CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Review: Cast Like Magic

Prop Agenda: If you follow the world of cosplay props, you have probably run across the work of Folkenstal Armory. This Swiss cosplayer is known for her fantasy daggers and armor from games like Elder Scrolls and Skyrim.

She recently released an e-book, Cast like Magic: A Beginner’s Guide to Mold Making and Resin Casting. Only the original German edition is available in print.

On the Offensive

HowlRound: I am Caucasian American. I recently played a character with the last name Chang. My questions are: If I played the character as the ethnicity suggested by the name, would that be offensive? If I played the character close to my own ethnicity, would that be offensive?

The Beny Hands Free Level

Cool Tools: I have used The Beny for well over a year. The Beny’s ability to attach to several different building materials and give me a level and plumb reading while keeping my hands free has been invaluable. Over last year I have personally used this newly invented tool to rebuild the deck on our home, the stairs to that deck, and the rebuilding of our three season room.

Are Pay What You Will nights beneficial to theater companies?

Theater | Charleston City Paper: In 2006 the City Paper ran an article, "Pay to Play," about how Charleston's museums and theaters set their admission prices. The article referenced prices at Charleston Stage, where in 2006, a theater-goer could see a play for $25, and a musical for $35.

A decade later, those prices have increased. Charleston Stage's marketing director Beth Curley says that adult, general admission tickets to plays start at $30, and the highest price for a musical ticket can cost upwards of $65. What hasn't changed in the past 10 years, though, is Charleston Stage's Pay What You Will nights (now called PNC Pay As You Please), preview shows that ask guests to donate a minimum of $10 and more if they so desire.

He can't move on his own, but that doesn't mean he can't train master divers

LA Times: Dressed in a metallic-blue Speedo and well-oiled against the sun, Lenny Larsen reclines poolside in his power wheelchair. Larsen loves the midday warmth. A slight breeze musses his wispy blond hair.

Two divers, eager for his advice and counsel, wait at the foot of the one-meter springboard. Kevan Roche climbs on top and collects his thoughts before attempting a front 1½.

“Right foot, left foot, knee up high,” Larsen says. “You’ve got the steps, but where do I want your arms to be?”

AutoCAD User Interface | Classic

Tuesday Tips: The Autodesk engineering team sometimes receives requests, via the AutoCAD and AutoCAD LT feedback aliases, to restore the Classic workspace. These requests come from folks who feel the ribbon takes up too much room, or folks who just don’t like ribbons. The latest of these emails inspired me to write this week’s tips.

Emmys: Exploring the Hyperrealistic Soundscape of 'Daredevil' Season 2

Sound & Picture: As far as superheroes go, Daredevil seems like he would be the most approachable, like a real person. Even his ‘superpower’ is down to earth. Really, he’s just an extremely sensitive guy. After going blind as a child, Matt Murdock, aka Daredevil, acquired super senses, which he uses to help deliver vigilante justice to the scum of Hell’s Kitchen. The realistic approach the showrunners on Netflix’s Daredevil series take with the story is also how they approach the sound. Supervising sound editor Lauren Stephens and her team at Technicolor Sound carefully craft a soundtrack that is much like Daredevil himself — realistic and then some.

The Best Intermediate Sewing Machines

The Sweethome: After talking with two sewing machine dealers, a teacher, and seasoned sewers, we think computerized machines are the best bet for intermediate sewers and for beginners who know they love sewing and can invest a little more for features that will make learning easier. We spent 12 hours researching specs, reviews, and recommendations, testing several, and we think the Janome DC5100 offers the best combination of useful and versatile computerized features for a range of sewers. Plus it comes at a great price. But we have other picks for quilters, travelers, and anyone who wants dealer perks.

PETA Has Lost Its Monkey's 'Next Friend' In Its Crazy Copyright Case

Techdirt: The ongoing saga that is the monkey selfie lawsuit has continued to move forward, with the lawyers for photographer David Slater filing their brief in response to PETA's. As you probably recall, PETA had teamed up with a primatologist named Antje Engelhardt claiming to be "next friends" for the Indonesian macaque monkey named Naruto, who is alleged to have taken the following selfie with David Slater's camera.

Paramount leads 2016 Equity Jeff nominations

Chicago Tribune: Although only its second year of eligibility, the Paramount Theatre in Aurora again wowed the Joseph Jefferson Awards committee, blowing away competition from Chicago's long-standing musical houses. The Paramount can celebrate 14 nominations, including seven for its production of "West Side Story," four for "Oklahoma," a pair for "Hairspray" and one for "A Christmas Story: The Musical."

CM-ET Lodestar Classic Chain Motor Now IP Rated

Stage Directions: Columbus McKinnon improved their CM-ET Lodestar Classic electric chain motor. The motor now has an IP rating of 66, protecting it from dust and high-pressure water and making it ideal for outdoor use. And should something go wrong the motor has been redesigned to be easier to service.

A Party for 1.8 Million People: Minnesota State Fair

Wenger | J.R. Clancy: Known as “The Great Minnesota Get-Together”, the Minnesota State Fair is in the midst of its 12-day run that concludes Labor Day. Nearly 1.8 million people are expected to attend; it’s one of the largest fairs in the nation and dates back to 1859.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Equity Votes to Endorse Hillary Clinton for President

Actors' Equity Association News: In an historic decision, the National Council of Actors’ Equity Association (Equity), the labor union representing professional stage actors and stage managers, voted during its August meeting to endorse the Democratic nominee for President of the United States, Hillary Clinton. This marks the first time in Equity’s 103-year history that the organization has endorsed any political candidate.

A Polish Actor in an Irish Play on an American Stage

Clyde Fitch Report: In the future, when America is busy not building walls, hopefully it will still build bridges. Polish actor Robert Zawadzki surely feels the same way. He plays a deceptively difficult role in Owen McCafferty’s devastating play Quietly, running at Off-Broadway’s Irish Repertory Theatre (in a co-production with The Public Theater) through Sept. 25 — a character witnessing the trauma, and resolution, of hate.

Saying Complaints About 'Game of Thrones' Sexual Violence Are "Nonsense" Is Complete Bullshit

The Frisky: In yet another installment of Men Who Need To Take Remedial Women’s Studies, an executive from the U.K. broadcaster of the hit show thinks criticism of Game of Thrones’ sexual violence against women is “nonsense.” Way to alienate your audience, bro. After the Season 5 episode where Ramsay raped Sansa on their wedding night, many fans (including a U.S. senator) thought the show had finally gone too far. Gary Davey, managing director of content at the British TV network Sky, doesn’t agree.

2016 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Awards

New York Theater: “Mother Emanuel,” a celebration of the lives of the nine gunned down in a South Carolina church, and “The Radicalization of Rolfe,” which looks at the Sound of Music from the point of view of a gay Nazi, were two of the winners of the 2016 FringeNYC Overall Excellence Awards.

Podcast Episode 87 - Six-Time Tony Award-Winning Producer, Richard Frankel

The Producer's Perspective: When I was building my business, I looked around at other Broadway production companies to get ideas for the type of company that I wanted to have . . . from the products they produced, to the structure of the company, to the people and the partners.

And I always came back to Richard Frankel.

Designing a Dream Ride With AutoCAD

blogs.autodesk.com: Two years ago Hong Quan hopped on an e-bike and was hooked. Long-distance rides? Check. A better alternative to the commute for work? Check.

But Quan—who is also an avid cyclist—wasn’t hooked on the e-bike design. Many were just too clunky; he wanted the feel of a “real” bike. And the price tag of $4000-$8000? Outrageous.

How Accurate Is Microstepping Really?

Hackaday: Stepper motors divide a full rotation into hundreds of discrete steps, which makes them ideal to precisely control movements, be it in cars, robots, 3D printers or CNC machines. Most stepper motors you’ll encounter in DIY projects, 3D printers, and small CNC machines are bi-polar, 2-phase hybrid stepper motors, either with 200 or — in the high-res variant — with 400 steps per revolution. This results in a step angle of 1.8 °, respectively 0.9 °.

Become a Better Listener through Comedy Improv

Big Think: In Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration—Lessons from The Second City, Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton, executive vice president and CEO, respectively, of The Second City, address the importance of skillful listening in professional settings and demonstrate useful strategies drawn from improvisational theatre (improv).

Theatre DIY Don’ts: Don’t Get Too Complicated

HowlRound: After working so many long nights producing my own work and a lot of headaches helping others put their shows up, I have found that there is a good motto about simplicity. While some people like to use the phrase “keep it simple stupid,” I have found that it doesn’t encompass the whole theme. Sure, simplicity is a good motto for the theatre, but why? I will tell you this one phrase and I suggest you get a stone tablet and a chisel to forever engrave it in your life: “simplicity is sustainable.” And boy, did I learn this the hard way.

Diversity? Second City’s not kidding

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: With the debate over diversity in Hollywood growing louder, the conversation will shift toward the world of comedy with the announcement of the Diversity in Comedy Festival by Hollywood’s Second City comedy club.

The goal of the October event is to offer a stage for people of color, LGBT performers and other groups that may feel marginalized in the industry.

The Top 10 BFA Theatre Design & Tech Programs in the Country for 2016-17

OnStage: The end of August is usually a time where college seems to be on everyone's mind. Whether it's incoming freshmen getting ready to move into their residence halls or high school seniors preparing their applications, college is a constant discussion.

For theatre students, where you attend can certainly have an impact on your career with the type of training you receive. It's also important to note that while each school listed here is excellent, a college degree doesn't guarantee success nor is one required to become successful in this industry.

Watch a Helicopter Project a Video onto an Enormous Banner Towed by Another Helicopter

gizmodo.com: To help promote its Video Music Awards that aired last night, last week MTV employed a novel approach to aerial advertising. Instead of having a plane pulling a large banner, it used a pair of helicopters to create a flying movie theater that the Guinness Book of World Records has confirmed as the world’s largest aerial projection screen.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Pedagogy Notebook: Latin@ Theatre for Social Action in the Time of Donald Trump

HowlRound: “Through theatre, people are brought to life. Their hearts are exposed and the audience has access to their hearts, souls, and minds. It is as if these plays unveil the truths behind all the subjugated forces, which have prevented oppressed people to rise higher. Theatre gives voiceless people a place for social reflection and it can create a place for them to finally feel welcomed and acknowledged.”

The above quote is from an undergraduate student in my Latina/o Theater for Social Action course, a new course I taught at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

Convocation Sets Stage for a New Beginning

www.cmu.edu: Carnegie Mellon University faculty, administrators and upperclassmen welcomed the Class of 2020 at Convocation, and speakers encouraged each one of the first-year students to be themselves and to live with a purpose.

Vaasavi Unnava, CMU's student body president, told students they have arrived at a playground of inspiration and were now part of the same institution that was home to Olympian Nada Arakji, the late Nobel Laureate John Nash and the late Kevlar inventor Stephanie Kwolek.

Unnava asked the Class of 2020 if they want to witness change or choose to create it.

Così Fan Tutte: racial and sexual abuse should shock audiences, not the titillation

theconversation.com: The new production of Mozart and Lorenzo da Ponte’s classic opera Così Fan Tutte has attracted no shortage of controversy. After its premiere in Aix-en-Provence in France in July, the organisers of the Edinburgh International Festival wrote to all ticket holders offering a refund “due to the adult nature of some of the scenes” and its unsuitability for younger audiences.

In a Perfect World: Part Two

Dimmer Beach: Last week I left off talking about how you may have rolled off one gig and headed straight on to another gig. Let’s pick it up right there, shall we?

You are coming home from one gig and your next one is prepping.

Guess what? You should be in the shop to prep.

Kanye West's new tour features an incredible flying stage

Business Insider: Kanye West surprised his fans at the kickoff show of his new "Saint Pablo" tour in Indianapolis on Thursday night by performing on a small stage that was raised 15 feet in the air and swaying above the crowd, according to Rolling Stone.

Fans in attendence were initially shocked to find the Bankers Life Fieldhouse arena lacking a stage before the show was scheduled to start.

Manufacturing Ramshackle and Distressing “Fences”

Rosco Spectrum: For Fences at Arizona Theatre Company, Scenic Designer Vicki Smith and Charge Scenic Artist Brigitte Bechtel presented to us an opportunity to help create a set that needed to look grungy, worn and real, with rusting metal, peeling paint on wood, tattered pavers and aged brick.

Why Broadway Needs More Non-Musicals

OnStage: On September 4th, Broadway will undergo a brief period of time, in which there will be only one non-musical that is still running on Broadway. Following the closings of An Act of God and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, The Humans – the recent winner of the Tony Award for Best Play – will be the only show left on Broadway that is not a musical.

It should be noted that this period will be very brief, as the closings that I refer to will be followed by quite a few other shows opening that same month. So this isn’t to say that this is something we can expect to last for a lengthy amount of time.

A Light in the Dark: Mental Illness & the Arts

OnStage: In recent history, Broadway has accumulated its fair share of shows that deal in the theme of mental illness. From “Next to Normal” to “Dear Evan Hansen”. From “Spring Awakening” to “The Light in the Piazza, the theatre community of late has made mental health a deservedly important priority in their storytelling. Whether it’s Diana Goodman’s struggle with schizophrenic bi-polar depression or the uphill battle with dementia depicted in “The Father”, the theatre community has unquestionably aided in the exploration and normalization the plight of mental illness. In placing characters struggling with these afflictions at the forefront of their storytelling these works have played an indispensable role in humanizing a population and de-stigmatizing their conditions.

Quickly, Tell Me About The Rules For Non-Profits

Arts Hacker: It can be difficult to communicate the different legal regulations that non-profits operate under in order to help people understand what your organization can and can’t do.

Non Profit Law blogger and attorney, Gene Takagi created a Non Profit Law 101 for Journalists which provides a quick summary of the basic regulations under which 501 (c) (3) organizations need to operate.

‘Fargo’ Makeup Artist Keeps Cast Looking Just Right in Cold Climate

Variety: Kennedy is a native of Calgary, the shooting location for both seasons of FX’s episodic spinoff from Joel and Ethan Coen’s 1996 cult classic film. That might be what allows her to keep smiling while she helps the actors, most from south of the border, try to control their chattering teeth.

“We all do our best to keep people warm,” says Kennedy, whose work on “Fargo” is up for an Emmy for outstanding makeup for a miniseries or movie.

Curtains go up in the yard of August Wilson’s boyhood home

New Pittsburgh Courier: Neither the cool, crisp evening air, the song of 1000 cicadas nor the flittering about of the occasional night flyer diminished the tension outside 1727 Bedford Ave., the childhood home of August Wilson, where the Pittsburgh Playwright Company made history by raising “Seven Guitars.”

By the play start time, the yard became a theatrical house and it was packed. In true August Wilson form, it was a lengthy play that no one seemed to mind as the magic spell created by perfect performances, a live chicken sitting under the fence, and the intermittent wail of a rooster kept the audience wrapped up and tucked in for the night.

Pinewood Studios employs resident therapist to work with cast and crew

Celebrity News | Showbiz | London Evening Standard: A BAFTA award-winning director and writer has opened the first on-set counselling service at Pinewood Studios, where some of Britain’s biggest movies were filmed.

Actors, writers and crew members in need of help will be able to access Paul Henry’s services whether they are there for just weeks working on big projects like Star Wars and other blockbusters or are permanent members of staff.

Friday, August 26, 2016

“Seven Guitars” at the Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre

The Pittsburgh Tatler: Only in Pittsburgh.

Only here could a small, scrappy theater company stage a production of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars in the very setting he had in mind when he wrote the play: the backyard of his childhood home on Bedford Ave. in the Hill district.

That home has sat tragically abandoned and decaying for decades. But rather recently, a local group, spearheaded by Wilson’s nephew Paul Ellis, began rehabilitating it and transforming it into the Daisy Wilson Artist Community, a center for artists and performers.

And, for just one more weekend, it plays a starring role in Mark Clayton Southers’s surehanded interpretation of the play.

What every summer stock theater (and every theater actually) should do.

The Producer's Perspective: There are hundreds of summer theaters across this country if not thousands. They all put up similar fare: Oklahoma!, Hairspray, and a mix of the old classics and the newer fare from the past few Broadway seasons. Their job is not to do new musicals, because, as much as we might like them to, it wouldn’t be good for their business model.

Hands-On the Shaper Origin: A Tool That Changes How We Build

Hackaday: I bet the hand saw really changed some things. One day you’re hacking away at a log with an ax. It’s sweaty, awful work, and the results are never what you’d expect. The next day the clever new apprentice down at the blacksmith’s shop is demoing his beta of his new Saw invention and looking for testers, investors, and a girlfriend. From that day onward the work is never the same again. It’s not an incremental change, it’s a change. Pure and simple.

This is one of those moments. The world of tools is seeing a new change, and I think this is the first of many tools that will change the way we build.

A Behind-the-Scenes Timelapse Captures the Extraordinary Physical Labor for the New Stop Motion Film ‘Kubo and the Two Strings'

Colossal: This fantastic timelapse gives a stunning behind-the-scenes glimpse of animators working on the set of the new stop-motion film Kubo and the Two Strings. The film is the latest movie from animation studio Laika, who previously made Coraline, The Boxtrolls, and ParaNorman, and is the directorial debut of Travis Knight who worked as an animator on all of their previous films. You can watch an even longer version here, and the studio made a similar timelapse for the Boxtrolls.

Timely Theater Recommendation: Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson

Hit & Run : Reason.com: Given the prominence of nationalist populism in this presidential election, the rock opera Bloody, Bloody Andrew Jackson is an appropriate artistic rendition of that notion. As it happens, my wife and I had the pleasure of seeing the American Shakespeare Center's high-energy production of the musical recently at the Blackfriars Playhouse in Staunton, Virginia. The show runs through November. We were quite amused by the fact that during the pre-show festivities the actors issued frequent warnings to the audience that the show is filled with f-bombs and other salty language. They weren't lying.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

This Is What Happened When 7 Animators Tried to Make a Video for the Same Song

The Creators Project: Seven different worlds dance to one tune in the 30 Seconds of Sound, a case study documenting the different ways humans think about music. Composer Simon Pyke charged seven young animators to visualize a short composition designed to be an "engaging piece with a feeling of narrative for people to respond to." Each animation is just 30 seconds long, but Pyke—well-practiced at crafting animation-friendly compositions for MTV, his own company Freefarm, and his brother Matt Pyke's group, Universal Everything—weaves a tapestries of moods and tempos for the artists to work with. "I intentionally tried to use sounds which weren't overly prescriptive to leave things open to interpretation," Pyke tells The Creators Project.

A Museum Dedicated to Miniature Architectural Models Opens in Tokyo

Colossal: Earlier this summer, Archi-Depot opened within Tokyo’s Shinagawa district, a warehouse museum dedicated to the storage and display of Japanese architectural models. Created by the company Warehouse TERRADA (previously), the cavernous space houses rows and rows of dramatically-lit miniature designs, many of which serve as the tiny precursors to some of the city’s top attractions such as the Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo International Airport, and the Asakusa Culture and Tourism Center.

Shaper Origin CNC Machine

www.blessthisstuff.com: DIY lovers rejoice, meet the remarkable Shaper Origin, the worlds first handheld CNC, a fusion of a computer with a power tool. The high-tech device gives you the precision of a computer combined with the flexibility of the human hand, allowing you to work with a variety of materials at any scale.

IATSE International Donates $10,000 to Support Louisiana Flood Relief Efforts

IATSE Labor Union, representing the technicians, artisans and craftpersons in the entertainment industry: In the wake of the devastation from the flooding in Louisiana, the IATSE International will donate $10,000 to Louisiana-based studio mechanics IATSE Local 478 to support their flood relief efforts.

The members of IATSE Local 478 have volunteered time, money, and resources to assist with flooded areas of southwest Louisiana. The money donated to Local 478 will be used to purchase supplies to aid in relief, recovery, and rebuild efforts.

7 More Women of Theatre History You Should Know

THE INTERVAL: In March I wrote the feature 7 Women of Theatre History You Should Know, but as I researched those women I knew I would need to write another installment. The more I read about one woman in the theatre, another interesting, little-known woman would reveal herself. As in the first feature, these seven women represent a range of talents and areas of theatre. They have written, directed, and/or started theatre companies. They have worked in New York and across the country. Their work reflects their individual experiences and has influenced the theatre as we know it today.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Close Your Eyes to Experience the Sound of a Digital Swamp

The Creators Project: A system of sound modules and flashlights replicates the natural chorus of insects, amphibians, birds and other swamp creatures in Belgrade-based artist Bojana Petkovic's Swamp Orchestra. Petkovic creates a “sound ecosystem” in which the exhibition’s visitors can explore “the realm of natural and artificial”—except, interactively, with 16 light sensitive sound modules, each reacting to a flashlight’s quantity of light.

End of Q1 Results for Broadway's 2016-17 Season.

The Producer's Perspective: The first sign that summer is sliding into the sunset is when the books close on the first quarter of the Broadway season. And they did just that this past Sunday.

Hard to believe that 13 weeks have flown by as fast as they did. Seems like just yesterday we were wondering who was going to win Best Musical at the Tony Awards.

Core Realty reaches agreement to acquire 31st Street Studios in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh Business Times: Core Realty, the Philadelphia-based company that is redeveloping the Macy’s building in downtown Pittsburgh, has reached an agreement to buy 31st Street Studios, the repurposed steel mill property in the Strip District that has operated as a key hub for Pittsburgh’s film and TV production industry.

Frozen Stage Musical Costumes

Fashionista: From the Queen Elsa costume that's been ubiquitous for the past three Halloweens (and counting), to grown-up cosplay, to the ear-worm "Let It Go" still haunting your every move, to even the Bridal Week runway, Disney's animated hit "Frozen" is still nearly as celebrated as it was in 2013 when it set box-office records. So it's no surprise that the highest grossing animated movie of all time would turn into a staged musical production — three, in fact — including one extravaganza at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California.

Origin Story: A Smart Router That Turns Virtually Anyone Into a Maker

Dwell: As the maker movement continues to take root, the personal technologies driving it are not only becoming more sophisticated, but also more practical and attainable. Case in point: Origin, a handheld CNC router that uses augmented reality to act as an “autocorrect for your hands.” From chicken coops to derby cars to drones—projects that have already been completed with Origin—the tool has proven itself to be versatile and intuitive to use. I visited the headquarters of Shaper, the San Francisco startup behind it all, to see it in action.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

With Elections Looming, FringeNYC Pitches the Political

Clyde Fitch Report: You’d think that during this crucial and excruciating election year, the 20th New York International Fringe Festival would be rife with entries reflecting the discombobulated mood of the country. You’d think that, and you’d be right to a degree. Of the 200 productions offered, roughly one-eighth — 26, to be exact — concern political and/or social issues.

The Perks of Student Health Centers You May Not Know About

lifehacker.com: Depending on where you go to college, there’s a good chance you shell out good money every semester for student health services. Those services and on-campus clinics include more than just quick visits with a nurse or doctor. You usually get loads of other benefits you’ll want to take advantage of.

A Dancer and an Illustrator Compare Creative Energies

The Creators Project: The daily life of an urban artist is an exercise in maintaining inspiration and balance. Jules Bakshi is a modern dancer, choreographer, and wellness professional who encourages empowerment and body positivity through her dance and fitness classes. Bakshi’s work is movement and vitality. Alelli Tanghal is a painter, illustrator, and art director at Doubleday & Cartwright, a creative agency with several clients in the world of professional sports. Tanghal’s work is to interpret movement and athleticism. The two New York-based artists met on the Vice rooftop to discuss creative movement, finding equilibrium between the personal and the professional, and the genesis of collaboration.

Actors' Equity Launches New Website

Footlights: Actors’ Equity has launched a new website, equityworksla.com. I wondered why a new website? After all, Equity already has a website and anyone in IT will tell you that maintaining a single website is easier and more efficient than two. The domain name was registered on May 18, 2015 – two days before voting ended in Equity’s national election. In other words, the domain was registered by Equity before Kate Shindle was elected as new President of Equity and Mary-Pat Green and Jeff Marlow were elected as new Western Region Principals. These wins were perceived as election upsets created, in part, by L.A.’s ballot box reaction to Equity terminating the 99-Seat Plan.

Giving Back Through ASCAP

Stage Directions: The man who composed the music and lyrics for the iconic Broadway shows Wicked, Pippin and Godspell, not to mention the forthcoming stage adaptation of the animated film Prince of Egypt with Alan Menken, has made quite a name for himself. Stephen Schwartz has won three Grammy Awards, three Academy Awards, and been nominated for six Tony Awards. He also loves to pass along his knowledge to those who could follow in his footsteps.

Monday, August 22, 2016

New Comic Book The Backstagers About High School Stage Crew

Playbill: American comic book and graphic novel publisher Boom! Studios has released a new series called The Backstagers, about the adventures of a high school stage crew.

According to Boom! Studios, the new series is billed as “an incredible yet earnest story” about a group of outcasts who find a place to fit in. The story’s central character, Jory, joins the stage crew at his new high school, and discovers an entire world backstage.

Broadway’s Dirty Secret: How an Artisan Turns Costumes From Riches to Rags

The New York Times: The nicest thing you can say to Hochi Asiatico is that his work looks like hell.

That’s because Mr. Asiatico is one of a small number of Broadway distressors, artisans who make costumes look beautifully bad. In the play “Eclipsed,” he turned a “Rugrats” T-shirt, worn by Lupita Nyong’o, into a sweaty rag that looked as if it had spent weeks forsaken in Liberia, where the play is set. Clint Ramos, who won a Tony Award for his “Eclipsed” costume design, said that Mr. Asiatico created “a history for a garment” that came across onstage as “organic and inherent.”

‘In the Heights’ casting controversy comes to Phoenix

www.azcentral.com: Every revolutionary work of art has its first draft. And in the case of “Hamilton,” the runaway Broadway hit about America’s first Secretary of the Treasury, that first draft is “In the Heights.”

Created by the New York-born Puerto Rican Renaissance man Lin-Manuel Miranda, “Hamilton” tells the story of the Founding Fathers through the musical vernacular of hip-hop and with a cast made up almost entirely by people of color. This year it won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, and the New York production is sold out months in advance.

Jonah Hill Says He Snorted Too Much Fake Cocaine on 'Wolf of Wall Street' Set, Had to Be Hospitalized

www.etonline.com: Even fake drugs can have real consequences!

Jonah Hill appeared on this week's Any Given Wednesday With Bill Simmons, where the War Dogs star opened up about his time filming the 2013 movie, Wolf of Wall Street -- specifically, the toll all the fake drugs he had to take had on his system.

Look Back at the Very First Playbill Bios of 11 Broadway Stars

Playbill: Before they were luminaries of the theatre, they were young guns making their Broadway debuts. Take a look at some of the biggest Broadway stars first appearance in a Playbill, which include little tidbits about their lives before achieving Broadway stardom—the kind of information that they’d never include later in their accomplished careers. Who spent time in the Texas pageant scene? Who was a radio DJ in Canada? Take a look at these Broadway stars’ first Playbill bios to find out.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Lionsgate Gets Judge to Revive Trademark Claim Over 'Dirty Dancing' Ad Spoof

Hollywood Reporter: Lionsgate is back on its feet in a lawsuit contending that TD Ameritrade ripped off a famous Patrick Swayze line from the film Dirty Dancing for use in one of the brokerage giant's advertisements. The film studio claims to own common-law trademark rights in "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner," and objects to a TD Ameritrade commercial showing a cartoon image of a man holding a piggy bank above his head with the tagline, "Nobody puts your old 401(k) in the corner."

Oregon Shakespeare Festival out to 'change the narrative' on race: Editorial

OregonLive.com: Citizenship is not the first modifier that pops to mind when considering a theater company. Entertainment, yes. Teaching, sure. But a stated social purpose that, among other things, amounts to zero tolerance for racism on and off its campus? It's happening now in Ashland, at the Oregon Shakespeare theater.

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at Little Lake Theatre

Theater Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City PaperWith a new school year just around the corner, there might not be a more apt show to see than The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, now playing at Little Lake Theatre. Based on the 1961 novel by Muriel Spark, this adaptation by Jay Presson Allen is itself a venerable classic, though the tale is arguably best remembered as the 1969 Oscar-winning film starring Dame Maggie Smith.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Pittsburgh production of 'Dani Girl' heads to Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: "Dani Girl" has been produced from Pittsburgh to Australia, and now it is crossing an ocean again. The musical by Carnegie Mellon alums Christopher Dimond (book and lyrics) and Michael Kooman (music) and directed by Stephen Santa for the Grandview (as in Mount Washington) Theater Group left for Scotland and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, with the first of eight performances starting Friday.

A new production gives the August Wilson House back to Seven Guitars — and Wilson himself back to the Hill.

Theater Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper: On July 27, shortly before dusk, Frank Hightower, a priest of Yemaja, the Yoruban deity of creativity, gathered in a circle the cast and crew of Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Co.’s new production of August Wilson’s Seven Guitars.

Monday, August 15, 2016

International Audience Attends ETC Workshop

Stage Directions: ETC’s bi-annual Workshop conference opened its doors this years to international guests. Industry dealers, reps and distributors from across the globe (more than 34 countries were represented) converged on Middleton, Wisc., for tours, social events and classes on rigging, consoles, lighting fixtures, architectural control, and more—along with keynote addresses from Fred Foster and Dr. Kevin Houser.

The 9 ¾ Most WTF Moments in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child

io9.gizmodo.com: Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is like pure Potter concentrate; that is to say, the plot twists come thick and they come fast, and they are all pretty much ridiculous. Here are the absolute craziest moments from the new play—some awesome, some outrageously horrible, but all of them completely insane.

New Sondheim musical – it’s a date.

The Washington Post: Last weekend, Stephen Sondheim, 86, demonstrated once again that he is a showman to the core. Speaking to a paying audience at the Glimmerglass Festival between matinee and evening performances of his “Sweeney Todd,” he let drop the projected opening date of his next musical, which has been under discussion for several years: it will open, he said, in 2017, at the Public Theater in New York. The Public Theater confirmed that the project was in development, but say that no set date has been confirmed for its performance.

Inside Ford's Drivable 'Escape the Room' Experience

www.eventmarketer.com: With its sights set on millennials, Ford in partnership with the I Love New York campaign, from June 24-26 offered New Yorkers a chance to participate in a groundbreaking automotive experience that blew the top off of traditional ride-and-drive events. Using Manhattan’s 35,000-square-foot Moynihan Station as its playground, the brand unleashed the first-ever drivable ‘Escape the Room’ event to 1,000 eager players for an immersive group gaming experience. EM hopped into the driver’s seat to get a firsthand look at this mind-bending adventure.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Feminism and Femininity in Broadway’s Waitress

HowlRound: Waitress, the new Broadway musical based on the 2007 movie of the same name, is as feminist as it is feminine. The show has received criticism asserting exactly the opposite, citing its pervasive femininity as something the show’s much-discussed all-female creative team should have managed to transcend.

Porchlight casting raises questions on the nature of 'authentic' theater

Bleader | Chicago Reader: I mention this because Chicago's Porchlight Music Theatre recently announced its own production of In the Heights. After what artistic director Michael Weber called an "exhausting audition process," the role of Usnavi was given to Jack DeCesare, whose roots, like Bleu's, turned out to lie in Italy. This makes him, in some eyes, a white actor who simply looks like he isn't.

Harry Potter Play sells two million copies in two days

New York Theater: The script of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts One and Two,” currently playing in London, sold more than 2 million print copies in North America in its first two days of publication. The play is described succinctly as “The Eighth Story. Nineteen Years Later.”

Saturday, August 13, 2016

First-of-its-kind production staged at August Wilson's historic home

NEXTpittsburgh: If you are a fan of modern American drama then you have likely seen a play written by Pulitzer Prize-winning Hill District native August Wilson. This month, audiences can experience an August Wilson drama like never before—when Pittsburgh Playwrights Theatre Company stages a first-of-its-kind production of Seven Guitars right in the actual backyard of the playwright’s historic childhood home.

Lin-Manuel Miranda's "In the Heights" is the latest battleground in the theater community's fight against whitewashing

Vox: Lin-Manuel Miranda may be Broadway’s current favorite son, but not even his influence can prevent one of musical theater’s most pervasive problems from affecting one of his hit musicals. Just a few months after a Hamilton casting notice drew debate because it explicitly encouraged nonwhite actors to audition, another of Miranda’s musicals — the Pulitzer-nominated In the Heights— is fanning controversy for the opposite reason: Chicago theater company Porchlight has given the lead role of Usnavi, which Miranda himself played in the original Broadway production of In the Heights, to a white actor.

Stage preview: Quantum leaps to the Spanish Golden Age

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: While Shakespeare was wowing the Brits in England in the late 16th and early 17th century, down south a ways in Spain, it was all about Lope de Vega. The prolific writer of the Spanish Golden Age lived 20 years longer than the Bard, to the ripe old age of 73, and he seemingly didn’t waste a moment of it. The poet and playwright lived a colorful life and is said to have written as many as 1,800 plays while perfecting the comedia, a genre that combines comedy and drama.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Theater Profile: South Coast Repertory

Breaking Character: Located in Orange County, California, Tony Award-winning South Coast Repertory offers more than a dozen plays on its stages each season, in addition to producing a nationally renowned new play festival. SCR, led by Artistic Director Marc Masterson and Managing Director Paula Tomei, is a professional repertory company with world-class creative teams and actors who work with local artists to create numerous award-winning productions. Since its founding in 1964 by David Emmes and Martin Benson — launched with a $17 rag-tag production of Tartuffe — SCR has grown to be what TIME Magazine hails as one of America’s top five regional theaters. It marked its 500th production with Amadeus in 2015-16.

Porchlight’s whitewashing of In the Heights narrator is a letdown for Latinx community

Bleader | Chicago Reader: When I first saw the lineup for Porchlight Music Theatre's 2016 season, I thought: Wow! This might be our chance. In September the theater will stage In the Heights, a Tony Award-winning musical by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes, set in a tight-knit Latinx community in New York's Washington Heights neighborhood. Born in Puerto Rico, I came to Chicago to make and see theatrical works like this—work that reflects my Latinx roots. I'm an ensemble member of Teatro Vista and The Other Theatre Company, which pride themselves on producing shows that tell the stories of the oppressed.

Terry award nominees announced

Branson Tri-Lakes News Entertainment: The nominees for the 3rd annual Branson Terry Music Awards were announced Tuesday afternoon at this year’s host venue, the Jim Stafford Theatre. The ceremony is set for Oct. 9. Beene, who is also a professional musician, started the awards nearly 40 years ago due to his love of country music and musicians who never seemed to get the credit they deserved. The Texas native conceived the idea for the awards while working for a radio station in Fort Worth, Texas.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Making Waves in Santiago de Chile’s First River Park

Rosco Spectrum: El Parque Fluvial Padre Renato Poblete (Father Renato Poblete River Park) is a public park located in Santiago, Chile that was renovated to recover the banks of the Mapocho River and form a calm lagoon that would permit a variety of water activities.

White Paper Wednesday: Wearables and the Performing Arts

AMT Lab @ CMU: In 2014, Google Glass had emerged as the leader in wearable technology available on the market. Today, while Google Glass has receded to the fringe of conversations about Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, wearables have re-entered the mainstream consciousness, and wide-spread adoption feels inevitable.

WIcreations Are Electric

Techie Talk: Leading Belgium based automations, engineering and scenic construction specialist WIcreations was asked by staging experts StageCo, working for Insomniac the production company, to produce key scenic elements of the main circuitGROUNDS stage at the 2016 Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) dance extravaganza in Las Vegas.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Scott Schwartz Responds to Public Outcry Against PRINCE OF EGYPT Casting: 'A Diverse Cast Was and Is a Priority'

www.broadwayworld.com: As BroadwayWorld previously reported, Bay Street Theater and DreamWorks Theatricals will present a premiere concert reading of the new stage adaptation of THE PRINCE OF EGYPT, book by Philip LaZebnik (writer of Mulan, Pocahontas) and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz (composer of Wicked, Pippin, Godspell). The cast for the concert includes Casey Cott as Moses; Stark Sands as Ramses; Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley as Pharaoh Seti; Marin Mazzie as Queen Tuya; Solea Pfeiffer as Tzipporah; J.C. Montgomery as Jethro; Ryan Knowles as High Priest Hotep; John Cariani as Aaron; Julia Motyka as Miriam; Joanna Howard as Nefertari; Desi Oakley as Yocheved; and Dakota Quackenbush as Young Miriam.

Audiences Behaving Badly? Depends on Whom You Ask

Selling Out: Talking, eating loudly and answering mobile phones: These are all behaviors that can be considered inappropriate for a theater audience. While some people prefer to speak out against audiences behaving badly, others — like Kit Harington, the Game of Thrones star who appeared in Doctor Faustus at London’s Duke of York’s theatre — suggest that criticizing young fans could kill theater.

I Entered the X-Men: Apocalypse Escape Room and Lived to Tell the Tale

io9.gizmodo.com: You’ve probably seen escape rooms advertised on TV or around your city. They’re interactive experiences that force a group of people to work together, solve clues, and get out of a made up scenario. It’s something you’d expect to do on a Friday night, not on the floor of a convention. However, to promote X-Men: Apocalypse’s Blu-ray release, Fox created the X-Men: Tomb of Apocalypse Experience for the floor of San Diego Comic-Con. And it’s pretty fun.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, Parts One and Two, the next Hamilton?

DC Theatre Scene: Typically readers of plays are drama students, theatre professionals, and other artistic nerds like myself. J.K. Rowling and friends have clearly shattered that barrier last weekend with publication of the rehearsal script of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child—Parts One and Two.

The road to The Road: The ABCs of National Tours Explained.

The Producer's Perspective: Broadway isn’t just on Broadway anymore. Thanks to the Broadway boom that started a couple of decades ago, Broadway is now “the longest street in America,” with Broadway shows playing performing arts centers and civic centers all over this country (and the world). Odds are, if you’re reading this blog and in the continental U.S., you’re within an hour from a National Tour stop of some kind, whether that’s a sit down of Hamilton or the non-union Grease (because isn’t there always a non-union Grease playing somewhere?).

Shakespeare, Once and Future American

AMERICAN THEATRE: A cast of thousands—5,000, to be exact—gathered for Hollywood’s biggest production of the year. They were not there to make a movie, though. Instead, they were assembled for an even larger live audience of “thirty-five thousand persons, including notables from everywhere,” who had come to witness a “stupendous open-air” performance of Julius Caesar as part of the commemoration of the tercentenary of Shakespeare’s death in April of 1916.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

‘Spamilton’: Behind the Scenes at Off Broadway’s ‘Hamilton’ Parody

Variety: Can’t get a ticket to “Hamilton”? Try “Spamilton,” the new spoof of the Broadway megasmash from the mind behind 30 years of “Forbidden Broadway,” Gerard Alessandrini. Variety dropped by a recent rehearsal for the show, which begins performances Tuesday night at the Triad Theater on the Upper West Side. Here’s what you need to know.

Basics of AutoCAD Blocks

The Hitchhiker’s Guide: What are the basics of AutoCAD blocks? Well, each AutoCAD block is a collection of objects (symbols and details) combined into a single object that you specify by name. There are simple methods for inserting blocks (from online sources or from your own designs), moving blocks, saving and retrieving blocks, and creating block definitions.

JR Installs Giant Athletes Interacting With the City of Rio

Colossal: French artist JR just unveiled two new works in Rio ahead of the 2016 Olympics that depict enormous athletes interacting with the city. The first depicts Cologne-based, Sudanese high jumper Mohamed Younes Idriss hurdling over a 25-story apartment complex in city’s center. “He missed out on qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics but he is there somehow,” says JR. The second piece is an unidentified diver suspended above the water in Rio’s Barra neighborhood.

Arthur Miller and Tennessee Williams, Reimagined

New Republic: The middle of the 20th century was a golden age for the American theater. Tennessee Williams wrote his first masterpiece, The Glass Menagerie, in 1944, towards the end of World War II, and A Streetcar Named Desire and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof both followed in the subsequent decade. Eugene O’Neill wrote his titanic mature works, Long Day’s Journey Into Night and The Iceman Cometh, during World War II, and each was first performed in the first dozen years after the war. And in the same period, Arthur Miller gave the world arguably his greatest works: All My Sons, Death of a Salesman, The Crucible, and A View From the Bridge.

Why Black Lives Matter, Especially to Broadway

Playbill: “We are a chorus of voices. We are singing for our lives.” Kendall Thomas, the Nash Professor of Law and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Culture at Columbia Law School, said it so simply. On August 1, countless members from the Broadway community came together in support of the Black Lives Matter movement. Through song, poetry, spoken word and movement, they demanded change because, well, they had to.

Monday, August 08, 2016

The Hidden Meanings Behind the Set Designs of the RNC and DNC

WIRED: Last night’s opening of the Democratic Party’s national convention was a little light on theatrics. That’s not to say it was stale. Sarah Silverman burned the Bernie-or-bust zealots. Cory Booker brought down the fire and brimstone. Michelle Obama’s oratory brilliance even impressed some Republicans. But even if you think Paul Simon singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” will turn out to be the defining moment of Campaign 2016, it didn’t exactly have visual flair.

RNC Makeup Artist - Jason Kelly Makeup Artist for Republicans

www.harpersbazaar.com: Paul Ryan has strong opinions about makeup. The Speaker of the House sat in makeup artist Jason Kelly's chair Tuesday morning before announcing Donald Trump as his party's presidential nominee at this week's Republican National Convention. Ryan had the beginnings of stubble—but he knew exactly what it'd take to get himself back into baby-faced shape.

‘Frozen, A Musical Spectacular’ Takes the Stage at Disney Cruise Line

Disney Parks Blog: Exciting news from the high seas today! For the “first time in forever,” the beloved animated hit “Frozen” is getting the Disney Cruise Line theatrical treatment as a new stage show exclusively aboard the Disney Wonder. “Frozen, A Musical Spectacular” debuts, along with a wave of new enhancements to the ship, on cruises starting Nov. 10, 2016, from Galveston, Texas.

The Terracotta Warriors: Soldiers by night, tourists by day

Chicago Scenic Studios: With the help of the Field Museum and Chicago Scenic, these six warriors visited nine Chicago sites in just 19 days. The #spotawarrior campaign - created to promote the Field Museum's new Terracotta Warriors exhibit - encouraged commuters and tourists alike to follow the Field's Twitter account and crack the clues hinting at the warriors' next destination.

Arena Group acquires Hong Kong based Ironmonger Marquees

Event Industry News: Global event supplier, Arena Group, has bought Hong Kong-based event production company Ironmonger Marquees, to create Arena Hong Kong, extending its Asian capabilities with a new office and hub in Northern Asia. Ironmonger Marquees was introduced to Arena Group in 2015 when the companies collaborated on the Art Central project in Hong Kong.

Sunday, August 07, 2016

How a Real Vietnam Helicopter Lands Nightly at the Epic Outdoor Miss Saigon

Playbill: “It is so forceful, it really takes your breath away,” says director Brian Clowdus. He’s not lying. The Serenbe Playhouse production of Miss Saigon is set in the secluded hills of Georgia, in a 1,000-acre residential and commercial community called Serenbe, located in Chattahoochee Hill Country. Audiences must find their way to the setting of Saigon’s Dreamland, deep in the woods where a shipping container lies in front of a dirt hill and a small pool of water. Off in the distance is a landing spot for the Huey helicopter once used in the Vietnam War and now flown by actual war veterans for the show.

‘Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812’ Shakes Up Broadway Seating

Variety: Broadway ticketbuyers expect seating charts to look a certain way: The stage is here; the audience is there. So when tickets went on sale for the $14 million Broadway production of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,” it elicited some bewilderment.

New rigging apprenticeship trialled in UK

IQ Magazine: Rigging experts from Blackout, UK Rigging, RTM Rigging, Production Services Ireland (PSI) and the NEC Group came together at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham late last month for a trial run of the UK’s new live event rigging apprenticeship.

Failure to Register LeBron James' Tattoo as Copyright Proves Costly

Hollywood Reporter: In an age where video games are increasingly indistinguishable from the real-life HD sporting events they recreate, attention to detail is vital — and a lapse of it may have cost a tattoo designer millions.

Jackson filmmakers carve niche in Miss. film industry

www.clarionledger.com: The Mississippi filmmaking community was shocked by the March death of Jim Dollarhide, whose company Imageworks laid the groundwork for independent filmmaking in Mississippi long before tax incentives brought productions to the state. But Dollarhide is still helping the Mississippi film community via his equipment, which was purchased by Jackson-based cinematographer Michael Brouphy a few months before Dollarhide’s death.

Make Your Own Font in Illustrator

swissmiss: Fontself lets you easily make your own font in Illustrator. Something I want to show my 10 year old

Oliver Stone asks moviegoers to power down phones—and leave them off

Ars Technica: We're all used to warnings and promos ahead of films, from candy-filled "let's all go to the lobby" sequences to a polite-yet-firm reminder to power phones off. Sometimes, those sequences get a cute touch-up (my favorite is probably this wild, vulgar parody from the Aqua Teen Hunger Force film), but starting this week, moviegoers can expect something a little darker—as in, a harrowing warning that sounds like it might have been written by Edward Snowden.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

When You Just Don’t Want To Do It, Ask Yourself These 7 Questions

Badass + Living: When I was in school, I had the chance to sit down with a designer who was a rising star with considerable credits to her name. I was in a demanding conservatory program and at a low point in my confidence as a young designer. It took so much courage to say to this person: “you’ve had such a varied career and such success, I’m struggling a bit with my time here. Do you ever wake up and not want to do it?” Her reply: “I’ve been lucky, I’ve never not wanted to do this a day in my life.”

Nine Things I Would Do Differently for My Finances and My Career If I Graduated Today

The Simple Dollar: This past May, a person that I have a lot of respect for graduated from college. This person has a ton of character and a ton of humor and warmth – he’s just one of those people that you want to have around you in life. A few days after he graduated, he asked me a very simple question: If you were in my shoes and graduating from college all over again, what would you do differently?

New Mattress Factory sculpture "Acupuncture" pierces the Pittsburgh skyline with light

NEXTpittsburgh: The newest public art installation at the Mattress Factory, Acupuncture, is made up of several large light rods that appear to pierce through the top floor of the popular museum. Designed by Hans Peter Kuhn, the permanent light sculpture has been 10 years in the making. The museum, known for bringing artists to Pittsburgh and featuring Pittsburgh artists who create unique, site-specific art installations, recently completed the fundraising, fabricating and planning for the piece that was lit up for the first time at the recent Urban Garden Party in June.

How ‘Cats’ Changed Broadway

Variety: After conquering Broadway, “Hamilton” will now try its hand at taking over the world — with upcoming productions in Chicago (this fall), L.A., San Francisco and London (in 2017). As it expands, Broadway’s latest juggernaut can follow a trail blazed by “Cats.”

Like monsters? You'll love the Guillermo Del Toro exhibit at LA County Museum

Boing Boing: I was unprepared for the magnitude and quality of stuff on display at LACMA's exhibition of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro's monster memorabilia collection. This just might have been the best museum exhibition I've seen.

Victory Gardens’ Ignition Festival of New Plays reignites

Bleader | Chicago Reader: Crap-shootishness is part of the charm of new play festivals, and with six scripts scheduled for readings, this one will necessarily have its share. But host Victory Gardens Theater has clearly taken measures to limit the downside variables. Ignition Festival’s opening-night offering, for instance, is by Greg Kotis, a former Neo-Futurist best known as coauthor of the eccentric Broadway hit Urinetown. (Of course, he also cowrote Yeast Nation, an awful thing set in the year 3,000,458,000 BCE, so maybe that’s not as reassuring as it sounds.) Kotis’s contribution is The Wayward Bunny (Fri 7:30 PM), in which a mystery writer undergoes a night of terror while searching for his missing son.

Friday, August 05, 2016

"Monkey Selfie" case headed to U.S. Court of Appeals

Boing Boing: In 2011 a crested macaque in Indonesia took a selfie using photographer David J. Slater's camera. After Slater claimed copyright of the photo, PETA sued on behalf of the monkey, claiming it was the copyright holder. But in January a federal judge tossed out the lawsuit, ruling that non-human animals are not allowed to own a copyright.

Earlier this week PETA filed an appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Whitewash ‘In the Heights’? Chicago, You Can Do Better

AMERICAN THEATRE: Last week, Chicago’s Porchlight Music Theatre released the cast list for its upcoming production of In the Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegría Hudes’s musical set in the predominantly Latino neighborhood of Washington Heights in New York City. Almost immediately, a number of people noticed that while a majority of the cast featured Latinos, the show’s lead and narrator, Usnavi—an immigrant from the Dominican Republic played by Miranda in the original Off-Broadway and Broadway productions—will be played by a white actor, Jack DeCesare. The creative team is also predominantly non-Hispanic white.

Teflon minimalism: The surprisingly sleek architecture of the GOP convention

LA Times: The stage at the Republican National Convention, inside Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, is built to hold multitudes. And by multitudes I mean a parade of complaints about Barack Obama and Black Lives Matter, appearances by the manager of the Trump Winery and a star of “Duck Dynasty” and blunt calls for Hillary Clinton to be thrown in jail.

There is a new CNC mill on the scene: Othermill Pro

DESIGN DIFFERENTLY: There is a new CNC mill on the scene: Othermill Pro. The new mill sports a higher spindle speed, faster rapids, and stiffer construction making it easy to precisely prototype the parts you design in Fusion 360. Unlike a typical CNC mill, the Othermill Pro is small enough to fit on your desktop, yet still powerful enough to mill aluminum, brass, Delrin, and other engineering materials at 0.001 inch precision.

Belay and Control Your Descent with the Munter Hitch

ITS Tactical: On today’s Knot of the Week I’ll be covering the Munter Hitch, which is mainly used as a friction device for controlling descents in a belay system, but can also be used for lowering a load under control or preventing a fall. A Munter Hitch is a primary knot to know within the spectrum of climbing knots and can facilitate belaying with nothing more than a good pear shaped carabiner and a climbing harness. One of the biggest benefits of the Munter is its reversibility, meaning that it can be pulled from either side and still work just as efficiently.

The "Probes" of Theatre

OnStage: When you're involved in theatre, you're going to hear a lot of weird terminology that you've never heard before. And let's be honest, sometimes we don't want to admit we don't know what they mean. Two such terms are the "probes of theatre", they are "sitzprobe" and "wandelprobe". If you've ever wondered what these terms mean, this column will tell you. Both these terms usually are put into play towards the end of the rehearsal process and are vital to be done before tech begins.

The Frightened Arrogance Behind “It’s Called Acting”

Howard Sherman: It is quite possible that, when the English stage was officially opened up to allow women to perform alongside men, most likely in 1660 when Margaret Hughes played Desdemona, some argued against it, on the grounds that young boys had been successfully been playing women for years, and if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. After all, only 30 years earlier, a French touring troupe met with disdain for daring to employ women, and even once English women were permitted to act, men did not immediately cease playing women’s roles.

Thursday, August 04, 2016

Ubu the King Hits Pittsburgh, One Night Only!

Pittsburgh in the Round: Chicago’s Rough House Theater is taking their production of Ubu the King on tour and will be in Pittsburgh for one night only as part of their 8 city tour! This Sunday, July 31st, Mike Oleon’s adaptation of Alfred Jarry’s 1896 Ubu Roi will be performed by a cast of puppeteers at Spirit Lounge in Lawrenceville. “We are really excited to be taking Ubu out on the road, and pumped to be coming back to Pittsburgh and Spirit in particular.” said Claire Saxe, Rough House Managing Director; Ubu performer & dramaturge. “Pittsburgh has such a great arts scene, it’s such a friendly, involved community of people. It is really a treat for us to get to step into that for a night, once a year.”

Landmark production of August Wilson’s ‘Seven Guitars’ mounted at his childhood home

New Pittsburgh Courier: August in August means Pittsburgh Playwrights Theater Company will present August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars” at the playwright’s boyhood home in Pittsburgh’s historic Hill District neighborhood each weekend in the month.

Capital Fringe 2016 winners and extended shows

DC Theatre Scene: New works by local playwrights and artists dominated the 2016 Capital Fringe audience-chosen awards this year, announced by Capital Fringe’s Julianne Brienza

What Is a Feminist Play, Anyway?: Getting Specific

WITOnline: Last year, playwright Elaine Romero put out an informal call for feminist plays. I wanted to participate, and as I looked at my body of work to select a play, I went into a bit of a tizz. What is a feminist play? Are all my plays automatically feminist just because I am a feminist? I’ve had that call for scripts in the back of my mind for a while, wondering what it means for my own work and for interpreting work generally. In this series of blogs, I will open that question up to the hive mind. What is a feminist play? Can a feminist play be written by a man? Does the main character have to be a woman? Does that woman have to be “good” or “right” or fighting for her rights or what, exactly, what? In starting to stir these questions in my own mind, I decided to go back to the source, and get a definition from Elaine Romero.

Cosplay as Storytelling: Adam Savage's Comic-Con 2016 Panel

Tested: For this year's Comic-Con panel, Adam is joined by costume designer Deborah Nadoolman Landis and cosplayer Jay Justice to discuss the love of costuming and cosplay. Enjoy this conversation about the power of costumes and the stories they reveal.

10 Shows that Stand Out at the New York Fringe Festival 2016

The Producer's Perspective: It’s August, baby! And that means right now, as I type, there are hundreds . . . hundreds of shows in the midst of rehearsals for this year’s New York International Fringe Festival which opens on August 12th.

But we’re not talking about hundreds of shows.

We’re here today to talk about ten. Just ten.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Jimmy.

The Producer's Perspective: I spent about fifteen minutes trying to come up with the right title for this blog. But how could I sum up what James M. Nederlander meant to this industry and to the people in it in a quippy 150 character blog title? There aren’t 15,000 characters that can sum up Jimmy Sr., the patriarch of the Nederlander family, who passed away on Monday evening, at the somehow-it-seems-too-young age of 94. The man built the Broadway that we know today.

Consortium Aims To Unlock 3-D Printing Potential

www.cmu.edu/news: From airplane parts to custom hip replacements, 3-D printing — also known as additive manufacturing — is changing how everything can be constructed. Carnegie Mellon University's NextManufacturing Center has created a consortium to bring together major companies and organizations in industry, the nonprofit sector and government to help unlock the huge potential of additive manufacturing in the United States. The center announced the consortium at a July 22 launch event on campus.

On the Normalization of Queer-themed Theatre

HowlRound: As a maker of plays about queer things, I’ve grown increasingly mistrustful of the trend toward homonormativity and sexual assimilation, a trend initiated by the gradual disremembrance of AIDS, and hastened further by the highly politicized pursuit of marriage equality. While the latter should certainly be celebrated as beneficial to those who seek its protections, the exaltation of traditionally heteronormative institutions is unsettling. These institutions are not wrong, but they seem to have propelled us with greater force down the potentially amnesic path that the writer Sarah Schulman ominously refers to as the gentrification of the mind. The erasure of identity, and its replacement by something more acceptably jejune, or in the case of queer theatre, more commercially palatable and “straight-acting.”

TDF Announces Sixth Season of Autism Theatre Initiative

Stage Directions: Theatre Development Fund continues their accessibility outreach with the sixth season of autism-friendly performances of Broadway hits. This season TDF will partner with The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, Aladdin and Kinky Boots to present shows in an autism-friendly setting for children and adults who are diagnosed on the autism spectrum disorder and their families.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

For versatile singer Groban, opportunities keep knocking

TribLIVE: Josh Groban didn't spend a long time studying theater at Carnegie Mellon University, but the experience was hard to forget. “I was there for about six months,” he says. “It was a really tremendous class. CMU is one of the top musical theater programs in the country. We were all the lead roles in our respective high schools. My freshman class had Leslie Odom Jr., who just won the Tony for ‘Hamilton,' Josh Gad (‘Frozen,' ‘The Book of Mormon'), Rory O'Malley, who's in ‘Hamilton,' Katy Mixon, who's in ‘Eastbound & Down.' “That was our class. We were all these weird, wunderkind misfits. We were all bound for special things.

'Sesame Street' is accused of age discrimination after firing actors

Business Insider: "Sesame Street" is in the middle of a controversy over age discrimination after firing three of its original cast members. Bob McGrath, who played Bob; Emilio Delgado, who played Luis; and Roscoe Orman, who played Gordon, won't be back for the upcoming season of the PBS and HBO children's show.

Opera Theater offers rare chance to see Strauss' minor masterpiece 'The Silent Woman'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Late in his life, composer Richard Strauss said “The Silent Woman” was his beloved opera that was “clapped into a concentration camp.” His librettist of choice, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, had died in 1929, and for a new opera, Strauss turned to writer Stefan Zweig, who was Jewish. Despite difficulties with the Nazi regime, Strauss fought and eventually got permission from Hitler himself to produce the opera in Dresden in 1935 and to include Zweig’s name on the program.

Senco FinishPro 18BMg Brad Nailer Review

homefixated.com: Few things compare to the sheer visceral pleasure of sinking a nail several inches into solid hardwood with the slightest curl of the index finger. Pneumatic nailers have a way of imbuing the user with power – increased by orders of magnitude – that few other tools can mimic. Sure, it’s a simple pleasure.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Stage review: 'Aida' cast hits the high notes for Pittsburgh CLO

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Pittsburgh CLO steps into new territory as it time travels to ancient Egypt, which provides the steamy backdrop for forbidden love in the “Aida” of Elton John and Tim Rice. The musical now at the Benedum Center introduces three new voices to the company, two of which have been heard here in other shows but never like this. Emmy Raver-Lampman, who played “Wicked’s” Elphaba in the national tour, delivers a powerhouse performance as Aida in PCLO’s first-time production of the musical.

InfoComm Connections New York Returns to Javits Center in Conjunction with NAB Show New York

InPark Magazine: After a successful collaboration in 2015, InfoComm Connections New York will again co-locate with the National Association of Broadcaster’s NAB Show New York, Nov. 9-10, 2016, at the Javits Convention Center in Manhattan. InfoComm organizers have announced an all-new program for Connections New York focused on collaboration, digital signage, education technology and corporate events.

Part of the Problem: Porchlight’s Casting of ‘In the Heights’

F Newsmagazine: Earlier this week Porchlight Music Theatre, a mainstay in the Chicago theater community, announced the casting for their much anticipated production of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s “In the Heights.” Aside from the problematic handling of this announcement by The Chicago Sun-Times — Hedy Weiss described the cast as “unusually ‘authentic’” — the casting statement was bound to cause an uproar: Porchlight cast a white actor in the central role of Usnavi — a Bodega owner who received his name from the first words his family saw coming to New York from the Dominican Republic (US Navy). As expected, the roaring has begun.

Lin-Manuel Miranda to Host PBS Arts Fall Festival

Variety: “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda will host the PBS Arts Fall Festival this year, beginning on October 21. The annual festival will kick off with Great Performances documentary “Hamilton’s America,” giving viewers a look at Miranda and his colleagues’ creative process during the three years leading up to the Broadway opening of the record-breaking musical.

Did three interns have to quit Oak Park Festival Theatre to improve working conditions?

Bleader | Chicago Reader: A life in the theater, on- or offstage, is so notoriously difficult that it's become romanticized. Young, aspiring actors and crew members expect long hours, late nights, and hard physical labor, all for little or no pay. It's the price of joining a profession that many in the industry say is still not well regulated, despite recent efforts.

MIT movie screen delivers 3D dazzle without the glasses

www.gizmag.com: 3D cinema might bring dinosaur jaws right up to your nose, but it's a wonder the great beasts don't just laugh when they see the oddball glasses on your head that makes the effect possible. A new advancement from MIT takes a well-known trick known as the parallax barrier and leverages it in a way particular to how we move our heads in movie theaters. A small prototype using 50 mirrors and lenses has been developed and, if researchers can advance upon the idea, glassless 3D viewing might just become the future of cinema.

Welcome to the Academy Rob Fernandez and Glen Payne

Harbor Picture Company : Harbor Picture Company: Harbor congratulates Rob Fernandez (Drive, St. Vincent) and Glen Payne (Blue Jasmine, Beasts of No Nation) for being among the distinguished artists invited to join the Academy’s Class of 2016.

AUGMENTED REALITY

Architect Magazine | 3D Technology, Design, Mobile Technology: Product photography plays a vital role in the Architecture and Design arena. Suppliers use it to showcase their product offerings and highlight key features and details. Architects and designers rely on it throughout the design process, as they work with clients, assess product options, and move from decision-making to specification.