CMU School of Drama

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

The Art of Live Performance

sightlines.usitt.org: There’s a long list of productions I wish I had had the chance to see in the past year. Yes, Hamilton, but so many more are out there too.

Two in particular have my mind because of the influence of the design on the production. One I mentioned a few months ago, the Seattle Opera production of Hansel and Gretel. The other is the New York Theatre Workshop production of Othello. These are two vastly differently productions. One, a huge production in grand scale. The other, intimate and close up. Each featured incredible casting and master works of their genre. But the designs, those were what made me really want to see those shows.

How to Make Your Resume Website More Interactive

business.tutsplus.com: When you set out to build a website for your resume, one of the primary goals is to stand out among your peers and get noticed. With so many websites created on a daily basis, it’s tough to beat the competition.

But, there is a way to make your website more memorable and add personality to your brand. The quickest way to do that is to make your resume website more interactive.

The Humbling Tape

sightlines.usitt.org: As an undergraduate student, I was encouraged by my faculty to pursue scenic design. In our only course covering theatre design, I pencil drafted sample flats, drew a ground plan for Neil Simon’s The Prisoner of Second Avenue, and built a ½” scale model of my scenic design for Peter Shaffer’s The Royal Hunt of the Sun. My teacher was so impressed with my model that I was instructed to enter it into a design competition sponsored by a large mid-western university. So, I drafted a ground plan of what I had designed, took color photographs of the model, packed up my entry, and shipped it off, expecting nothing but recognition of my greatness.

This Is What Recruiters Look For On Your LinkedIn Profile

Fast Company | Business + Innovation: When you’re looking for a job, your LinkedIn profile is a 24/7 information resource for the recruiters who are looking for talent. In fact, in the Jobvite 2016 Recruiter Nation Report, 87% of recruiters find LinkedIn most effective when vetting candidates during the hiring process.

But what really catches a recruiter’s eye when they’re scrolling through your profile?

Member Spotlight: Michael Maag

sightlines.usitt.org: How did you begin your career in lighting design?

In high school theatre I was not cast my sophomore year in the production of Dracula, so someone said “Why don’t you do some special effects?” and that was the moment where I had an epiphany. I was running an old auto transformer board and pulling bi-levers around and I realized at that moment that when I was moving levers, I really wasn’t controlling the light as much as I was controlling the emotion of the audience. I decided at that moment that was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Oscars Shun Women, Men Make Up 80% of Nominees

Variety: A debate about diversity has roiled the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group that hands out the Oscars every year. For two straight years, the awards body was slammed for failing to nominate minorities in the major acting categories. When nominations were announced last week, however, it seemed like this year’s crop of honorees were a more inclusive bunch. Seven out of the 20 acting nominees were people of color, tying a record set in 2007. It was a group that included Octavia Spencer, Denzel Washington, and Viola Davis, with the best picture nominees boasting three films — “Moonlight,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Fences” — that deal with the subject of race.

A 3D printer did not lead to the tragic death of a couple in Berkeley, CA

3D Printing Industry: The sad news that a young couple found dead in their Berkeley, California home has been widely and falsely attributed to 3D printing.

3D Printing Industry have called the Berkeley Police Department for further information and will bring you the facts as we have them.

What we do know is that sensationalist headlines trump reality, especially when 3D printing is involved: and even from “news” websites who should know better.

Viola Davis Wins SAG Supporting Actress Award for ‘Fences’

Variety: Viola Davis won the SAG Award for best supporting actress for the searing drama “Fences” opposite Denzel Washington, and in her speech, remembered August Wilson, who wrote the play on which the film is based.

Joe Allen's magic will continue despite Robert De Niro's plans

WhatsOnStage.com: Perhaps it's not so hard to believe that Joe Allen, the West End restaurant beloved by theatre-goers, is 40 years old after all. It's a much loved part of the London theatrical landscape; this was made abundantly clear by the social media outcry last November when it was revealed that Joe's would have to vacate its present Exeter Street location, owing to Robert De Niro buying the entire block and redeveloping it as a boutique hotel. De Niro was not in attendance at the 40th birthday party, which was probably just as well given the loud boos that rang out every time his name was mentioned. Who knows, maybe he would have ended up wearing one of Joe's "secret burgers" (the burger is always available but it isn't on the menu).

Mastering the AutoCAD Arc Command

AutoCAD Blog | Autodesk: If you’ve ever taken a good look at the AutoCAD Arc command, you might have found the many options a bit overwhelming. It makes you wonder if the programmer that created it got paid by the option! But, believe it or not, each of these options has a purpose. Which one is most appropriate for you to use depends on what you’re trying to accomplish and, maybe more importantly, what you already know. With these pointers you’ll be mastering the Arc command in AutoCAD in no time.

INTIX 2017: Take Your Tickets to the People

Selling Out: INTIX is one of the best conferences if you’re in the live entertainment business, because what’s on peoples’ minds there is a great bellwether for what’s going on around the industry. When INTIX is excited about something, that means the industry is going to be excited about that thing.

Theatre History Podcast # 20: Rediscovering the Lost Lope de Vega Play Mujeres y Criados with Dr. Alejandro Garcia-Reidy

HowlRound: You might think it’s virtually impossible to discover new work by a playwright who’s been dead for nearly 400 years, but that’s just what Alejandro Garcia-Reidy of Syracuse University did in 2014. He talks about his work with Lope de Vega’s Mujeres y Criados (Women and Servants), a play that sheds new light on the important and prolific playwright from Spain’s “Golden Age.”

Monday, January 30, 2017

August Wilson and the long awaited triumph of “Fences”

Salon.com: Watching the powerful new film “Fences,” a triumph for actor-director Denzel Washington and co-star Viola Davis (both have earned raves and Oscar nods), and a rare slice-of-working-class black drama to reach the big screen, I couldn’t help wonder what August Wilson would make of it all.

Surely, Wilson would appreciate the extraordinary ensemble acting and faithfulness to his screenplay, which he’d closely based on his stage drama “Fences.” And certainly the prolific and lionized author, who died of cancer at 60 in 2005, would be relieved to see his potent script reach the Cineplex at all — nearly 30 years after he sold the screen rights to a major Hollywood studio.

Catching the Broadway 'Comet' is dream come true for CMU grad

TribLIVE: Carnegie Mellon University grad Denée Benton knows better than to judge a book by its cover.

She judges it by its script, which has suited the Florida native quite well.

Since graduation from CMU just two years ago, her budding Broadway career has been bookended by two hits — a major role in the London West End and national touring productions of the Tony Award-winning “The Book of Mormon,” and, now, a title role in “Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812.” She's Natasha in the hot-as-a-comet show based on a section of the literary classic “War and Peace,” playing at the appropriately named Imperial Theatre in New York.

Stage preview: 'Something Rotten!' aims for the funny bone

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: It happens rarely these days, a cast stepping off Broadway to take a show on tour, and “Something Rotten!” is a rare musical — a throwback to crowd-pleasing comedies aimed at belly laughs and a rollicking good time.

More Than Booth

HowlRound: Part 1: Why Every Theatre in America Should Have an Active Shooter Plan
Real tragedy lies in the fact that out of all of the moments, and milestones that have occurred in American theatres, perhaps the most noteworthy occurred on a spring evening in 1865 during a performance of Our American Cousin. Despite the centuries of breathtaking performances and soul-revealing cultural revolutions that have characterized theatre history, schoolchildren’s first exposure to theatres historically is as the setting for Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Between the passage of time and the cringe-worthy, “But how was the play, Mrs. Lincoln?” jokes, it is easy to relegate the concept of real-life theatre gun violence to a time when horse-and-buggy was the favored mode of transportation.

'Brexit the Musical,' Because Brits Will Make a Joke Out of Anything

The Creators Project: When times seem dark, people often turn to humor as a coping mechanism, and laughing in the face of misery is a cathartic exercise that’s most enjoyed by the British. So it was only a matter of time before someone wrote Brexit the Musical, a pub-singsong performance depicting everyone—most notably British politicians—as terrible.

Five Inspirational Musicals to Help You Fight the Power

The Mary Sue: In times of oppression and fear, art has always been there to inspire us. For musical fans old and new, Hamilton has become even more of a touchstone in recent months, but it’s not the first and it certainly won’t be the last musical to tackles issues of race and poverty or tell a story of rebellion. When you think musical theater, you might automatically think of cheerful farmers or singing cats, but musicals have always been about important issues, often ahead of their times. Here are five shows to listen to when the world is getting you down.

What’s new to see and do in 2017

Branson Tri-Lakes News Entertainment: Earlier this week, the awesome Lynn Berry, director of public relations for the Branson Lakes Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, released a list of several “new” shows, attractions, events, celebrations and exhibits set to be open in 2017.

Using some of the items on that list, I thought it may be fun to add several other things going on in town. Keep in mind, this is a list featuring everything I’ve been either given the OK to print, or that I know for a fact is set to happen.

Moscow Theater Performance of "Anna Karenina" to Play at a Cinema Near You

The Theatre Times: The Vakhtangov Theatre’s interpretation of Leo Tolstoy’s famous novel, Anna Karenina, is being screened in cinemas across the U.S., UK, and Ireland. It’s a ballet performance directed and choreographed by Angelica Cholina, set to the music of Alfred Schnittke.

Anna Karenina premiered in cinemas on Jan. 19, and it will be shown until the end of March. To see the viewing schedule and country map click here.

“We chose Anna Karenina because it is a personal favorite of mine,” said Eddie Aronoff, founder of Stage Russia HD, the company behind the idea to turn the performance into an international cinema event.

Writers Guild of America Blasts Trump’s Muslim Ban

Variety: The Writers Guild of America has blasted President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees and citizens from seven predominately Muslim countries from entering the United States.

“It is both unconstitutional and deeply wrong to say that you cannot enter our country because of where you were born or what religion you were born into,” said WGA West president Howard Rodman and WGA East president Michael Winship in a statement on Sunday.

Artist Spotlight: Jeffrey Chips

Pittsburgh in the Round: Jeffery Chips is trying to be it all: husband, father, theater director, and day-job-worker. He said, referring to the old idiom of burning the candle at both ends, that he had actually located a third end to burn. He started Steel City Shakespeare Center (SCSC) in 2012 with the intention of creating a space for actors to gather, workshop and audition. It wasn’t until two years after its founding that Chips pursued producing plays under the SCSC banner.

Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University Accepting Submissions for Arts Education Honor at 2017 Tony Awards

Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama: Submissions are being accepted now through Feb. 10 for the third annual Tony Award for “Excellence in Theatre Education Award,” presented by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University. The honor will be bestowed to the teacher at the Tony Awards on Sunday, June 11, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.

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 may be made at www.TonyAwards.com/EducationAward, and participants are encouraged to join in on the conversation with #applaudmyteacher.

An Interactive Visualization of Every Line in Hamilton

polygraph.cool: When I first heard of Hamilton, I was doubtful ("a hip-hop musical?"). But from the moment I sat down to listen the whole way through, I was done for.

I was obsessed. I had the soundtrack on repeat for months, it was all I listened to in my waking hours. I listened so much I had favorite lines and favorite songs. I analyzed the lyrics; I reveled in the layers of complexity, the double entredres, the clever word plays.

Then my obsession hit a peak; I kept wondering, what would a visualization of Hamilton look like? I couldn't stop thinking about it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Merry Lynn Morris Invents a Wheelchair Fit for Dancing

WomenArts: A dancer glides across the floor in a long arc, arms outstretched, ending in a hypnotic spin. The audience breathes with her, delighting in her skill, grace, strength, and the remarkable invention that has given her so much freedom of movement. She dances in a wheelchair – a wheelchair whose wheels are hidden, that moves in all directions, and can pirouette.

High School Shuts Down Show with Gay Characters

OnStage: Today it was reported that a California High School has decided to shut down a student directed production of Jean-Paul Sartre's "No Exit". The students had already performed the show once but the rest of the performances were cancelled just hours before their second show.

How the ‘Mulan’ Reboot Has Some Asian Actors Hopeful for the End of Hollywood Whitewashing

VICE: Recent debate about Hollywood whitewashing has sparked conversation on how difficult it is for Asian performers to land a role free of stereotypes—never mind a leading role in a blockbuster. But Disney's upcoming live action reboot of Mulan—which will reportedly feature an all-Chinese cast— could set a precedent on how Asian actors are cast in Hollywood films.

A High School Censoring Its Production of 'Ragtime' Is What We Don't Need Right Now

OnStage: In Cherry Hill, NJ, the local school board is moving towards censoring Cherry Hill High School's production of Ragtime, by changing or removing the word in the script. A complaint from a parent of a student involved in the show, also led the local chapter of the NAACP to support the Board of Education's decision.

Purpose-built theatres are no match for cathedrals

WhatsOnStage.com: It all really began with a wedding. In 2008, two friends invited us to their civil partnership at Middle Temple Hall in London. From the moment we stepped inside the building, we were captivated by its beauty and sense of history. Over the preceding few years, we'd been staging theatre productions in unusual non-theatre spaces. We toured southwest France each summer, performing open-air Shakespeare in medieval town squares, gardens and castles, and had just finished a year long residency in an atmospheric but chilly derelict building in north London. We knew Middle Temple Hall's strong theatrical tradition, particularly as the location of the first performance of Twelfth Night in 1602, and so in 2011 – more in hope than expectation – we approached the hall about the possibility of staging a production.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Hamilton's Seth Stewart to Present BGA's Annual College Green Captain Prize

Stage Directions: Seth Stewart, an original cast member of Broadway's Hamilton, currently playing Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson,will present the Broadway Green Alliance (BGA) College Green Captain prize at the upcoming USITT Annual Conference & Stage Expo. This award recognizes outstanding BGA College Green Captains for introducing environmental changes to their department's theatre productions. As the Broadway Green Captain for Hamilton, Stewart will also be speaking on one of the conference's green panels, Green Captains - On Broadway & On Campus.

USITT Names 2017 Distinguished Achievement Winners

Stage Directions: USITT has announced that the USITT Distinguished Achievement Awards winners for 2017 are professional rigger Rocky Paulson, lighting innovator Fred Foster, costume designer Liz Covey, sound designer Rick Thomas, scenic designer Santo Loquasto, production stage manager Joseph Drummond, and educator John Conklin. All will be honored at a special presentation in March during USITT’s 2017 Annual Conference & Stage Expo in St. Louis. The winners will also participate in USITT’s popular Distinguished Achievers in Conversation session at America’s Center Convention Complex.

An Interview with Madeleine George

THE INTERVAL: Here are some things that I learned about playwright Madeleine George within the first ten minutes of being in her apartment: she likes puns, she is of the “why tell a joke once when you can tell it twice” school of thought, she knows a good Nazi reference and isn’t afraid to use it, she and partner Lisa Kron have to move because they have more books than wall space, she has a painting of an egg that she bought in Moscow, she has been to Moscow, and she has a highly neurotic dog (the mental state of the dog could not be independently confirmed as he was currently in Michigan).

How the ‘Mulan’ Reboot Has Some Asian Actors Hopeful for the End of Hollywood Whitewashing

VICE: Recent debate about Hollywood whitewashing has sparked conversation on how difficult it is for Asian performers to land a role free of stereotypes—never mind a leading role in a blockbuster. But Disney's upcoming live action reboot of Mulan—which will reportedly feature an all-Chinese cast— could set a precedent on how Asian actors are cast in Hollywood films.

Merry Lynn Morris Invents a Wheelchair Fit for Dancing

WomenArts: A dancer glides across the floor in a long arc, arms outstretched, ending in a hypnotic spin. The audience breathes with her, delighting in her skill, grace, strength, and the remarkable invention that has given her so much freedom of movement. She dances in a wheelchair – a wheelchair whose wheels are hidden, that moves in all directions, and can pirouette.

New Dramatists Luncheon to Honor Paula Vogel & Daryl Roth

Breaking Character: NEW DRAMATISTS, Tony® Honor recipient and the nation’s premier playwright development laboratory, will honor 10-time Tony Award®-winning producer Daryl Roth and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paula Vogel with their 2017 Distinguished Achievement Awards at its 68th Annual Spring Luncheon tribute. The event will be held Tuesday, May 16 at the New York Marriott Marquis.

‘The Devil Wears Prada’ Musical: Elton John, Paul Rudnick to Write

Variety: Fox Stage Productions’ brewing musical adaptation of “The Devil Wears Prada” has locked down two key members of its creative team, signing Elton John and Paul Rudnick to write the stage version of the 2006 Fox comedy.

Christo Protests Trump by Cancelling His Epic 'Over the River' Project

The Atlantic: Christo, the artist famous for wrapping the Reichstag, erecting orange gates in Central Park, and running miles of fabric fence through Sonoma County ranch-land, has thrown in the towel. He told the New York Times this week that he is abandoning Over the River, his plan to drape a canopy over 6 miles of Colorado’s Arkansas River, as a protest against President Donald Trump.

8 Oscar-Nominated Filmmakers on the Storytelling Process

Backstage: Hollywood kicked into high gear on Jan. 24 with the announcement of the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards. The race for the industry’s top prize—that coveted Oscar gold—has been fraught with ups and downs, controversies and surprises. All in all, 2016 was a superb year for prestige filmmaking, as the artists below have proven in their submissions to the Academy.

A High School Censoring Its Production of 'Ragtime' Is What We Don't Need Right Now

OnStage: In Cherry Hill, NJ, the local school board is moving towards censoring Cherry Hill High School's production of Ragtime, by changing or removing the word in the script. A complaint from a parent of a student involved in the show, also led the local chapter of the NAACP to support the Board of Education's decision.

Listen to early drafts of Hamilton songs

kottke.org: Lin-Manuel Miranda recently released the early drafts of eight Hamilton songs on Soundcloud. Miranda sings all the parts himself and they’re a lot less showtuney and more hip-hoppy than the finished product. Worth a listen for fans of process.

U2's Longtime Stage Designer Talks 'Joshua Tree' Tour

Rolling Stone: Had U2 never come into contact with Willie Williams, their career would have likely unfolded in a pretty different way. The set director has created all their stages for the past 35 years, dating back to the October tour in 1982 when they were still headlining clubs.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Cinematographers’ Group ASC Moving Toward Equality, Award Recipient Says

Variety: Over three decades, the American Society of Cinematographers has given its coveted Presidents Award to a long list of distinguished artists, including Douglas Trumbull (“Blade Runner”), Albert Maysles (“Gimme Shelter”), Richard Edlund (“Star Wars” episodes IV, V, and VI), and Francis Kenny (“Justified”).

Never has the honor gone to a woman — until this year. On Feb. 4, at the 31st annual ASC Awards, DP Nancy Schreiber will take home the trophy. Indeed, Schreiber will become only the second woman to receive any ASC prize at all.

Purpose-built theatres are no match for cathedrals

WhatsOnStage.com: It all really began with a wedding. In 2008, two friends invited us to their civil partnership at Middle Temple Hall in London. From the moment we stepped inside the building, we were captivated by its beauty and sense of history. Over the preceding few years, we'd been staging theatre productions in unusual non-theatre spaces. We toured southwest France each summer, performing open-air Shakespeare in medieval town squares, gardens and castles, and had just finished a year long residency in an atmospheric but chilly derelict building in north London. We knew Middle Temple Hall's strong theatrical tradition, particularly as the location of the first performance of Twelfth Night in 1602, and so in 2011 – more in hope than expectation – we approached the hall about the possibility of staging a production.

d3 Technologies Unveils 2x4pro Media Server

ZioGiorgio.com: d3 Technologies is proud to announce the introduction of its newest media server, the 2x4pro. The new server, like the flagship 4x4pro, supports d3’s popular interchangeable VFC (Video Format Conversion) cards, enabling users to drive up to 8 outputs as DVI, 3G-SDI or two DP1.2 from a single d3 2x4pro, which future proof the system as the industry continues to rapidly evolve.

Remembering the real women in ‘Roe v. Wade’

thinkprogress.org: Jane Roe was a woman. It’s easy to forget that, and what exactly that means, when you think about her as half of Roe v. Wade. Her individuality goes fuzzy at the edges. She was a woman, but now she’s every woman. She was pregnant in America when she didn’t want to be, and now she is invoked, on some level, whenever a woman in America becomes pregnant and doesn’t want to be. Impossible to imagine what choice she would have made all those years ago, when Sarah Weddington, then 26 years old, approached her about being the plaintiff in a case that would legalize abortion in the United States, if she had known what that would really mean. Hard to say how she could have predicted what it would do to her, being Jane Roe, back when she was still just Norma McCorvey.

How Theatre Work Adds Up

AMERICAN THEATRE: How much do you make? It’s a simple question that remains a taboo, not least in theatre. “There’s a myth about the starving artist, that you have to do it for love,” says playwright Jacqueline E. Lawton. “That’s a dangerous myth!”

It’s a myth with real-life consequences, in terms of the low pay artists and theatre workers are often forced, or are willing, to take. There’s also a certain shame about it: Most of the artists who spoke for this story asked to remain anonymous. But there’s also a hard reality to it: None of our sources romanticized their poverty. “Money doesn’t buy happiness, but money does buy the absence of pressure, the absence of pain,” an anonymous director told me.

Peter Cooke Named Member of the Order of Australia

Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama: Peter Cooke, professor and head of the Carnegie Mellon University School of Drama, was named a Member of the Order of Australia in the Australia Day Honors List, which was announced today from the residence of the Governor General in the Australian capital of Canberra.

The Order of Australia is an order of chivalry, established in 1975 by Queen Elizabeth, II as a means to recognize Australian citizens for achievement or meritorious service. To receive this honor, one must be nominated by a fellow citizen. The Council of the Order of Australia reviews these nominations and makes recommendations for the awards to the government.

How to Give a Killer Presentation (Infographic)

www.entrepreneur.com: When someone says the words “public speaking,” there’s no need to run for the hills. When you’re able to impress clients, potential investors and even co-workers with a stellar presentation, you’re positioning yourself for success.

And you don’t have to think of it as scary either. In fact, presentations should be fun and exciting -- if you’re doing them correctly. That means properly preparing, identifying your purpose, creating visuals and telling a story.

High School Cancels Production of "School Edition" of Avenue Q

OnStage: This morning it was reported that a high school in PA has decided to cancel their upcoming production of Avenue Q, despite rehearsals already underway. The reasoning behind the decision is because the principal felt it contained too much mature content.

However the drama club at Danville Area High School was set to perform the "School Edition" of the show. It's an adaptation that "maintains the dramatic intention and integrity of the piece, while editing it to make it more appropriate for high school audiences and performers", according to Music Theatre International's(MTI) website.

Lessing, Schiller, Brecht, Müller, and the State of German Theatre

HowlRound: In the summer of 2015, Frank Castorf, the longtime director of the Volksbühne Berlin—the most important drama house in Germany—was fired. Chris Dercon, from the Tate Modern, will take over the Volksbühne in 2017. Nationally, a great controversy began between those who want to hold on to Castorf's theatre and others who say that a change is necessary. They want to open the theatre to international artists and new trends in drama, dance, and performance. Unlike in the US, publicly financed theatres in Germany are battlefields of harsh debates in the media, while the number of spectators tends to decrease almost unnoticed year by year.

Stage review: 'Hedwig' and Euan Morton rock out at the Benedum

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Just got back from a concert and had a great time but, man, was it freaky.

There was this wacked-out German singer named Hedwig who told her insane life story and rocked out to some wild songs. What, you think you have an insane life? Listen to this: She was born a man, slept in a bed with her cold mother into her 20s, had a botched sexual reassignment operation to escape East Germany, just before the Berlin Wall came down! Then, her teenage lover, Tommy Gnosis, stole her music and became an arena rocker — he was at PNC Park last night while she was playing the Benedum Center.

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