CMU School of Drama

Thursday, May 28, 2015

10 of the most impressive movie sets ever built

sploid.gizmodo.com: The biggest movies are spectacles that can teleport your eyeballs to another world but so much of that is done through green screens and special effects now that it’s important to note when it’s not (or when it’s done really, really impressively digitally). CineFix has come up with 10 of the coolest movie sets that actually existed in real life (or took a helluva impressive time to build).

Hot Ticket: 'In the Mood' at Byham Theater

TribLIVE: Get ready to swing the day and night away with the big-band sounds of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Erskine Hawkins, The Andrews Sisters, Frank Sinatra and other idols of the '40s.

“In the Mood” is a stage production aimed at bringing back America's swing era, when it seemed everyone listened and danced to the same style of music. The musical will have two performances May 28 at the Byham Theater, Downtown.

Pict Classic Theatre's 'Other Half Loves' mixes heartache, high humor

TribLIVE: A laugh-out-loud farce about marriage, infidelity, class structure and social climbing will open Pict Classic Theatre's 2015 Mainstage series May 28 at the Charity Randall Theatre in the Stephen Foster Memorial in Oakland.

“How the Other Half Loves,” a British comedy by Alan Ayckbourn, makes hilarity and sometimes heartache of the tangled lives of three couples — the men all work for the same firm — and a secret affair between one of the men, Bob Phillips, and his boss's wife, Fiona Foster.

One System to Run it All

InPark Magazine: To meet the challenge of large crowds in one of Asia’s largest parks, Chimelong Ocean Kingdom enlisted FUNA to create a single multi-purpose park-wide sound system that provides background music, controls audio for a nighttime lagoon show and the largest parade route in a theme park, and handles park-wide paging services. Because of the challenge inherent with the length of the parade route, FUNA developed a unique automated audio system linking floats with land-based speakers as part of the project.

What's new in AutoCAD 2016: New features roundup

CADnotes: Autodesk has released AutoCAD 2016 in March 2015. We have covered the new features in the last few weeks. In this article, we summarize the new features.

In case you missed the older article, we provide links to the detailed review of each topic.

'O'Sullivan Stew' has kid cast as Theatre Factory play's main ingredient

TribLIVE: “O'Sullivan Stew” looks like a recipe for a fun musical to serve to kids starting May 30 at the Theatre Factory in Trafford.

With music and lyrics by Frank Cuthbert and book by Laura Maria Censabella, the musical is based on a popular children's book by Hudson Talbott.

Video: Sydney Opera House comes alive with projection mapping animation 

sploid.gizmodo.com: The Sydney Opera House is as iconic a building there is in this world so it’s always stunning to see it come alive as a canvas for artists to display their animation on. 20 different animation studios teamed up to transform the Sydney Opera House into a living mural that is just so enjoyable to watch. The colors, the characters, the mini-stories, the art, you forget that you’re looking at a building and start to think that the building has a personality of its own.

This Is How The Soundtracks At Theme Parks Get Made

io9.com: What do theme parks sound like? For starters, there’s the sound of the people, the rides, the popcorn machines, the ambient noises of the highway and local wildlife. But there’s also an elaborate soundtrack that you may not have even known existed. And here’s how it’s made.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

New Short Exposes Unique Experience of 'Brown' Ballerinas

Colorlines: Filmmaker Chassidy Jade is set to release a short film called “Brown Ballerina” this year. The short will explore the circumstances and issues specific to brown dancers or “dancers of color.”

This "40 Years Of ILM" Video Shows Just How Far We've Come

io9.com: Industrial Light and Magic has a proud heritage stretching back to the original Star Wars. And to celebrate, they’ve put together a one-minute video that sums up 40 years of visual effects wizardry. How many of these movies can you name?

Zoe Saldana Takes Issue With Hollywood White-Washing

Colorlines: Zoe Saldana hit Facebook to support Michael B. Jordan’s Entertainment Weekly essay “Why I’m Torching the Color Line.” Jordan wrote the piece in response to complaints that he is playing Johnny Storm, a traditionally white Marvel character, in the upcoming "Fantastic Four" film.

The Sound of Tomorrowland

Below the Line: In this exclusive sound profile, SoundWorks Collection talks with sound designer Kyrsten Mate and re-recording mixer Gary Rydstrom from Skywalker Sound about their work on Tomorrowland directed by Brad Bird.

Entertainment Industry Wonders How Minimum Wage Hike Will Affect Biz

Variety: The recent vote by the Los Angeles City Council to boost the city’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 may not seem like it would have much of an impact the entertainment industry, with its reliance on handsomely paid creative professionals and union presence.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Static, Ambient Noise Permeates Marc Streitenfeld’s Score for ‘Poltergeist’

Variety: As director Gil Kenan explains: “There’s a subtheme in the film: the way that electricity permeates our lives, and that’s part of the way the haunting is able to express itself. Marc picked up on that idea, brought in these electronic signals and weaved them, sometimes melodically, sometimes in more discordant or troubling ways, in scenes of suspense or drama.”

Both Streitenfeld and Kenan acknowledge that the original “Poltergeit” casts a big shadow. And that includes Jerry Goldsmith’s Oscar-nominated score.

Comedy at its finest - Stoppard's Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead

DC Theatre Scene: Ninety-two coins spun consecutively have come down heads ninety-two consecutive times, all confirming that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, now onstage at the Folger Theatre, is one to see. For the linguistically inclined, banter and wordplay abound. For the Shakespeare aficionado, there’s more than a sprinkling of the Bard. For the philosopher, there’s that sticky issue of whether life has meaning. And for kink, well, there’s Alfred in his skirt.

jeppe hein asks brooklyn installation visitors to please touch the art

www.designboom.com: celebrated for engaging audiences in seas of sculptural, inventive and whimsical works, danish artist jeppe hein brings a series of participatory installations to new york city, situated around the waterfront brooklyn bridge park. from now until april 17, 2016, public art fund presents ‘please touch the art’, an exhibition of 18 interactive sculptures including ‘social’ benches, rooms made of jetting water, and a dizzying mirror maze.

New Hazlett's 'Last Five Years' aims to be musical with heart-wrenching depths

TribLIVE: Sometimes, a couple gets into trouble because they come at the relationship from opposite directions.

That's basically the hook behind Tony-award winning playwright Jason Robert Brown's musical “The Last Five Years.”

Front Porch Theatricals will launch its 2015 season May 22 with the show at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side.

Sixty Years of Innovation: ‘Fantasmic!’ at Disneyland Park

Disney Parks Blog: First of its kind, “Fantasmic!” featured projections on reflective mists and huge figures that seemed to rise magically out of Mickey Mouse’s imagination. To prepare for the show, the Rivers of America were drained to enable installation of new equipment and mechanisms, and a new stage was built on the south end of Tom Sawyer Island. The show combined the new mist screens with Disneyland park favorites – the Mark Twain Riverboat and Sailing Ship Columbia – as well as rafts, mechanical figures, fire effects and more than 50 Disneyland cast members to bring the story to life.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

City Theatre's 'Midsummer' actors excel but script can't keep pace

TribLIVE: With the solstice fast approaching, City Theatre cranks up “Midsummer.” No, not that one.

Rather than the 400-year-old farce, this is David Greig and Gordon McIntyre's 2008 effort, subtitled “A Play With Songs.”

This Scottish duo's effort will come as a complete surprise to you — as long as you haven't seen a movie in 25 years.

Judge Wants to Know If 'Happy Birthday' Copyright Was Abandoned

The Hollywood Reporter: U.S. District Judge George King wants to hear more about whether the 19th century schoolteacher who has been credited with writing "Happy Birthday to You" — the English language's most popular song — had abandoned the copyright to the lyrics. On Monday, King directed parties involved in a fight over whether the song is copyrighted to brief him on the issue of abandonment.

Janie Bryant: The Woman Behind Don Draper’s Dapperness

Kempt - world of men's style / fashion / grooming: After giving us one last new, all-denim look for Don Draper, Mad Men rode off into the sunset last night.

It goes without saying that the show’s run has had major repercussions on the way men dress. The show’s early seasons, with their everything-slim-cut-and-clean ethos, got much of the attention and credit for bringing men back to the well-tailored suit. But a look around the flares and wide lapels returning to the runways and the bold glen plaid sport coats of the menswear shops today shows that we here in the 21st century have been moving right alongside the show the whole time.

New Ordway Concert Hall

www.yourperformancepartners.com: One of the newest performing arts venues in the U.S. – the $42 million Ordway Concert Hall – opened several months ago in St. Paul, Minn. We attended the public open house before the grand opening, where several ensembles – both vocal and instrumental – delighted audiences with free performances.

Custom Tablesaw Blade Makes Origami Drawers

Make:: Anyone who has built their own shop has sunk time into making drawers for a worktable. Andrew Klein has invented a sawblade profile that turns making drawers into simple origami.

There are many traditional ways to build a drawer, but they all at minimum involve cutting four sides and a bottom and jigging to ensure squareness. Better drawers involve mitered cuts, dado cuts, finger joints, and generally just a lot of work for something small and simple.

We Talked to the Artist Creating Clouds Inside Cathedrals

The Creators Project: Cloud. The image means so much to so many. Since the dawn of thought, it seems, they've been at once nurturing, water-providing, subtly evolving forms of endless entertainment and fixation across the world; divine sources of inspiration, reflecting light, and characterizing our atmosphere with unique and transient beauty.

Light Painting with Plankton Makes Ethereal Portraits

The Creators Project: Glowing plankton in the sea of Holbox Island, Mexico provide a fluttering focal point for an experimental midnight portrait series by photographer Eric Paré. Submerging his tripod in shallow Caribbean waters, the photographer shot long-exposure portraits with friends in complete darkness to capture the millions of tiny, bioluminescent plankton that glow to ward off predators.

Perfecting Projections for the Immersive New ‘Disneyland Forever’ Fireworks Spectacular

Disney Parks Blog: Coming May 22 as part of the Disneyland Resort Diamond Celebration, the new “Disneyland Forever” fireworks spectacular will be a sky-high extravaganza featuring sparkling pyrotechnics, immersive projections, and surprising special effects that transform Disneyland park right before your eyes. “Disneyland Forever” envelops you in an enthralling, breathtaking journey like never before, leveraging the largest installation of projection mapping technology in a Disney park.

'My Fair Lady' Couldn't Actually Dance All Night, So These Songs Had To Go

NPR: When a Broadway musical feels as effortlessly right as Alan Jay Lerner and Frederick Loewe's did to audiences in 1956, it's easy to imagine that it simply sprang to life that way. Not My Fair Lady. The musical, based on George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, is filled to bursting with some of the best-known songs in Broadway history — "The Rain In Spain," "Wouldn't It Be Loverly," "On the Street Where You Live" — but it turns out the show originally had other tunes that almost nobody knows. On Tuesday night, England's University of Sheffield hosted a performance of seven songs that were dropped from the musical before its Broadway opening, some of which were being heard in public for the first time in almost 60 years.

Is auditorium director to blame for faulty Westfield stage construction?

Fox 59: No criminal charges will be filed in connection with the stage collapse at Westfield High School that left 17 students injured.

Capt. Charles Hollowell with the Westfield Police Department said the April 23 collapse was caused by a new orchestra pit lid that had been constructed by a school employee and students. The new cover replaced the old one. The normal stage would have steel beams to secure it; the new “pit lid” was not securely anchored, resulting in the collapse during the “American Pie” performance.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Michel Houellebecq play pulled from festival; security concerns cited

LA Times: A play from the controversial French writer Michel Houellebecq has been yanked from a prominent summer festival in Croatia, with officials citing security concerns arising from Houellebecq's writings about Islam.

Entire First-Year MFA Class Drops Out in Protest at the University of Southern California

hyperallergic.com: Citing “the University’s unethical treatment of its students,” the entire class of first year MFA students at USC’s Roski School of Art has decided to leave the school, according to a statement they released today. The seven students list a number of grievances leading to their decision, beginning with a significant decrease to the generous tuition subsidization that they had expected before their acceptance to the program. They also criticize the school’s administration that “did not value the Program’s faculty structure, pedagogy or standing in the arts community.” As a result, they say, the Program Director left in December 2014, followed by the resignation of tenured professor Frances Stark.

National Alliance for Musical Theatre Announces 2015-16 Grant Recipients

www.broadwayworld.com: The National Alliance for Musical Theatre (NAMT) announces nine awards granted from their National Fund for New Musicals, a major funding program to support NAMT member not-for-profit theatres in their collaborations with writers to create, develop and produce new musicals. Now in its seventh year, the Fund will provide grants totaling $46,000 to ten organizations across the country.

What Is Greatness In Recorded Music?

Pro Sound Web: When I was coming up as an engineer one of my mentors said something that I carry to every session: “There are two parallel universes in recorded music - greatness and perfection. At times they can touch, but they never intersect. And if you have to pick one, pick greatness”.

This was an absolutely life changing moment, and these are words I’ve tried to live by ever since.

Tour School, LLC and UNLV Launch 10-Day STEADI Program

PLSN: Tour School, LLC is teaming up with the University of Nevada at Las Vegas' (UNLV) Continuing Education program to offer STEADI (Stage Technician Education and Development Intensive), to be held from June 22 to July 1, 2015 at Soundcheck Nashville. The 10-day program is designed to prepare candidates to meet the needs of employers seeking skilled labor for entry-level stage tech positions in live event productions.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Stage review: City Theatre takes a 'Midsummer' romp into rom-com territory

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: At age 35, petty crook Bob is mired in the belief that life has passed him by and lawyer Helena appears to be on the losing end of a no-win relationship.

The self-loathing pair meet down and dirty and kind of cute in David Greig’s “Midsummer,” City Theatre’s funny and touching season finale. The play with music brings to mind such frisky films as Judd Apatow’s “Knocked Up” and “This Is 40.” Like those movies, “Midsummer” is a rom-com with heart; as live theater, it’s also a wildly inventive showcase for two actor-singer-musicians.

Salma Hayek Blasts Hollywood Sexism

Variety: Salma Hayek blasted the movie industry for giving up on women both behind and in front of the camera at a Variety-hosted event Saturday afternoon at the Cannes Film Festival.

“For a long time they thought the only thing we were interested in seeing were romantic comedies,” said Hayek, who appears in the Cannes drama “Tale of Tales.” “They don’t see us as a powerful economic force, which is an incredible ignorance.”

Stage review: Politics and ambition drive 'Wolf Hall'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Fortunately for Hilary Mantel, the Seymour family named their 16th century Wiltshire manor house Wulfhall, providing a juicy name for her historical novel about the career of Thomas Cromwell amid the bloody matrimonial, religious and political thickets of the reign of Henry VIII.

“Wolf Hall” is Ms. Mantel’s title for the first volume of a trilogy; the second is “Bring Up the Bodies”; the third hasn’t yet been published. In different adaptations of those first two volumes, one (by Mike Poulton) now brought to the Broadway stage by the Royal Shakespeare Company, and another (by Peter Straughan) brought to TV by the BBC and PBS, “Wolf Hall” serves as the title of the whole thing.

Pittsburgh Opera transforms Strip District plot into English garden for Maecenas XXXI Ball

TribLIVE: The vibe, the decor, the people, the buzz — whatever it was, 240 guests had barely put a dent into cocktail hour and, already, the Pittsburgh Opera's Maecenas XXXI Ball was leaving little room for debate.

“I don't know what it is, but honestly, this is one of the best we've ever been to,” said Tim McVay with David Bush.

Self-Aligning Handheld Router Gets New Look and Name

Make:: The computer-assisted handheld router makers formerly known as Taktia revealed a smart new design and name to match: Shaper. Their digitally augmented power tools were a sensation at Maker Faire Bay Area last year, and this year’s router is even more impressive, with a clean, integrated design, new touchscreen user interface, and new Z-axis control that’s pretty mindblowing.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Beware: Bragging Often Backfires

Psych Central News: Bragging about a recent promotion at work or posting a photo of your new car on Facebook may seem like harmless ways to share good news.

But a new study has found that this kind of self-promotion often backfires.

Researchers from City University London, Carnegie Mellon University and Bocconi University wanted to find out why so many people frequently get the trade-off between self-promotion and modesty wrong.

Preview: Children's Theater Festival takes over the Cultural District this weekend

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Pittsburgh Cultural District will be abuzz with activity today through Sunday when the EQT Children's Theater Festival blankets Downtown streets with a pop-up park, an interactive art installation from Australia and performances courtesy of troupes from Scotland, Denmark, The Netherlands and Mexico.

Throwback: 50 Years Of Rolling Stones Concert Designs

Live Design: In the ultimate Throwback Thursday style, and in honor of not only The Rolling Stones' upcoming Zip Code Tour, which is to embark May 24, but the 50th anniversary of the May 12, 1965 recording of "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction," which was released June 8, 1965, Live Design has assembled a collection of some of the band's concert tour designs from a 50+ year career. Many tours feature the design talents of lighting designer Patrick Woodroffe and the late set designer Mark Fisher of Stufish. Woodroffe and Stufish return for the Zip Code Tour.

Purposeful Evolution: Refined Monitoring For Lionel Richie

Pro Sound Web: Over Dan Housel’s two-year stint as monitor engineer for Lionel Richie, he’s sought constant improvement in presenting the iconic singer’s classic, distinctive vocal signature. We spoke recently, just prior to the final show at London’s O2 arena on the European leg of Richie’s latest tour, about what he’s been up to lately in that regard.

Moving? Students Devise A Smarter Way To Pack Boxes

Co.Design | business + design: Moving is the worst. Even if you’ve got the cash to pay for professional help, you’re still left with that sinking feeling six months later that some heirloom was lost at the bottom of a long-gone cardboard box.

Could there be a better way? A concept called Argo, by a group of Carnegie Mellon students working in partnership with Ford, may be it.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Best Fence Dewalt Gravity Rise System

FastCap Blog: Paul Akers discusses what comes with the Dewalt Gravity Rise System and how it differs from the Dewalt D2 System.

The Lil Trucker multitool helps survivalists survive

www.gizmag.com: Anyone looking for a multitool already has plenty to choose from, including the Kniper, the Ringtool, and the Leatherman Tread. Now they have another in the form of the Lil Trucker, which features more than 10 tools in a compact package fit for survivalists, outdoors-men (and women), and rescue workers.

Re-framing and Re-containing: Can We Really Ensure Safety in the Rehearsal Studio or Classroom?

HowlRound: I have been thinking about how we, as practitioners, almost compulsively talk about “safety” in our work, particularly in the studio or classroom, as though it is embedded in what we do. Safety is ubiquitous in our vernacular; we ensure it almost by reflex. What is safety, though? What are we really trying to get at when we talk about “safety?” Can we actually ensure it? Isn’t education and art-making intended to be risky? If we are taking risks and growing, can we ever be truly safe?

Do You Have An Elastic Mind? 3 Traits Of Designers Who Do

Co.Design | business + design: Walking around my studio, I see small teams collaborating at temporary, flexible workstations. There’s Eunji, a researcher, designer, and former high school teacher, working with Amy, a graphic designer with a degree in industrial design, to visualize some research. There’s Kc, a reformed math major turned designer, testing out a mechanism with Rob, our blogging engineer. They are hybrid professionals with dual degrees, diverse interests, and endless curiosity, and I believe these kind of teams represent the future of design and innovation.

After Suicides, MIT Works To Relieve Student Pressure

NPR Ed : NPR: On a sunny spring day at MIT in Cambridge, Mass., students line up at a table grabbing ice cream sundaes, milk and cookies, and, if they're interested, a hug from MIT parents including Sonal Patel.

"Yes!" Patel says, "giving away ice cream and now hugs."

"Oh, I want a hug," a student says, "that will be good."

The event — billed as "Stress Less Day" — is sponsored by the student mental health awareness group Active Minds. Volunteers are handing out fliers listing mental health facts and campus resources.

Anton Chekhov’s Hysterical First Book Is Published After 130 Years

Flavorwire: If you have never heard of Antosha Chekhonte, the brilliant parodist who published sharp, persistently hilarious sketches in Russian humor magazines (like The Alarm Clock and Dragonfly) during the late 1870s and early 1880s — well, you’re forgiven. Chekhonte, if you didn’t guess right away, was actually the young Anton Chekhov, and his first book of writings, The Prank, has never been published. Thankfully, this mess will be corrected next week when the New York Review of Books releases the slim book — a collection that Chekhov meant to usher his breakthrough into wider literary fame — for the first time in more than 130 years.

How This Artist Uses a Climate-Controlled Room to Make Indoor Clouds

gizmodo.com: It starts like a fog machine, deploying its vaporous mist into the air—until the cloud it emits holds its exquisite shape and silently hovers mid-room for hours. This is the drama and allure of Nimbus, the physics-defying work of Dutch sculptor Berndnaut Smilde.

Show will go on as 'Fences' director heals

TribLIVE: Mark Clayton Southers, founder of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company, is expected to make a full recovery after being injured in a car accident May 11 on Washington Boulevard near Negley Run Boulevard in the Highland Park area while driving with his wife, Neicy Southers, says Eric A. Smith, a former managing director of the company.

Your New Favorite Journal: Medical Problems of Performing Artists

io9.com: Published studies include: “Physiological assessment of bagpipers: a preliminary study of cardiopulmonary parameters”; “Music Performance Anxiety in Young Musicians: Comparison of Playing Classical or Popular Music”; and “Foot and Ankle Pain and Injuries in Elite Adult Irish Dancers.”

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Cindy Limauro

MONDO ARC: Cindy Limauro didn’t approach the 691 architecture students at six US universities who attended her one-day workshops garbed in armour and carrying a battle banner. Unlike the legendary Joan of Arc, Maid of Orleans, who successfully battled the British in the early 15th Century, Limauro set out in 2013 to accomplish what no one else - woman nor man - had done before. Get architecture students excited about lighting by participating in an all-day, hands-on learning experience.

Keeping It Clean

Stage Directions: What type of power do we need for our new LED lighting units and systems? And how much of it? And how do we get it?

The answers to these questions are changing every day with all the new technology being developed by stage lighting manufacturers. Movers have better optics and are using brighter lamps. LED technology is constantly improving along the lines of Haitz’s Law. And mixing all this new gear with traditional fixtures makes things even messier—because we need more and more constant power.

Women in the Performing Arts: Barbara Mackenzie-Wood

Mary Anna Dennard: During this Spring and Summer, I am spotlighting a handful of remarkable women educators in college theatre in my blog series entitled, Women In The Performing Arts. I hope you enjoy getting to know them, and learning about the important theatre programs they have pioneered.

For my fourth in the series, I have chosen Barbara Mackenzie-Wood from the famed Carnegie Mellon School Of Drama and Music Theatre. CMU boasts the oldest Bachelor Of Fine Arts Degree in the U.S. and an impressive list of celebrity alumnus. Barbara is recognized as one of the great master teachers in acting and is featured in the book, Acting Teachers Of America.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Local High School Teacher Nominated for Tony Award for Theatre Education

lbpost.com: Randy Bowden, the head teacher and director of Woodrow Wilson High School’s Theatre and Dramatic Arts department in Long Beach, has been nominated for the inaugural Excellence in Theatre Education Award presented by Carnegie Mellon University and The Tony Awards. The winner will receive the honor at the 2015 Tony Awards on June 7.

» We Don’t Need No Stinking Quotes!

Howard Sherman: “You know, if we all agreed to stop putting critics’ quotes in our ads, they’d lose their power over us, and we could just sell our shows on what we think is best about them.”

I will confess to having made that statement, or something along those lines, more than once when I was the public relations director at Hartford Stage. Thinking back on it now, I can attribute it to a) youth, b) feistiness and c) naïveté. Remember, of course, that this was the pre-internet era, when reviews didn’t linger forever online, but genuinely became inaccessible 24 hours after they appeared in print. And of course, there was no persuading absolutely every other theatre in the area that this was viable, and without unanimity, it would fail.

Theater notes: City Theatre fills out next season with a new Cold War drama and a musical memoir

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: City Theatre has completed its 2015-16 season schedule with Pittsburgh premieres and one world premiere, the Cold War drama “Some Brighter Distance” by Keith Reddin.

In February, City announced the shows “The Night Alive,” ”Sunset Baby” and “Sex With Strangers,” plus “Sister’s Easter Catechism: Will My Bunny Go to Heaven?”

When An Audience Member Wants to Give You "Feedback"

HowlRound: I love my audience. They make the whole weird process of putting together these sometimes tangential, sometimes tender, and always smirk-filled solo shows worthwhile. I get such amazing insights from them post-show, including emails that get me all teary; but occasionally there’s someone who wants to give me feedback.

There have been a couple times when I was running a fever or completely exhausted from driving ten hours to get to the gig. With no downtime and in a haze, I just stood there, mouth agape in exhaustion, listening to those audience members go on about all the things I could do to make my show “even better.”

What’s the Point of a Professor?

NYTimes.com: IN the coming weeks, two million Americans will earn a bachelor’s degree and either join the work force or head to graduate school. They will be joyous that day, and they will remember fondly the schools they attended. But as this unique chapter of life closes and they reflect on campus events, one primary part of higher education will fall low on the ladder of meaningful contacts: the professors.

Your Job May Be Causing Obesity

www.thegrindstone.com: The obesity epidemic may be starting in your office.

A new CareerBuilder survey of 3,000 fulltime employees says that stresses associated with fulltime employment may be contributing to the obesity epidemic. 70 percent of respondents in highly stressful jobs report being overweight, a staggering comparison to the 47 percent of respondents in low-stress positions. About 50 percent of respondents reported to gaining weight at their present job, with 20 percent claiming to have gained 10 pounds or more.

Portable Workbench Is Solid And Space Saving

Hackaday: Last week we covered the topic of electronic work benches. But we know that there’s more to life than soldering irons and tiny components. Sometimes to pull off a hack, you need to get your hands dirty, and get some sawdust in your hair. If you’re limited on space, or need to be able to move to different locations quickly, this shop workbench may just be what you’re looking for.

Meet the Crack Team That Designed the Technology in Age of Ultron

gizmodo.com: You probably didn’t think about it sitting in the theater, but all the screens and interfaces in Avengers: Age of Ultron were designed by someone in the real world—from Stark’s Iron Man schematics to Cho’s medical scans. Who are the designers that built this world? Meet Territory Studio.

Dynamic Pricing Lets Broadway Escape… The Insanity Zone.

Shubert Ticketing Blog: “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

This definition could explain some longstanding ticket pricing practices on Broadway. We all know that there are sections of the theatre—for some nights or some shows—that rarely sell at full price. Some of these seats might sell at a discount price or for half-price at TKTS.

Critics ‘goddamned tired’ of Broadway shows opening right before Tony cutoff

New York Post: A critic once said the DCC in Drama Critics’ Circle stands for “Damned Cranky Cobras.” Well, some of those cobras have been especially cranky of late.

Led by Marilyn Stasio of Variety, they’ve been hissing about the flurry of Broadway shows that opened last month before the April 23 cutoff date for the Tony Awards: 15 in all, including both parts of “Wolf Hall.”

The cobras say they’re so weary, they can’t spit straight.

Create a Custom Mannequin for Tailored Clothes

Craft | Make:: The Duct Tape Double project is a quick and easy way to make a custom mannequin. It uses cheap materials you can find around the house to create a dimensionally accurate replica. Use your new double to craft custom garments that fit perfectly every time, or step it up a notch and venture into well-tailored wearable technology.

Quotes of the Day: Elizabeth Banks and Amy Berg Talk Women Directing

Women and Hollywood: Elizabeth Banks and Amy Berg have a lot to say about being women directors in Hollywood. 2015 is a big year for both female filmmakers, with Banks making her feature directorial debut with the Barden Bellas' return in "Pitch Perfect 2" and Academy Award-winning documentarian Berg ("Deliver Us from Evil") premiering her first narrative film, the psychological thriller "Every Secret Thing."

Friday, May 08, 2015

Group Tour Interest in Decline: Why Museums Should Invest Elsewhere

Know Your Own Bone: Many visitor-serving organizations increasingly bemoan the challenges associated with the leisure group tour market. (This being a different attendance category – and revenue line item – than school groups.) Typically, visitor-serving organizations have salespeople dedicated to the process of soliciting tour groups. In other words, their job is to get group business.

Preview: Pittsburgh Fringe festival finds a new home on the North Side

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Theater lovers looking for the second annual Pittsburgh Fringe festival should head to the North Side as Old Allegheny City has opened its doors for a weekend like no other.

Executive director Daniel Stiker is beyond thrilled to talk about the more than 25 performances that will transform venues in the Deutschtown neighborhood along the borders of East Ohio Street and West North Avenue Friday through Sunday.

Six Ways Personalization Trends Are Affecting Museums and Cultural Centers

Know Your Own Bone: Once in a while – usually when considering topics for a trend meeting with clients – I look over collections of recent IMPACTS data and glaring patterns emerge. Sometimes these trends are obvious – like myth-busting traditional ways of thinking that data suggest are now largely irrelevant. Sometimes they come together to tell a story about sector evolution and solvency. And other times – like today- they represent a connection so glaringly apparent (because it is already in the broader business media spotlight) that I’ve mentioned it only in passing.

When Is A Treehouse No Longer Just A Treehouse?

Consumerist: Did the treehouse of your childhood dreams include WiFi, cable TV, a mini fridge, fireplace, deck and air conditioning? Maybe not, but does having the space to fit all those amenities in a homemade structure residing in a tree mean it’s still a treehouse, or is it more like an elevated guest house? One town is seeking to define what a treehouse is, to keep people from going overboard with their aerial retreats.

Off Broadway Season 2015-16 Adds Paulus, Chavkin, ‘Red Speedo'

Variety: The 2015-16 Off Broadway season continues to shape up, with Diane Paulus, the Tony-winning director (“Pippin”) currently represented on Broadway with “Finding Neverland,” directing the Richard Rodgers Award-winning musical “Invisible Thread” (previously “Witness Uganda”) at Second Stage Theater, and Lucas Hnath swim-team doping tale “Red Speedo” joining the lineup at New York Theater Workshop.

15 European Opera Houses to Offer Free Online Streaming

NYTimes.com: A free showing of Verdi’s “La Traviata” will be streamed live from Madrid’s Teatro Real on Friday, inaugurating a new program backed by the European Union in which some of Europe’s top houses will stream performances free to make opera more accessible.

Fun on a Friday: It’s The Circle of Puppets.

The Producer's Perspective: The little-show-that-could, which is now in its 12th year in New York, after besting Wicked for the Tony, running six years on Broadway and now in its sixth Off Broadway (and is still the only show that has successfully made that transition), just shocked the entire Easter Bonnet competition when it won the best presentation prize a few weeks ago.

Wait – you don’t know what the Easter Bonnet competition is?

Making a cube in a cube in a cube from one block of metal is impressive

sploid.gizmodo.com: There is probably some negotiation with the Earth’s magnetic poles or some sort of magic going on here because somehow this guy is able to make a cube inside a cube inside a cube from a metal block. I have no idea what’s going on in the video half the time but watching the block get shaved to house three independent cubes within each other is pretty damn crazy.

Here’s a look at ‘Crazy Girls’ last night at the Riviera

Las Vegas Review-Journal: French shows have been part of the Las Vegas entertainment scene from the beginning. “Lido de Paris,” “Folies Bergere” and “La Femme” all came and went on the Strip. But the French-inspired burlesque show “Crazy Girls” was part of the Riviera scene for 28 years.

From Festivals to Furries: Pittsburgh's Don't-Miss Summer Events

The 412 - May 2015: VisitPittsburgh officials noted tourism is one of the top four industries in the region, bringing in $5.6 billion in revenue a year and employing 40,000 people. If any of these events require tickets, we recommend getting yours early.

Don’t forget to check out our online calendar and sign up for our PMweekend e-newsletter, sure to keep you in the know.

Go Game: Team Building 2.0

Entertainment Designer: No two words strike fear into the heart of corporate veterans like the term “team building.” Visions of being forced to do trust falls, awkward getting-to-know-you sessions, and building card houses to explore the concept of collaboration all immediately come to mind. Luckily for office workers everywhere, the team behind The Go Game in San Francisco has completely reimagined the art and experience of building teams by incorporating technology, play, and unique narrative elements.

Understanding the Difference between Chain Grades and How They’re Used

blog.cmworks.com: Chain has been around for over a thousand years. It is one of the most versatile and reliable ways to lift, tension and tie down materials in a variety of applications. In the past, people would use any type of chain to lift something, tie down a load or tow a vehicle. Proper inspection, safety procedures and general standards of practice for chain were lacking.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Stephen Schwartz Details Next Project: A New Musical About Mozart's Librettist

Playbill.com:

Days after being named winner of the 2015 Isabelle Stevenson Award from the Tony Awards, composer Stephen Schwartz headed off to London to work on his new stage musical, Emanuel and Eleonore.

"It's the German spelling," explained the composer of Wicked, Godspell and Pippin, among many other shows and movies. And that's appropriate because the show tells the story of Mozart's frequent collaborator, Emanuel Schikaneder, librettist for The Magic Flute and other operas, and is scheduled to premiere in Vienna, Austria, in fall 2016.

A Look at The Costume Designers Guild with President Salvador Perez

Tyranny of Style: Unions are an essential organization for mobilizing and protecting working artists in any field. The Costume Designers Guild (IATSE Local 892) and Motion Picture Costumers (IATSE Local 705) are the two unions that govern costume design and implementation on all union film and television projects. But navigating what jobs fall under which union, and how to go about joining can be somewhat confusing for people looking to break into the business.

5 Great Atlanta Venues That Offer Actor Training

Backstage: The infusion of film and TV projects in Atlanta, alongside an already thriving theater scene, has resulted in a highly professional variety of training programs devoted to actors of all levels. Here’s a rundown of some of the best for the brightest!

Sixty Percent of Millennial Women Aren’t Negotiating

Levo League: There are some people who thrive on negotiating (and even do it for a living!). Then there’s the rest of us. Asking for what you want is fraught with challenges for many (I don’t want to come across as money-hungry/I didn’t even know I could!), and is often particularly difficult for women due to gender biases that discourage them from asking for more.

I Stared Into the Void at a Secret Light Show in Las Vegas

The Creators Project: Las Vegas floats like a mirage above the floor of the Mojave Desert. It is a city built on illusion. Its dancing fountains, emerald golf courses, and all-you-can-eat $9.99 buffets defy the inhospitable stretch of desert, roughly the size of West Virginia, that encroaches on all sides. Many visitors leave feeling fooled.

What Follows “Mad Men”? Mad Women

The Clyde Fitch Report: I was having an email exchange with a friend the other day regarding the most recent episode of Mad Men, which I had not seen. His last comment took me aback. He said:

The sexism-in-the-workplace angle is interesting, but I wonder if it ever really was that bad or if they’re just exaggerating it for dramatic TV effect.

I don’t think he said that to get a reaction, as I believe he simply does not see sexism in the workplace. If you don’t see it, can it really be all that bad?

Pittsburgh CLO announces 2015-16 Cabaret Series

TribLIVE: Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera has three comedies planned for it 2015-16 Cabaret Series.

The season kicks off with “Altar Boyz” (Sept. 24 to Dec. 20). The musical comedy features a fictional Christian boy band on its “Raise the Praise” tour. The parody includes the songs “Girl You Make Me Wanna Wait” and “Jesus Called Me On My Cell Phone.”

Watch These Kids Go Nuts Making Rube Goldberg Machines

Make:: STEAMLabs invited kids and families to build crazy Rube Goldberg machines at their brand-new Makerspace in downtown Toronto, and the resulting video is 62 seconds of fun. Makes me think OK Go should just hire these kids to do their next video.

Essay criticizes studies that claim to show Shakespeare is ignored by English departments

InsideHigherEd: On William Shakespeare’s birthday this year, the American Council of Trustees and Alumni (ACTA) issued a report, “The Unkindest Cut: Shakespeare in Exile in 2015,” which warned that “less than 8 percent of the nation’s top universities require English majors to take even a single course that focuses on Shakespeare.” Warnings about the decline of a traditional literary canon are familiar from conservative academic organizations such as ACTA and the National Association of Scholars. What increasingly strikes me, however, is how frozen in amber these warning are.

Why Handcrafters Should Embrace Digital Fabrication

Make: Around a year ago while I was tutoring a 3D printing workshop in San Juan, one of my 3D printers caught the attention of a couple of fine arts students. Interestingly, they took opposing attitudes towards the technology. One was amazed by the widening opportunities presented to him, while the other felt the need to make a compelling demand: “That will never replace us,” she said. To which I replied: “Who said it will?”

Confusing Financial Aid Letters Leave Students, Parents Adrift

NPR Ed : NPR: Raised in foster care from the time he was 14, Marquell Moorer was determined to go to college, keeping up his grades and working part-time at Dairy Queen to save up money for it.

By the end of his senior year at a high school in Milwaukee, Wis., he'd done so well that letters of acceptance started pouring in from not one or two, but 12 colleges and universities.

Moorer was still riding high when another wave of letters started to arrive: the ones outlining how much financial aid he would or would not be offered by each school.

And those proved a lot less clear-cut.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Radio City’s Spectacular Show Debuts!

Chicago Scenic Studios, Inc.: Chicago Scenic’s skills were displayed in splendor at this spring’s debut of “New York Spring Spectacular”, starring the Rockettes, at Radio City Music Hall.

Shown at right is one of the drops – New York’s iconic Central Park - that CSSI’s Paints Department created.

Five Simple EQ Tips That Work On Anything

Pro Sound Web: Equalization is one of the most difficult parts of recording to get the hang of since there’s literally almost an infinite number of possibilities.

Most of us learn by experience and usually massive amounts of trial and error, but there are some brief general guidelines that can be an enormous help for those new to the process.

FUNdamentals

Chicago Scenic Studios, Inc.: Chicago Scenic’s crew recently provided a spring tune-up to the White Sox FUNdamentals attraction located above the U.S. Cellular Park left-field concourse. The children’s attraction features interactive games pitting participants against White Sox players.

Photo Flash: EVER AFTER's James Snyder Is 'PRINCE CHARMING' at Birdland

www.broadwayworld.com: The Broadway at Birdland concert series was proud to present If/Then leading man James Snyder in his one-man show, "James Snyder: Prince Charming" on the historic stage Sunday, May 3.

MPAA funding pro-copyright protection research to influence political policy

GamePolitics: While it should come as no great shock to anyone, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) is funding pro-copyright protection research through its global research grant program. The program is part of the trade group's "Academic Outreach program." The program gives out $20,000 grants to academics doing research on various topics related to copyright infringement and piracy.

Athol Fugard Tells of a Great Outsider Artist

NYTimes.com: Five years ago, Athol Fugard, the great chronicler of South Africa’s apartheid past and its post-apartheid present, heard a surprising tale. It was about a farm laborer named Nukain Mabuza, who had spent about 15 years, in the late 1960s and ’70s, painting vivid, highly patterned designs on the boulders and stones in arid terrain of the eastern province of Mpumalanga.

Wilkinsburg Attracts Residents With Tour of Vacant Homes

90.5 WESA: If walls could talk could be the premise for a tour of vacant homes taking place this weekend in Wilkinsburg. The Wilkinsburg Community Development Corporation and Carnegie Mellon University students are combining their efforts to attract potential residents to the borough. How do they plan to accomplish this task? We’ll find out from Wilkinsburg CDC Communications & Outreach Coordinator Marlee Gallagher and Carnegie Mellon School of Public Policy and Management at Heinz College student Kenneth Chu.

Updating ‘Gigi’ and Other ’50s Films Into Modern Broadway Musicals

NYTimes.com: Movie musicals from the 1950s scare me. Just when I’m enjoying the lavish costumes and scenery and a glorious musical number by Rodgers and Hammerstein or Lerner and Loewe, some unseemly social attitude leaps up and reminds me of how drastically times have changed.

No marketing, sharing, or promotion, please!

San Diego Reader: Never, ever, record a symphony or opera concert. Ever. If you do, it will be a blatant and vile transgression against the very foundations of what your friends want you to share with them. (And the unions are bitchy about it, too, I think.)

Has this ever struck anyone as strange? We might wonder if the pre-concert proclamation, made by a digital town crier, was written by the legal department and carries the full force of the law. “No recordings of any type.” What is the value of recording a classical music concert?

David Javerbaum’s ‘An Act of God’ Adapts Tweets to Broadway

NYTimes.com: God has been good to David Javerbaum.

God’s Twitter account (well, @TheTweetOfGod, an account created by Mr. Javerbaum that posts witticisms in the name of God) has nearly two million followers.

And God’s memoir (actually a book written by Mr. Javerbaum) has now been adapted (by God, according to the publicity material — you get the picture) into a new Broadway comedy, “An Act of God,” that begins performances this week.

8 Great Playwrights Who Write for Television

Backstage: Do you know the writers behind your favorite TV programs? Just like actors, many great playwrights split their time between theater and television. Here are eight well-known contemporary playwrights and the hit TV shows on which they’ve worked!

Dewalt Announces Cordless 20V MAX Miter Saw

coptool.com: DeWalt has officially released information about the 20V MAX cordless miter saw expected to hit the market at the end of June. The Dewalt DCS361 is a single-bevel, 7-1/4″ sliding miter saw capable of making 183 cuts in 2″x4″ pine on a single 4.0 Ah battery charge. The saw is fairly feature-rich, boasting a blade light, a stainless steel miter detent, 10 positive stops, a fast and easy cam lock, and rubber feet.

Tuesday, May 05, 2015

A Gold Mine of Innovation Rosco Fog Inside the Calico Mine Ride

Rosco Spectrum: The Calico Mine Ride opened in 1960 and was a major part of Knott’s transformation from a twenty acre farm to the 160 acre amusement park that we know today. Bud Hurlbut, the ride’s original designer, implemented major innovations in the ride that theme parks all over the world continue to employ in their ride designs. Two notable developments include a themed queue line that brought riders into the world of the mine while preventing guests from seeing the actual length of the line, and the ride featured more than 120 animated figures – a full seven years before Pirates of the Caribbean at Disneyland.

DualSaw Counter Action Dual Blade Reciprocating Saw

toolguyd.com: There are quite a few circular saws with counter-rotating blades on the market, but what would you think about a reciprocating saw with dual counter-acting blades? DualSaw says that the motion of the two blades in its RS1000 and RS1200 reciprocating saws reduce kickback and vibration. What’s more, they claim that the saws are easier to control, safer to use, and that they produce a smoother cut.

Help an Artist Recreate a Legendary Sculpture Using 3D Printing

The Creators Project: With the help of 3D printing, British artist Matt Smith plans to bring back Umberto Boccioni's lost, 1913 Futurist sculpture, Spiral Expansion of Muscles in Movement, as a digitally-sculpted reproduction. The 3' 9" work will be printed to scale using industrial technology, with the aim to go on display inside a London gallery later this year.

To fund the work, Smith has launched a Kickstarter campaign where he explains how he will be using photographs of the sculpture, along with Boccioni's drawings, and documentation from the period, to help with his digital pen-modeled reconstruction.

Tony nominee Brandon Uranowitz talks about American in Paris

DC Theatre Scene: Find out what he’s learned from the ballet-centric cast, and what they’ve learned from him, differences between Paris and New York audiences, and, remembering his time in Washington with Studio Theatre’s Torch Song Trilogy, what sets DC’s audiences apart.

Klein Tools Electrical Trades, State of the Industry

coptool.com: Klein Tools recently did an online survey of professional electricians, 201 responded 40% union, 60% non-union. All with varying years of experience and were asked questions about skill levels they perceive in the work force and levels of training. It would appear for the majority the feeling is there is a need for more training and higher skill levels on the job-site.

99U Conference Recap 1: How to Fuel Collaboration & Innovation

99U: Day one of the conference was about working together with others, pushing your work to new heights, and scaling those projects rapidly. Kicking things off, Wil Reynolds, Heidi Grant Halvorson, and Clive Wilkinson shared the invaluable lessons they’ve learned about collaboration and innovation over the course of their careers.

Up close and personal with Varekai’s performers

www.cirquefascination.com: Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai production is coming to Vancouver’s Pacific Coliseum this May, but before the performers take the big stage, a few of them stopped by Vancity Buzz HQ to offer a closer look at some of their intense moves.

The Varekai show has been touring the world for over 10 years and this will be its second time in Vancouver, with the last being in 2006. With over 50 artists travelling with the show, the arena production offers a bigger performance than the big top productions.

Smithsonian Launches Its First IMAX Laser Projection System at Udvar-Hazy Center

InPark Magazine: Smithsonian Theaters is launching IMAX’s new laser projection system in the Airbus IMAX Theater at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Va., May 1—just in time for the release of Marvel’s latest film, Avengers: Age of Ultron. The new system represents a quantum leap forward in cinema technology—providing audiences with the sharpest, brightest, clearest and most vivid digital images ever, combined with a new level of immersive audio.

Zoë Wanamaker Talks Theater Here and Abroad

The Clyde Fitch Report: “This is the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done in my life.”

That’s Zoë Wanamaker talking during a short lunch break. She’s in a small music room where there’s an upright piano and a long worktable at which she’s eating from a plastic container. On prominent display is her oval face with its ski-slope nose. There’s the familiar piquant smile. Her hair is pixie-ish, and she’s in black rehearsal clothes.

How To Use ‘Intellectual Property’ Properly

Techdirt: Okay, let's get this out there upfront: many people who read this site hate the term "intellectual property" and get very upset when anyone uses it. And we agree with many of the reasons behind this thought process. In the past, we've explored some of the alternatives, but none are really that great or useful. We admit that "intellectual property" is not a great term -- in large part because it implies something that just isn't there: mainly, economic concepts that apply to rivalrous goods but simply don't apply to non-rivalrous ones. Even so, for the most part, our response to this has been to try to use the specific name of the specific form -- i.e., copyright, patents, trademark, trade secrets, publicity rights, etc. -- rather than the generic term "intellectual property." But oftentimes that doesn't feel appropriate either. And, let's face it, most of the rest of the world still uses the term "intellectual property", and denying that is kind of silly.

Moon Drawings

Moon Drawings: Welcome to Moon Drawings: a project to extend artistic expression to the Moon. We invite you to contribute a drawing—which will be etched on a sapphire disc, sent to the Moon, and potentially traced by a robot rover into the Moon's soil. The disc, contained in a sculpture called the Moon Arts Ark, will be shuttled to the Moon in 2016. It will remain there for millenia: a poetic gesture reaching out, far beyond any objective existence on Earth.

Three New American National Standards Available for Public Review on PLASA Website

Stage Directions: Three new draft standards have been posted for public review on PLASA's website.

Three draft American National Standards are available for public review on the PLASA TSP website at http://tsp.plasa.org/tsp/documents/public_review_docs.php.

Monday, May 04, 2015

Kelly Critic Review: “The Drowsy Chaperone,” Quaker Valley High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: “Please, please, let it be good. And let it be short. Two hours is fine, but three is just too long.”

This is one of the first lines of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” met by the great laughter of an audience that had been thinking somewhere along those lines.

“The Drowsy Chaperone” began with a pitch black theater and a monologue. A young man talked about the experience of being in the theater while some members of the audience (myself included) wondered whether the utter darkness was intentional, or if there was some error. But then the speaker mentioned waiting for that moment when the lights in a theater finally came on, and the lights flicked on.

Kelly Critic Review: 'Cinderella,' Pittsburgh Brashear High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: In an era when children dream of visiting Disney World just to catch a glimpse of Princess Elsa from the 2013 film, “Frozen,” or Princess Erida from the 2012 film, “Brave,” we as adults must come to the realization that the classic fairytales from our youth no longer hold the same cultural prominence they once did. So is there still room for a classic princess tale?

Pittsburgh Brashear High School provides the audience with an answer with a passionate and benevolent production of Roger and Hammerstein’s 1957 “Cinderella (Enchanted).” Brashear’s cheerful group numbers, well-cast couples, and endearing Fairy Godmother make it clear that the story of Cinderella is not outdated.

Kelly Critic Review: 'Footloose,' North Hills High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: At the beginning of the North Hills High School Musical “Footloose,” Reverend Shaw Moore asks his congregation, “What song are you singing?” The town of Bomont has a choice: whether or not to sing and dance to the song of a new generation.

Ren McCormack, a fun-loving and rebellious teen from Chicago, is the boy behind the question. After his father abandons them and leaves to “find himself,” Ren and his mother move to Bomont, a small religiously-minded town that seems worlds away from the big city.

Kelly Critic Review: 'Return to the Forbidden Planet,' Keystone Oaks

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Most people have never heard of “Return to the Forbidden Planet,” and rightfully so. It easily contains the most unusual plot and mixture of genres that I have ever experienced in a single musical. With such a mouthful of a name, the show itself is equally outlandish, being described on the program as “A Rock and Roll Shakespearean Sci Fi Masterpiece.”

That sounds like a lot, and it is, but not necessarily in a bad way. Keystone Oaks put on a wonderful show that was and genuinely enjoyable.

Kelly Critic Review: 'Mary Poppins,' Northgate High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: There’s nothing like a good ol’ yank on the heart-strings as a reminder to appreciate the people closest to you. And that yank is exactly what Northgate High School’s “Mary Poppins” delivers -- hard, and right where you feel it. In this sentimental joyride of warm-and-fuzzy proportions, Mary, Bert, and the rest of the crew re-tell a nostalgic tale of love, virtue, and family that, by the last reprise, will have you leaning on your mother’s shoulder.

Kelly Critic Review: 'The Addams Family,' Hampton High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: You know a high school is dedicated when they put a hearse out front to advertise their musical. Now, normally a hearse in front of anything is a bad sign. The last place any teenager wants to go is a school where “dying of boredom” is taken literally. But while the hearse did contain a coffin (as far as I could tell), it did not contain the remains of a student bored to death, but a comically placed fake hand and a bag of Doritos. Labels declared it to be the “Addams Family Minivan” and successfully stirred up excitement for the coming show.

Kelly Critic Review: 'Godspell,' Bishop Canevin High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Excitement was evident upon entering the lobby of Bishop Canevin High School. The friends and family of the cast and crew were congregated in clusters, talking excitedly about the show and all of the hard work put in by the students. This buzz definitely succeeded in giving off high hopes for the show to follow.

“Godspell” follows Jesus Christ and the stories of the New Testament, with a twist. Each story is portrayed in a comedic, modern way while still offering the valuable lessons of love and acceptance that the Bible strives to give.

Kelly Critic Review: 'Pippin,' Pine Richland High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Lights, Camera, Magic! Pine Richland had “magic to do just for you” with its stunning play “Pippin.” As promised, in two short hours, “Pippin” delivered humor, love, music, and murder that compelled a few of the theatre-goers to return for a second show.

Coming in, I had no idea what to expect; I had never heard of “Pippin” nor been to any Pine Richland play. However, in just one scene, I was blown away by the clearly talented vocals and acting of every last person on stage. Pine Richland sure knows how to put on a show.

Kelly Critic Review: 'The Drowsy Chaperone,' Baldwin-Whitehall High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: What a wonderful surprise I had attending “The Drowsy Chaperone" at Baldwin-Whitehall High School. The theater was modern, the program book was professional, the set and costumes well organized. Obviously and happily, a well-endowed theater budget!

The musical opens up with a man sitting in a chair in his apartment feeling blue. To remedy this, he decides to listen to the vinyl album of the "Drowsy Chaperone" given to him by his mother. Musicals help him escape the real world to a time of simplicity. He then evolves into the narrator of the musical as it plays out in his apartment, turning himself into a one-man show within a musical—the Man in Chair. A truly unique setting.

Kelly Critic Review: 'The Addams Family,' Riverview High School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: These days, it seems Hollywood wallows in an uncreative mess of remakes, sequels, and adaptations -- essentially, old ideas and mediocre rehashings of stories previously recounted. But we occasionally find pearls among the dross. In truth, I struggle to place the musical adaptation of “The Addams Family” on the scale. Is it an overdone franchise that we need to let rest in peace? Or does it contain modern values worthy of redemption?

Kelly Critic Review: “Anyone Can Whistle,” Winchester Thurston School

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Stephen Sondheim is one of the greatest musical composers/lyricists of the 20th century. “Anyone Can Whistle,” however, is his Achilles heel: It received negative reviews, ran for only nine performances on Broadway and remains one of Sondheim’s lesser-known works. Even with Broadway-level talent, the show was unsuccessful and it ultimately proved too much of a challenge for Winchester Thurston.

Saturday, May 02, 2015

Ryobi Job Plus Multi-tool Review

Pro Tool Reviews: The Ryobi Job Plus Multi-tool is what I call an “easy decision” purchase. With a retail price of just $69 for the bare tool (including multi-tool attachment), it’s an easy and inexpensive way to get into the Job Plus/Jobmax line. And, yes, all Ryobi Job Plus accessories are compatible with the Ridgid Jobmax Multi tool.

Anonymous Donors Keep 'The Fantasticks'

NYTimes.com: About that closing of “The Fantasticks”: Never mind.

The producers of the long-running Off-Broadway staple, who announced last month that they would close the show in early May, said on Saturday that two unnamed fans had contributed enough money to keep it open indefinitely.

“The Fantasticks” has had near-death experiences before – in 2002, it closed, after 17,162 performances over 42 years, only to reopen in 2006.

Maxim Gorki Theater Leads an Immigrant Vanguard in Berlin

NYTimes.com: Standing in her office at the Maxim Gorki Theater here, a pack of Gauloises cigarettes in hand, Shermin Langhoff gestured at an image of one of Jeff Koons’s gleaming balloon sculptures hanging on her wall.

Slowing the pace of her usually rapid German, she said: “It’s lunacy. This object is 20 years old, and for 20 years nothing has happened in art, other than in the performing arts.”

Paolo Ventura Designs a ‘Carousel

NYTimes.com: The Italian artist Paolo Ventura was so unfamiliar with Rodgers and Hammerstein before he was asked to design a set for “Carousel” that he sometimes referred to them as Hammerstein and Rodgers.

“They are not popular in Italy,” Mr. Ventura said from Milan in a recent Skype call.

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.

Berlin’s Stage|Set|Scenery Opens June 9

sightlines.usitt.org: Stage|Set|Scenery will open its doors June 9 in Berlin, Germany.

The international trade fair and conference for event technology gathers exhibitors and visitors who represent theatre planning; architecture; film; event services; stage, lighting, sound, video, and media technology; make-up, costume, and stage-set design; acoustics; and studio, exhibition, and museum technology. A total of 250 exhibitors and 7,500 trade members are expected to visit the Berlin Exhibition Grounds.

The Sketchbook Of Costume Designer Jess Goldstein

Live Design: In 1979, Goldstein did his first summer in Williamstown, then run by Nikos Psacharopoulos, and as the designer recalls, “Nikos took a shining to me, and I was young enough and crazy enough to often take on three of their main stage productions each season and do them in two weeks each, with big stars. I learned so much, how to prioritize and how to get the job done with not too much money and a staff of mostly kids. I worked there throughout the 1980s, but after Nikos passed away, I chose to not work there and wanted to take more time for myself in the summers.”

New Makita 18V Cordless Oil Pulse Driver

toolguyd.com: Glen wrote in with a tip about Makita’s new 18V DTS141 cordless brushless oil pulse impact driver. Calling this an impact driver isn’t perfectly accurate, as the driver doesn’t have the same basic hammer and anvil driving mechanism design as other impacts. It’s more of an impulse driver, which is a name that could definitely grow on me.

How The Creators Of "Orphan Black" Manage All Those Clones

Co.Create | creativity + culture + commerce: The second season of the BBC America show Orphan Black moved with such breakneck speed that it's hard to remember everything that happened. Allegiances were switched, motives were made clearer, people who were good guys were really bad guys and vice versa. Fans also found out a lot more about the nefarious DYAD Corporation and the experiment that brought Sarah Manning (Tatiana Maslany) and her clone sisters to life. Oh, and in the finale we were introduced to an entire new set of clones, who were militarized males that all looked like creepy cult follower Mark Rollins (Ari Millen).

The Voice of the Arts

AST Exhibits: Who is the voice of the arts in your town?

After graduating college, I went to work at a commercial classical radio station in Houston Texas. The call letters were KRTS and we advertised that we were the voice of the arts in Houston. It wasn’t just advertisement, we worked really hard to give the arts community a platform to be heard.

10 Tips for Eventprofs on the Road

blog.bizzabo.com: As an event organizer, we know that travel might as well be your middle name. From driving short distances in order to scope out potential venues for an event, to setting up shop in another timezone, to managing a corporate gathering halfway around the world, you’re most likely on the road a good amount of time each year. To help you limit the wear and tear business travel can have on body and mind, we’ve put together a list of travel best-practices for you to start incorporating into your routine.

: The call of the duck has gone unheeded. A little more than a month after opening, “Duck Commander Musical” is closing at the Rio’s Crown Theater. Its final show is to be May 17

Las Vegas Sun News: The call of the duck has gone unheeded.

A little more than a month after opening, “Duck Commander Musical” is closing at the Rio’s Crown Theater. Its final show is to be May 17.

Friday, May 01, 2015

Rose Brand Action Design Winners Announced

sightlines.usitt.org: Based on a beautifully designed, developed, and lit scenic environment, Team Autumn was voted this year’s winner of the Rose Brand/USITT Action Design Competition at the Cincinnati 2015 Conference & Expo. Votes were tabulated through the Rose Brand Instagram and Facebook pages.

No Place Like Prague for USA Exhibit

sightlines.usitt.org: USITT Prague Quadrennial 2015 USA, entitled The Vortex of Our Dreams, will be housed in the former nave of St. Anne’s Church near the foot of Karlov Most (the St. Charles Bridge) in the heart of the Old Town of Prague June 18 to 28.

Tickets On Sale Today for Seventh Annual Jimmy Awards

Playbill.com:

Tickets go on sale May 1 for the seventh annual National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA), which will be held June 29 at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre.

For tickets, visit Ticketmaster.com.

Also known as The Jimmy Awards in honor of legendary Broadway producer/theatre owner James M. Nederlander, the awards honor high school students from across America who will compete for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress awards.

Turn Your Dremel Tool into a Plastic Welder!

Make:: Several years ago, Make: contributor Matt Griffin and I were hanging out and he started enthusiastically telling me about a technique for friction welding plastic that he’d just discovered. He had learned about it in a video from the awesome Fran Blanche (she of Frantone guitar pedals fame). I still haven’t tried the technique myself, but it couldn’t be easier. You simple chuck some plastic rod into a rotary tool and the friction from the spinning plastic eventually melts it in contact with other plastic parts to form a decent welded bond.

What Theatre Taught Me

Breaking Character: What has theatre taught you?

It’s a broad question with a lot of potential, even life-changing, answers. Theatre has struck each of us so directly, so intensely, that we wondered how could you could give just one answer. But, we wanted to try.

So we went out to you – our actors, our playwrights, our directors, our theatre family – and asked the question. And indeed, you had answers. Beautiful, strong, moving answers.

Promoting Safe Rigging in the Entertainment Industry

blog.cmworks.com: On Friday, April 24th we celebrated #RigSafe day, an initiative started by the United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) to promote safe rigging in the entertainment industry. USITT asked companies to join the initiative by sharing rigging safety tips on social media under the hashtag #rigsafe.

17 Stunning Images Show Prima Ballerinas Balancing Motherhood With Their Dance Careers

www.huffingtonpost.com: Sixteen years ago, photographer mom Lucy Gray decided to create a series of images that would capture the experience of working motherhood. A chance encounter with a prima ballerina at the market led her to the world of the San Francisco Ballet and the dancers who balanced their onstage careers with their roles as mothers.

Katy Perry Sunflower Dress Sparks Controversy in China

Rolling Stone: Katy Perry sparked controversy in China after a recent concert in Taipei, Taiwan, where she donned both a Taiwanese flag and a sunflower dress, which many viewed as a pro-Taiwanese statement and expression of solidarity with the 2014 Sunflower Student Movement, E! reports.

August Wilson’s 70th birthday a grand celebration of Black culture

New Pittsburgh Courier: It’s fitting that the 2015 observance of August Wilson’s birthday took place at Downtown’s revived August Wilson Center for African American Culture. The evening’s program was a kaleidoscope of culture filtered through Wilson’s words, muse and how it moved those touched by his vision and interpretation; ultimately it was a celebration of the playwright and August Wilson’s women.

And Now, Some Important Historical Knowledge About Codpieces 

pictorial.jezebel.com: Stop whatever you’re doing because: incoming codpiece news. Hot codpiece scoop. Fresh codpiece facts.

The Guardian reports on the research of Victoria Miller, a current PhD candidate at Cambridge University. She’s writing her dissertation on military touches in 16th century civilian dress, but in a presentation for an upcoming conference, she’ll take some time to explain this most maligned of historical fashion statements.

Child Actors Win Appeal Claiming Bank of America Illegally Charged Fees

The Hollywood Reporter: In a class action filed by the parents of two young actors, Bank of America faces a challenge in the form of a old-Hollywood law made to protect the earnings of child stars. In an appellate decision on Monday, a California court ruled the bank violated the state's Coogan Law with service charges for the kids' bank accounts.

A Glimpse Inside The Secretive World Of Human Cannonballs

io9.com: Once she has lowered herself into the mouth of the cannon and slid down to the base of the barrel, Gemma “The Jet” Kirby performs a series of breath-synchronized movements that seem more suited to yoga or lamaze than to one of the deadliest stunts in circus history. This sequence is the culmination of hours of preparation, the final item on a human cannonball’s pre-flight checklist.