CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

'Interstellar' Actor Bill Irwin Explains How Bringing TARS to Life Finally Made Christopher Nolan Smile

Movie News | You might recognize the tall, thin, strong-jawed actor/clown/comedian Bill Irwin as Ham Gravy in Popeye, as Mr. Leeds in Lady in the Water, as Anne Hathaway's dad in Rachel Getting Married, or even as Mr. Noodle on Sesame Street. However, there's one role where you simply will not recognize him: as TARS the robot in Christopher Nolan's Interstellar.

Many may think that TARS was just a CGI creation that Irwin voiced, but the reality is that the robot was actually a practical effect puppeteered by Irwin on set. We recently caught up with the actor ahead of this week's Blu-ray, DVD and DigitalHD release of Interstellar to talk about how he got the odd job, what it's like working with Nolan and whether or not the director's movies are really as secretive as people say they are.

Cirque du Wiz?? Charlie Smalls and William F. Brown’s The Wiz will be presented as NBC’s third annual live musical, following 2013’s The Sound of Music LIVE!, starring Carrie Underwood, and 2014’s Peter Pan LIVE!, starring Allison Williams and Christopher Walken. The event will be presented December 3, according to Variety.

The production will be co-produced by Cirque du Soleil’s new stage theatrical division and is set to head to Broadway for a revival (also presented by Cirque du Soleil) during the 2016-17 season. No casting information has been announced thus far.

The LRLR Raise Funds for Behind the Scenes at USITT Raffle

Stage Directions: The Long Reach Long Riders (LRLR) celebrated their 12th ride with a raffle and live auction to benefit Behind the Scenes during the USITT Conference in Cincinnati last week. Sales of raffle tickets, some key donations, and BTS and LRLR-branded swag raised just over $14,000 for the charity. The LRLR ride starts in Nashville, TN on Sunday, May 31st.

Is small theater in Los Angeles getting the curtain call? When you hear “Hollywood,” you think movies, right? Or maybe TV.

What nobody thinks is theater. Theater is New York or some other place people moved here to escape.

When folks come west, they leave behind their snow shovels, mittens and “Regards to Broadway.” Yet every week in Los Angeles, thousands flock to world-class venues like the Ahmanson, Mark Taper Forum, Pantages and a handful of others for the live theater experience.

What isn’t so well known is many thousands more find that same joy in the less glamorous parts of town — the seedy stretches of Santa Monica and Melrose, the dark patches of Highland and even the nether regions of Lankershim.

A Manifesto for Theaters and Interns: Part 2

The Clyde Fitch Report: In my last post, I established a few ground rules that all theaters hiring interns should agree to abide by. They were meant to improve the landscape of professional development in the theater, which can be both arbitrary and at times exploitative. We looked at the internship issue from the perspective of what theaters should do for the interns, so to keep it fair, this follow-up will address how interns should conduct themselves in these competitive positions, and what theaters have a right to expect from them.

Selfishness as Relatability

The PGH Stage Online Magazine: Endless Lawns is an example of excellent execution of a poor plan. The problems with the production cannot be attributed to those who put together this incarnation of the play (its world premiere); the acting, set design, lighting and pacing all serve to pull an audience along effectively. The glaring problems with Endless Lawns lie in its script.

Casting Director Calls Ethnic Casting The New Affirmative Action

New Pittsburgh Courier: Casting directors think they know why the focus of fostering diversity is bothering certain people, but they still believe it’s time for Hollywood to get a makeover.

As Risa Bramon Garcia sees it, her contemporaries do not like being told that they have to make a more conscious effort to include actors of color in the rosters they build. She told KPCC recently that this really a reflection of consumer power as advertisers are demanding networks do a better job of representing their customers and the networks then lean on the casting directors to deliver.

Adobe's New Brainstorming App for Designers Is Here

WIRED: he last time we saw Comp CC, the newest tool in Adobe’s Creative Cloud suite, it was called LayUp, and creator Khoi Vinh had just demoed it at Adobe MAX 2014. It is, in essence, a responsive brainstorming app that recreates the early stage pen-and-paper sketching experience on an iPad. It complements Adobe’s marquee applications InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator.

Weekly Top 10: The Best Live Shows in Theme Parks We'd bet that most people think first of rides when they think about theme parks. And while we love all the great rides in the parks, we know that top theme parks also provide some wonderful shows for our entertainment. This week, we honor the Top 10 live shows at major theme parks, as determined by the collective rating of Theme Park Insider readers.

“Oblivion” at City Theatre

The Pittsburgh Tatler: Carly Mensch’s perceptive new comedy Oblivion begins with a parent-teen standoff: mom Pam (Lisa Velten Smith) and dad Dixon (Quentin Maré) have caught their 16-year-old daughter Julie (Julia Warner) in a lie. She’s told them she spent the weekend on a college tour; they know (as parents do) that she didn’t. In true progressive-hipster fashion, they insist that it doesn’t matter to them where she really did spend her weekend; what matters here is that she’s being untruthful, that she’s showing a lack of integrity. They are the kind of liberal, openminded, freerange parents who have candid conversations about sex and drugs with their daughter. What could she possibly feel she needs to hide from them?

Way Better than the Shakespeare You Read in High School

Projection Mapping Central: No strangers to creative and awesome uses of projection mapping, Davy and Kristin McGuire have practically created a book of magic. Upon opening the cover of this seemingly-ordinary tome, a 3D scene appears, just like the pop-up children’s books you might remember as a kid. Then, the scene is flooded with projected light, creating an audio-visual experience unlike any book you’ve ever seen.

Behind-The-Scenes Videos Show How Iconic Movie Special Effects Were Made When you're watching a movie, it's easy to get lost in the magic and not think too hard about how King Kong climbed the Empire State Building, how Jurassic Park's T-Rex roared to life, or how Charlton Heston encountered the Statue of Liberty at the end of Planet of the Apes — but these videos reveal all those movie secrets.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Stephen Schwartz, Princess Cruises pact on four new musicals

Variety: On the night of March 25, the Princess Cruises’ 35,000-square-foot rehearsal facility in Valencia, Calif., came alive with the sound of music – the music of Broadway composer Stephen Schwartz.

Schwartz was in Valencia to deliver a taste of what’s to come out of his new deal with Princess Cruises, a first of its kind pact that see the three-time Oscar winner and composer of “Wicked,” “Pippin” and “Godspell” in a multiyear deal to oversee the creative development of four new musicals to debut across the line’s global fleet over the next four years.

Are Criticism Rating Systems Serving Anybody?

HowlRound: “Are you going to let somebody else grade your work?” Victory Gardens Theater Artistic Director Chay Yew responded to my latest snarky comment about the number of stars my most recent show had received in the Chicago Tribune.

I paused. “No, of course not!” Until that moment, I hadn’t ever thought of it as a “grade.”

3D Printing For Costume Design and Technology

Tyranny of Style: 3D printing technology has grown significantly in the last ten years to become an accessible tool for artists, small business owners, and amateur crafters. It has already made a splash in the fashion industry through visionary leaders such as Iris van Herpen, Michael Schmidt, and Francis Bitonti. And it has slowly been invading the costume design world in film (Prometheus, Enders Game, Man of Steel), and most recently themed entertainment (Walt Disney World’s “Festival of Fantasy Parade”). It’s implications for the future of design seems endless, and designers are posed to make great gains in the ability to execute unusual and complex costume pieces unlike ever before.

Korea’s Busan Ups Location Attraction Game, Targets Chinese Movies

Variety: Busan, the South Korean city that already styles itself as the hub of Asian cinema, is launching a funding program aimed at attracting international productions. Its biggest target is inbound titles from the booming Chinese industry.

The program is to be operated by the Busan Film Commission and will offer production scouts flights and up to 30 hotel nights in Busan. The total value of the scheme has not been disclosed.

Time to start thinking about OSHA Fall Protection Compliance While you, your workers or subs are up there doing your magic be aware that someone is watching you. Please be safe and use your fall protection equipment. Also don't let your subs work on your site unless they have their equipment, their documented training and then make sure they use it on your site. Failure to do so can bring OSHA to your site and the General Contractor can be cited and fined along with your sub for not making sure they work safe.

Munhall Passion play organizers look back on 20 years

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Passion play each Easter season at Anne Ashley United Methodist Church in Munhall has come a long way since it debuted in 1995.

In its early days, performances sometimes involved more suffering than was scripted.

During the play’s second year, for example, the man portraying Jesus broke the toe of the cast member playing the role of the “woman who wipes Jesus’s face” on his way to Calvary hill. In the scene, the crossbeam that Jesus carried was to drop to the ground. Instead, the wooden two-by-four landed on her left foot.

UnCommon Shakespeare

The PGH Stage Online Magazine: Dinner and a show were on the menu at the Duquesne Club last Thursday night as PICT Classic Theatre hosted its second annual Court of UnCommon Pleas fundraiser. The show did not feature the normal cast of actors, but in their place were executives, lawyers and even former Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett.

“It has proved most successful, and it is really interesting for PICT to see people, unused to reading Shakespeare aloud, tackling the works so successfully,” said PICT’s Artistic and Executive, Director Alan Stanford. “Indeed it is gratifying to hear lawyers and politicians discovering Shakespeare in a whole new light.”

Innovation and immersion: Escape from Gringotts

fxguide: For decades, guests at Universal Studios Theme Parks have enjoyed an array of immersive ride films. From Back to the Future: The Ride to Terminator 2: 3-D Battle Across Time to Transformers: The Ride, each experience seems to up the ante on the use of motion simulators, large-scale imagery, stereo, high frame rates, stereoscopic projection, photorealistic animation and visual effects. Now, with Harry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts, that level of immersion has been increased yet again.

Don Shirley on Famous Actors and 99 Seat Theater: “Does anyone remember Danner performing under Equity’s 99-seat plan? I doubt it.”

LA Bitter Lemons: Downer Don wonders about the participation of all these “famous actors” coming out in support of the Pro99 movement and against the AEA proposals, he especially wonders about Blythe Danner’s participation as her quote was used in the recent LA Times Ad

Theater notes: PICT's Alan Stanford takes his 'Pride and Prejudice' to Hong Kong

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Alan Stanford’s “summer vacation” from his duties as head of PICT Classical Theatre came early this year, and it wasn’t much of a vacation. He temporarily rejoined his former home, the Gate Theatre of Dublin, and took a company to the 2015 Hong Kong Arts Festival to direct his stage adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice.”

As vacations go, it was a busy one.

9 + 1 More Musings as Ballots are Cast on the New AEA Plan

LA Bitter Lemons: 1) Just so everyone is clear: This vote? It’s important. Very important. Actors’ Equity Association (AEA) Executive Director Mary McColl and her Council must sense they are losing the messaging game. They have gone all-out in an aggressive campaign to try to ensure a victory in the non-binding advisory vote currently taking place. Mary McColl and her Council desperately need proof that, yes, it’s only a tiny vocal fraction of acting Angelinos against the new AEA plan.

This vote is the Union’s one and only shot at that proof.

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ An Octoroon

HowlRound: Dion Boucicault’s The Octoroon, first presented in New York in 1859, bears more than a striking resemblance to its better-known stage sister, George Aiken’s adaptation of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which premiered in 1852. Both plays, in their attempts to create sympathy for slaves while also depicting actual black people as minstrels, have been called both abolitionist and racist. Both writers attempted to appease Southerners by making the villain and “bad” slave owner a transplant from the North, while the Southerners themselves are shown as loving and gentle with their slaves.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Multitool in a hair-clip

Boing Boing: The $10 Monkey Business Clippa Mini Tools Clip is a hair-clip with a sawblade, trolley coin, wrench, phillips screwdriver, ruler, and eyeglass screwdriver.


The Myth of the Starving Artist

ArtistThink" “How nice for you to have an interest like art, but really, how are you going to make money from it?”

So many people I have met have shared a similar story with me. One where well meaning parents, teachers, or other authority figures tell them that their interest in the arts is “cute” or “great for a hobby,” but “what about a real job?”

Are Virtual Reality Headsets Too Immersive For Their Own Good?

Forbes: In the burgeoning world of virtual reality, to use is to believe. With few exceptions, I’ve found it takes but a quick demo on an Oculus Rift (or one of its growing number of competitors) for skeptics to realize how awesome—and awesomely immersive—the tech can be. Five minutes, and all your held-over-from-the-nineties notions of VR (and, as the show Community recently pointed out, its disastrous effect on nineties cinema) are likely to dissolve into wide-jawed yelps of “Awesome”.

A Hanging Garden That Floats Through Space to Meet Your Nose Gardens are beautiful and all but they're almost always inconveniently located on the ground. Instead of stooping to smell the roses, this garden comes to you: A suspended, living arrangement of 2,300 flowers which rises and fall around viewers as they move through the space.

We Need More Crappy Plays

The Clyde Fitch Report: My first dog was a beagle named Bootsie, who used to do a hilarious and fascinating thing. When she was given a bone to chew, she would gnaw on it until she was tired, and then she would take it to some part of the room and “bury” it. By which I mean, she would “cover” it with imaginary dirt moved from all parts of the room with her nose. When it was buried to her satisfaction, she would settle down. But if anyone in the family looked at the bone, she would jump up, grab it and with great annoyance bury it again somewhere else in the room. Everyone was supposed to pretend that we couldn’t see it.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards Announced

Briefing Room content from Live Design: Tony Award-winning costume designer, Jess Goldstein (currently represented on Broadway with Jersey Boys and On the Town), and scenic designer Douglas W. Schmidt are among the 2015 TDF/Irene Sharaff Awards recipients. The awards will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, May 1, at 6:30pm, at the Hudson Theatre (145 West 44th Street). Mr. Goldstein was selected to receive the 2015 TDF/Irene Sharaff Lifetime Achievement Award for costume design and Mr. Schmidt will receive the Robert L.B. Tobin Award for Sustained Excellence in Theatrical Design.

What We Like: BuildClean Dust Control System

Remodeling: Editors note: Usually, our What I Like section focuses one remodeler's good experience with a new or tried-and-true product. When we reached out to remodelers for their “What I Like” suggestions for our April issue, no less than a third of the replies we received referred to the same product. That many remodelers can't be wrong. Here's what four of them have to say about the BuildClean dust control system in this special edition of "What We Like."

How important is curtain time to customers?

Shubert Ticketing Blog: We know from past surveys customers are aware of and like early curtains (can they still be called early anymore when they are the norm on many weeknights?). Wednesday nights for many shows do not sell as well as Tuesday or Thursday. Do curtain times affect the choice of which day to attend a show? Do curtain times play a role in the choice of which show to see?

Feeling Frustrated? It Might Be Hammer Time

Remodeling: One of the challenges a business owner faces is the appropriateness of his/her reactions to situations. When something goes wrong or not as well as desired, an overworked and stressed business owner can respond in an unproductive manner.

For some business owners, the “natural” response is not really the response they would want to give if they were taking the long view. So, after the response, they go and apologize to whomever they unintentionally made feel bad.

Rockler Bandy Clamps are a Simple Solution for Edge Banding Rockler’s been busy lately, developing some new products. Stuart recently covered the Auto-Locking T-Track Clamps and the T-Track Work Stops, but the product that has me scratching my head wondering why didn’t I think of it first? is the new Bandy Clamp (54258).

Do Curveball Interview Questions Really Work?

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: Imagine you’re interviewing candidates for a high-pressure, fast-paced job in your company. It’ll require supreme composure in stressful situations, outside-the-box thinking, and above all, that they bring their most polished professionalism to the office every day.

Across from the interviewing table, you look them in the eyes and ask, "Who would win in a fight between Spider-Man and Batman?"

Multitool in a hair-clip

Boing Boing: The $10 Monkey Business Clippa Mini Tools Clip is a hair-clip with a sawblade, trolley coin, wrench, phillips screwdriver, ruler, and eyeglass screwdriver.

Caisse seeks minority stake in Cirque du Soleil The Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec is vying for a minority stake in the Cirque du Soleil as political opposition mounts over the prospect of a foreign takeover of the famed Montreal circus company.

According to people familiar with negotiations, the Caisse has made overtures to potential suitors that it would like to join the winning bid for the Cirque du Soleil by acquiring a minority stake of about 10 per cent. These sources said the Caisse, Canada’s second-largest pension fund managers by assets, is reluctant to buy a bigger stake because the production company is in need of significant capital to revitalize some of its struggling shows and expand into new foreign markets. A Caisse spokesman declined to comment.

Pipe Wrenches from RIDGID - a Short History “Since 1923, Ridgid has remained the symbol of certainty to dedicated professionals of the expert trades…This is why every tool that bears the Ridgid brand is engineered to the same high standards of quality, strength, and endurance as was that first heavy duty pipe wrench more than 80 years ago."

Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard To Cirque Du Soleil: Please Stay In Montreal Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard appealed to the CEO of Cirque du Soleil on Thursday to keep the company’s headquarters in Montreal, even if the circus ends up being sold.

“I want to issue a particular appeal to Guy Laliberté, who is the main shareholder in this transaction,” Couillard said.

“I want to tell him that for Quebecers, for the government and for all political parties represented here, it is very important not only that the headquarters remains in Montreal but that the creative activities should also remain in Montreal.”

united nude + 3D systems are re-inventing shoes for milan design week on the occasion of the milan design week 2015, united nude and 3D systems present ‘re-inventing shoes’ — an exhibition which debuts new and exclusive 3D printed high heel concepts conceived by five of the world’s leading architects and designers: ben van berkel, fernando romero, michael young, ross lovegrove and zaha hadid.

Go Behind the Scenes of Mad Men's Exquisite Set Design

WIRED: When Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce moved into its new offices in the Time Life Building, the year was 1964. Herman Miller was the go-to furniture company for creative offices at that time, so it made sense that Mad Men set designer Claudette Didul-Mann would outfit the set with desks and chairs from the company’s 1964 catalog.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Nonprofit Tax-Exemption Approvals Double, Thanks to Simplified Form

The Chronicle of Philanthropy: The Internal Revenue Service approved 94,365 applications from organizations seeking 501(c)(3) designations in fiscal year 2014, more than double the number approved in the previous two years.

The one-year jump was due to the introduction of an alternative, three-page electronic version of the 26-page form 1023, the IRS said in its 2014 Data Book, an annual report released Tuesday. The electronic option, 1023-EZ, first became available in July 2014 and provides a streamlined way for organizations with annual gross receipts of less than $50,000 to apply for tax-exempt status.

The Trends of Ten Years of New York Times Broadway Reviews. An infographic.

The Producer's Perspective: What’s cool about creating stuff, is that sometimes you make something for one specific purpose . . . and then you find it has a whole other purpose later on.

It happens in the pharmaceutical industry all the time. Did you know Viagra was originally made to treat hypertension? Imagine the surprise when they conducted those clinical trials!

This phenomenon just happened to me. And I think you’re going to get as excited as those Viagra patients when you see the results.

The Great American Living-Room Play Gets a Remodel

AMERICAN THEATRE: Grab a young director or an upstart playwright and take them out for a drink, and you’re likely to hear some variation on the Rant Against Realism.

The rant goes something like this: Realism, as a genre, has ossified. It is now simply about upper-middle-class white (and/or Jewish) New Yorkers discovering dark family secrets while cracking the occasional joke that undermines the supposed seriousness of the dramatic material. And, for some reason, these realist plays are always set in living rooms! In fact, as soon as I walk into a theatre and see a couch onstage, I start to fall asleep! We must break the chains of realism! If only subscribers didn’t like it so much! Theatre should be theatrical, not a purveyor of expensive, second-rate television!

The Myth of the Starving Artist

ArtistThink" “How nice for you to have an interest like art, but really, how are you going to make money from it?”

So many people I have met have shared a similar story with me. One where well meaning parents, teachers, or other authority figures tell them that their interest in the arts is “cute” or “great for a hobby,” but “what about a real job?”

Ingrid Schaffner to curate 2018-19 Carnegie International

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Ingrid Schaffner, a well-known art historian, author and scholar, will curate the 57th Carnegie International, opening fall 2018 at the Carnegie Museum of Art.

For the past 15 years, Ms. Schaffner has directed the exhibition program as chief curator at the Institute of Contemporary Art at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. She divides her time between Philadelphia and Lubbock, Texas.

Cool Tool: Compact Bolt Cutters with Folding Handles I’ve owned ToughBuilt’s compact bolt cutters for quite a few years now (since 2011). They’re uniquely designed with handles that lock into place for use and fold out of the way for storage and transport.

With bolt cutters, longer handles mean greater leverage, but that also means greater bulkiness and size. These bolt cutters have collapsible handles, which make them far more portable than ordinary cutters.

Attendance Trends: A Case for Technology in Museums

AMT Lab @ CMU: Despite the best efforts of organizations nationwide, the NEA’s 2013 report – How a Nation Engages with Art shows that since 2002 art museum attendance has been on a steady decline. In 2012, only 21% of adults said they attended an art museum over the past year, down 5.5% from 2002. The graphs below – excerpted from the NEA report – show that attendance has decreased in almost all of the measured categories.

It's Void Vs. Structure in This Cosmic A/V Installation

The Creators Project: Live audiovisual performances, large scale installations, and experimental film screenings are taking over Eindhoven, the Netherlands. Last week the STRP Biennial kicked off, bringing 10 days of digital art-centered celebrations to the converted Klokgebouw factory space.

A Hanging Garden That Floats Through Space to Meet Your Nose Gardens are beautiful and all but they're almost always inconveniently located on the ground. Instead of stooping to smell the roses, this garden comes to you: A suspended, living arrangement of 2,300 flowers which rises and fall around viewers as they move through the space.

A Checklist for Planning Your Next Big Meeting

HBR: In theory, everyone understands that preparation can make or break an important meeting. The more work you do before you walk into the room, the more productive and efficient you’ll be. But who has the time to properly prepare? Our checklist makes meeting prep quick and easy—be sure to print it out or save it for later. Each step is described in more detail below. Using the checklist and the principles behind it will ensure that you’ve covered all your bases—and that you won’t be wasting anyone’s time (including your own).

G-d's Honest Truth, a painfully funny new play at Theater J

DC Theatre Scene: What if you bought a one-of-a-kind Picasso, and then a friend revealed it wasn’t really one-of-a-kind? Would you accept the truth – or cling to ignorance like a warm blanket? In Theater J’s painfully funny premiere of G-d’s Honest Truth, playwright Renee Calarco explores how and why smart people willingly suspend logic and fall for “too good to be true”. The short answer? It’s complicated.

Glow In The Dark Neolithic Spine For Electric Fantasy Cosplay Etsy seller Electric Candy Couture makes wild cosplay accessories from laser-cut acrylic. This impressive “Paleotron Spine” has nearly 50 individual vertebrae held together with stainless steel split rings.

Using chains clasped by a circular gate ring, the spine below your hips allows for free movement to “whip” the tail back and forth. And the acrylic pieces are glow-in-the-dark, but the two battery powered black light LEDs included provide an awesome additional glow effect in any dark space.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

On the Value of Being an Equity Member in Los Angeles

by Travis Michael Holder : LA Bitter Lemons: A candidate in New York for the Actors Equity council asked on our Pro-99 Facebook page yesterday if anyone could explain, “for those members working exclusively in 99-seat theater,” what we see as the benefit of your Equity membership. “In other words,” he seems to sincerely ask, “what’s the most important thing the union provides to you while working in 99-Seat houses?

Ikea faces legal action over alleged copyright infringement

American furniture brand Emeco is to sue Ikea for damages for allegedly copying a chair designed by Norman Foster.

The American company alleges that Ikea's Melltorp dining chair, by Swedish designer Ola Wihlborg, is similar to its 20-06 Stacking Chair, designed by Foster in 2006.

Multi-Ethnic Coalition Denounces Controversial Deadline Article

Variety: A coalition of several organizations issued a statement on Wednesday condemning a Deadline Hollywood article that sparked controversy for its characterization of the TV industry’s casting practices regarding minority actors.

The coalition, comprised of American Indians in Film and Television, Asian Pacific American Media Coalition, NAACP Hollywood Bureau and National Hispanic Media Coalition, condemned Deadline for publishing “inaccuracies and misconceptions.”

Petite Players' 'Peter Pan Jr.' gets local boost in Elizabeth Forward grad

TribLIVE: For many years, Nathan Hough has been involved with theater locally and in the Greater Pittsburgh area. He'll make his Grand Theatre directorial debut in Elizabeth for the Petite Players' production of Disney's “Peter Pan Jr.”

When the long-standing director for the youth troupe was not able to do the show, the door opened for Hough.

Pygmalion in Pasadena

Cultural Weekly: No, it’s not My Fair Lady.

Don’t look for the gorgeous scenes at the party or the races or those soaring Lerner & Loewe songs. This is George Bernard Shaw’s play, Pygmalion, with its soaring rhetoric, and it should be honored and respected for that.

'Beauty and the Beast' back in Pittsburgh for 4th run

TribLIVE: “Disney's Beauty and the Beast” will make its fourth Pittsburgh appearance March 31 through April 5 as a non-subscriber presentation of the PNC Broadway Across America — Pittsburgh series.

The story, as Mrs. Potts' song suggests, is a “tale as old as time.” With the help of an adventurous young woman, a selfish young prince who has been transformed into a hideous beast reverses the curse placed upon him and his servants by learning how to trust and love others.

Beam Clamps

The Fly Wire, Newsletter 12: When an I-beam is mounted against a ceiling, it may not be possible to put a roundsling around the beam in order to hang an aerial apparatus. In these cases, a beam clamp that clamps to the bottom flange of the I-beam is often the best rigging solution. In this issue we will look at some of the many types of beam clamps on the market and talk about their pros and cons.

We Need More Crappy Plays

The Clyde Fitch Report: My first dog was a beagle named Bootsie, who used to do a hilarious and fascinating thing. When she was given a bone to chew, she would gnaw on it until she was tired, and then she would take it to some part of the room and “bury” it. By which I mean, she would “cover” it with imaginary dirt moved from all parts of the room with her nose. When it was buried to her satisfaction, she would settle down. But if anyone in the family looked at the bone, she would jump up, grab it and with great annoyance bury it again somewhere else in the room. Everyone was supposed to pretend that we couldn’t see it.

Berkeley Rep Names Ground Floor Residencies

Stage Directions: The fourth Summer Residency Lab headed by The Ground Floor: Berkeley Rep's Center for the Creation and Development of New Work will welcome 14 projects and more than 20 artists for its 2015 session, taking place this June.

Review: Riveting lead boosts Pittsburgh Opera's slow-paced'Carmen'

TribLIVE: Slow pacing kept Pittsburgh Opera's current presentation of “Carmen” from taking flight, despite a generally excellent cast on March 24 at the Benedum Center, Downtown.

The prelude to the opera began with plenty of vigor, but conductor Antony Walker gave a hint of what was to come by slowing down for the toreador's big tune. The second part of the prelude with its fate motif was well paced. Here, director Marc Astafan made his presence felt before the curtain normally rises by placing Carmen in a spotlight with a blood-red backdrop.

Too Busy to Network? Make Time With These 15 Tips People are key to a company's success, and that means taking the time to network and build relationships. But with such limited time, how can entrepreneurs manage to keep existing contacts close and meet new people--and still get work done?

'Zoolander 2' Costume Designer on Mixing Humor and High Fashion

Hollywood Reporter: As if the fact that the second installment of Zoolander is underway wasn’t enough to get you shouting, "It’s a walk off!" with excitement, the film’s stars, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson hit the runway as their male supermodel characters at the Valentino show during Paris Fashion Week, gliding down the runway with Blue Steel seriousness and bringing some welcome humor to the high-end event.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

'Hamilton' Off to Hot Start at Broadway Box Office “Hamilton,” the buzzy musical biography of an American founding father, is off to a strong start at the Broadway box office.

The show, which concludes a sold-out Off Broadway run at the Public Theater on May 4, has sold $6.5 million worth of tickets in its first 11 days of Broadway availability, and has orders from groups for another $4 million worth of seats, according to Jeffrey Seller, its lead producer.

Festool Conturo Edge Bander

Tools of the Trade: The Conturo edge bander melts “pucks” of adhesive and uses it to adhere band material to the edges of straight and curved pieces. In large shops these tasks are performed with industrial-size stationary machines. Small enough to fit in two Systainers, the Conturo and associated tools (The Perfect Edge System) are easy to store and portable enough to take to the jobsite—should the work need to be performed there. It uses the same type of adhesive and band material used by industrial machines.

Are Virtual Reality Headsets Too Immersive For Their Own Good?

Forbes: In the burgeoning world of virtual reality, to use is to believe. With few exceptions, I’ve found it takes but a quick demo on an Oculus Rift (or one of its growing number of competitors) for skeptics to realize how awesome—and awesomely immersive—the tech can be. Five minutes, and all your held-over-from-the-nineties notions of VR (and, as the show Community recently pointed out, its disastrous effect on nineties cinema) are likely to dissolve into wide-jawed yelps of “Awesome”.

Why Not Wye? When Combining Two Signals Into One Is Not A Good Idea

Pro Sound Web: Wye-connectors (or “Y”-connectors, if you prefer) should never have been created. Anything that can be hooked up wrong, will be. You-know-who said that, and she was right.

A wye-connector used to split a signal into two lines is being used properly; a wye-connector used to mix two signals into one is being abused and may even damage the equipment involved.

Student Loan Borrower’s Bill Of Rights Would Reform Disclosure And Servicing Standards

Consumerist: In recent weeks, legislators have introduced a range of bills aimed at addressing student loans and revamping the laws governing those debts. Today, that push continued with the reintroduction of a bill that would ensure student borrowers are treated fairly and understand the range of options at their disposal.

The Student Loan Borrower’s Bill of Rights – which was first introduced last year, but failed to move forward – was introduced today by Senators Dick Durbin of Illinois, Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Jack Reed of Rhode Island.

Fire in the Theatre! De-conflating the Conflagration: The Working Actor

LA Bitter Lemons: Actors are insecure. I am one, so I know. I shouldn’t have told you that I’m insecure, ‘cuz now you’re judging me, aren’t you? See. We actors, as a whole, are insecure (secure people become lawyers) and thus we need to feel wanted. We just do. Don’t judge. AEA would rather paint me as a producer than an actor. It’s true that I’m not an AEA member (though I’m SAG and AFTRA) and I plead guilty to running a 99-seat theatre.

California Sweetens Tax Credit Program, But Will Productions Return?

Variety: As most California-based producers already know, the state’s film and TV tax credit program has gotten sweeter. The size of its subsidies has more than tripled (to $330 million annually), and extends to types of projects that were formerly ineligible.

In Defense of the Meeting

99U: I urge you: stop. Pay attention. Sit up straight and engage. Wallow in the pointlessness. Chew on this. Because you are watching the very worst version of yourself, and it’s something you need to see. Working with people can be frustrating—no “7 Tips to More Productive Meetings” article is going to make it simple. You can read 1,359 blog posts that tell you to “listen” or “empathize,” but the route to finding peace in collaborative communication is so much harder, because it’s about personal subjugation.

Tony Preview: Bradley Cooper, Jake Gyllenhaal Among Likely Contenders

Variety: With a whopping 14 shows yet to open before the end of Broadway’s 2014-15 season, there’s still plenty of time left for surprises in the upcoming race for the Tony Awards. But a couple of things, at least, seem certain.

This Time Around, Only a Nine-Year Run for 'The Fantasticks' “The Fantasticks,” the long-running Off-Broadway staple, will close (again) next month, succumbing to weak ticket sales in an increasingly competitive theater market.

The current production of the musical has been running since 2006, and had been a favorite for tourists; the original production ran from 1960 until 2002. The revival will close May 3 – the 55th anniversary of the show’s opening – after 3,510 performances at the Snapple Theater Center and 17,162 performances in the original run, at the Sullivan Street Playhouse.

Tony Awards Team with Carnegie Mellon on Educator Award for Teachers

Variety: If you’ve ever thought your high school drama teacher deserved a Tony Award, now is your chance to make it happen. In an unprecedented move, the Antoinette Perry “Tony” Awards have teamed with Carnegie Mellon U. to present the Excellence in Theater Education Award.

Shonda Rhimes Tweets “HELL NO” in Response to Deadline’s “Ethnic Castings” Article

Flavorwire: Deadline managed to trend on Twitter for several hours yesterday after running an article which insinuated that this season’s “ethnic castings” on network television were “too much of a good thing.” The article incited the ire of Twitter and the world alike by arguing that “the pendulum might have swung a bit too far in the opposite direction,” and that “replacing one set of rigid rules with another by imposing a quota of ethnic talent on each show might not be the answer.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Equity E-mails Its Members, Explains What a Union Is

Parabasis: AEA took the rhetorical gloves off today, explaining why it was offensive to use civil rights era imagery as part of a protest against the union and giving people a refresher course on what a union is for. My guess is this only serves to further antagonize people who don't support the union's position (there is some public calls for the union to apologize for the letter, but I see nothing in here necessitating an apology), but part of me is just happy to see them stand up for themselves in the face of millionaire movie stars tacitly advocating for their most vulnerable employees to turn scab.

Wings of Time: Asia Leads the Way in Live Show Design

Entertainment Designer: Some of the most innovative live show design today is happening in Asia. One show in particular is being recognized this year as an outstanding example of the latest in storytelling, cinematic effects, and overall presentation. The Themed Entertainment Association (TEA) recognized Wings of Time with a THEA Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Event Spectacular category. The THEA judges described the show as a “visual and theatrical experience creation on a very high level.”

PigPen Theatre Co. Takes a Stand on ‘We Won’t’

WSJ: When PigPen Theatre Co. isn’t winning awards for plays they have produced Off Broadway and as a touring company, or writing a children’s novel, the seven-man crew is busy crafting catchy indie-folk songs. One of them, “We Won’t,” premieres today on Speakeasy.

Listen To Some Of The Most Commonly Used Sound-Effects In Cinema Have you ever heard a scream or sound effect in a movie that sounded strangely familiar? There's a good chance you weren't imagining things. Here are some of cinema's most iconic sounds – and where they originated.

Good Missions for Arts Organizations

The Clyde Fitch Report: With the passing of Leonard Nimoy, I’m sure many of us have been remembering favorite Spock moments in great Star Trek episodes, including the inspirational music and the invocation of their five-year mission “to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.”

Pixar's Renderman released for free

Boing Boing: Pixar has released its Renderman imaging software to the public free to download. This version is identical to the software it uses on it's own films, which was invented in-house, and is used today by major film and video game studios for animation and visual effects.

Behind the Scenes Counts on Roscolux #359

Stage Directions: At the USITT show, Rosco Laboratories presented their seventh annual royalty check from the sales of Roscolux #359 Medium Violet to Behind the Scenes, the charity that assists entertainment technology professionals in need due to serious illness or injury.

Colombia’s Up-and-Coming Film Industry

Below the Line: Countries, like people, each have a reputation. Most of us are aware, though, that the things for which an entire nation-state becomes either famous or infamous are slow to change and quick to date, and that’s why greater international cooperation and communication are such valuable products of technological advancement. As an international travel consultant, Google can tell anyone that the most strife-filled periods of Colombia’s history effectively ended 15, 20 or 25 years ago, but even so, acquaintances reacted with something not too far from amused concern at the idea of coming here.