CMU School of Drama

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Tony Nominations 2015: ‘An American in Paris’ and ‘Fun Home’ Emerge as Favorites One show is elegant and nostalgic, powered by eye-popping ballet sequences and romantic Gershwin tunes. Another is a heart-rending look at a woman’s effort to better understand her identity and her upbringing. And the third is a riotous spoof, replete with bawdy jokes and over-the-top musical numbers.

Emily Mann Awarded the 2015 Margo Jones Award

Stage Directions: The Ohio State University Libraries and OSU Arts and Humanities presented Emily Mann, artistic director of McCarter Theatre Center, with the 2015 Margo Jones Award, honoring her lifetime impact and dedication to living theatre.

Taking An Audio Power Trip

Pro Sound Web: Trying to characterize amplifiers or loudspeakers only by power ratings is akin to trying to completely characterize a person by a photograph. There is always much more than meets the eye.

Few subjects generate more confusion in the audio world than power. There is a very good reason for this—it’s a confusing subject, and one that can easily fool our intuition.

Tony Awards Announce Nominees, Name Special 2015 Award Winners

Stage Directions: Over the past weekend, The American Theatre Wing released the names of several special award winners at the 2015 Tony Awards (including a special Tony Award for John Cameron Mitchell, and the Cleveland Play House as the 2015 Regional Theatre Tony Award winner), and on Tuesday, April 28, they released the nominees in the competitive categories and announced the hosts of the 2015 ceremony: Kristen Chenoweth and Alan Cumming. More information about the special awards, and a complete list of nominees after the jump.

Labour board rules producers of Alberta-shot western cannot touch Alberta Film grant funds until workers paid

Calgary Herald: The Alberta Labour Relations Board has ruled that producers behind a troubled western shot in 2013 starring Kiefer Sutherland cannot gain access to an estimated $1.7-million in Alberta Film Grant funds until matters are resolved with film workers and suppliers that are still owed money.

Reflections on a Weekend Devoted to Socially Engaged Art On the flight between Pittsburgh and Detroit, I felt art’s potential: Open Engagement 2015’s socially engaged projects had responded to the national discourse on social and racial justice. This promise felt amplified by the vitality of spring in the once great city of Pittsburgh. From Detroit to Los Angeles, my optimism gave way to seeing these interventions as distractions from the complexity of institutionalized power. Finally, somewhere over the Pacific on the way back to Australia, this cynicism fell away and settled into the in-between space of travel, from departure to not yet arrived.

Motion capture on a whole new level

Reuters: Hanbyul Joo is working on his swing. But he's not at a baseball park, instead he's in a massive geodesic dome in the basement of a building at Carnegie Mellon University. As Joo swings, more than 500 cameras capture his motion on video. Combined and processed, those videos make up the elements for the most advanced 3D reconstruction ever achieved.

Brown Bag Theater Co.'s Theater of the Trabajadores

OC Weekly: When asked what percentage of UC Irvine's service workers are Latino, Amanda Novoa thinks for a moment, then says, "Well, just by looking, I'd say 98 percent, but I'm just making that up."

She's being facetious, but the intent is clear: A huge portion of the people who prepare meals, clean bathrooms and mow grass on the sprawling campus of more than 23,000 students is Latino. That's why it makes sense that Brown Bag Theater Co., a group of students and faculty advisers using theater to promote diversity, is putting its creative focus on a part of the campus population that is always seen but rarely heard.

Schools of the Stars: Where the 2015 Tony Nominees Went to College: The Actors and Actresses What does it take to get nominated for a Tony Award? Hard work, talent, luck—all backed up by a good education. You have to supply the first three yourself, but PlaybillEDU™ can help you find the fourth.

Here is a rundown on where the nominees for the 2015 Tony Awards in acting categories pursued their college studies. Visit to learn how you can follow in their footsteps. Individual school listings on the site are linked below.

Carnegie Mellon Congratulates Borle, Schwartz on Tony Awards Recognition

Carnegie Mellon News - Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon University congratulates alumni Christian Borle and Stephen Schwartz, who were recognized by the Tony Awards this morning in New York. Borle (below left) has been nominated for best performance by a featured actor in a musical for “Something Rotten!” and Schwartz (below right) has been named this year’s recipient of the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award.

Learn the Difference Between a Tony and a Drama Desk With Our Theater Awards Guide

Special Reports - Apr 29, 2015 - It's springtime in New York City; the sun is shining and theater awards are popping up all over. But if you're feeling a little befuddled because of your seasonal allergies and the sheer number and variety of awards, we're here to help. This is your guide to notable theater awards from sea to shining sea, and even across the pond.

While the spring is generally looked upon as theater awards season, the truth is that awards are given throughout the year. In that spirit, TheaterMania provides this guide to notable theater awards across the world.

Circus Animals - 10 Reasons the Show Must Go On

Douglas McPherson: I was brought up to believe it was wrong for animals to perform in circuses, so I understand why many people harbour that instinctive belief. But when Stanley Johnson and a group of politicians delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, calling for a ban on wild animals in the big top, I wondered how many of them had first-hand experience of how circuses care for their animals. Having investigated the matter in great depth for my book, Circus Mania, I changed my mind and would like to present 10 reasons why the show - with animals - should go on.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

1 Way to Stay Creative Between Gigs

Backstage: On April 21, Tony winners Anika Noni Rose (“Caroline, or Change”), LaChanze (“The Color Purple”), and Tonya Pinkins (“Jelly’s Last Jam”) joined David Zayas (“Dexter”), Ray Fisher, Michael Mastro, and others for a reading of “Fabulation, or the Re-Education of Undine” at New World Stages.

Written by Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage and directed by Tony winner Kenny Leon (“A Raisin in the Sun”), the social satire set in New York City tackled themes of poverty, race, health care, and womanhood in the name of nonprofit organization Opening Act and theater education. The charity event saw 19 students take the stage to perform an original work inspired by their lives and “Fabulation” prior to the play reading.

Legendary Audio Engineers and Producers Develop Online Courses to Share Their Expertise

Sound & Picture: Hal Leonard Books, the leading publisher of books and digital content on the music business, audio technology, and related content, and the renowned METAlliance® group, an important alliance between six of the most iconic and prolific engineer/producers in the music business today, have partnered to develop a series of educational tools for a wide range of sound engineers and music producers-from the professional to the hobbyist.

Helen Mirren Talks Wage Equality and Representation At Women In the World

The Mary Sue: We all know that Helen Mirren is just amazing and can do no wrong, right? Of course right. Well, check out this great interview with her at the recent Women in the World event, where she talks about representation of women in film, equal pay, and how important it is to work beyond simply getting women in film.

Leftovers or Nouvelle Cuisine? Dinner Theatres Evolve Hungry for a show? Several recent articles about mealtime entertainment whetted our appetite to sample this topic. Read on to satisfy your own craving: learn how a Minnesota dinner theatre successfully reinvented itself and how some restaurants around the world are spicing up their menus with performances. Finally, we’ll offer one theory behind these developments.

Live Movie Concerts A Cash Cow for Orchestras

Variety: This summer, the Hollywood Bowl will play host to tens of thousands more watching “Back to the Future,” “2001: A Space Odyssey” and “E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial” — all with live accompaniment by the L.A. Philharmonic. Films like “Psycho,” “The Wizard of Oz” and “Star Trek” are popping up on orchestra programs around the world.

After years of looking down their collective noses at film music as unworthy of performance alongside, say, Beethoven or Wagner, orchestras from the Chicago Symphony to the New York Philharmonic are jumping on the bandwagon, playing classic film scores “live to picture” in growing numbers.

Pittsburgh CLO-produced 'American in Paris' tops Tony nominations

TribLIVE: The Broadway musical “An American in Paris,” co-produced by Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera and its executive director Van Kaplan, received a leading 12 Tony Award nominations April 28.

Inspired by the 1951 Oscar-winning film of the same name that starred East Liberty native Gene Kelly, “An American in Paris” debuted April 12 on Broadway to glowing reviews.

For Broadway Shows, There’s A Prize For Opening Late

FiveThirtyEight: Cherry Jones, the two-time Tony winner and veteran Broadway actress, hasn’t been to all 14 opening nights that Broadway played host to this month, but she estimates she’s attended “oh, maybe 12.”

Like many others in the New York theater world, she’s been busy for the two months leading up to Tuesday morning’s Tony nominations. Eighteen shows opened in March and April, with two opening on the same day last week.

Let's ban PowerPoint in lectures – it makes students more stupid and professors more boring Any university teacher who does not harbour a painful recollection of a failed lecture is a liar. On one such occasion, I felt early on that I had lost the students entirely: those who hadn’t sunk into comatose oblivion were listless and anxious. Ungracefully, I threw myself even deeper into my PowerPoint presentation to save me from total ruin. Years later, I can still hear myself reading aloud the bullet points from the overhead and see myself turning around to the students to sell these points to them.

How a Pro-Grade 3D Printer Helped Evolve My Prop Design Business

Make:: Petaluma, California, based artist Shawn Thorsson creates costumes and props of epic detail and proportion — we even featured him on the cover of Make: Volume 32 alongside his 8-foot-tall Imperial Space Marine. Until recently, he predominantly used traditional mold-making techniques and tools for his builds. In the summer of 2012, he entered the Instructables Make It Real contest and won the grand prize of a $50,000 Objet30 3D printer, which he’s named Jarvis.

Presente: A Roll Call of New Latina/o Plays

HowlRound: “Where can we find Latina/o plays?” “Who’s writing?” “What’s new in that crazy scene?” At a tipping point for the American theatre—during which the centralizing theme of last year’s TCG Conference and this year’s LORT Conferences is equity and inclusion, the TCG-led Diversity and Inclusion Institute is creating momentum across the country, seemingly every theatrical union (AEA, SDC, USITT) and organization (TCG, LORT, Broadway League, Grantmakers for the Arts) have crafted statements and action-plans towards creating equity and inclusion in the American theatre

2015 Ben Vereen Awards Names Winners

Stage Directions: The 2015 Ben Vereen Awards selected its 10 winners to send to the Southwest Regionals where they will compete for a chance to participate at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City. At the Awards, the San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts won Best Musical Production for Rent.

How many projectionists does it take to change an IMAX bulb?

Below the Line: Freelance filmmaker John Ruddock recently released this video that shows how much work IMAX film projectionists go through to change a bulb in a 2,000 lbs projector. Shot with GoPro, the video goes behind the scenes at the Hackworth IMAX Dome Theater inside San Jose’s Tech Museum. It covers the process of a lamp change and brings you facts about the IMAX system.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

President Suresh reflects on tenure

The Tartan Online: University President Subra Suresh summarized the many initiatives born of the first two years of his presidency during his first annual update to the Carnegie Mellon community last Wednesday. Cohon University Center’s McConomy Auditorium was filled almost to capacity with students, faculty, and staff for the event. Vice Provost for Education and Professor of Biological Sciences Amy Burkert introduced Suresh, and reminded audience members before the talk began that it was a closed event meant only for members of the Carnegie Mellon community.

The Arts and the Practice of Technology

Gwydion Suilebhan: I need to start my talk by asking what I think is a very important foundational question: what do we think technology IS? Because I think we all get it completely wrong.

The first big mistake we make is that we tend to think of technology in concrete terms. We think of it as a collection of material things. Objects, mostly made of molded plastic and advanced alloys and micro-engineered components. Newfangled gadgets made in labs or factories by engineers and scientists. The iPhone 6; 3D printers; DNA sequencers; the Large Hadron Collider: that’s what we all think of.

Equity’s Mary McColl on Why L.A.’s 99-Seat Plan Had to Go

AMERICAN THEATRE: Last week, Actors’ Equity Association made history in Los Angeles, effectively eliminating a longtime agreement, the 99-Seat Plan, that allowed union actors in that film/TV industry town to volunteer their talents in small theatres for small stipends, and with limited union protections.

Indeed, the last few months have been tumultuous ones for L.A. theatres, ever since Equity introduced proposals on Feb. 6 to require 99-seat plan theatres to pay minimum wage to all union actors for all rehearsals and performances, with two corollary proposals that would exempt rosters of “membership companies” and allow a limited self-producing option for union members.

Broadway Star Kelli O'Hara on Maintaining Self-Worth in a Male-Dominated Industry

Women and Hollywood: You know how when you’re applying to college people always ask you those cliché questions like, “What is a moment that changed your life?” and you think they have to be really big and grand answers like about death or international travel? Then you get older and finally have some real answers, only nobody ever asks anymore. Well, here is a real answer that took place one night a few years ago with Kelli O’Hara in a Lower East Side bar with me dressed as a piñata.

So You Want to Be an Animator?

Tuts+ Design & Illustration Article: Artists within animation have a variety of roles. Often when we think of the art team assembled for an animated show or feature, we focus solely on the animators themselves; often only those doing character animation. While I will cover that role, I'll also consider background animators, clean-up artists, storyboarders, art directors, character designers, and more.

Engaging Research: Capturing the Spirit of Critical Inquiry

HowlRound: When the Cohen New Works Festival was officially underway, the excitement in the air was electric. The theatre and dance facilities at The University of Texas at Austin transformed to host the largest collegiate festival of student new works in the nation for five jam-packed days of theatre, dance, and installation. Hundreds of students stood in line for shows, introduced themselves to guest artists, and shared their new work for the first time.

Harvard Professor Writes Op-Ed in Support of ‘Finding Neverland’

Variety: A Harvard University professor has written an op-ed letter in support of Broadway musical “Finding Neverland.” The show lays out an academic context not only for the Peter Pan backstory related in the musical, but also for the enduring appeal of the Peter Pan story itself.

Meet the “TORUK – The First Flight” Creators The duo formed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon masterfully integrates theatre, film, dance, poetry, visual arts, music and sound to create unique theatrical worlds. On the heels of his initial experiments with music and multimedia that have earned him international recognition, designer and performer Michel Lemieux teamed up with visual artist Victor Pilon during the early 1980s. Together, they formed Lemieux Pilon 4D Art, a creative company that designs unique shows in which the senses and emotions are heightened through the use of new technologies.

Broadway's Kinky Boots Welcomes Return of Tony-Winning Star

Billy Porter, who earned the 2013 Tony Award for his portrayal of unstoppable drag performer Lola in the Tony-winning hit musical Kinky Boots, returns to the Broadway production April 28 at the Al Hirschfeld Theatre.

Porter returns after a leave of absence from the production that began Jan. 27. During that time the Tony Award winner toured his concert act, which was also broadcast on PBS. Kinky Boots national tour star Kyle Taylor Parker stepped in for Porter during his absence from the Broadway production.

2015 Tony Awards Nominations - Complete List; AN AMERICAN IN PARIS and FUN HOME Lead with 12! The 2015 Tony Awards will be broadcast live from Radio City Music Hall in New York City, on Sunday, June 7th on CBS. Our official Tony coverage kicks off - NOW!

Check out the nominees below and follow us throughout the day for exclusive nominee interviews, special coverage and lots more!

Get That Life: How I Co-Wrote the Music and Lyrics for "Frozen" When "Let It Go," the ever-present song from Frozen pops into your brain out of nowhere, you can blame Kristen Anderson-Lopez. Or thank her. She and her writing partner/husband Robert Lopez wrote the music and lyrics for the hit animated movie. "Let It Go" won an Oscar and a Grammy, and Anderson-Lopez was recognized in 2014 with a Lilly Award, which honors remarkable women in American theater, which she calls her greatest honor.

The Pleasures, Perils, and Pitfalls of Casting a Season

BWW Interviews: When the audience thinks of casting for a Broadway musical, they conjure up the image of a darkened auditorium, an artist onstage peering into the glare and hearing Zach's voice from out of the void with its curt dismissal, "Thank you." Since its smash opening on Broadway in 1975 A Chorus Line has come to embody in poetic terms the uphill struggles of countless artists who toil every day on stage and off in pursuit of the métier they love. The rituals of auditioning and casting calls are integral to the life of an actor or theatre director, and each year they are played out in countless theatres large and small across the country, a crucial part of the puzzle that goes into shaping a successful season.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Supporting the Intersection of Art and Activism

HowlRound: In a February blog about writing and transgender characters, playwright MJ Kaufman asked, “How do I write the world I want to see? And how can I do this while also revealing the painful truths of the world I live in?” These two questions strike me as the fundamental challenges of any piece of theatre, or any art, that seeks to truly generate social change.

August Wilson 70th birthday celebrations abound

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: It’s just April, but 2015 has already been an august year – an August year, that is, as in August Wilson.

Monday is the 70th birthday of the Pittsburgh-born playwright many now refer to as the American Shakespeare, and this year is also the 10th anniversary of his death, Oct. 2, 2005 still in his creative prime at 60.

“Dance of Death” at Kinetic Theatre Company

The Pittsburgh Tatler: August Strindberg had an (in)famously torturous relationship with women, and he is often thought of as one of theatre history’s great misogynists. Certainly, his portrayal of women in some of his naturalist plays – as in, for example, his rather meanspirited portrait of the haughty and hysterical aristocratic Julie in Miss Julie – accord with records, in his diaries, of his own experience of women as a source of sexual and psychological torment. But his works can also be read (perhaps only in retrospect) as evidence of his insight into the ways in which traditional gender roles impacted relations between the sexes and – in particular – created the conditions for terribly unhappy marriages.

Anna Deavere Smith on Discipline and How We Can Learn to Stop Letting Others Define Us

Brain Pickings: “Discipline,” the late and great Massimo Vignelli wrote, “is the attitude that helps us discern right from wrong… Discipline is what makes us responsible toward ourselves [and] toward the society in which we live.” It’s a dimensional definition that touches, ever so gently, on the second meaning of discipline — not merely the act of showing up or the quality of “grit” that psychologists tell us is the greatest predictor of success, but the unflinching commitment to ourselves, to our own sense of merit and morality, to our own ideals and integrity. It’s a commitment doubly important yet doubly challenging for those in creative fields, where subjectivity is the norm and external validation the ever-haunting ghoul.

PMT’s Peter Pan: A Pleasing Performance for Children of All Ages

The PGH Stage Online Magazine: “I didn’t like it… I LOVED it.” That’s what 6-year-old Maggie Martin said about her first night out at the theater—and, given the show she saw, it’s kids like her whose opinions matter.

Maggie is my daughter, and was my companion for Pittsburgh Musical Theater’s opening-night performance of Broadway’s timeless musical, Peter Pan, at the Byham Theater.

How to Stop Being So Hard on Yourself

Margie Warrell: Last night, I tried to bake some cookies, only to get distracted by email (again) and burning them (again.) Like I did with the pork cutlets the night before. Needless to say, my kids could give you a long list of my shortcomings as a mother and my failings as a domestic goddess. But that's OK. I hope my own faults and failings will help them be kinder to themselves as they get to know their own.

Patricia Sheridan's Breakfast With ... Domhnall Gleeson

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Award-winning Irish actor of stage and screen Domhnall (pronounced Donal) Gleeson has followed in his famous father’s footsteps. Born in Dublin, he is the son of Brendan Gleeson but has begun to forge his own identity. He had roles in “About Time” (2013), “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2” (2011) and “Unbroken” (2014). The 31-year-old stars alongside Oscar Isaac and Alicia Vikander in the sci-fi dramatic thriller “Ex Machina,” directed by Alex Garland in theaters now. He has also been cast in “Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens,” coming out later this year.

‘Veep': Anna Chlumsky on Amy’s Career Choices, Dan Flirtation

Variety: On the HBO comedy “Veep,” Anna Chlumsky’s Amy Brookheimer is the embodiment of so many career-minded women. So intent on ladder climbing, Amy has forsaken relationships, family obligations and her own well-being — she once announced that she’s used a pen cap to spoon hummus into her mouth — in order to serve at the behest of Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ Selina Meyer.

AAM Muse Awards (Atlanta, 4/26) recognize technological, digital and creative achievement

InPark Magazine: InPark Magazine is in Atlanta at the America Alliance of Museums (AAM) 2015 conference and MuseumExpo. Visit us in booth #1115 to say hello and pick up a copy of our Museum issue! Martin Palicki and Judith Rubin are there.

Kevin Spacey Honored at 4th Annual Motion Picture and Television Fund Storytelling Event

Variety: Despite Hollywood’s cutthroat reputation, the industry’s penchant for helping one another was a common refrain at the 4th annual Reel Stories, Real Lives event at MILK studios Hollywood on Saturday, benefitting the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

Stephen Schwartz to Receive 2015 Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award

News from the Tony Awards - - The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards® - Official Website by IBM: On April 27 the Tony Awards® Administration Committee announced that composer Stephen Schwartz will receive this year’s Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award.

The Isabelle Stevenson Award is presented annually to a member of the theatre community who has made a substantial contribution of volunteered time and effort on behalf of one or more humanitarian, social service or charitable organizations. Schwartz will be presented the Award for his commitment to serving artists and fostering new talent through his work with ASCAP Musical Theatre Workshop, ASCAP Foundation and helping develop new partnerships as President of the Dramatists Guild.

All the World's a Stage in Bryant Park

NY City Lens: The plays were the thing at Bryant Park on April 23—all the theatrical works and sonnets, that is, written by one of the most celebrated playwrights in Western history. It was William Shakespeare’s birthday, his 451st to be precise, and the occasion was celebrated with music, open mic performances of his greatest monologues, and the hanging of banners, on which passersby could scribble down their favorite quote or phrase written by the Bard.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Inside the surprisingly dark world of Rube Goldberg machines

The Verge: On the eve of the 2015 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest college nationals, six teams gather in Columbus, Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry children’s museum to set up their machines around the walls of the hangar-like space and eye up the competition. The teams have made the trip here by car, their carefully assembled machines, months in the making, broken down and borne by trucks and U-Haul carriers. Team members lean over each other to place a golf ball here and balance a domino there, assembling their delicate contraptions for the next day’s judging.

the bus rules.

this tour life: So, you’ve found yourself on a bus (coach) tour. Welcome to living in tight quarters with 10 other people and very little privacy. Now you’ll need to know how to properly conduct yourself in your new home. Knowing the unspoken code of the road will help keep you safe and hopefully make your coworkers not downright resent you.

First and foremost, this is your home on the road. It needs to be treated with the same respect you give your own place. Unless you’re a miserable slob, if that’s the case treat it way better than your own home.

Disney 3D Prints with Fabric, Makes Soft Interactive Toys

Make: | Make:: The folks at Disney have been exploring some really interesting techniques for fabrication. Their latest is this interesting method of 3D printing with fabric.

The process is best described as an automated system for assembling laser cut layers of fabric. Their machine resembles a tiny assembly line more than a standard 3D printer.

The Perils of Workers’ Comp for Injured Cirque du Soleil Performers

WSJ: Artists at Cirque du Soleil put their unusually adept bodies at risk to entertain audiences, just as many professional athletes do. But unlike many pro athletes, Cirque performers don’t get special treatment, such as continuing to receive regular pay, if they suffer severe injuries.

Instead, most of them are treated like ordinary workers, thrust into a complex workers’ compensation system that provides limited recompense for lost wages and permanent disabilities.

Smell-O-Vision Is Back (And Possibly the Future of Storytelling)

The Creators Project: Inhaling through my nose, the artificial scent of honey and apricots fills my head. I stand on the second floor of Queens' Museum of the Moving Image reading a multisensory remix of Goldilocks and the Three Bears: The Smelly Version. MoMI is hosting Future of Storytelling's new exhibit, Sensory Stories, an amalgam of immersive artworks from creators like Chris Milk, Vincent Morisset, and Google Creative Lab, spanning virtual reality, experimental film, interface design, gaming, and other delightfully wacky ideas (like a children's book that can shoot delicious scents directly into your face) and I am in the center of it.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Meet the Mosely Modular Infinity Level System It’s hard to get excited about levels, even for me. But the Mosely Infinity level – this one’s different. The Mosely Infinity Level is a modular and connectable level system that’s designed for installation and layout work.

There are two sizes, 12″ and 24″, and two types of add-ons. These levels could be connected end-to-end and at right angles along their sides or faces. So it’s not just a level, but also a square. Connect 3 levels and you can make a t-square.

Stage Review: When it gets rolling, PMT's 'Peter Pan' takes flight

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The musical “Peter Pan” is having a moment — several, actually — mostly on the screen, so you have to crow when a stage production comes along to remind us of the first time Peter makes his big entrance and our imaginations begin to take flight.

The Pittsburgh Musical Theater production now at the Byham Theater takes its time getting to Peter Pan’s arrival, but it’s worth the wait to see Michelle Coben in graceful flight, trailing golden glitter and looking for Tinkerbell’s green glow.

4 Ways to Make Event Management by Committe Work No event plans itself. And very few successful events are due to the efforts of just one person. In fact, great events are practically always the result of the combined time, passion and abilities of many dedicated managers, planners and vendors … not to mention the impact of guests and attendees.

Canada Extends Copyright Terms, Finally Giving Musicians Who Released Works More Than 50 Years Ago A Reason To Create

Techdirt: For reasons no more sound than it possibly felt a bit inadequate when comparing copyright term length with its next-door-neighbor, Canada has increased the copyright term for sound recordings and performances from 50 years to 70 years. Supposedly, this will spur on further creative efforts in the future, seeing as the previous copyright term length brought about a creative drought spanning nearly two decades -- one that commenced shortly after the end of World War II.

Get Instant, Personalized Career Advice with Backstage Reel Feedback!

Backstage: With the rise of self-taped submissions and the prevalence of new media, it’s easier than ever to make an impression on casting directors from wherever you are—competing in a major acting market or anywhere in the world. What can be far more difficult—if not impossible—is getting comprehensive, personalized feedback from the casting community that will help you take your digital submissions to the next level.

One less critic: How Hedy Weiss and New Orleans changed my life.

DC Theatre Scene: When I was in law school I did some acting. I wasn’t very good but I was a big guy with a big voice and there’s always room for that in theater. Sometimes I got paid and sometimes I didn’t, but between what I did get paid and student loans and my parents’ generosity I was able to keep myself in Rice-A-Roni for three years.

I liked acting more than I liked law school. And, generally, I liked actors more than I liked lawyers. I gave some thought to becoming serious about acting; dropping out of law school and learning and practicing the craft. But when I was invited to parties with actors they’d serve crackers and cheap wine. When I was invited to parties with lawyers they’d serve enormous mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat and sometimes break out the single-malts. So when I was admitted to the bar that was the end of any thought of an acting career for me.

Jumping Into the Hot Seat

SoundGirls: There seems to be an unwritten rule in audio – when you’re new to a bigger club, you start by doing monitors.

I’d been asking a friend about opportunities for work in Toronto for quite some time. So when she hooked me up with a job interview to be a monitor tech at The Mod Club, I knew I had to take it.

Video Premiere: PigPen Theatre Co. - "Weathervane" Folk-rockers PigPen Theatre Co. have returned with the backing of strong fan support to record their sophomore LP, Whole Sun, scheduled for a July 7 release. The album successfully raised more than $50,000 via Kickstarter, exceeding its original goal in less than 48 hours.

Suresh outlines vision for CMU

Pittsburgh Business Times: Carnegie Mellon University President Subra Suresh is optimistic about his university's future.

CMU's Inspire Innovation capital campaign, which ran from July 2002 to August 2013, raised $832 million, averaging about $75 million per year in actual cash. Last year, the university raised $144 million and this year, Suresh said the amount raised is expected to match, if not exceed, last year's total.

Israel-based Arab, Jewish Women Filmmakers Get Help Through Greenhouse

Variety: Tibi is exactly the kind of filmmaker that Israel’s New Fund for Cinema and Television hopes to enable with its Greenhouse Women program. The project, launched in early 2014, brings together female Arab and Jewish filmmakers for a yearlong mentored crash course in pitching and peer-to-peer editing. The Greenhouse program plans to soon provide grants averaging about $2,500 to each filmmaker to help them make a completed trailer and a 15-20 minute sample of their projects. Greenhouse also works with the filmmakers to help them apply for coin from local film funds.

TEDxBroadway 2015 Video: Dr. Laurie Santos

Selling Out: Dr. Laurie Santos should have a TV show. I’d set my DVR for ‘Series Record’ for it, and I’m not even sure what it would be about. No matter, because I’m sure it would be about some complex aspect of the human mind and how it can be made to seem both super interesting and really simple.

For TEDxBroadway aficionados, the first thing I should tell you is that I met Laurie through TEDxBroadway 2014 superstar Dr. Ainissa Ramirez. As you might know, science is part of our programming every year, so I asked Ainissa if there was more awesome where she came from.

More Than 12 Hurt As Stage Collapses At Indiana High School

Pollstar: Capt. Charles Hollowell of the Westfield Police Department said all of the students injured in the collapse Thursday evening were “doing really well,” including one who initially was reported in critical condition.

Authorities said a large group of students was on the stage during the grand finale of the “American Pie” concert at Westfield High School when the floor of the stage collapsed into the orchestra pit below.

Friday, April 24, 2015

The Perils of Workers’ Comp for Injured Cirque du Soleil Performers

WSJ: Artists at Cirque du Soleil put their unusually adept bodies at risk to entertain audiences, just as many professional athletes do. But unlike many pro athletes, Cirque performers don’t get special treatment, such as continuing to receive regular pay, if they suffer severe injuries.

Instead, most of them are treated like ordinary workers, thrust into a complex workers’ compensation system that provides limited recompense for lost wages and permanent disabilities.

Injuries Put Safety in Spotlight at Cirque du Soleil

WSJ: Sarah Guillot-Guyard lay dying on the floor of a basement inside a darkened Cirque du Soleil theater here, one leg broken and blood pooling under her head.

It was June 2013, and the 31-year-old mother of two had fallen 94 feet in front of hundreds of horrified spectators after the wire attached to her safety harness shredded while she performed in the dramatic aerial climax of the company’s most technically challenging production, “Kà.”

It was the first fatality during a Cirque show, and it capped an increase in injuries at Cirque with the “Kà” production. The show had one of the highest rates of serious injuries of any workplace in the country, according to safety records kept by Cirque that were compared with federal records by The Wall Street Journal.

The New Face of Study Abroad

Daily Infographic: Apart from the personal development and the bettering of your language skills, international experience is a great way to market yourself to future employers. Studying abroad is an incredible opportunity presented to high school and college students with numerous rewarding benefits.

Unfortunately, a small percentage of American students actually take advantage of this.

Cirque Sale: The Official Press Release Cirque du Soleil (“Cirque”), the world’s leading producer of high-quality live artistic entertainment, today announced an agreement under which TPG, a global private investment firm, will acquire a majority stake in Cirque du Soleil to fuel growth and take Cirque’s iconic blue and yellow big top to exciting new markets.

TEDxBroadway Releases 2015 Talks Online

Selling Out: The fourth annual conference featured speakers from a wide variety of industries — all dedicated to addressing the overall theme of the day, “What’s the Best Broadway Can Be?” Speakers included: Pulitzer Prize winner and Disgraced playwright Ayad Akhtar, Vans Warped Tour producer Kevin Lyman, Tony-nominated composers of A Christmas Story and Dogfight Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, I Quant NY blogger and computer scientist Ben Wellington, 3D printing pioneer and Broadway set designer Kacie Hultgren and more.

Jones Lang LaSalle to represent CMU on new 425,000-square-foot project

Pittsburgh Business Times: Jones Lang LaSalle announced Wednesday it was helping Carnegie Mellon University find a developer for a 425,000-square-foot office, hotel and retail project on two acres on Forbes Avenue between the Carnegie Museums and Junction Hollow.

Inside the surprisingly dark world of Rube Goldberg machines

The Verge: On the eve of the 2015 Rube Goldberg Machine Contest college nationals, six teams gather in Columbus, Ohio’s Center of Science and Industry children’s museum to set up their machines around the walls of the hangar-like space and eye up the competition. The teams have made the trip here by car, their carefully assembled machines, months in the making, broken down and borne by trucks and U-Haul carriers. Team members lean over each other to place a golf ball here and balance a domino there, assembling their delicate contraptions for the next day’s judging.

Kids’ Parties Offer Acting Challenges and Good Pay

Backstage: In 1989, Lisa Zelken was an actor looking for a day job that didn’t involve waiting tables. After playing a clown at a birthday party for a friend’s child, the former camp counselor and Gymboree teacher found her calling. For more than two decades, her company, Send in the Clowns, has been providing birthday party entertainment for children across greater Los Angeles. From superheroes to princesses to their trademarked Gentle Clowns, Zelken and her crew bring characters to life for kids and their parents.

The Tyranny of Me and You

2AMt » Blog Archive: In my experience, modern American theatre artists tend towards believing the capitalist drone of “theatre is dying.” They conflate the business of art and the making of art to such a degree that every discussion is essentially a defense of their art and their place in the field. Wade around in the on-line discussions about theatre and you’ll find a variety of slurs about others’ art. Broadsides about musicals (stupid!) or performance art (pointless!), the dangers of polished aesthetics (empty!), Shakespeare (overdone!), canon (irrelevant!) or new work (underbaked!). The loudest will essentially aver that there is no good work save the work the speaker or their friends are doing.

It is deadly.

Katy Perry’s Attempt To Claim A Trademark On “Left Shark” Design Fails Like A Left Shark

Consumerist: The “Left Shark” phenomenon that overtook the world after Katy Perry’s Super Bowl halftime show has long since exited the cultural dialog, and yet the battle rages on over whether or not the pop star can claim a trademark on the uncoordinated, anthropomorphic fish.

The Claque The word “claque” is derived from the 16th century French term “claquer”, which roughly meant “to clap”, and is largely used to refer to a group of individuals hired to give a pre-determined response to a performance, be it positive, negative or anything in between. Individual members of a claque are generally referred to as “claquers” or “claqueurs” and for a brief but significant window in the 19th and early 20th century, they basically controlled how an audience would react to a given play, beginning in Paris and spreading from there.

A Visit to jAdis' Weird Science Prop Shop

Tested: Science Friday visits jAdis, a prop shop in Santa Monica that caters to the weird science props needs of filmmakers: "The movie prop shop Jadis, in Santa Monica, California, is packed with ancient, long-forgotten technology

Thursday, April 23, 2015

PICT Adds Adult Classes to Education Series

Stage Directions: PICT Classic Theatre, now in its nineteenth season, is pleased to unveil a series of Adult Theatre Classes— its newest program under the PICT Educates banner. Aimed at connecting the PICT professional theatrical community with the Pittsburgh community at large, PICT will offer classes in its new studio in the South Side for adults with an interest in acting.

36.5 / a durational performance with the sea

HowlRound: In August 2013, I spent ten days at an intimate artist residency on the coast of Maine. The project I was developing with Lydian Junction (my interdisciplinary live art collective) started with a question of survival on a personal scale: What does it take to survive as an artist in this late-capitalistic society we live in?

Because of New York’s new relationship to water due to Hurricane Sandy, I was also considering the bigger picture. The next time a storm hits, will my beloved city survive? Hurricane Sandy made me understand temporality in a new way.

‘Groundhog Day’ Musical to Premiere as Part of Old Vic Season

Variety: The musical version of “Groundhog Day” as well as starring stage turns for Ralph Fiennes (in Henrik Ibsen’s “Master Builder”) and Timothy Spall (in Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker”) are among the shows on tap for artistic director Matthew Warchus’s inaugural season at the Old Vic in London.

The programming selection of the Tony-winning director (“God of Carnage”) marks an immediate departure from his predecessor, Kevin Spacey, who relied on star turns and big-name plays to bring the Old Vic back from the brink of closure. Instead, Warchus is promising an altogether more diverse program, harking back to the theater’s origins as a variety hall.

Some Los Angeles Theaters Told by Actors' Union to Pay Minimum Wage The national union representing stage actors has decided to require some small theaters in Los Angeles to pay the minimum wage, despite considerable opposition from supporters of that city’s thriving theater scene.

The union, Actors’ Equity, said that, in response to concerns from performers in Los Angeles, it would provide a variety of exceptions. But a coalition of supporters of the small 99-seat theaters there said it was disappointed nonetheless. The coalition had sought to preserve the current system, under which union actors are allowed to work in small theaters for only a tiny stipend.

Inspiring MPC

Cinefex Blog: What drives people to work in the visual effects industry? The glamour? The technology? All those ravening monsters and exploding spaceships? Or is it just another job? In an ongoing series of articles, we ask a wide range of VFX professionals the simple question: “Who or what inspired you to get into visual effects?”

Actors' Equity Implements $9 Minimum Wage For LA's Small Theaters

NPR: Less than a week after union members in LA overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to make small theaters pay their performers minimum wage, Actors' Equity decided to go ahead and implement it anyway. Many say the move could force many 99-seat theaters in LA to close.

Stage review: ‘Dance of Death' marries tragedy, comedy in tale of warring spouses

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: And in the main ring, the heavyweight championship bout of all time, as many rounds as it takes, fought to the death — husband vs. wife!

There is no more fervid chronicler of this intimate battle than August Strindberg, and his masterwork (aside from “The Father,” which is pretty horrific, as well) is the melodramatically named “The Dance of Death.”

Cirque du Soleil Tragedy Puts Focus on Aerial Acts Cirque du Soleil reassessed its safety practices and revamped its show 'Kà' after a fatal accident in 2013. But questions remain about whether the show pushes the limits of daredevil stunts.

AEA Changes the Game for L.A. Theatre

AMERICAN THEATRE: This might look like the end, but it’s likely only the beginning. From its offices in New York City, Actors’ Equity Association yesterday announced the decision of its national council to effectively dismantle the current Equity 99-Seat Plan—a unique L.A. code, in place since 1988, by which union members can volunteer in small theatres for small stipends—and offer in its place what they called “a broad range of options.”

Here's Why You Probably Don't Want To Work In The Australian Music Industry On the surface, working in the music industry seems like an ideal for many people. If you’re a performer, it’s spending your days writing songs and zig-zagging between studios, for promoters it’s the crazy, haphazard situations involved with bringing a huge act into town, as for roadies, we all know the Motörhead song.

the bus rules.

this tour life: So, you’ve found yourself on a bus (coach) tour. Welcome to living in tight quarters with 10 other people and very little privacy. Now you’ll need to know how to properly conduct yourself in your new home. Knowing the unspoken code of the road will help keep you safe and hopefully make your coworkers not downright resent you.

First and foremost, this is your home on the road. It needs to be treated with the same respect you give your own place. Unless you’re a miserable slob, if that’s the case treat it way better than your own home.

Pittsburgh union serving TV, film production looking for lots of help

TribLIVE: A run of movie projects and two television series making Pittsburgh home have pushed the region's film crew base to an all-time high, with the union looking to add members.

“We are having a shortage of film-industry carpenters,” said Dawn Keezer, director of the Pittsburgh Film Office. “Right now, we are so busy. And there is more work coming.”

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Outfitting ShowStoppers at Wynn Las Vegas Throwing your wife a huge party for her birthday is generally a good way to win brownie points for the year to come. Throwing her a huge party in the form of a Broadway-esque musical where Hugh Jackman performs, now that’s a way to amass brownie points for life.

To celebrate the birthday of his wife, Andrea, Steve Wynn, chairman and CEO of Wynn Resorts, threw an elaborate party. An enthusiast of Broadway show music, Wynn transformed the party into an attraction for the Wynn Las Vegas Encore Theatre. The result was ShowStoppers, a musical production of classic Broadway show tunes that Wynn personally wrote.

Variety’s 2015 Power of Women: Kim Kardashian, Lena Dunham & More

Variety: In its 2015 Power of Women New York issue, Variety honors five women who are using their clout to bring attention to worthy causes. The honorees: Whoopi Goldberg, Rachel Weisz, Kim Kardashian West, Glenn Close and Lena Dunham.

OptiTrack Enables Immersive VR for Museum-Goers at New York’s New Museum

Below the Line: OptiTrack motion capture technology is being used by artist Daniel Steegmann Mangrané in collaboration with ScanLAB Projects to fully immerse viewers into “Phantom,” one of the first virtual reality installations utilizing Oculus Devkit2 to be presented at an art museum in New York City. The New Museum‘s 2015 Triennial exhibition, titled “Surround Audience,” features work from artists around the world, and “explores the impact of an increasingly connected world on personal identity and the role and evolution of art.”

Asking the Right Questions When You’re Developing Wildlife Encounters

Entertainment Designer: The movie Blackfish raised an important issue to the broader public consciousness: what’s right and ethical when you’re designing wildlife encounters focused on education and entertainment? From a design standpoint, there are numerous factors to consider. What are your goals? How can your design prioritize the welfare and experience of animals involved? What kind of physical environment is best for both your human guests and animal residents?