CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Free your mind at the world premiere of Attack Theatre's Unbolted

NEXTpittsburgh: Holiday stress have you a bit unhinged? Don’t worry, because Attack Theatre is here to help us all get unbolted together.

For just three nights at Attack’s George R. White Studio in the Strip, prepare to “unbolt your chair” and “free your mind” during this world premiere production.

'Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas' shares a heartfelt message

TribLIVE: What would the holiday season be without a festive Christmas tree that is brightly lit and gaily decorated? Certainly not “splendiferous,” according to Fancy Nancy, the star of Vital Theatre Company's production of “Fancy Nancy: Splendiferous Christmas.” The stage show being presented Nov. 25 by Westmoreland Cultural Trust at the Palace Theatre is based on the best-selling picture book series by Jane O'Connor.

Stuff To Ponder: Expanded Approaches To Pay What You Want Pricing

Butts In the Seats: A few weeks ago economist Alex Tabarrok wrote about a strange “pay what you want” promotion a shoe company was running. It struck him and many commenters of the Marginal Revolution blog as a psychological experiment with a goal of getting most people to select the set middle range price.

Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra, musicians end strike

Pittsburgh Business Times: The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra announced Wednesday afternoon that it had reached a five-year deal with its musicians represented by the American Federation of Musicians Local 60-471 to end a strike that began Sept. 30. The PSO Board of Trustees approved the deal this past weekend, and a vote of the musicians Wednesday ratified the agreement.

The Underappreciated Art of the Hollywood Backdrop

hyperallergic.com: When backdrop painters were successful at their jobs, the filmgoing audience didn’t notice their work at all. From the 1930s, up to the emergence of CGI and higher quality photography, painted backings were an essential part of the cinema industry. However, the artists were barely credited, no matter how important their transformation of reality was to a film — whether a colossal painting that transported the viewer to an exotic locale or a fantastic mural for an entirely fictional realm.

A Sound Designer on The (Remarkable) Encounter

HowlRound: Some sound designers had seen Complicite’s simulcast from London, some knew the premise, and some knew the sound designers of The Encounter personally. But whatever your lead-in to the show, we knew that this was going to be an experience to remember. The articles that came out before the show opened at the Golden Theatre in New York City, and since, have focused on how the production is sound forward and sound centric, although none encapsulated the effect this would have on us. The Encounter is written, performed, and directed by Simon McBurney (with Co-director Kirsty Housley), the co-founder and artistic director of London’s highly collaborative touring company Complicite. The Encounter is a solo performance of the adaptation of the book Amazon Beaming by Petru Popesku, which tells the story of Loren McIntyre, a National Geographic photographer who in 1969 found himself among the people of the remote Javari Valley in Brazil.

Broadway's Most Urgent Play Was Made in a Day

The Creators Project: Each fall, The 24 Hour Plays puts playwrights, directors, actors and musicians through the ringer for a night of frenetic theater. Here’s how it works: everyone meets up at 9 PM the day before the curtain call, actors, writers, and directors group off into six different groups and go through props. The actors talk about scenes or roles they’ve always wanted to play. The playwrights stay up all night writing, and the actors and directors return the following morning, rehearse, run tech, and then, finally, perform six short plays to a packed audience. In any normal year, it’s a wild, emotionally charged theater. But this year’s Broadway performance, which landed just six days after the election, was more like a primal scream.

What Can Theatre Do? A Post-Election Colloquy

AMERICAN THEATRE: "Because things are the way they are, things will not stay the way they are," Brecht once wrote. We asked a wide cross section of the nation's playwrights and artistic directors—those who write plays and those who program them—how they are planning or intending to respond to the election of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency as theatre artists and leaders, and what they think theatre can do to shape and direct the national conversation.

How to Reboot a Holiday Classic

Chicago magazine | December 2016: When Ashley Wheater took over as artistic director at the Joffrey Ballet in 2007, he was shocked to discover the state of sets for the company’s long-running production of The Nutcracker. “The scenery was completely falling apart,” he says. “The drops for the snow scene and the second act were threadbare, the paint was falling off, and the wood was kind of rotten.”

USITT Invests $500K in Future of Theatre

Stage Directions: The United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) Board of Directors has committed $500,000 to increase the impact of some of the organization’s most important programs: Rigging Safety, Gateway Diversity, and Innovation Research Grants. “This significant investment increases our opportunity to advance three very different areas of the theatre industry, while reaffirming our commitment to our members and the future of entertainment design and technology,” said Mark Shanda, President of USITT.

Memo to U.S. Artists: Key on German Activism

Clyde Fitch Report: The American arts community — in responding to the coming Trump presidency — might take a cue from the activist diligence of cultural leaders in Germany. In early November, Berlin Akademie der Künste (Academy of the Arts) sent an open letter to Chancellor Angela Merkel. The missive urged her to seek immediate release of jailed artists in Turkey. The academy, founded in 1696, notes on its website that it is “one of the oldest cultural institutes in Europe. It is an international community of artists and has a current total of 400 members in its six Sections (Visual Arts, Architecture, Music, Literature, Performing Arts, Film and Media Art).”

Heart-Stopping Production Numbers Make Up For A Thin Plot In 'An American In Paris'

NPR: The new Broadway musical was inspired by the hit 1951 Hollywood musical starring Gene Kelly, with music by George Gershwin. Critic Lloyd Schwartz explains why he hopes a lot of people see the show.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Wonder Woman: Alison Vesely of “First Folio Theater”

WGN Radio - 720 AM: Our Wonder Woman for this week is Alison Vesely of First Folio Theater. Alison joined Frank Fontana in the Allstate Studio to talk about her groundbreaking career and her upcoming play, “Jeeves At Sea”.

UCSD Lays Off Entire Theatrical Production Staff

Playbill: The University of California San Diego’s Department of Theatre and Dance has laid off its entire production staff, 21 employees, and instructed them to re-apply for positions that, for some, will reduce their annual income by as much as 45 percent. All of the staff affected are “joint-staff,” who have worked on productions for UCSD, where they are employed, and for La Jolla Playhouse.

Design Meeting: My Old Man (and Other Stories)

HowlRound: Collaborators Jess Barbagallo and Chris Giarmo have been creating work together for a little over ten years, since they met as students at NYU’s Experimental Theater Wing. As card-carrying queers trained in dance and devised theatre methodologies, Chris and Jess have attempted to forge an aesthetic that borrows from straight avant-garde practice and gay theatrical innovation. Here they make preparations for Jess’s new play My Old Man (and Other Stories), which opened at Dixon Place in October 2016. My Old Man… functions like a short story collection concerning two hapless roommates in a dilapidated apartment complex—Barry (Drae Campbell) and Andrea (Emily Davis)—and the lovers and friends who visit their home. This conversation highlights the practical questions of making theatre, while addressing an increased public interest in the category of “trans artist.”

How Stephen Sondheim's Biggest Flop Became a Cult Classic

The Creators Project: People who know musical theater know that Merrily We Roll Along was one of the greatest flops in Broadway history. Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s 1981 show about finding success and losing your optimism closed after just 16 performances—to put that into perspective, Spider Man: Turn Off the Dark by Bono and The Edge, considered by many to be a flashy, hazardous failure, ran for a whopping 1,066 performances.

Resist Tr(i)umphalism with Theatergoing

Clyde Fitch Report: I am Nafiul Bahri. I was born in Queens, NY, and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh, for a short time, but I have lived in Staten Island for most of my life (13 years). I am currently a freshman at Hunter College with an undeclared major, although I am leaning towards the sciences and politics. Throughout my life, I have always had a deep interest in theater and acting. Not being the best in sports and music made me appreciate the role theater has in our human history and current world.

A brilliant Moby Dick from Lookingglass Theatre, now at Arena Stage

DC Theatre Scene: We are borne to the land; it is on land that we became human, and evolved. We hunted the beasts which fed us with the ground firm beneath our feet. We learned land smells, and what they meant; we came to read shadow and light, as it exists on land, and to use land’s many features as signposts and guidemarks. If danger came, it most often came at a distance; we could recognize it and, estimating its speed over the flat ground, prepare for it.

Race & Theatre: That Awkward Moment When You Realize Your Show is Racist

OnStage: One of theatre’s most wonderful features is its ability to breathe new life into old works. The downside is that sometimes these older works represent outmoded ideas and prejudices, particularly concerning race. As modern artists, how are we to respond when faced with potentially being affiliated with a show which contains racist content due to being produced at a time when such attitudes were common?

A Snapshot of Latinx Theatre in NYC

HowlRound: The Café Onda Editorial Board asked New York City theatremakers to think on the Big Apple’s landscape of Latina/o/x theatre on the eve of the Latina/o Theatre Commons’ New York City Regional Convening. What follows is a snapshot of the scene as experienced by Rebecca Martinez (director and theatremaker), Adriana Gaviria (Actor, Voice-Over Artist, Theatremaker and Creative Producer), and Christina Quintana (playwright and educator).

The Rover at CMU Drama

Theater Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper: Oh, how Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Drama loves to tease, showing us an austere wooden set — that Samuel Beckett would appreciate — at the opening of its production of The Rover. (If this company ever put on Waiting for Godot, you know the bare tree would blossom neon leaves, and the two vagabonds would be dressed in florescent sharkskin suits). Alas, the naked stage didn’t last long, as we were soon engulfed in CMU’s de rigueur phantasmagoria of sets, costumes and lights.

Phantom of the Opera Hits a Majestic New Milestone Today

Playbill: As Broadway‘s longest-running musical, The Phantom of the Opera breaks a new record with every performance. But the November 28 performance marks a special milestone: Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical, which opened January 26, 1988, plays its 12,000th performance—an achievement that would have been unthinkable to the Gershwins, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin, and Rodgers & Hammerstein, who worked at a time when shows rarely exceeded 1,000 performances.

NYC Passes First Freelancer Wage Theft Protections In The Nation

Gothamist: A day after it sailed through committee, a bill to protect New York City's freelancers from wage theft unanimously passed the City Council, setting the stage for Mayor Bill de Blasio to sign it into law.

The Freelance Isn't Free Act, which was first put up for consideration this past spring, creates harsh penalties for employers who delay or deny payment for freelancers and sets a strict window within which freelancers must be paid for their services.

"The Freelance Isn't Free Act will make sure all workers can get paid for their work, on-time and in full," said Council Member and lead sponsor Brad Lander.

PITTSBURGH ON BROADWAY

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: What a strange sight we must have seemed, even in a place where giant Elmos and a Naked Cowboy roam. Dozens of people clad in Pittsburgh black and gold were hugging and huddling before taking up a big portion of the Red Steps at the northern end of Times Square.

The scene included a mad dash by actors Marcus Stevens and Maggie Carr, Point Park University alums who made it just in time for a heartfelt rendition of the Pittsburgh anthem, "It's a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood."

Alterface and Jora Vision Join Forces to Develop New Interactive Attraction Concepts

InPark Magazine: Alterface and Jora Vision have recently worked together to develop new interactive attraction concepts for their customers. Both companies share the same creative vision on interactive and themed attractions which has led to these new concepts. Alterface is a global leader in interactive ride technology, headquartered in Belgium and Jora Vision is a leading design and production company in the international leisure sector, based in the Netherlands.

Monday, November 28, 2016

No, Mr. President-Elect, Theater Isn't Meant to Be Safe

Clyde Fitch Report: If serious theater doesn’t accomplish these aims, it fails. If serious theater exists merely to reassure people of their beliefs, if serious theater exists merely to be congratulate ticket buyers on entrenched behaviors, if serious theater exists merely to pat patrons on the back, if serious theater exist merely for safety, it adds nothing to a culture. Safe theater is useless theater.

Art is not an escape — it’s our most powerful weapon against apathy

Salon.com: The opening passage in Zadie Smith’s brilliant new novel, “Swing Time,” deals with two mysteries. First, the protagonist is wrestling with despair and distress from some public defeat and humiliation, unknown to the reader. Acting as an invitation, the assumption is that should the reader continue reading, eventually the details of whatever scandal has harmed her reputation will emerge. The second mystery is one of beauty, and forever insolvable. It is mystery of the power of art.

What can fans expect from parks' next generation of moving theaters?

www.themeparkinsider.com: Screen-based attractions take a lot of grief from theme park fans active on social media. But when it comes to the metrics that really matter — cost, attendance, and guest satisfaction — screen attractions in unique theater environments deliver for the parks that install them. Have you seen how many people queue for and rave about Soarin'?

Pittsburgh-set 'Nutcracker' production celebrates 15th anniversary

TribLIVE: Some Christmas traditions date back many centuries, most originated in the Victorian era, but “The Nutcracker” ballet became a fixture of American Christmas celebrations only in the 1950s and '60s.

Now it would be hard to find a city that doesn't offer live performances of “The Nutcracker.” The ballet's popularity has made it the most lucrative production of the year for ballet companies. It also has provided the opportunity for many choreographers to try their hand at telling the story of a girl's magical Christmas Eve.

Seeking Equity In Theatre, Fighting Wrong With Wrong Won’t Go Right

Arts Integrity Initiative: Anyone claiming that there is equity or equality – by gender, by race and ethnicity, by disability – in the American theatre would have to be willfully ignoring the evidence. The Dramatists Guild’s The Count showed that only one in five plays produced in the U.S. is written by a woman. The annual survey of performers on Broadway issued by the Asian American Performers Action Coalition most recently showed that only 22% of Broadway performers in 2014-15 were people of color. The executive summary of a study of leadership in LORT theatres by gender states that at no time have more than 27% of leadership roles been held by women. Define your universe, choose your metric, and it seems quite clear that whites, particularly white men, remain in the majority.

CMU grad Rory O'Malley savors Broadway life

TribLIVE: From Mormon to monarch, Carnegie Mellon University grad Rory O'Malley may have the monopoly on depicting the best comedically conflicted characters on Broadway.

In “The Book of Mormon,” he was the Tony Award-nominated sexually stifled Elder McKinley, gay and anything but carefree.

Now, as King George III (the fourth to take the role) in the revolutionary Pulitzer Prize-winning “Hamilton,” O'Malley excels as the English scepter-bearer who isn't fazed a bit by the disapproval of Colonials.

Radical Theatre in Poland

HowlRound: After three years of honing my craft, debating theories about theories, and running in circles within the concrete bunker of artistic incubation that is CalArts’ graduate directing program, the momentum with which I departed shot me 5,863 miles across the globe to Poznań, Poland, for the 2016 Malta Festival.

Horror accident at Cirque Du Soleil after three-time Olympian gymnast plummets to the ground during trapeze show

Mirror Online: A three-time Olympian gymnast has been seriously injured after falling during a trapeze show at the Cirque Du Soleil circus.

Lisa Skinner, 35, lost consciousness after falling from about five metres during the show in Brisbane, Australia today.

Controversy In Russia Over Holocaust Ice Dance Routine

Pollstar: Tatiana Navka, who is the wife of Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, and dancing partner Andrei Burkovsky, appeared in Saturday’s episode of “Ice Age” dressed in striped uniforms bearing yellow six-pointed stars and heavily made-up to look bruised and frail.

Pantos are vital for audiences and artists alike

WhatsOnStage.com: Pantomime has, essentially, been privatised over the years. What was always a moneyspinner – Christmas being the one time of year when families head to the theatre en masse – retains its rich pickings, but the shows that used to bolster the coffers of regional reps are, these days, more likely to be found playing at the large receiving house down the road. If you want a reason for the historic decline of regional theatre over the years, look no further than that.

Ok Go's latest music video was filmed in four seconds

www.dezeen.com: A series of digital triggers set off several hundred events in the video for Ok Go's The One Moment, which was filmed in just four seconds.

The video for the band's new track was directed by lead singer Damian Kulash, who wanted to create a literal visual representation of the song's title.

Kidsburgh: Young Playwrights Festival at City Theatre Company

NEXTpittsburgh: The contemporary theater scene’s next generation of talented playwrights is gearing up to debut their award-winning original works for public audiences at City Theatre Company.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

McMahon High School Could Fund Theatre But Won't

OnStage: Just as is the case with many high schools across the country, theatre at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, CT is unfunded by the school. Now before you get all up in arms about a school not supporting theatre, understand that high school budgets can be complex. Funds need to be allocated to cover not only expenses and salaries but also repairs to facilities and new educational materials. However, even with the way funds need to be allocated at the school, the theatre program isn't asking for much. In fact, a recent Gofundme campaign stated that they are only looking for $15,000 to cover the expenses for the next 5 years. That's $3,000 per year, not exactly a king's ransom and the amount is quite significant for reasons you see in just a moment. While there are certainly places where McMahon needs to spend their funds, there is one blatant way the school could fund its theatre program but won't.

Nemacolin chef creates life-size gingerbread house

TribLIVE: The sweet, gingery scent wafting across the lobby of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort's Chateau LaFayette is enough to make a mouth water and a stomach rumble. Visitors follow their noses to a vision of a walk-in bakery built from gingerbread, icing and candy. The pastry team at the Fayette County resort, near Farmington, has for years constructed holiday houses, a train, even a castle out of gingerbread.

‘Avatar’ Theme Park: Walt Disney World New Attraction

collegecandy.com: Remember the magical world of Pandora from the 2009 movie Avatar? Flexible blue people, enormous trees, floating mountains and a magical forest are some of the highlights. If you thought this place could only exist on screen or in your imagination, think again–you’ll be able to visit it next summer at Walt Disney World‘s Animal Kingdom.

Assisted Suicide: a musical that asks us to think critically about the portrayal of euthanasia

theconversation.com: Earlier this month, Colorado voters approved a ballot that made it the fifth state to legalise physician-assisted suicide (excluding Montana, which allows it via court ruling). Discussions around this issue are understandably fraught.

At a time when legalisation is becoming more common, it’s now even more important that we consider how the debate around assisted dying is framed.

Mike Pence Responds to ‘Hamilton’ Cast Statement

Variety: Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s demands that the cast of “Hamilton” apologize to Mike Pence for its statement on Friday, the future vice president took a much more measured approach to the incident on Sunday.

“It was a real joy to be there,” Pence told Chris Wallace in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “When we arrived, we heard a few boos and we heard some cheers and I nudged my kids and reminded them, that’s what freedom sounds like.”

Friday, November 25, 2016

Fathom Events to Launch ‘Nutcracker’ Performances For Autistic Customers

Variety: Fathom Events is partnering with the Autism Society of America to bring alternative content to autistic customers, starting with the Bolshoi Ballet’s performance of “The Nutcracker” on Dec. 19, Variety has learned exclusively. The one-night, sensory-friendly event — which mirrors AMC’s nine-year-old program — provides for the lights to be raised and the audio lowered. Audiences will not be expected to stay quiet or in their seats, so those on the spectrum and their families can feel comfortable in the movie theater, allowing patrons to dance along with the ballerinas on screen, shout, sing, move around the room and express themselves however they like.

IAAPA Announces 2016 Brass Ring Award Recipients

InPark Magazine: The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) presented the 2016 IAAPA Brass Ring Awards on Nov. 16 during IAAPA Attractions Expo 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The annual honors were awarded to amusement parks, water parks, zoos, aquariums, museums, family entertainment centers (FECs), and suppliers from around the world to acknowledge excellence in food and beverage, games and retail, human resources, live entertainment, marketing, new products, and family entertainment centers.

Ritz Theatre

afterthefinalcurtain.nete: The Ritz Theatre in Carteret, New Jersey originally opened on September 1, 1927. According to an article in “The Carteret Press,” which ran the the week before the opening, “it [was] the first modern theater to be erected in the borough and is up-to-date in every respect.” The 1,000 to 1,200 seat Ritz (accounts on the number of seats differ) was designed by local architect John Gliva. It was a vaudeville and silent film house until September 1928, when a Western Electric sound apparatus was installed to allow for the showing of “talkie” films.

Atlanta neighbors join forces to change the game for independent filmmakers

New Pittsburgh Courier: In August of 2015, Tris Sicignano; a New Orleans native, and Klarque Garrison were two Atlanta neighbors trying to figure things out. With years of experience in the entertainment industry the two teamed up to create a revolutionary new streaming network; Surge Television. Tris, after beginning her career in television at the age of 16 working for the local PBS station in New Orleans and then taking a break from the industry in her mid twenties, yearned to return to the industry. That is when Tris teamed up with neighbor Klarque Garrison, who found success as an entrepreneur with his streaming radio network, Survival Radio Network (SRN). SRN boasts thirty-four radio programs and over a million listeners.

ACTRA Backs SAG-AFTRA Video Game Strike

Variety: The Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists has backed SAG-AFTRA’s month-long strike against video game companies. “All of ACTRA’s 23,000 members from across Canada stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers at SAG-AFTRA as they take job action until they can negotiate a reasonable deal for their Interactive Media Agreement,” said ACTRA President Ferne Downey in a statement issued Tuesday

Nemacolin chef creates life-size gingerbread house

TribLIVE: The sweet, gingery scent wafting across the lobby of Nemacolin Woodlands Resort's Chateau LaFayette is enough to make a mouth water and a stomach rumble. Visitors follow their noses to a vision of a walk-in bakery built from gingerbread, icing and candy. The pastry team at the Fayette County resort, near Farmington, has for years constructed holiday houses, a train, even a castle out of gingerbread.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

McMahon High School Could Fund Theatre But Won't

OnStage: Just as is the case with many high schools across the country, theatre at Brien McMahon High School in Norwalk, CT is unfunded by the school. Now before you get all up in arms about a school not supporting theatre, understand that high school budgets can be complex. Funds need to be allocated to cover not only expenses and salaries but also repairs to facilities and new educational materials. However, even with the way funds need to be allocated at the school, the theatre program isn't asking for much. In fact, a recent Gofundme campaign stated that they are only looking for $15,000 to cover the expenses for the next 5 years. That's $3,000 per year, not exactly a king's ransom and the amount is quite significant for reasons you see in just a moment. While there are certainly places where McMahon needs to spend their funds, there is one blatant way the school could fund its theatre program but won't.

How To Bring Your Story To Life –With The Bare Necessities

Rosco Spectrum: When you’re retelling a classic, you need to make sure you portray the story and the characters properly, while also making sure that the familiar scenes are lively and stimulating to capture the imagination of an audience. Lighting designer Jordan Green achieved all of that in his design for the United States premiere of of Dzsungel Könyve, a Hungarian musical adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s classic The Jungle Book that was produced by Gooseberry Park Players in Moorhead, MN. What we found most compelling was how he accomplished most of the major design elements using only Rosco gels and gobos.

A Cybernetic Dance Performance Explores the Future of Humanity

The Creators Project: Truly cybernetic humans are probably very far off, but this isn’t stopping people from worrying about the bridging of the human body and technology. In Convergence, a new interactive dance performance by students from the UK's Backstage Academy, a dancer explores a friction that is, in their opinion, rendering the human form “increasingly obsolete.”

The Art of the Impossible

HowlRound: I talk a lot about the necessity of a horizon: a dream so grandiose it may not come to fruition in your lifetime. It’s your impact—how your identity and intention expand beyond you. Mine is to see the artist rise as game-changer. Not merely the art itself, or artists as celebrities, but what makes the art and artists magnets: the artistic process. The process of play, of risk, of imagination, of creativity, of collaboration, of timelessness, of ritual, of “what if”, of observation, of curiosity, of vulnerability, of empathy.

The Real Competition Is Inaction

Butts In the Seats: As he often does, Seth Godin is speaks right to the arts and culture industry when he suggests that we welcome an environment where there is a lot of activity similar to our own rather than viewing it as competition.

USITT Names 2017 Distinguished Achievement Winners

Stage Directions: Every year USITT recognizes a select few members whose careers have advanced the performing arts and live entertainment industry. This year, USITT will recognize professional rigger Rocky Paulson, lighting designer Fred Foster, costume designer Liz Covey, sound designer Rick Thomas, scenic designer Santo Loquasto, production stage manager Joseph Drummond, and educator John Conklin with the USITT Distinguished Achievement Awards. The winners will be honored with events leading up to and at USITT’s 2017 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in St. Louis March 8-11.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

IATSE Local One Donates $875,000 to Actors Fund

Stage Directions: The membership of Local One of IATSE, the theatrical stagehands of New York City and the oldest entertainment Union in the United States, approved a five-year financial commitment of $875,000 to support the programs and services of The Actors Fund.

Judge Allows Bid to Free "We Shall Overcome" From Copyright

Hollywood Reporter: A group of plaintiffs have overcome the first major hurdle in a lawsuit that aims to establish that the unofficial anthem to the Civil Rights Movement is not really under copyright protection. On Monday, a New York federal judge rejected a publisher's bid to dismiss, ruling that the plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that lyrics in the first verse of "We Shall Overcome" were copied from material in the public domain and that there's been a fraud on the U.S. Copyright Office.

A.C.T. Launches Residency Program at Strand Theater

Stage Directions: The American Conservatory Theater launched a new residency program called The New Strands Residency. The Residency aims to give emerging and established playwrights the opportunity to create and develop new works in residence at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater. Each year, A.C.T. will partner with a nationally recognized new-work incubator to select three playwrights, who will spend a week in San Francisco. Over the course of their residency, the playwrights will participate in a reading of their work, develop and workshop their plays-in-progress with directors and a shared ensemble of actors, and sit on various panel discussions.

American Theatre Artists: Don’t Throw Away Your Shot

AMERICAN THEATRE: On Friday night, Vice President-Elect Mike Pence walked into the Richard Rodgers Theatre for a performance of Hamilton and was booed by the audience. These were the boos heard round the world, including by President-Elect Donald Trump, who tweeted multiple times about the incident

‘Avatar’ Theme Park: Walt Disney World New Attraction

collegecandy.com: Remember the magical world of Pandora from the 2009 movie Avatar? Flexible blue people, enormous trees, floating mountains and a magical forest are some of the highlights. If you thought this place could only exist on screen or in your imagination, think again–you’ll be able to visit it next summer at Walt Disney World‘s Animal Kingdom.

TAME./Shrew: Three women talk about facing the Bard's troubling play head on

DC Theatre Scene: WSC Avant Bard is presenting a world premiere and critics have lavished praise on its playwright. “Jonelle Walker’s vivid, artfully unnerving TAME. is a retort to Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew,” raved Celia Wren in The Washington Post. (The title of the play, by the way, is all caps and ends with a full-stop.) “Trust me that this is a 5 star play,” Kelly McCorkendale concurred on DCTheatreScene.com. I read with interest a blog-post that Walker wrote for the Avant Bard web page. In it, she spoke about the importance to her that the production team working on her play inspired by Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew be predominately female.

Yes, Theatre Is Supposed To Be A Safe Space

Bitter Gertrude: Vice President Elect Mike Pence attended a production of Hamilton on Friday and was booed by the audience. At the end of the show, the actor playing Aaron Burr, Brandon Victor Dixon, gave a very polite speech from the stage urging the audience to stop booing and telling Pence that they were grateful for his presence and that the diverse cast and crew were understandably anxious about whether they would be protected under a Trump/Pence administration, urging Pence to support “all Americans.”

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Assisted Suicide: a musical that asks us to think critically about the portrayal of euthanasia

theconversation.com: Earlier this month, Colorado voters approved a ballot that made it the fifth state to legalise physician-assisted suicide (excluding Montana, which allows it via court ruling). Discussions around this issue are understandably fraught.

At a time when legalisation is becoming more common, it’s now even more important that we consider how the debate around assisted dying is framed.

Beams of Light Illuminate a Medieval Gothic Cathedral

The Creators Project: The interior of York Minster, one of the largest cathedrals in Europe, was crafted by stonemasons in medieval times. Now, centuries later, the main nave of the building was complemented with a vast light installation. LightMasonry by Jason Bruges Studio recently paid homage to the work of the highly skilled masons and carvers using beams of choreographed light.

Drone Community Abuzz at Goldstar’s Venue Tours

Selling Out: We’ve written about our FlyBy Seating Chart initiative on this blog, and our efforts to reimagine the seating chart.

With the help of a camera-equipped drone (and its skillful pilot), we’ve been filming FlyBy videos inside and outside some of our partner venues. The videos capture the real-life experience of being at the venue, from entering the lobby to sitting in different sections and more.

The Bard in Africa: A Proof Test of Universality

AMERICAN THEATRE: For centuries, Shakespeare’s plays have easily accommodated shifts in cultural fashion, from the happy ending tacked on Romeo and Juliet in the 18th century to Laurence Olivier’s ultra-Freudian Hamlet in the 20th. Granted, both of those were pretty terrible ideas, but they demonstrated Shakespeare’s ability to speak to the values and anxieties of any age. And he needn’t necessarily even speak in his own tongue: The 21st-century fashion is for multicultural Shakespeare, as exuberantly showcased in 2012 at London’s World Shakespeare Festival, which ran the gamut from The Comedy of Errors performed in Dari Persian to King Lear recast as a Belarusian folktale. These productions shift the focus from Shakespeare’s language to his stories and his largeness of spirit.

American Theatre Wing's Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative Announces University Scholarships

Stage Directions: The American Theatre Wing, through its Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, has launched its first annual application period for 4-Year Partial University Scholarships. The Scholarships can be used at an accredited private or public university or college in the United States. Each of the scholars will be provided with scholarships of up to $10,000 towards their course fees, renewable for four years so long as a minimum GPA of 3.0 is maintained.The deadline to apply is January 20, 2017, with final notifications made by April 2017.

Monday, November 21, 2016

“Pop!”-Up Theater Extends Venues and Audience Experiences

urban excavations: “I wanted people to just be able to happen upon it and see something weird and go: what was that?” Dramaturg Kelly Kerwin reflected recently on her temporary “pop up” performance festival. POP! comes at a pivotal career stage, and was funded by the Bly Creative Capacity Grant, a two-year-old initiative hosted by the Literary Managers and Dramaturgs of the Americas.

Saved by my Audience

HowlRound: When I applied to be the Artistic Director of Merrimack Repertory Theatre, this is what I pitched: I would take the Audience Immersion program that I had started at Geva Theatre Center—which we only did for a few shows a year—and expand it to be the way the entire theatre operated.

We’d work to have the community be at the center of the organization, the way we think of artists. We’d offer free childcare for each production, create partnerships with local universities to workshop new plays in front of their theatre students, and most importantly, we’d implement my audience immersion program, the Cohort Club.

3 Best Places to Get Free Resume Templates to Supercharge your Career

www.lifehack.org: A resume is an important requirement when one is looking out for their dream job. You should use real good resumes to emphasize accomplishments and highlight specific skills.

One should specify accomplishments at a job rather than their day to day responsibilities at the job, as it will be easy for an employer to judge the capability of the applicant. There are seveal other aspects to look for before giving your resume the final cut.

Maybe Microsoft Isn't Ignoring Musicians After All

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: As a lifelong musician, at first I felt slighted by Microsoft's newfound emphasis on creativity.

The upcoming Surface Studio desktop is a clear nod to visual artists, with a massive touch screen for sketching, painting, and graphic design, while the knoblike Surface Dial peripheral seems perfect for tool selection in Photoshop. Both devices will be buttressed by the Windows 10 Creators Update, which includes new programs for 3D modeling and drawing. Those announcements seemed to leave musicians out of the picture, so I asked makers of music software and digital audio devices whether Microsoft had been neglecting them.

Performance of 'Hamilton' in Chicago disrupted

Chicago Tribune: An audience disruption took place at the Saturday evening production of "Hamilton" at the PrivateBank Theatre in downtown Chicago.

According to audience member Brea Hayes of Batavia, who was at the performance, an audience member seated in the front of the balcony shouted profanities and election-related political statements after the cast sang the line, "Immigrants / We get the job done," which is part of the show's "Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)" number.

That lyric is among the most overtly political references in the show and generally gets a big reaction from the audience.

The Upshot of ‘Billy Lynn’: Movies and Virtual Reality Don’t Mix

Variety: “Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk” is the most accomplished and provocative movie in a long time that ever went down as a debacle. From the moment it premiered at the New York Film Festival in October, it has been viewed by media culture as a colossal misfire, a highbrow “Ben-Hur,” a movie no one seeking a good night out at the movies would want to go near. Now that the film has opened wide and the numbers are in, the dire reaction seems complete: No one wanted to go near it.

Mike Pence Responds to ‘Hamilton’ Cast Statement

Variety: Despite President-elect Donald Trump’s demands that the cast of “Hamilton” apologize to Mike Pence for its statement on Friday, the future vice president took a much more measured approach to the incident on Sunday.

“It was a real joy to be there,” Pence told Chris Wallace in an appearance on “Fox News Sunday.” “When we arrived, we heard a few boos and we heard some cheers and I nudged my kids and reminded them, that’s what freedom sounds like.”

A New Model of Female Producers: The WP Lab

HowlRound: We are the five producers of the 2014–2016 WP Lab, a two-year residency offered by WP Theater (formerly known as Women’s Project Theater) in New York to 15 female-identifying playwrights, directors, and producers. The Lab was established in 1983 for directors; it expanded to include playwrights in 1994 and again for producers in 2006. It provides professional and artistic development through mentorship, networking among Lab members and within the larger theater community, entrepreneurial and leadership training—and perhaps most importantly—tangible resources for the development and production of bold new work for the stage.

Stage preview: Holiday tradition 'A Christmas Story' dances onto the Benedum stage

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: For 15 years, the 24-hour marathon of “A Christmas Story” has been destination TV for holiday revelers. It’s back again this year, beginning at 8 p.m. Dec. 24 on TBS — but you can get your fix this week at the Benedum Center.

Ralphie and the gang have been doing double duty since 2009, when “A Christmas Story, the Musical” debuted in Kansas City, on its way to a 2012 stop on Broadway.

Hedy Weiss: 'Hamilton' might have moved Pence more sans lecture

Chicago Sun-Times: By now the news has spread far and wide about how both the Broadway and Chicago productions of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton” became the site of “protests” from both sides of the political spectrum in recent days, with the audience, as well as the actors (in New York), tinkering with “the fourth wall.” So here are a few of my thoughts about the whole thing. They are bound to irritate some and, I hope, make others think about the best way to move forward — not only to curtail “copycat” incidents in the theater, but also to affect developments far beyond the theater in the coming months.

When Hamilton actor appealed to Mike Pence, theatre showed its strength

The Globe and Mail: Theatre is a live art form – and, as such, it’s subject to alteration and improvisation and intervention at any given moment. Actors don’t have to stick to the script – and neither do audiences. This is something that has scared certain people, particularly those in power, over the centuries.

Challenging Perspectives on Auditions for the Differently Abled

HowlRound: In May 2016, Red Theater produced Chicago’s first ever Unified Access Auditions. We identified and invited performers who are differently abled to audition for a room of prestigious casting directors and theatre companies. It was a terrific experience for all involved. Performers got callbacks, and directors left determined to be more inclusive in their upcoming season selection.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

New exoskeleton takes injury-prevention to the max

newatlas.com: Earlier this year, California-based suitX announced what it claimed was the world's most affordable mobility exoskeleton, the Phoenix. Designed for disabled users, it utilizes motors to move their legs for them. Now, the company has unveiled a non-motorized product that could make a lot of other peoples' lives easier – it's time to meet MAX, or the Modular Agile Exoskeleton.

Give the Gift of DIY with These Kits and Tools

lifehacker.com: Sometimes, the best gift you can give is the ability to make something completely new. For the DIYer in your life, a solid new tool, starter kit, or organization tool will make them as happy as can be.

Two arrested during student-debt protest at University of Pittsburgh

Blogh: University of Pittsburgh police arrested two people Thursday night after a protest against student debt and president-elect Donald Trump on Pitt’s campus turned violent.

According to Pitt spokesperson Joe Miksch, the students were charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and trespassing after they “attempted to enter Litchfield Towers lobby after being asked by university police to not do so.”

Building a better corset – with 3D printing

newatlas.com: Scoliosis is often treated by having the patient wear a corset-like spinal brace, to help guide their curved spine back into proper alignment. Typically, in order to make these braces, a plaster mold of the wearer's torso must first be obtained. As with so many other things, however, 3D printing tech may now offer a better alternative.

How Broadway is fighting for diversity under Trump

Business Insider: With its work on behalf of Hillary Clinton, help for victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings, and the hit hip-hop musical "Hamilton," Broadway got quite political in 2016.

It might seem that the Great White Way was more involved in politics than ever before, but that's not exaclty so.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Why aren't more women centre stage?

WhatsOnStage.com: Here are some blunt statistics. Last year, actresses made up 39 per cent of the casting on our stages, women directors were responsible for just 36 per cent of the productions, and women writers for 28 per cent of the plays, according to the Sphinx Theatre Company. This is marginally better than in 1983 when of 1024 productions surveyed only 11 per cent were written by women (mainly a single woman called Agatha Christie) and 2006 when only nine per cent had a female brain behind them. But it is still quite a long way from gender equality.

Several Hundred SAG-AFTRA Picketers Hit Insomniac Games

Variety: In its third action in a month-long strike, as many as 400 SAG-AFTRA members picketed video game producer Insomniac Games at its Burbank offices on Thursday.

“This is the membership saying to the companies, ‘We want a fair contract,’ ” SAG-AFTRA president Gabrielle Carteris told Variety. “What they offered a month ago is not a fair proposal. That’s why we’re here today.”

Women’s Leadership in Residential Theaters Study Now Finished

Stage Directions: In 2013, American Conservatory Theater partnered with the Wellesley Centers for Women to conduct a research study titled “Women’s Leadership in Residential Theaters.” The study meant to find out why so few women hold the top leadership positions in nonprofit theatres, and what could be done to increase that number. Preliminary findings were presented this past fall at various conferences, and the full results will be released this December.

Finding the Common Room

HowlRound: Thank you so much. I am so honored, and humbled, and happy to be with you all tonight. Thank you so much to the Steinbergs for their wild, uncommon, extraordinary generosity. The reason I write plays instead of poetry is simple—it’s for actors—so I can hear them sing prose and vault it up into the ether, making it into poetry. So, thank you so much to all the actors who came tonight and performed, and to Todd London and James Bundy for speaking. Your eloquence and friendship are a gift.

The Play is the Thing: I REMEMBER MAMA

Breaking Character: An actor rarely gets an opportunity to recreate a role. My good fortune is to have accomplished this several times before the recent production of I Remember Mama, so I feel blessed. Earlier in my career I played in Brighton Beach Memoirs, A little Night Music and Company with three different companies all across America. But the chance to do I Remember Mama again was unique in that we had most of the original cast and the original director. Revisiting the script after a two year hiatus with the same wonderful actors was a special treat. We bring the same truth, but a second look offers a deeper, wiser and more confident work ethic to the script.

The Sea

Pittsburgh in the Round: Moments of bewilderment, outrage, psychological unraveling and genuine misery collide in unanticipated ways to create the peculiar experience of watching Pittsburgh Playhouse’s Conservatory Theatre Company’s adaptation of Edward Bond’s The Sea. Set in 1907, in an idyllic English harbor town, the play seeks to function as an exoskeletal reimagining of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, a majestic portrayal of deception—as is so commonly a trope of Shakespeare’s endeavors—that is caged in a very real yet very metaphoric tempestuous, calamitous storm. Cabot’s The Sea uses the elements of subterfuge and the premise of a fated marriage-to-be, but the verisimilitudes are not so apparent that they congest the flow of Cabot’s piece or the reception of the play.

Give the Gift of DIY with These Kits and Tools

lifehacker.com: Sometimes, the best gift you can give is the ability to make something completely new. For the DIYer in your life, a solid new tool, starter kit, or organization tool will make them as happy as can be.

“Ghost” and Hollywood whitewashing

Memes of the Right Brane: Masamune Shirow’s anime series Ghost in the Shell is the latest to be made into a live-action feature film by director Rupert Sanders (due out in 2017). Unfortunately, the significance of such a groundbreaking work being developed for live cinema is being overshadowed by an unfortunate element of Hollywood film-making generally referred to as whitewashing.

Yes, All Men (Need to Listen): Making Room for Womanhood in the American Theatre

HowlRound: The cursor taunts me.

Like a constant, maniacal wink that whispers, “Write something. I dare you.”

As a young playwright, I want to confront my opponent and litter this white canvas with black tic marks that will hopefully translate into a play. I look for inspiration from new plays written by fellow women playwrights like Dana Lynn Formby and Kristiana Rae Colón. Much like Formby and Colón’s work, my personal experiences of womanhood color my thoughts and flood into my plays.

A Playwright-Director Completes His Election-Year Trilogy

Clyde Fitch Report: In much the same way that Anton Chekhov established himself as the literary archivist of late-19th and early-20th-century Russia, playwright-director Richard Nelson has completed an achievement easily remarkable enough to establish him as a chronicler of our own era. On Election Night 2016, his Women of a Certain Age opened at The Public Theater in New York, concluding a trilogy — which began with Hungry and What Did You Expect? — about a middle-class Rhinebeck, NY family. With these plays, Nelson beautifully illustrates how one particular American family stratum lives in our day and age.

'Star Trek' Fan Film Lawsuit Boldly Goes Where No 'Star Trek' Lawsuit Has Gone Before

Hollywood Reporter: On Wednesday, a federal judge was told that while Paramount Pictures and CBS have produced a "limited number" of Star Trek television episodes and films, "they do not not own a copyright to the idea of Star Trek, or the Star Trek universe as a whole."

The proposition comes from Alec Peters' Axanar Productions, which put out on YouTube a 20-minute "mockumentary" titled Prelude to Axanar and was in the midst of pursuing a feature-length version touted as a professional-quality Star Trek fan film before being hit with a copyright lawsuit.

Still Understanding Secondary Ticketing

Pollstar: Lack of transparency and incomplete ticket information makes it impossible for customers to actually know what or from whom they were buying. Huddleston asked: “eBay owns StubHub, and Ticketmaster also owns two secondary ticketing organizations. Doesn’t that just smell odd?” McAndrew replied that the relationship between primary and secondary sellers “does concern us. What we commonly see are primary tickets still available to be purchased, but people buying tickets at inflated prices from the secondary marketplace. And it’s caused by this confusion, and it’s caused by the linkage between the two partners.”

Two arrested during student-debt protest at University of Pittsburgh

Blogh: University of Pittsburgh police arrested two people Thursday night after a protest against student debt and president-elect Donald Trump on Pitt’s campus turned violent.

According to Pitt spokesperson Joe Miksch, the students were charged with aggravated assault, resisting arrest and trespassing after they “attempted to enter Litchfield Towers lobby after being asked by university police to not do so.”

12 Peers Theater announces 2017 season

'Burgh Vivant: 12 Peers Theater announces their sixth season featuring the continuing Modern Myths Podcast; Will Eno’s Thom Pain (based on nothing); Anne Washburn’s Mr. Burns, a post-electric play; a benefit performance of Nassim Soleimanpour’s White Rabbit, Red Rabbit; and Mythburgh, a new site-specific performance series.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Building a better corset – with 3D printing

newatlas.com: Scoliosis is often treated by having the patient wear a corset-like spinal brace, to help guide their curved spine back into proper alignment. Typically, in order to make these braces, a plaster mold of the wearer's torso must first be obtained. As with so many other things, however, 3D printing tech may now offer a better alternative.

Review: ‘Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812,’ on the Heels of ‘Hamilton’

The New York Times: The Imperial Theater, where the rapturous musical “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” blazed opened on Monday night, has never looked more imperial — or felt more intimate. Who would have guessed that Dave Malloy’s gorgeous pop opera, adapted from a slice of Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” would land on Broadway with all its signal virtues intact, and in some ways heightened?

Wenger Corporation Completes Secoa Acquisition

Stage Directions: Wenger Corporation, a global provider serving the performing arts, music education, and athletic segments, finished its acquisition of Secoa. Wenger first announced its intent to purchase Secoa in October. The purchase of Secoa is aimed to allow Wenger to “offer the most comprehensive integrated project solutions in the performing arts market.” Wenger previously purchased J.R. Clancy in 2011.

What It’s Like to Make It in Showbiz With Your Best Friend

The New York Times: They met at 18, the worst dancers in a college ballet class, and sought refuge in a basement practice room, taking a first stab at songwriting with a tune about adolescents playing hooky and footsie at a suburban diner.

They went viral before going viral was a thing — their undergraduate years coincided with the birth of Facebook, and the first song cycle Benj Pasek and Justin Paul wrote, called “Edges,” was discovered, shared and performed by musical theater majors around the country.

Microsoft targets architects and designers with Surface Studio

www.dezeen.com: Tech company Microsoft has unveiled a hinged computer designed to turn from a desktop into a digital drawing surface.

Microsoft Surface Studio is on show at Autodesk University event in Las Vegas this week, following its launch last month.

6 Plays That Reckon With an Anxious America

The New York Times: Journalists and pollsters may have been caught off guard by the election of Donald J. Trump. Maybe they should have gone to the theater more.

Here’s a look at six recent plays — four you can see now in New York, two to read, and all of them favorites of our critics — that reckon with the lives of working-class Americans and others facing economic anxiety.

How Broadway is fighting for diversity under Trump

Business Insider: With its work on behalf of Hillary Clinton, help for victims of the Orlando nightclub shootings, and the hit hip-hop musical "Hamilton," Broadway got quite political in 2016.

It might seem that the Great White Way was more involved in politics than ever before, but that's not exaclty so.

Pregnancy Prompted Closing of ‘Shuffle Along.’ Should Insurance Pay?

The New York Times: Audra McDonald’s pregnancy was a surprise. But was it an accident, an illness or neither?

That is the question the producers of the Broadway musical “Shuffle Along” are asking a court to decide as it demands that an insurance company, Lloyd’s of London, compensate the show for what it says were more than $12 million in damages. The show closed in July, four months after performances began, when Ms. McDonald, who was 45 at the time, became pregnant, and the producers decided they could not continue once she went on maternity leave.

To Urinetown, With Love

@ This Stage: My high school boyfriend broke up with me in a Barnes & Noble Starbucks a few days after my mom and I saw Jesus Christ Superstar. He delivered the bad news, we said goodbye in the parking lot, and I turned right back around and made my way to the CD section in the back of the store to camp out beneath a Free Listening Device. That icy January night, I cued up “Everything’s All Right” from Jesus Christ Superstar and held on tight, sensing that a hurricane of heartbreak was coming for me in the night.

Transgender Playwrights: ‘We Should Get to Tell Our Own Stories First’

The New York Times: “I would love to see more trans stories by trans people in every theater,” the playwright MJ Kaufman said. “That’d be great.”

Kaufman, a transgender writer who foregoes honorifics like Mr. or Ms., just might get that chance. The playwright uttered that wish while sitting in an atrium across the street from Lincoln Center on a recent weekday morning, drinking coffee and noshing on a blueberry pastry. Also present for a discussion of gender and performance were Basil Kreimendahl and Jess Barbagallo, two other transgender playwrights.

They Won’t Remember You: Shuffle Along, Revivals, and Reconstructing the Theatrical Past

HowlRound: Toward the end of Shuffle Along, or the Making of the Musical Sensation of 1921 and All That Followed, a gossip columnist taunts the creators of the original musical, sneering “they won’t remember you” as the group sees their past successes slip away. And indeed—for much of the century that’s ensued since Shuffle Along first debuted to rapturous success in 1921, that’s been the case.

Making PROGRESS: Program Aims To Help Students Become Better Negotiators

www.cmu.edu/news: Despite efforts to help close the gender wage gap, women still continue to be paid less than their male colleagues. A new program at Carnegie Mellon University wants to help change that through the art of negotiation.

The Program for Research and Outreach on Gender Equity in Society (PROGRESS) aims to improve society by helping women and girls improve their skills in diplomacy and bargaining, said Ayana Ledford, executive director of the nonprofit.

Free Tickets for Community College Students, Part 2

HowlRound: On November 4, 2015, I had the privilege of taking my class to see Second Stage’s performance of Invisible Thread by Griffin Matthews, directed by Diane Paulus through their Second Generation program. Most of my BMCC students had never seen a play before and this was the first time they were introduced to the world of live theatre.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

New exoskeleton takes injury-prevention to the max

newatlas.com: Earlier this year, California-based suitX announced what it claimed was the world's most affordable mobility exoskeleton, the Phoenix. Designed for disabled users, it utilizes motors to move their legs for them. Now, the company has unveiled a non-motorized product that could make a lot of other peoples' lives easier – it's time to meet MAX, or the Modular Agile Exoskeleton.

Portraying Identity With Color

Rosco Spectrum: Lighting Designer Brandi Pick used Rosco Color Filters to portray the different identities of actress Gena Rowlands for a dance piece entitled Gena Gena! at East Carolina University. See how she used her color choices to convey a distinctive mood for each “scene” as the dancers explore the evolution of Rowland’s personality.

New Matter's MOD-t 3D printer - low price, excellent printer

Boing Boing: About 5 years ago, I bought a simple 3D printer*. It cost only $400, but it was fussy and the software was hard to use. The printer bed needed frequent adjusting, and the printed parts would get stuck to the printer bed. The overall quality of the prints was just OK, not great. Even with all of its finickiness and shortcomings, I found it useful for making simple repairs of stuff that broke around the house.

This Disney Drone Light Show Looks Like a Beautiful Alien Invasion

sploid.gizmodo.com: Drones are all the rage, but Disney has taken it to the next level with this synchronized drone light show. Disney was given special permission earlier this month from the Federal Aviation Administration to use drones in its theme parks. I guess we finally know what it was for.

Vertigo

The Tartan Online: Last Friday night, as I sat in the very front row of folding chairs in Rangos and stared at the imposing "#VERTIGO" projected on the curtain, I quite frankly wasn’t sure what to expect. I'd never been to an a cappella performance in my entire life, and I’m a die-hard classic rock fan. Needless to say, I was a little apprehensive about my ability to sit through two hours of enthusiastic harmonizing.

Boy, oh boy, were those fears misplaced.

Free NYC Exhibit Celebrates Broadway and West End Theatre

News from the Tony Awards - TonyAwards.com - The American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards® - Official Website by IBM: "Curtain Up: Celebrating the Last 40 Years of Theatre in New York and London" is on display at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts (LPA) in Lincoln Center. The exhibit celebrates the coincidence of two anniversaries of the biggest awards for commercial theatre: 40 years of the Olivier Awards in London and 70 years of the Tony Awards® in New York. By telling the story of the plays and musicals that have won or been nominated for both Olivier and Tony Awards, Curtain Up explores the craft and collaboration that creates spectacular international theatre.

Dr. Strange’s whitewashing sadly not so strange, still damaging

The Tartan Online: In the weeks before its release, Marvel’s new movie Doctor Strange generated controversy and confusion surrounding its choice to cast Tilda Swinton, a white actress, in the role of The Ancient One, a character who was a Tibetan monk in the original comic series. Many people saw this casting choice as taking the role away from an actor of Asian descent and whitewashing the character.

‘Great Comet’ Broadway Opening: Josh Groban and Cast Celebrate

Variety: The Broadway production of “Natasha, Pierre and the Great Comet of 1812” may be much larger than the original version at Off Broadway’s tiny Ars Nova, which had an audience of less than 90 people each night. But it’s still an up close and personal affair — especially for the folks seated onstage.

#AU2016 Product Innovation Keynote

It is Alive in the Lab: In past years, Autodesk University had just an opening keynote. In subsequent years, we added a closing keynote to being it all together. This year, in addition to those two, we have one in the middle. This keynote allowed attendees to learn about Autodesk’s product and platform innovation and our best new cloud technologies. Amar Hanspal, Senior Vice President, Products started Tuesday morning off and was joined by a group of passionate customers and product experts. This keynote showcased some of the noteworthy technology available to our customers today and coming in the near future.

CMU's International Film Festival exposes audiences to different cultures

The Tartan Online: The Carnegie Mellon University International Film Festival is the only international film festival in the world run completely by students. Established in 2006 by the Humanities Center at Carnegie Mellon University, the festival aims to expose the Carnegie Mellon and greater Pittsburgh community to films which they otherwise may not hear about.

Tony Awards, Carnegie Mellon Open Submissions for Theatre Education Award

www.cmu.edu/news: The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University will recognize a deserving teacher with the “Excellence in Theatre Education Award” for the third year in a row.

Now through Feb. 10, 2017, submissions are accepted online for K-12 theatre educators at an accredited institution or recognized community theatre organization. Anyone — from students and school administrators, to friends, neighbors and family — can submit a worthy teacher for consideration. He or she must be a teacher whose position is dedicated to and/or includes aspects of theatre education. Submissions can be made at www.TonyAwards.com/EducationAward.

What’s New in Vectorworks 2017

Architect Magazine | Software, BIM, Design Workflow, Computers, Vectorworks: Nearly 70 percent of the new features in Vectorworks 2017 came directly from user requests. (Many were previewed during the Vectorworks Design Summit, held earlier this year.) While some of the updates catch the BIM software, developed by Columbia, Md.–based Vectorworks, up to the capabilities of its competitors, others appear to be first of their kind. Likewise, the latest edition advances standard tools that reflect better how design teams work today, like the ability for project managers to assign users different roles for a shared building model. Below I review some of the new features in Vectorworks 2017.

12 Angry Men

Pittsburgh in the Round: Few scripts are as universally lauded as Reginald Rose’s 12 Angry Men. A tense drama driven entirely by conversation, the plot follows white 12 jurors in 1950’s America who are preparing to sentence a non-white, formerly convicted criminal to death around a small table in the sweltering heat of summer. The vote is unanimously in favor of execution – save for one man.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Harry Potter Kept A Quarter Of The U.K.’s Top Actors Paid

FiveThirtyEight: Harry Potter is of the most consequential cultural phenomena in the history of pop culture. It catapulted several 12-year-olds into international stardom.1 It made an indelible mark on the history of the international box office by proving that franchises could be longer than trilogies and still be highly rated international box-office smashes. It launched a franchise — the stock-juicing, legacy-setting, empire-building fuel that keeps a studio relevant these days — for Warner Brothers. It is singlehandedly responsible for people across the Eastern Seaboard saying, “Let’s go to Orlando’s Islands of Adventure.” It paid dozens of British actors’ rents for a decade.

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