befana or Twelfth Night.

Theaters’ Surefire Hit - Sale of Air Rights Putting money into a Broadway play has always been a risky proposition. But the owners of landmark playhouses in Manhattan’s theater district have one sure moneymaker on their hands: the air above their roofs.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Putting On Pinstripes - Costume Design for Broadway's Bronx Bombers

Tyranny of Style: Ruth. Berra. Mantle. DiMaggio. Gehrig. Jeter. The New York Yankees have never had a shortage of star players, or controversy. Bronx Bombers is a new American play from the team behind Broadway's Lombardi that follows beloved icon Yogi Berra and his wife Carmen through a century of the team's trials and triumphs, bringing generations of Yankee greats together on one stage.

Did You Miss LDI2013 and/or Us? Say WHAAAAAA. Yes, after over half a year from posting here, there is FINALLY a new post on iSquint! I want to say thanks to everyone that wrote, tweeted, facebooked and so on about the love of the site and the vast hole it left in everyone’s day. I didn’t mean to leave you Argentina… There are only so many hours in a day and while #SleepIsForTheWeak, the body cannot function without it for so long. Then of course there is family time, beer-thirty and those gigs now and then. In the end, something has to give and the site was one of them.

Ganttify Turns Your Google Calendar or Trello Board into a Gantt Chart It's easy to use Google Calendar as your project management tool, but if you want a more traditional project management view, take a look at new webapp Ganttify. It connects to your Google Calendar, Trello, or Basecamp account to instantly serve up your events in a Gantt chart.

Why do the Rich Support the Arts?

Aaron Gervais, composer: Why exactly do rich people give money to the arts? If you think about it, the two are strange bedfellows: wealth usually begets conservatism while the arts tilt overwhelmingly liberal. Granted, there are certainly rich liberals, but I think there’s more to it than that—after all, some of the biggest arts donors in the USA are also some of the biggest backers of the Tea Party, and red states are significantly more philanthropic than blue ones. Why would conservatives give money to liberal causes like art?

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

‘Playwrights,’ With Rajiv Joseph and Tarell Alvin McCraney, on PBS Capturing the creative process in a documentary is next to impossible, and “Playwright: From Page to Stage,” on Monday on PBS’s “Independent Lens,” doesn’t succeed any better than previous efforts. But the film, which follows two young playwrights as they have new works produced in prominent regional theaters (culminating, for one, in a Broadway run), does have a few candid moments that go deeper than we’re used to seeing.

Connecticut School's Production of 'Rent' Is Back On After a petition drive and social media campaign by students at Trumbull High School in Trumbull, Conn., the principal said on Monday that he was reversing himself and allowing its production of the musical “Rent” to go forward in March as originally planned. The principal, Marc Guarino, said in an interview that he and the student Thespian Society had developed ideas that satisfied his concern that the production be accompanied by an educational component.

Annie Dorsen’s ‘A Piece of Work’ at BAM Woe to the reporter who seeks to track Annie Dorsen’s speech patterns. The same combination of speed, breadth and complexity that makes her a thrilling conversationalist means any note taker faces a Sisyphean task.

Charles Isherwood’s Standout Shows of the Year Reflecting on the highlights of my year in theatergoing, I was often brought up short by a sense of renewed surprise. How odd, really, that a production of a play by Bertolt Brecht — a genius of 20th-century theater, yes, but often about as much fun as a doctor’s visit in production — provided more giddy fun than most Broadway musicals. The idea of listening in on eight hours of a phone conversation could hardly sound more tedious, but the show derived from that very source was among the most inspired and imaginative I saw this year. Herewith, in alphabetical order, are the shows that gave me the most pleasure, often by catching me off guard.

Ben Brantley’s Theater Favorites for 2013 Only a few months ago, I would have had to forage frantically to come up with a list of even five best-list-worthy shows from 2013. Now suddenly I’m spoiled for choice. First of all, any year is a fat year that includes productions like John Tiffany’s interpretation of Tennessee Williams’s “Glass Menagerie” and the Shakespeare’s Globe “Twelfth Night.” Those revivals, combined, account for roughly six of the richest, most satisfying hours of my theatergoing life.

Technical Ear Training: Mastering The Art Of The Invisible

Pro Sound Web: Timothy Ryan describes his job as “dealing with the invisible.” As an assistant professor of audio production in the Webster University School of Communications in St. Louis, he knows his students face a unique set of challenges in their training.
“Lighting is visible, costumes are visible, scenery or sets in a movie are visible, but sound is the invisible 300-pound gorilla in the room,” says Ryan. “Developing stable internal reference points is the only way to deal with it.”

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

"Six by Sondheim" Keeps Up HBO's Track Record for Great Documentaries

Balder and Dash | Roger Ebert: "Six By Sondheim" runs a tight, efficient 87 minutes. Mixing interview footage with performances of the titular number of songs, "Six by Sondheim" is a love letter to the greatest living American composer, Stephen Sondheim. This is the man who gave Mama Rose her turn, Mrs. Lovett her pie filling, and every Jet on NYC's West Side a mission statement. If you are familiar with these characters, and love them as I do, "Six by Sondheim" will play like a little slice of HBO broadcasting heaven. If not, this excellent documentary provides all the juicy details you'll need to become a lifelong fan.

PICT presents the Pittsburgh premiere of The Crucifer of Blood

Pop Filter Hot Pick: Why you should go: Fans of Sherlock Holmes and The Wicker Man do not want to miss the latest production presented by Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre (PICT). During the month of December, PICT invites you to take in some "Holmes" for the holidays.
Marking the culminating production of its 2013 season, PICT is presenting the much buzzed about Pittsburgh premiere of The Crucifer of Blood. Running December 4th through December 21st, the dramatic Sherlock Holmes-style adventure will provide the perfect melange of intrigue, mystery, danger, travel and suspicion needed to spice up your holiday festivities.

Pittsburgh's father of professional ballet — and of Point Park's dance program — retires

Dance + Live Performance | Pittsburgh City Paper: When Nicolas Petrov assumed the directorship of the Pittsburgh Playhouse's ballet school, in 1967, no one could have foreseen that within a few years, the Yugoslavian-born dancer and choreographer would forever alter the Pittsburgh dance landscape by founding two of its major institutions: Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and Point Park University's renowned dance department.

Checking In: WyldBlue Entertainment

InPark Magazine: WyldBlue Entertainment is a leading international creative consulting, project management, design development and production company that specializes in all disciplines of leisure entertainment, production and e-media. We strive to create magical guest experiences that not only tell a great story, but make the most of safety, the environment and culture, while improving the quality of life. Fresh, clever and inventive, WyldBlue excels in project design development, project management and operations.

Fountain Of Youth: 2013 Young Designer to Watch, Jeremy Lechterman, Lighting & Production Designer

Concerts content from Live Design Magazine: “Everything we put on stage should come from a place of honesty and truth, even if it’s an illusion. It should be grounded in a concrete idea and a belief, not just ‘because we can.’” Also, “Live life to the fullest; it’s the only one you’re going to have.”

A Year of Living Theatrically: Performance

KQED Public Media for Northern CA: Rob Handel's play A Maze is appropriately mazelike in itself, with several seemingly separate stories that gradually wind together into one: the abducted girl who becomes a media sensation after decades in captivity, the one-hit-wonder rock stars trying to rekindle their creative spark after rehab, the reclusive graphic novelist who insists he's just channeling the story in his books, and the fantastical parable about a king building an endless maze around his castle to protect his family.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Whoa, This 3D-Printed Headdress Should Be The Next Predator The complex stylings of this tribal-heritage-meets-Predator polyamide headdress were designed by creative multi-hyphenate Joshua Harker, then 3D-printed for a high-tech, high-fashion catwalk strut in London.

Pittsburgh CLO plays 'Christmas Carol' for 22nd year

TribLIVE: Tim Hartman figures he has spent the equivalent of four years on stage in productions of “A Christmas Carol.”
Jeff Howell has played Bob Cratchit in all but three of Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera's 22 productions of the Charles Dickens classic, and Terry Wickline has played the twin roles of Mrs. Fezziwig and Scrooge's housekeeper, Mrs. Dilbert, every year since joining the cast in 2000.

Connecticut High School Cancels Student Production of 'Rent' The principal of Trumbull High School in Trumbull, Conn., has become the latest administrator to cancel a drama club production of the musical “Rent,” which deals frankly with sexuality, drug use, HIV and love in the lives of straight and gay characters.

How to Have a Happy Fight Call: A Guide for Directors, Stage Managers, and Fight Captains

HowlRound: The time has come. The punches have been knapped and all the falls are safe. Now it is time to work those fights until we know them in our bones. Fight call is upon us. You excited about it? I am.
Before we start swinging at each other, a few tips, tricks, and reminders

Entertainment Law Update Podcast #46 – Top Ten Stories of 2013

Law Offices of Gordon P. Firemark: In this episode of Entertainment Law Update, Entertainment lawyers Gordon Firemark Tamera Bennett and Peter Kaufman review the ten most significant cases and controversies in the entertainment industry for 2013, and forecast what we’ll be seeing in 2014..

Stage flight: 'Peter Pan' cast at Playhouse soars with harness system

The Des Moines Register | Peter Pan always says the trick to flying is thinking happy thoughts. But at the Des Moines Community Playhouse, where he’ll be flying for the rest of the month, happy thoughts go only so far.
The rest of the magic comes from a big guy backstage who holds the other end of Peter’s hidden cable and jumps off a 6-foot ladder. When he goes down, Peter goes up.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Better Ladders - Safer Work

Theatre Safety Blog: You've all seen it - the late night infomercial for the Little Giant Ladder. You may even have one for getting to some of those difficult to reach places. This year at LDI, these guys outdid themselves BIGTIME. They introduced a extensible A-Frame ladder with a safety cage work platform at the top.

Mandy Greenfield to Become Artistic Director of Williamstown Theater Festival The Williamstown Theater Festival, a leading summertime destination for New York actors, directors, and writers to collaborate on ambitious productions, has chosen an Off Broadway leader as its new artistic director. Mandy Greenfield, the artistic producer of Manhattan Theater Club, will succeed Jenny Gersten beginning in September, the festival announced on Wednesday.

DualSaw Dual Blade Reciprocating Saw

Uncrate: Whether you're tearing something down, or building something up, there are few tools more handy than a reciprocating saw — and the DualSaw Dual Blade Reciprocating Saw ($200) takes your standard reciprocating saw and turns it up to 11.

BOSCH GLM 100 C LASER MEASURE One for the handyman...Bosch have released a measuring tool that transfers and documents your measuring results directly to a PC, tablet PC or Smartphone. The innovative Bosch GLM 100 C has integrated Bluetooth that syncs with an included app, simply take a photo of the jobsite, enter the distance you want to measure into the photo, and perform the desired measurement and have it displayed directly in the picture.

Unpaid internships: Banning them will only build a bigger wall between school and work. With unemployment sky-high, working-class wages in long-term stagnation, and climate change spiraling out of control, America’s social reformers have hit upon a strange cause: the plight of the aspiring young professional doing an unpaid internship. A June court ruling that an unpaid intern on the film Black Swan was owed back pay has given the movement substantial momentum, and Labor Day saw the launch of the Fair Pay Campaign, a move to ban unpaid internships in the United States. And indeed, many current internships would seem to violate the rules laid out in the Fair Labor Standards Act, including that the experience be “similar to training which would be given in an educational environment” and that the “employer that provides the training derives no immediate advantage from the activities of the intern.”

Director Anna Condo: "Cosmetic Surgery is Ruining Cinema"

Women and Hollywood: Casting is key. Without great characters, there can be no great story. And without great actresses, there can be no great films.
I remember clearly the day I watched an actress "act." I could not help but think something felt funny. Off. The more I watched her, the more I could hear her think. It wasn't what she was saying (her lines) or doing (her gestures). It was the woman behind the character that I was seeing and hearing. She was thinking, Was she pretty in this shot? Was she going to get a lot of praise for her performance? Was she going to win an award? Was she going to grace every magazine cover? This was what I saw and heard.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

How Dr. Freddie Fu and staff keep patients en pointe

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: In 1983 the leading soloist crumpled to the floor in the midst of a Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre performance at the Benedum Center. As the other dancers continued to swirl in George Balanchine's "Square Dance" all around her, she made several efforts to stand, but couldn't. The audience held its collective breath. Only after several tries was she able to get up and hop into the wings on one leg. Shari Little had torn her Achilles tendon, a devastating injury for most dancers. The other performers finished the ballet without her -- a real-life scenario reminiscent of the movie "The Red Shoes."

I want to dip everything in this magic hydrocoating water paint Everything I own, everything I will buy, every fiber of my body, everything in this world should be dipped into water paint. The hydrocoating process is popular in weapons and helmets but really deserves to be shmeared all over the world.

'Crucifer of Blood' brings Holmes to Pittsburgh Irish & Classical Theatre

TribLIVE: Director Matt Torney ranks Sherlock Holmes as one of the first superhero characters.
Holmes may not deck himself out in a mask or cape like Batman or Superman, but he does have a super-power — his intellect and reasoning, Torney says.
“He has this enormous brain. … Holmes' reasoning power cuts through chaos,” Torney says. “He is extraordinary, in no way an ordinary man. If you could see what he sees, you could be a great detective.”

The 11 Most Popular Apps for Collaboration and Productivity

Corporate Tech Decisions: The key to finding good collaborative apps is understanding how you need to communicate with others. If contacts are separated by distance, a videoconferencing app will make it easy to meet at any moment, regardless if everyone is in their respected offices or not. With a project management app or inter-company social media app, employees can have quick, real-time conversation and content sharing that mimics more social products and websites for added convenience and efficiency.

2013 Appy Special: 13 Pro Smart Tool-belts for Your Smart Device

Corporate Tech Decisions: 2013 has been a mobile-centric year. From new tablet developments to the growing popularity of smart gear, catering to your mobile lifestyle has been never been so important. But, with all the availability of apps in the market, finding quality apps that are relevant to you can seem like a challenge — more specifically a potential waste of time.

League of Chicago Theatres Names New Executive Committee and Board Members

Stage Directions: The League of Chicago Theatres has elected new executive committee members and appointed four new members to the Board of Directors. The Executive Committee includes Board Chair Kate Lipuma, Executive Director, Writers Theatre; Vice Chair Rachel Kraft, Executive Director, Lookingglass Theatre Company; Treasurer Heather Schmucker, Associate Producer, Chicago Shakespeare Theatre; and Secretary Dan McArdle, Managing Director, The Neo-Futurists. Elected by members of the League, newly-elected Board Members include Brittany Barnes, Managing Director, Pavement Group; Peter Handler, Program Director, Richard H. Driehaus Foundation; Bill Melamed, Chief Marketing and Development Officer, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago; and Regina Taylor, Artistic Collective, Goodman Theatre.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A New Play Brings the Deepwater Horizon Disaster to the Stage “Spill,” a new play based on interviews with dozens of people affected by the Gulf of Mexico oil rig explosion in 2010, will have its premiere production this spring in the state that was at the center of the environmental disaster. The drama, which features some 30 real-life characters speaking in the verbatim style of the documentary-like “Laramie Project” plays, will run March 12 through 30, at the Swine Palace theater on the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge, the theater and the play’s creators announced on Sunday.

Perspective: Meeting The Challenges Of The Gig

Pro Sound Web: As a sound engineer working in the concert and corporate event markets, I’ve found it useful to identify my primary (most important) audience for every gig.
Is it the band that hired me? The band manager? The promoter? The people buying tickets to the show? The people that own the venue? The sound company I’m working for?

'Heathers' Musical Will Play Off Broadway in March A musical adaptation of the film “Heathers,” the 1989 dark comedy about high school mean girls that added “what’s your damage?” and other memorable lines to the teen lexicon, will have an Off Broadway commercial run this spring, the producers announced on Tuesday.

What's this show 'Blackout'? We're in the dark

Chicago Tribune: A show called "Blackout" opens Friday night in Chicago. You likely can't go, unless you get really lucky on Craigslist. This is a very hard show to catch. It has shown up sporadically over the last three or four years in New York and LA, but you won't see advertisements or the like. Often, theater companies seek out coverage in newspapers. Not this show. This show had to be tracked down.

Send in the Cameras - Sondheim on TV These are just some of the revelations in HBO’s documentary “Six by Sondheim,” about the composer and lyricist, to be broadcast on Monday. The film, directed by James Lapine, explores Mr. Sondheim’s development as a songwriter by focusing on six of his most pivotal songs; the other three are “Something’s Coming,” from “West Side Story” (which he wrote with the composer Leonard Bernstein); “Send In the Clowns,” from “A Little Night Music”; and “Sunday,” from “Sunday in the Park With George.”

New leadership to continue Lamp fundraising in Irwin

TribLIVE: Despite a change in leadership, fundraising for the historic Lamp Theatre in downtown Irwin remains in full swing.
Former Relight the Lamp committee leader Kathleen Heuer has resigned from her post on Irwin's Lamp Theater interim board of directors, which is dedicated to seeing the project through construction. Ben Wren was appointed to take her seat.

German Plays and Children Take Center Stage in the British Capital Do you know where your children are? You could start by combing the National Theater’s stage adaptation of “Emil and the Detectives,” which may just be the most kids-intensive production I have ever seen. That’s saying a lot in a theater capital that is also showing “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “Matilda” and “Billy Elliot,” three musicals that give pride of place to many a pint-sized tyke.

Tree Lights, Camera, Action at Rockefeller Center Last week, millions of television viewers were treated again to a spectacle that aligns living rooms nationwide for one moment: the lighting of the Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center in midtown Manhattan.

Former ‘Sleep No More’ Interns Say Immersive NYC Megahit Offers Little Educational Benefit If you care about the burgeoning unpaid-internship movement, here’s something that may keep you up at night: Interns for the wildly popular interactive show “Sleep No More” do a lot of grunt work for little educational benefit and no pay, according to people familiar the show.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Concert for the Musical ‘Hit List’ For fans, these concerts offer a chance to connect one last time with cast members — and learn just what “Hit List” really was meant to be. For the no-longer-na├»ve “Smash” veterans, they are an opportunity to take stock of their experiences and to remind themselves that, although the series had its detractors, it also had some deeply devoted fans.

Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: Models' Wings Were 3D Printed This year, the angel wings — part of the quintessential Victoria Secret’s Fashion show costume — got a techie makeover and were created with a 3-D printer. The elaborate piece of clothing was made using a computer algorithm that mimics the crystaline shape of snowflakes.

When Shakespeare Steps In, What’s Left Out? A new revival, this one starring Ethan Hawke, opened on Nov. 21, four months after the previous Broadway production, starring Alan Cumming, closed. If you fail to see Mr. Hawke reveal what life, which as we know is full of sound and fury, signifies, not to worry: Kenneth Branagh will fill you in next spring, when he brings his production of “Macbeth” to New York.

Sandy Hook and on-screen violence

BBC - Culture: This week marks the first anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut in which 26 people died after Adam Lanza went on a rampage. As often happens in the wake of bloody shootings involving young gunmen, a finger was pointed at the entertainment industry: in Lanza’s case it was claimed he was influenced by the violent video games he owned.

Musicals Couldn’t Be Hotter Off Broadway (by 7,000 Miles) The packs of young women arrived 90 minutes early for the evening’s show: “Murder Ballad,” a rock musical that flopped off Broadway in July and then opened here four months later in an all-Korean production. They wanted time to shoot smartphone video of Seoul’s newest theater, built inside a shopping mall, and start scoring autographs: of actors, sure, but lighting operators and makeup artists too.

Theater of the Stars files for bankruptcy

CBS Atlanta News: Atlanta is a city known for supporting the Arts. Whether it's the Atlanta Symphony or a show at the Alliance or the Fabulous Fox, every year Atlantan's spend millions of dollars on the town. Many buy season tickets to guarantee better seats. So what would you do if your pre-paid tickets were suddenly worthless? CBS Atlanta's Jennifer Mayerle investigates.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

'Taffeta Christmas' offers plenty of holiday cheer

TribLIVE: The Theatre Factory invites patrons to swing into the holidays with classic songs like “There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays,” “Marshmallow World” and “Silver Bells.”
Anyone who's searching for some seasonal sounds to help get them into the holiday spirit will find those tunes and more at “A Taffeta Christmas,” the Trafford theater company's holiday production directed by Erin Seaberg with musical direction by George Pecoraro Jr.

College says time’s up for cheaters, bans all watch-wearing during exams

Ars Technica: The Artevelde College in Ghent, Belgium, may have recently become the first institution to ban students from wearing watches during exams. According to a report in De Standaard (Google Translate), the new rule is in response to the growing availability of smartwatches and the cheating possibilities that come with it.

Full-Color 3D Printing Is Here, and It's Marvelous Everything from photography, to television, to printers made the eventual evolution from black and white to full color. And following in those technological footsteps is the 3D printer, with 3D Systems recently announcing what it's claiming is the world's first continuous-tone full color plastic printer called the ProJet 4500.

Millennial narcissism: Helicopter parents are college students’ bigger problem. Amy (not her real name) sat in my office and wiped her streaming tears on her sleeve, refusing the scratchy tissues I’d offered. “I’m thinking about just applying for a Ph.D. program after I graduate because I have no idea what I want to do.” Amy had mild depression growing up, and it worsened during freshman year of college when she moved from her parents’ house to her dorm. It became increasingly difficult to balance school, socializing, laundry, and a part-time job. She finally had to dump the part-time job, was still unable to do laundry, and often stayed up until 2 a.m. trying to complete homework because she didn’t know how to manage her time without her parents keeping track of her schedule.

Renovating Your Safety Culture

Occupational Health & Safety: Many people, including my family, are drawn to the current slate of home renovation television shows. It's fascinating to watch a shabby or dated house be transformed into an almost unrecognizably upgraded, efficient home. Of course, this occurs only with the right combination of planning, resources, and work.

New Gear? Beyond The Hype It’s Up To You

Pro Sound Web: Attention shoppers: the good news is that in this century, there is very little bad sound equipment. There are still plenty of bad engineers (not enough sleep and too much fun) and bad combinations of gear (70-volt clusters and powered mixers driving powered loudspeakers).
But the stuff coming out of the factories - and even a lot of the proprietary (home brew) gear - is light years beyond the stuff we all got stuck with in the past.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How To Create The Ultimate Online Portfolio These days it is equally as – if not more – important to create a fantastic online portfolio in order to gain a following and, depending on your industry, work. This can be tricky and it’s very difficult to build if you’re not design or web savvy, but that doesn’t mean all hope is lost! Paige Donahue of Digital Information World shares everything you could possibly need to know for creating the ultimate online portfolio, from which sites to use to everything it should include

They Stole Our Stuff, But Not Our Spirit!

Razoo: During Saturday night's performance of Midnight Radio Animated Holidaze, a thief crept into our offices and stole twoMacBook pro laptop computers, a wallet with $60 in it and a standard backpack. While we are grateful that all they got away with was "stuff," it still hurts, and now we have to replace what was taken.

ETC's iRFR Donations to Behind the Scenes Approach $150,000

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: At the LDI show in late November, Dennis Varian of ETC presented a check for nearly $26,000 to Behind the Scenes, which reflected ongoing proceeds from sales of ETC's iRFR and aRFR (radio focus remote) application for iPhone, iPod Touch, and Android. The donation brings ETC's total Behind the Scenes contributions to date to just under $150,000.

ETC Expands Again

Lighting&Sound America Online - News: In the last few years, ETC has entered new markets, introduced dozens of products, surpassed three million Source Four fixture sales, and gained new customers worldwide. To keep the pace of this steady growth, ETC is expanding its office in New York City and opening a new factory in Wisconsin.

Bandit Lites Celebrates 45 Years

PLSN: In 1968, 12 year old Michael Strickland began "borrowing" lights to provide better lighting to touring acts making their way through Nashville. Forty-five years later, Strickland's company has emerged as one of the largest rental and production companies in the U.S. Bandit Lites is now marking 45 years of being in business and continues to look forward toward the future.

Creativity is rejected: Teachers and bosses don’t value out-of-the-box thinking. In the United States we are raised to appreciate the accomplishments of inventors and thinkers—creative people whose ideas have transformed our world. We celebrate the famously imaginative, the greatest artists and innovators from Van Gogh to Steve Jobs. Viewing the world creatively is supposed to be an asset, even a virtue. Online job boards burst with ads recruiting “idea people” and “out of the box” thinkers. We are taught that our own creativity will be celebrated as well, and that if we have good ideas, we will succeed.

Monday, December 09, 2013

College Textbooks Might Be Free Thanks To This New Legislation The ‘Affordable College Textbook Act’ could mean college text books will become completely free. The bill is sponsored by Senators. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.) and would create a college grant program so that universities can expand the availability of textbooks online. Yes, for paperless, easy access.

Buying Delcam Puts Autodesk on Path of World Domination

CAD Insider: Autodesk buying Delcam is the biggest news in the CAD, CAM and CAE world since…umm… the CAD, CAM and CAE world existed. Yet, at this late date, 25 days after the announcement, I am amazed how scant has been the coverage of an event of such magnitude.
Wake up, guys!
The #1 CAD company buys the #1 CAM company. Autodesk, who used to irreverently claim to have designed everything God did not (their words, not mine) can now also say they can manufacture it. What was once a fractured CAM industry with several key players but none a 800 lb gorilla, is now changed forever. Autodesk has validated Delcam as the one CAM company to deal with.

Eviscerating The Sound Of Music Live

It Seems To Me…: NBC aired a live performance of The Sound of Music last night, and theatre performers and aficionados panned it in spectacular and vitriolic fashion. It quite clearly became a competition to see how creatively each person could say they hated it more than the next person. I find that disappointing and somewhat sad.

Top 10 Plays and Musicals | Top 10 Everything of 2013

Arts and Entertainment | 10. A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
Jefferson Mays gets the flashy roles — eight of them, in fact, playing the snooty heirs to an English title who are getting bumped off one by one by a disinherited relative. Bryce Pinkham gets only one role, as the family member doing the murdering, but he’s the charming linchpin of this polished, frivolous but enjoyable musical version of the 1949 Alec Guinness movie Kind Hearts and Coronets. The score by Robert L. Freedman and Steven Lutvak is likable in its old-fashioned, faux-operetta way, and Darko Tresnjak’s clever, fast-moving production shows that movies sometimes can be turned into decent musicals.

My View Stephen Sorokoff: Check Out The Audience Before The Show Starts

T2C Online: I always know when I’m in for a good show by observing the audience before the performance starts. So when I asked the couple next to us if they were familiar with Marcy & Zina and they replied “Yes, we came from Chicago to see them” it was an indication that something special was about to be on 54 Below’s stage. Full disclosure here, I love Marcy & Zina, but 54 Below is just a mile from where we live. These two girls always have a full room of fans at every show and for good reason. The music and lyrics are inspirational,funny, witty and poignant.

This column will change your life: hairy arm tactics

The Guardian: The tactic goes by many names, but my favourite is the Theory Of The Hairy Arm. An American business consultant, Lawrence San, tells the following story about a colleague he calls Joe, who worked as a graphic designer in the days before computers. One of Joe's clients was forever ruining projects by insisting on stupid changes. Then something odd started happening: each time the client was presented with a newly photographed layout, he'd encounter the image of Joe's own arm at one edge of the frame, partly obscuring the ad. "The guy would look at it," Joe recalled, "and he'd say, 'What the hell is that hairy arm doing in there?'" Joe would apologise for the slip-up. And then, "as he was stalking self-righteously away", Joe said, "I'd call after him: 'When I remove the arm, can we go into production?' And he'd call over his shoulder, 'Yes, but get that arm out of there first!' Then I'd hear him muttering, 'These people! You've got to watch them like a hawk.'"

Sunday, December 08, 2013


NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Why Everyone Is Wrong About Working With Millennials

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: There appears to be a prevalent sentiment among some business decision makers that millennials--soon to be the largest workforce in history--lack a strong work ethic and require too much flexibility in the workplace. And many end up blaming higher education for these perceived issues. Are colleges and universities to blame for inadequately preparing millennials to succeed in the 21st-century economy?

Interns, Listen Up! Top 5 Things You Shouldn't Be Doing Ah, internships! The gateway to employment. The key to getting noticed in a bleak economy. The rite of passage that gives you access to influencers, awesome connections, and memorable opportunities.
But why are so many interns doing things they shouldn’t? According to a study by Harris Interactive, there’s a huge gap between students’ perceptions of their abilities and managers’ perceptions of those same skills. Only about half of college grads who have taken the time to complete internships say they feel prepared for the workplace, and the number of bosses who think they’re prepared is lower than 40 percent.

The next generation is finding new places to do theater.

The Producer's Perspective: Site specific and environmental theater has always been a “thing.” (I was one of the few that got to see Jonathan “Rent” Larson’s site specific JP Morgan Saves The Nation which was performed on the steps of a big bank downtown.)
But is it me, or do much higher profile productions seem to be finding their way into new and interesting spaces? And do more productions in traditional spaces seem to be using the spaces non-traditionally?

Business Cards Made of Beef Jerky

Cool Material: If you’re looking for a new set of business cards that potential contacts will seriously want to get their paws on, here you go. Of course they’ll probably want them because they need an afternoon snack, but that’s besides the point.

At What Age Will Your Creativity Peak?

99U: There will always be the outliers, but most accomplished creatives need many years of practice, mistakes, and determination before they make their best creative work. So when can the average person expect to hit their stride?

Saturday, December 07, 2013

Neon Lights, Nostalgia and Night

Tested: Ever wonder how neon signs are made? Enjoy this short documentary about the dying art of neon sign-making featuring craftsman from New York-based Let There Be Neon. LED lights may have supplanted the neon sign business, but it's great to know that there are still artisans practicing the trade and paying tribute to its storied history.

The next generation is finding new places to do theater.

The Producer's Perspective: Site specific and environmental theater has always been a “thing.” (I was one of the few that got to see Jonathan “Rent” Larson’s site specific JP Morgan Saves The Nation which was performed on the steps of a big bank downtown.)
But is it me, or do much higher profile productions seem to be finding their way into new and interesting spaces? And do more productions in traditional spaces seem to be using the spaces non-traditionally?

Business Cards Made of Beef Jerky

Cool Material: If you’re looking for a new set of business cards that potential contacts will seriously want to get their paws on, here you go. Of course they’ll probably want them because they need an afternoon snack, but that’s besides the point.

Why Everyone Is Wrong About Working With Millennials

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: There appears to be a prevalent sentiment among some business decision makers that millennials--soon to be the largest workforce in history--lack a strong work ethic and require too much flexibility in the workplace. And many end up blaming higher education for these perceived issues. Are colleges and universities to blame for inadequately preparing millennials to succeed in the 21st-century economy?

StageWrite Gets Boost from Apple

Stage Directions: The StageWrite app, a tool for documenting staging and choreography, is rapidly being adopted by big shows on Broadway, as well as by Cirque du Soleil and Universal. It’s also getting a push from Apple now, too. The app is featured on Apple’s website, and Apple even filmed a rehearsal to capture the app in action, which will be used in a documentary about the app.

Veteran Broadway Press Agent to Close Up Shop The veteran Broadway press agent Michael Hartman announced on Monday that he was closing his company, the Hartman Group, on Jan. 5, leaving his account executives to quickly find new agencies for, among other shows, the blockbuster “Wicked,” the fan favorite “Rock of Ages,” and the coming musicals “Rocky,” “If/Then,” “The Last Ship” (Sting’s Broadway debut as a composer) and “Houdini” (starring Tony Award winner Hugh Jackman).

WindFire Designs Circle Tools

Designed by Tim Elverston and Mark Whiting: WindFire Designs Circle Tools are made for beautiful circles. Specifically designed for countless uses, they provide elegant and precise utility.
Graceful progressions of sizes in curated sets of circles find a balance of scale between the maker, the studio, and the work.
Via Boing Boing

25 Questions To Ask In An Informational Interview

Come Recommended: The informational interview is one of the most underrated networking techniques. You can meet someone new in your industry, at a company where you’d like to work, or someone higher up in your own company and learn some truly valuable insight for your own career. It’s all about building a relationship with the other person. If it goes well, you may even land a new career mentor.

'Pippin' Revival Recoups Investment “You’re on the right track,” the Leading Player sings to the title character in the 1972 musical “Pippin,” and the same can be said of the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival. The producers announced on Monday that the show has recouped its $8.5 million capitalization after about eight months of performances. Only 25 percent of Broadway productions recoup their investors’ money and go on to earn profits.

Interns, Listen Up! Top 5 Things You Shouldn't Be Doing Ah, internships! The gateway to employment. The key to getting noticed in a bleak economy. The rite of passage that gives you access to influencers, awesome connections, and memorable opportunities.
But why are so many interns doing things they shouldn’t? According to a study by Harris Interactive, there’s a huge gap between students’ perceptions of their abilities and managers’ perceptions of those same skills. Only about half of college grads who have taken the time to complete internships say they feel prepared for the workplace, and the number of bosses who think they’re prepared is lower than 40 percent.

At What Age Will Your Creativity Peak?

99U: There will always be the outliers, but most accomplished creatives need many years of practice, mistakes, and determination before they make their best creative work. So when can the average person expect to hit their stride?

The morning after the hills were (a)live.

Michael Cassara / – NYC Casting Director: Last night NBC brought us a live, theatrical event – by their own description, the first of its kind in over 50 years – a broadcast of (more or less) the stage version of The Sound of Music.
This morning, my Facebook and Twitter feeds closely resemble a warzone – a warzone full of opinions, many of which are opinions about opinions.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Substantive Work

From the President | Actors' Equity Association: Substantive work is what I think we’re all looking for: work that means something, work that challenges us, work that makes a difference. Sometimes that’s a meaty role, sometimes it’s being a modest part of a terrific production, sometimes it’s just a job that makes a significant contribution to our monthly nut.

Are You Still Reading a Ruler? Learn a Better Way to Measure We learn how to read a ruler in grade school, and for lack of more advanced instruction many of us go on reading a ruler for the rest of our lives – including in our shops. In many cases, however, the best way to read a ruler is not reading one at all. That’s why I chose to highlight the recent video from our YouTube channel for today’s post. Learning to use better measurement tools is one of the quickest ways to move through the intermediate stages of your woodworking career, and onto advanced projects.

All Access: Mixing Nine Inch Nails Mix caught up with Nine Inch Nails (Trent Reznor, vocals, guitar, keyboards; Robin Finck, guitars; Pino Palladino, bass; Ilan Rubin, drums; Alessandro Cortini; keyboards, synths, guitar; Josh Eustis, electronics; Lisa Fischer, background vocals; Sharlotte Gibson, background vocals) in mid-November at the 1st Bank Center in Broomfield, Colorado.

Nelson Mandela dies: His legacy to the arts Many people know that Nelson Mandela’s life inspired novels, poems, plays and films, but few people know how powerful his effect on the theater was and how powerful the theater’s effect was on him.
The theater served as a mirror to Mandela, each side influencing and reflecting the other, placing them both in time.

Contract Mumbo Jumbo You Really Should Read (And Understand)

Pro Sound Web: It’s been 45 days, you’ve completed the work and you haven’t received final payment. Now you find out your contract included a paid-when-paid provision you didn’t notice. Sound familiar? You are not alone.
Let’s identify some of the most significant contract clauses to watch out for when reviewing your prospective subcontract agreement.
By taking the time to understand and negotiate these danger clauses, it also paves the way for a greater understanding of the shifting risks toward the subcontractor.

Flashlights: Critical Safety Tools

Occupational Health & Safety: Safety managers give much thought to equipping and training employees for emergency situations and keeping them safe on the job. But when it comes to one critical safety tool -- flashlights -- these same safety professionals may be overlooking the many recent technology innovations and options that are now available to them. By taking the time to understand recent enhancements in flashlight technology, safety personnel can better prepare workers to respond to emergencies and, in general, help maintain a safer working environment.

Barebones productions’ Motherfucker and 10th anniversary

Program Notes | Pittsburgh City Paper: It’s the final week of performances for this Pittsburgh-premiere staging of Stephen Adly Guirgis’s The Motherfucker With The Hat — and a good time to note barebones’ unique spot on the local theater scene.

Frank Rich on His Friendship With Stephen Sondheim

New York Magazine: There are few things that remain constant in life, but for me one of them is this: Stephen Sondheim’s work has touched me for more than half a century. It did so when I was first listening to records as a child, when I didn’t know his name or much else, and it does so right this minute, as songs of middle-aged regret like “Too Many Mornings” and “You Must Meet My Wife” are randomly shuffled into my headphones by iTunes. It’s unusual to remain so loyal to a single artist. We tend to outgrow our early tastes and heroes. It’s even more unlikely to have that artist materialize in person and play a crucial role in one’s life—as Sondheim first did when I was 21 and he was 40. Since then, with some lengthy intermissions along the way, he’s been a mentor, an occasional antagonist, a friend, and even an unwitting surrogate parent.

App turns smartphone owners into film crew members

Springwise: The rising quality of smartphones’ video capabilities is opening up new opportunities for consumers to create their own mini films. Now Film Crew is an app that enables professional filmmakers to crowdsource smartphone footage from anyone wanting to join the crew and earn a credit.

The Phantom Seats of Philanthropy

HowlRound: If the defunding of arts were to become a nation-wide reality, what charge would it put on artists?
We’re not opposed to arts funding, in fact we’re in the midst of multiple grant applications as we write this! But the system, as many other systems in our country, is corrupt and must be challenged by those who have the power and imagination to do so.
And do so without asking permission.

Report: Arts, culture add $500B to nation's GDP Creative industries led by Hollywood account for about $504 billion, or at least 3.2 percent of U.S. goods and services, the government said in its first official measure of how the arts and culture affect the economy.
On Thursday, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and the National Endowment for the Arts will release the first-ever estimates of the creative sector's contributions to U.S. gross domestic product based on 2011 data, the most recent figures available. GDP measures the nation's production of goods and services.

Life After 50: Where Do We Go From Here?

American Theatre – December 2013: “We don’t do anniversaries.” If you’re a press rep at a TCG member theatre somewhere in America, you’ve probably heard that caveat from somebody on the staff of American Theatre magazine. But this 2013–14 season is different: A remarkable array of U.S. theatres date their founding moment to 1963 and ’64, and reaching the half-century mark has provoked not only widespread celebrations of tenacity and accomplishment, but renewed self-examination among theatre organizations and the artists who work there. Breaking with our own tradition, we asked the artistic leaders of seven major companies to talk about how they marked the 50-year milestone, and how they intend to keep their work youthful and relevant to our changing times.

Thursday, December 05, 2013

Michigan Opera Theatre Names Wayne S. Brown President and Chief Executive Officer

Yahoo News: Wayne S. Brown, Director of Music and Opera for the National Endowment for the Arts since 1997 and a native Detroiter, has been named President and CEO of the Michigan Opera Theatre (MOT) effective January 1. He succeeds David DiChiera who founded MOT in 1971 and has served as General Director of the theatre since its inception. Dr. DiChiera will remain as Artistic Director.

"The Sound of Music"

Faculty & Staff News - Carnegie Mellon University: Another rehearsal extends well into the night, leaving musical theater senior Michael Campayno (A'14) and Tony Award-winning CMU alumnus Christian Borle (A'95) dog-tired.
But in a good way.
Campayno, Borle and their castmates - among them, Carrie Underwood - will perform the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic "The Sound of Music," live on NBC at 8 p.m. (EST), Dec. 5.

USITT 2014 Early Bird Discount Deadline is Dec. 12, 2013

Stage Directions: Black Friday (and Gray Thursday) may be history for the 2013 holiday shopping season, but "super early bird" registrants for the USITT’s 2014 Annual Conference & Stage Expo, set for March 26-29, can still score a significant discount if they sign up for the four-day show by Thursday, Dec. 12. The full Conference Registration price will rise a bit after the Dec. 12 deadline and increase a bit more after the regular early bird registration deadline of Feb. 13, 2014.