CMU School of Drama

Friday, March 31, 2017

A Couple of Notes: Behind the Scenes with Samuel French's Music Supervisor

Breaking Character: You license a musical. You receive your casts scripts, your piano conductor score and your orchestrations. But before all of that, there is a months-long (or even years-long) process to creating the score for your show – and we’re not just talking about when the composer creates the music.

Lawrence Haynes, our Musicals Marketing Associate, sat down to chat with Zachary Orts, Samuel French’s Music Supervisor, to learn more about this process, from prepping materials to re-developing scores that were once handwritten (or never written down!). Read more below.

Pittsburgh Fringe Festival returns to the North Side

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: When it comes to the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival, it’s easy to say when it is: Friday through Sunday.

It’s also pretty easy to say where: At four venues on the North Side.

But Fringe Festival is what?

That’s more difficult to say, even for someone who should know: executive director Xela Batchelder.

ISOtunes Pro Noise Reducing Bluetooth Earbuds

Pro Tool Reviews: Whether you’re on the jobsite, off on the long run, sitting on an airplane, or even just shopping at Walmart, there’s something that almost all of us understand universally – listening to music helps isolate us from all the bad mojo around and makes the time go by faster. When we have to wear hearing protection on the jobsite, our PPE often prevents us from being able to listen to the music we love. ISOtunes Pro Noise Reducing Bluetooth Earbuds offer a solution.

Adam Savage Prepares for His Expanse Cameo!

YouTube: Adam wasn't just on set filming a behind-the-scenes special, he had an actual CAMEO on Syfy's The Expanse! And while he's getting made up for his big day, he learns about what it takes to keep track of so many futuristic looks, including tattoos.

Moving Target Technology

ProSoundWeb: I once heard the phrase “moving target technology” as a way of explaining what we are up against as graybeards in this industry.

Technology is advancing at such a rapid pace, it seems almost impossible to get comfortable with new gear before it is considered obsolete.

British-Iranian composer nearly banned from her debut opera on immigration

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: After President Donald Trump signed the executive order for his first travel ban on Jan. 27, British-Iranian composer Soosan Lolavar of London was unsure if she could attend the world premiere Saturday of her new opera in Pittsburgh.

Ms. Lolavar, 29, was born and raised in London, but her father was Iranian. Her dual citizenship, which allowed her to carry two passports, led to banishment from re-entering the country she called home last year. She had previously studied Iranian music at Carnegie Mellon University under a Fulbright Scholarship.

'Hamilton' is headed to Pittsburgh in 2018-19

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Ham­il­ton” is on its way to Pitts­burgh, but you will have to wait un­til the 2018-19 PNC Broad­way in Pitts­burgh sea­son.

Sub­scrib­ers from the 2017-18 sea­son will have first ac­cess to tick­ets for Broad­way’s Found­ing Fathers block­buster, which re­cently an­nounced a sec­ond na­tional tour­ing com­pany. Tour dates will be an­nounced in the spring of 2018.

Registration Opens For 2017 Vectorworks Design Summit

Live Design Briefing Room press release archives: Global design and BIM software developer Vectorworks, Inc. invites professionals, educators and students in the AEC, landscape and entertainment industries to attend the third annual Vectorworks Design Summit from September 18 to 20, 2017 at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel in MD. The conference includes three days of industry sessions, tech support, networking events and inspiring keynotes, as well as hands-on training opportunities to arm designers with the resources to improve their company’s bottom line.

Gabriel Aronson | Animator And Illustrator

Live Design: Gabriel Aronson was designing postcards for Off-Off Broadway shows when projection designer Daniel Brodie called him from a plane to create content for Kanye West just three days before the concert. Aronson’s career in video and projection design exploded in the following two days, and it has been growing ever since.

Creative Fixture Selection and Placement for Staging Design

ChurchProduction.com: A stage is just a structure. It’s an area of physical space that we use to deliver different presentations to an audience from. What you do with this physical space is what makes it more than a structure. Every element works together to deliver a presentation that creates an atmosphere, whether it is for the better or worse.

AMPTP Asks WGA to Resume Contract Talks

Variety: The major studios have formally asked the Writers Guild of America to return to the bargaining table.

Carol Lombardini, president of the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers, sent a letter to WGA West exec director David Young and WGA East exec director Lowell Peterson today asking them to set a date for resuming the talks that ended last Thursday. The AMPTP wants the WGA to respond to what it described as the “Comprehensive Package Proposal” that was offered the last time they met.

Kelly Strayhorn's new incubator, FUTUREMAKERS LABS, targets the in-between crowd

NEXTpittsburgh: Performance space, community hub, arts center, and now, incubator: with the launch of FUTUREMAKERS LABS, East Liberty’s Kelly Strayhorn Theater has a new a label to attach to its ever-growing portfolio of functions as one of the city’s preeminent cultural institutions.

The 12-week program, which runs from April to June, will provide creative entrepreneurs with the training and skills needed to transform their vision, however nascent, closer to reality. That includes mentorship, four weeks of workshop sessions and a two-day intensive retreat.

A Visual Guide to Vantablack, the Darkest Substance Ever Made

TwistedSifter: Vantablack® is a super-black coating that holds the world record as the darkest man-made substance. It is the darkest material ever measured by the UK’s National Physical Laboratory, reflecting only 0.036% of the light that strikes it (measured at 700nm). It is currently available in two versions, either directly applied to surfaces using vacuum-deposition technology or by spraying and then post-processing.

Few people can name five female artists -- can you?

PBS NewsHour: Can you name five female artists? Frida Kahlo, Georgia O’Keeffe … that’s two.

If you can’t think of more, know that most people the National Museum of Women in the Arts spoke to for a recent Women’s History Month campaign couldn’t, either — even those who considered themselves art savvy. Ask someone to name five artists, they said, and many people will give you the names of men.

Live Bye Bye Birdie to Be Less Sexist (& More Puerto Rican)

The Mary Sue: NBC loves them their live musical events, and we are closing in on their next offering, Bye Bye Birdie, which both stars, and is Executive Produced by Jennifer Lopez. Broadway legend, Harvey Fierstein, has adapted the musical’s book, and has made some substantial tweaks to bring this picture of 1960s Americana into the 21st Century.

Kindness and Community Are My Ideal World: Broken Bone Bathtub and A Modern Theatre of Empathy

HowlRound: The results of 2016’s presidential race were, for many, traumatic, and as with any trauma instilled a pervasive sense of helplessness and bewilderment. Despite our participation in a democratic system, and faith that our values would prevail, November 8, 2016, saw not only a failure of these efforts but an outright reversal of fortune. Worse, the overt racism, xenophobia, and misogyny that followed left us questioning the nature of our social reality; how, in a seemingly progressive age, could these attitudes persist? Though the initial shock has subsided, it’s clear significant change has occurred, and in its aftermath we must now confront our role in the events which transpired, face the limits of our reach, and take responsibility for what we build moving forward. The 2017 New York City revival of Siobhan O’Loughlin’s immersive solo show Broken Bone Bathtub holds special relevance in this context, its unique premise and interactive framework as empowering as it is cathartic.

Dance review: Glue Factory Project plays with perception in 'What's Missing?'

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Watching dance can be like looking through a kaleidoscope. It refracts and reflects the world in extraordinary ways.

Instead of a mosaic of pretty colors, however, the world Beth Corning showed us in her latest dance theater piece “What’s Missing?” is one where reality is a state of mind and nothing is quite as it seems. The hourlong show — part of her ongoing Glue Factory Project spotlighting artists older than 40 — opened Wednesday at the New Hazlett Theater on the North Side and continues through the weekend.

A black-and-white photo of a wide-eyed girl clutching a pigeon was shown.

How 'Ghost in the Shell' VFX Artists Built the World of New Port City

Creators: Building New Port City was a monumental task. The vivid world of Ghost in the Shell was conceived in Masamune Shirow's 1989 manga, then further fleshed out in Mamoru Oshii's 1995 anime film and Kenji Kamiyama's 2005 television series. For Rupert Sanders' take on the film, which hits theaters nationwide today, he enlisted the help of a sprawling, multi-studio VFX team to build a metropolis that updates his animated forebears, and becomes one of the most gratifying aspects of the new film.

‘Big Little Lies’ Costume Designer on Contemporary Looks for HBO Show

Variety: Costume designer Alix Friedberg’s meticulous work guides the viewer into the world of five women — Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Celeste (Nicole Kidman), Jane (Shailene Woodley), Renata (Laura Dern), and Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz) — caught up in a town where daily life is all about appearance.

“People often dismiss contemporary work in costume design, even though designers put as much research and thought into it as they would in period,”

After Going to Jail for Vandalism, a Virginia Muralist Keeps Painting

Creators: Though he's now a celebrated muralist, Virginia-based artist Mickael Broth's work used to get him into trouble. More than a decade ago, as a graffiti-obsessed teenager, he was convicted of vandalism and destruction of property, and subsequently served 10 months in jail.

Forthcoming and transparent, Broth now draws on the experience to inform his creative work, and even wrote a series of books about what it's like to be an artist behind bars.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Stuff of Legends

Pittsburgh Magazine - April 2017 - Pittsburgh, PA: When people hear the name Josh Gibson, they might recall him as the greatest baseball player of all time. They might remember a larger-than-life story about a 580-foot home run at Yankee Stadium. They might recognize a son of Pittsburgh.

What might not necessarily come to mind is the term “tragic hero,” a line often used to describe a protagonist in an opera.

There’s a first time for everything.

17 Living Female American Playwrights You Should Know in 2017

ArtsBoston: Gender parity is a major focal point of discussion in the theater today. It is important to recognize that the majority of the classic Western theatrical canon has been written by white men. Likewise, it is imperative that we, as artists today, do something: not only discuss the inequity but actively seek to challenge it. In 2013, a group of playwrights and producers based in Los Angeles got together and formed a group, The Kilroys. Their mission is to mobilize artists in the field to support one another, and “to end the systemic underrepresentation of female and trans* playwrights in American theater.”

Winners of the Tonic Awards for women in theatre announced

WhatsOnStage.com: The winners of the inaugural Tonic Awards have been announced at a ceremony in London.

Hosted by Jenni Murray, the awards celebrate the work of game-changing women in theatre. Set up by Tonic Theatre, there are nine awards, seven of which this year have been given to individuals, and two have been given to groups of people.

A music critic goes to 'Hamilton'

Chicago Tribune: At times, "Hamilton" is one of those rare plays that makes you think that Broadway may yet use the language of contemporary music as something more than just an add-on or a flavor. At other moments, it slips backward, as if hip-hop never happened.

"Hamilton" is being called a "hip-hop musical." Even though it's not the first Broadway play to incorporate hip-hop, it certainly is by far the most popular. Greeted with record-busting ticket sales and lavished with awards — including a Pulitzer Prize — "Hamilton" has been praised as a groundbreaking work of art. It certainly has its moments, but ultimately doesn't go far enough in embracing what hip-hop represents. In a musical that portrays hip-hop as the language of a new country, a new way of thinking — the future, in other words — "Hamilton" consigns its female leads to the past.

How Can You Eat When Everyone Is Starving?

HowlRound: It’s not easy to know how to effectively address the massive inequity I experience in theatre as an emerging artist and arts manager. I’ve encountered a wide range of obstacles and benefits in various positions: unpaid intern, office manager, artistic associate, stage manager, director, and company manager. I hid my turmoil and discontent until now because I was afraid of the potential repercussions of speaking out. After the election, I decided I had to say something. If I can’t change things within my own community for those I love and admire, how can I expect our country to change?

Marvelous Mechanisms: The Ubiquitous Four Bar Linkage

Hackaday: The four bar linkage is a type of mechanical linkage that is used in many different devices. A few examples are: locking pliers, bicycles, oil well pumps, loaders, internal combustion engines, compressors, and pantographs. In biology we can also find examples of this linkage, as in the human knee joint, where the mechanism allows rotation and keeps the two legs bones attached to each other. It is also present in some fish jaws that evolved to take advantage of the force multiplication that the four bar mechanism can provide.

Disrobing “The Foreigner” at a Minnesota High School

Arts Integrity Initiative: Context is everything.

If you ask the average parent whether, in the abstract, they want to hear a student, any student, saying the n-word from the stage of their local high school auditorium, the answer (hopefully) would be no. Put that word in its full context in the musical Ragtime, or in the plays of August Wilson, and those familiar with the works may feel differently.

Greek Sing

www.cmu.edu/news: Carnegie Mellon University's Greek community is stepping up to help children cope while their parents battle cancer.

CMU fraternities and sororities have set a goal of raising $150,000 over the next two years for the university's Camp Kesem chapter, which trains college students to run and manage a free summer camp for children of parents with cancer. This year's fundraising effort culminates with Greek Sing at 5:30 p.m. Saturday, April 1, in Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Hall in Oakland.

MIDI controller can turn everyday objects into music makers

newatlas.com: Though MIDI controllers are generally used for digital music making, the automat from dadamachines offers laptop or smartphone tunesmiths the opportunity to create something distinctly analog. A central control box acts as the go-between for MIDI software and a bunch of bashers and beaters that can be placed near such things as plastic boxes, metal balls or glass jars to sound the melody.

Apocalyptic Immersive Theater Event Headed to New York City May 2017

Theme Park University: We’ve all had this conversation. You’re sitting around having drinks with friends and the question pops up: how would you handle being in a true apocalypse? Now, a new apocalyptic immersive theater event known as RED will open in New York City May 2017 so you can find out just how well you’d do.

Plays About the Art World? Not Sold

The New York Times: When the art market bubbled in the late 1980s, playwrights took notice — and wrote such works as Donald Margulies’s “Sight Unseen” (1991) which orbits around a hyped-up painter, and Yasmina Reza’s “Art” (1994), set amid the Paris collecting class. Yet even when compared to the go-go 1980s, the last 15 years have been transformative for the art market, with ever higher prices for at least a subset of modern and contemporary painting and sculpture.

At Seattle Opera, the real drama is offstage

KUOW News and Information: In mid-March, Seattle Opera general director Aidan Lang’s assistant called his scene shop manager Michael Moore to request a meeting.

Moore had no idea of the bombshell Lang was going to drop.

What’s Your Job?: Media Designer

Full Sail University Blog: When Austin Ulmer graduated from Full Sail University with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Animation, he returned home to Pennsylvania to recharge. There, he spoke with his father who suggested he apply for a position in TAIT Tower’s media department. TAIT is internationally known for designing, constructing, and delivering live event equipment to some of the world’s biggest tours. After meeting with the head of media and touring the facility, Austin was offered a position and the rest, as he says, “is history.”

2,300 LEDs Sync Up with Beats in Lusine’s New Music Video

Creators: A custom lighting rig featuring 2,300 LEDs was used to create the hypnotic pulsing visuals in the music video for Lusine's track, "Just a Cloud," taken from new album Sensorimotor. The video is by director Michael Reisinger, who collaborated with Alex Borton to create the setup.

The rig, featuring 11 separate LED panels and over 1,000 feet of wiring, surrounds an actress listening to her headphones as she travels along on a city bus. The LED lights imitate the beats of the music with the journey becoming more intense until the woman awakens into a new reality.

Political Theater Heats Up the Box Office in Washington, D.C.

Variety: Ever since the tempestuous presidential election season, the country at large can’t stop talking about politics. In Washington D.C., that’s always been business as usual — only now, locals are showing a new surge of interest in politically themed theater, with a string of box office hits that fly in the face of the old D.C. theater dictum that politics don’t sell on stage.

April Theater Guide: History on Parade

Entertainment Central Pittsburgh: Why are so many plays, musicals, and operas drawn from history? Because there’s an awful lot of it. Everything that has happened is history. Every play, book, folk tale, and tall tale ever made up is history, too, even if it didn’t really happen, and all of that stuff is equally fair game for being turned into something new.

Pittsburgh’s live theater schedule for April includes an exemplary assortment of shows that tinker with various forms of history in various ways.

TEDxCMU Speakers To Urge Pushing Boundaries

www.cmu.edu/news: TEDxCMU 2017, a student-run conference designed to provide a TED-like experience, will be held on Saturday, April 1, at Carnegie Mellon University. The theme of this year's sold-out event is Pivot.

"To me, pivot means taking a change in direction that leads to improvement and innovation," Kishan Patel, a junior at CMU and president of TEDxCMU's team. "Through our theme, we hope that our speakers will inspire attendees to push the boundaries of their comfort zone and pursue their dreams."

Milwaukee Performance Work Gloves – Give ‘Em A Big Hand

Home Fixated: I’ve always considered myself a handy guy, and I’m generally willing to lend a helping hand if someone is short-handed. All too often, that helping hand comes back home with a splinter or gash in it, covered with a layer of grime. Yes, I have heard of work gloves, thank you very much, I just don’t always wear them when I should. In an effort to give slackers like me more options for protecting their digits, Milwaukee recently introduced a line of Milwaukee Performance Work Gloves. A few pairs of them showed up at HomeFixated recently; join us as we take a hands-on look.

The Terminator Comes to Hollywood to Destroy Old Copyright Grants

Hollywood Reporter: In James Cameron's sci-fi classic, The Terminator, a cyborg is sent back in time to assassinate. Something similar is playing out in Hollywood at the moment thanks to a mid-1970s change to copyright law that allows authors or their heirs to terminate a copyright grant. And like the film, there's resistance.

Dancers Instantly Swap Freaky Face Masks Using a Face-Tracking Projector

sploid.gizmodo.com: Costume-changes during a live performance are fast and frenetic, limiting how elaborate makeup and outfits can be. But for this performance by Japanese dance duo AyaBambi, a high-speed face-tracking projector was used to change their appearances while they performed, even creating the illusion of wearing masks that instantaneously appear over their faces.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Fantasticks to Close Off-Broadway After 57 Years

TheaterMania.com: Producers of off-Broadway's long-running musical The Fantasticks, now in its 57th year, have announced that the production will close on June 4. At the time of its closing, the production will have played a total of 21,552 performances in New York City. Following the show's closing, The Crusade of Connor Stephens will take up residency at the Jerry Orbach Theatre, beginning performances June 17.

Gemini Children's Theater - Making Magic for Young Audiences

Pittsburgh in the Round: Jill Jeffrey was a like many young actors, making the rounds at auditions and giving little thought to children’s theater–until she stepped on stage in Journey Back to Oz at Gemini Theater Company in 2004.

“I had a strong background in sketch comedy and improvisation,” says Jeffrey. “After getting to know Dennis Palko and Lani Cerveris-Cataldi, the founders and artistic directors of the company, I saw how amazing their creative “duo” was, and I realized how important theater for young audiences was for families.”

Donald J. Tramp Crashes World Puppetry Day

Clyde Fitch Report: Donald J. Tramp here, 45th President of the Uniformed States of America. I recently went undercover as King Henry XIV did when he wanted to see what was going on in England when he was king. Henry and I, you know, we have many things in common. So many things. Like me, he had many wives. Like me, he lived in a tower. Like me, he was the best at everything. He got so sick of winning.

Diversity for Dummies

HowlRound: The first thing to say about this “Quick Start” manual is that I’m a dummy myself. In all the years I’ve grappled with diversity, the one constant has been recalibration. What was diverse ten years ago is privileged today, and today’s diversity models will become obsolete in the coming years. Historically disenfranchised groups are just now finding their voices after decades, even centuries, of silence. Diversity requires periodic check-ins, assessment, and retuning.

Whoa, This Projection Mapped Video is an Acid Trip

Creators: Ryan Somerville and Andy Yen were first brought together by the joys of communal living, when they ended up as neighbors during an arts residency program in Shanghai. The now-collaborators' skillsets couldn't be more diverse. Somerville is an American composer, whose body of work focuses primarily on interdisciplinary approaches to musical creation. Yen, on the other hand, is a jack of many trades, and his artistic practice includes fashion, visual art, multimedia, and installation-based work.

Adam Savage on his live science show, cosplay, and ‘promoting the joy in making things’

The Verge: “You guys have to check this out,” MythBusters veteran Adam Savage says to a small group of assembled crew members for his traveling show, Brain Candy Live! Along with Michael Stevens (host of the YouTube channel Vsauce), Savage has been touring the country with a show that is part hands-on science lesson, part TED Talk, and part Blue Man Group-style performance. I’ve followed him onto the stage before a performance, and he’s just pulled a large leaf blower out of a box. It’s an upgrade to the one used in earlier shows on the tour, he explains, and he demonstrates its power by turning it on and tossing an inflated beach ball over it. The ball, caught in the updraft, hovers over the stage, 20 feet above our heads.

Now, You Can Apply to a Cross Country Road Trip Arts Residency

Creators: Idyllic retreats to Wi-Fi-equipped wilderness sanctuaries and half-year paid stays at large institutions are what most artists hope and crave when applying for a residency. But the nature of these programs often leads artists into stasis, placing them in fixed locations on the premise that they will be wholly inspired by a retreat from their usual surroundings to make a body of work. Dripped On The Road, an artist residency that hosted its inaugural session late last year, is the antithesis to these more stagnant artistic retreats, incorporating almost nonstop travel throughout its 6 week duration.

Third Home Will Pay You $10k a Month to Vacation

collegecandy.com: I had a roommate who nannied almost full-time during her senior year of college so she would be able to travel when she graduated (it’s two years later, and the girl’s still abroad.)

What if you could still travel, but for free, without the boogers, tupperware, and chauffeuring? Or, even better, while earning $10,000 a month?

Embattled and emboldened: Arts and culture in the age of Trump

LA Times: In these desperate political days when facts are being flicked away like flies, a minor incident in Anton Chekhov’s “The Three Sisters” keeps replaying itself in my mind.

Ivan Chebutykin, an army doctor and an old friend of the Prozorov family, carelessly drops an expensive clock that Irina, the youngest of the Prozorov sisters, tells him belonged to her dead mother, whom he once loved.

Chebutykin, who adores the sisters but drinks too much, curiously replies: “Very possibly. No doubt it was your mother’s if you say so, but what if I didn’t really break it, what if we only think I did? What if we only think we exist and aren’t really here at all? I know nothing and nobody else knows anything either.”

Program leads young New Yorkers into technical theater industry

NY Daily News: Parents rejoice — there’s now a Roundabout way for young New Yorkers to find their way into a lucrative career path right in the city.

An innovative new program aimed at getting New Yorkers jobs in the theater industry is training 18-to-24-year-olds on the art and craft of working backstage — and paying them to learn the tricks of the trades.

The goal is to teach youngsters the high-level skills needed to work in theater and on Broadway — and funnel them into the industry’s good-paying, union jobs, the program’s creators said.

Aaron Sorkin Lends Help to Diversify Hollywood’s Writers Rooms

Variety: Aaron Sorkin had some burning questions about the lack of diversity in writers’ rooms — an issue that he apparently didn’t know much about until he visited the WGFestival, hosted by the Writers Guild Foundation, on Saturday inside the Pickford Center for Motion Picture Study in Hollywood.

“Are you saying that women and minorities have a more difficult time getting their stuff read than white men and you’re also saying that [white men] get to make mediocre movies and can continue on?” he asked the audience.

The art of theater is the gift that keeps on giving

NY Daily News: I’ve heard that more tickets are sold on Broadway in a year than are sold to all the city’s major sports team events combined.

Wouldn’t it be great if the last seven minutes of the news every night was dedicated to theater?

There’s a wonderful scene toward the end of the movie “Stage Door,” where an actress doesn’t want to go onstage and it’s opening night. And so this old biddy grabs her by the arms and says, “You aren’t going out there for you! Think of the ladies who clean the theater, the guys pulling the curtains,” and so on. And I like that moment, because it’s true that we are all interconnected when we are in a theater and the whole industry is full of wonderful jobs — middle-class jobs, actually, because of the unions.

Invisible Disability in Theatre: Why I May Not Want to Tell You I Have a Disability

HowlRound: Working in the theatre with an invisible disability can be challenging. While most buildings have a ramp to allow a person who uses a wheelchair to get into the building and there may be handrails in the bathroom for patrons with mobility challenges, an artist with an invisible disability like my Tourettes Syndrome (TS) or Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) doesn’t need a change to a physical structure. Instead I need accessibility into people’s minds. However since my disabilities are “invisible,” how are theatre administrators or directors supposed to know that I have a disability or the kinds of accommodations that I need?

Broadway feeds billions into NYC's economy, runs on union staff

NY Daily News: The shows must go on, because Broadway’s true singular sensation comes from the billions it pumps into the city’s economy.

The theater industry that dominates Midtown brought more than $12 billion into the city in 2016 alone.

All that economic activity added up to more than $1 billion paid to city and state taxes, according to The Broadway League that represents theater owners, general managers and producers in New York and around the country.

An Interview with Alexander Schroeder OnTheatre and the Refugee Crisis in Berlin

The Theatre Times: Alexander Schroeder has been working for the last fifteen years in the acting department at the University of the Arts in Berlin. During that time, he has also been teaching at universities in Salzburg, Leipzig, Dresden, Hannover, Weimar, Stuttgart, Cairo, and other places. He also has been acting and directing in the Berlin theatre scene for the past thirty years. He was an assistant director and member of the Schaubühnen-Ensemble and has worked with Peter Stein, Peter Zadek, Andrea Breth, Luc Bondy, Klaus Michael Grüber, Thomas Ostermeier, and others. In 2015 the productions he participated in as a writer and actor won various awards: Jobs in Heaven (produced by posttheater) won the Stuttgarter Theaterpreis award; and Das Projekt bin ich (The project is me) won the German radio award, the Hörspielpreis der ARD.

The workers who make Broadway hum deserve a standing ovation

NY Daily News: Giving all due respect to Irving Berlin, it is fair to wonder exactly what he meant when he quipped, “There’s no business like show business.”

A career in the theater certainly is a unique sort of job, but Broadway is a business, after all, with owners and employees, investors and customers, budgets and deadlines and good years and bad.

Producers and actors and agents will sometimes talk about that, which is great.

Seattle Rep’s ‘Dry Powder’ provides a fast-paced, hilarious look at modern business

AXS: Seattle Repertory Theatre’s latest offering Dry Powder by Sarah Burgess gives audiences a look inside the often hidden world of private equity finance. These are the people who buy and take over companies then turn them into something that is profitable for themselves, often with little concern for the company being acquired or its employees. This is the crux of the story masterfully presented by just four actors in ninety-five minutes on the Rep’s Leo K Theatre stage.

Off-Broadway tests out shows before they get to Great White Way

NY Daily News: How do you get to the Great White Way? Well, for most performers, the road starts Off-Broadway.

Roughly 100 shows open every year in the commercial and nonprofit theaters that make up the Off-Broadway League — a talent incubator that’s fueled some of the industry’s biggest hits.

“The Guard” at City Theatre

The Pittsburgh Tatler: What is the value of a work of art? What is it to the person who views it in a museum? To the person who is charged with its safety and security? And – perhaps most importantly (?) – to the person who made it in the first place?

Those are questions at the heart of Jessica Dickey’s evocative new play The Guard, in which Rembrandt’s painting Aristotle with a Bust of Homer becomes a kind of magic portal that telescopes us back in time, first to Rembrandt’s studio, as he begins work on the painting, and then to Homer, reflecting on the role of poetry in capturing and recording human experience.

Ars Nova’s Brilliant Career

The New Yorker: n a Monday night this winter, at a gala in a Beaux-Arts former bank downtown, the young playwright Rachel Bonds, whose luminous “Sundown, Yellow Moon” is currently onstage uptown, made a showstopper of a speech, on a night not lacking in potential showstoppers. The event was a fund-raiser for the nonprofit Off Broadway theatre and artist incubator Ars Nova. It had a Russia-in-winter theme—bear-shaped ice sculpture, stilt walkers, faux-fur hats—in honor of the company’s first Broadway transfer, Dave Malloy’s “Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812.” It featured songs from the show, performed by Malloy, Josh Groban, Denée Benton, and others. But when Bonds spoke people made sounds of amazement: as Ars Nova’s playwright-in-residence, she said, she was paid a salary and given benefits. Good benefits. “I actually went to the dentist,” she said, to “ooh”s. “I also had my first child.” Prenatal care, delivery, everything, was covered by her Ars Nova health insurance. “He’s eight weeks old, and it’s my first night away from him,” she said. “So that tells you how much Ars Nova means to me.” After her speech, she went out to the street and got a car home. Inside, the party raged on, with vodka and accordions.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

NFTRW Weekly Top Five

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

Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

www.theodysseyonline.com: When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated. For those of you who don’t know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it. For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

How do theme parks make fake seem so real?

www.themeparkinsider.com: People who work at theme parks throw around the word "magic" a lot. And they should, because that's exactly what the best theme park designers create. Now, I'm not talking about the sappy popular meaning of the word "magic" — I'm talking about magic as an act of stagecraft. It's a visual con, designed to make you believe that you are seeing something that can't possibly be in our normal, natural world.

For the First Time Ever, An Asian-American Has Been Cast In a Classic Tennessee Williams Role

L.A. Weekly: When Linda Park takes on the role of Maggie the Cat in Antaeus Theatre Company's production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, she'll be the first Asian woman to portray the character in a professional production. “It was both a dream role and something that I never thought would happen,” Park says.

Park first discovered the role (and the play) when she was in high school and saw the 1994 film Double Happiness, which stars Sandra Oh as an Asian woman who dreams of becoming an actress.

Women of “The Great Comet of 1812”

THE INTERVAL: The Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy and directed by Rachel Chavkin features an immersive set with audience members on stage and actors running through the audience; an eclectic score; a story loosely based on an excerpt from War and Peace; and the majority of actors in the cast making their Broadway debuts. Among those actors making their Broadway debuts are Brittain Ashford, Gelsey Bell, Amber Gray, and Grace McLean. The four of them come from performance backgrounds as diverse as the characters they’re playing. We recently sat down with them to discuss archetypes, the physicality of the show, balancing doing eight shows a week, and more.

Shining The Light: How One Teacher Brought The Ghostlight Project To His High School

Breaking Character: A lot of my students, right now, in 2017, are scared. A lot of that is the usual teenage concern about not fitting in, the changes in their bodies and the like, but lately something is definitely different. There’s an edge to the fear my students are feeling. I know because I feel it too. I am a British-born high school theatre teacher in America, I witnessed the results of the UK referendum to leave Europe, and then, well, November, USA happened. A consistent thread of these populist movements is the apparent normalization of being openly hostile to minorities, specifically people who are non-white.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Women of “The Great Comet of 1812”

THE INTERVAL: The Great Comet of 1812 by Dave Malloy and directed by Rachel Chavkin features an immersive set with audience members on stage and actors running through the audience; an eclectic score; a story loosely based on an excerpt from War and Peace; and the majority of actors in the cast making their Broadway debuts. Among those actors making their Broadway debuts are Brittain Ashford, Gelsey Bell, Amber Gray, and Grace McLean. The four of them come from performance backgrounds as diverse as the characters they’re playing. We recently sat down with them to discuss archetypes, the physicality of the show, balancing doing eight shows a week, and more.

Red Hot Chilli Peppers

TPi: One of the most awe-inspiring elements of the live events industry is the constant quest to raise the bar on what is possible. It’s an industry that strives to deliver the unthinkable. The latest tour to shatter expectations is none other than Californian funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers (RHCP) who, with the help of TAIT Towers and long-time Creative Director and LD, Scott Holthaus, have produced the largest-ever tourable kinetic light installation.

For the First Time Ever, An Asian-American Has Been Cast In a Classic Tennessee Williams Role

L.A. Weekly: When Linda Park takes on the role of Maggie the Cat in Antaeus Theatre Company's production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, she'll be the first Asian woman to portray the character in a professional production. “It was both a dream role and something that I never thought would happen,” Park says.

Park first discovered the role (and the play) when she was in high school and saw the 1994 film Double Happiness, which stars Sandra Oh as an Asian woman who dreams of becoming an actress.

Shining The Light: How One Teacher Brought The Ghostlight Project To His High School

Breaking Character: A lot of my students, right now, in 2017, are scared. A lot of that is the usual teenage concern about not fitting in, the changes in their bodies and the like, but lately something is definitely different. There’s an edge to the fear my students are feeling. I know because I feel it too. I am a British-born high school theatre teacher in America, I witnessed the results of the UK referendum to leave Europe, and then, well, November, USA happened. A consistent thread of these populist movements is the apparent normalization of being openly hostile to minorities, specifically people who are non-white.

Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

www.theodysseyonline.com: When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated. For those of you who don’t know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it. For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

The Set Design Magic of ‘Good Grief’

Center Theatre Group:

The first page of the script of Ngozi Anwanyu’s Good Grief (onstage at the Kirk Douglas Theatre through March 26, 2017) specifies the time (1992–2005) and place (Bucks County, Pennsylvania) where the play’s action occurs.

But what caught scenic designer Stephanie Kerley Schwartz’s attention was something much more abstract: “it is always night.” She explained that this was her first “aha” moment with the play, which captured her imagination from the very first read-through.

It’s A Time For Disobedience: MIT Media Lab Will Pay $250,000 To Support It

Fast Company: “You don’t change the world by doing what you’re told.” So says Joi Ito, the director of the MIT Media Lab, on the nomination form for a new type of award: a prize for disobedience.

The award–a $250,000, no-strings-attached cash prize, funded by LinkedIn cofounder Reid Hoffman–will go to a person or group responsible for an “extraordinary” example of disobedience for the good of society. While that might take the form of traditional civil disobedience, Ito defines disobedience broadly.

5 minutes with Candy Ma: 'Chinglish is increasingly relevant to today's world'

WhatsOnStage.com: Chinglish is about an American businessman who comes to China to establish a new sign business. In China the signs have beautiful letters, but the English translation is often totally stupid. Like a disabled toilet can be 'deformed men toilet'. It's very, very bad. So this business man has come to help companies fix this, but he encounters lots of multi-layered politics and has a complicated relationship with a woman called Xi Yan, who I play.

Think of the Children Before Scrapping the NEA, Says Mike Huckabee

Hit & Run : Reason.com: The $148 million allocated to the National Endowment for the Arts is fiscally trivial in the context of a $4 trillion federal budget. By the same token, however, the NEA is culturally trivial, a point that Mike Huckabee inadvertently makes in a Washington Post op-ed piece urging Congress to preserve the program.

Theatre After 11/9: What Now?

HowlRound: A week before the 2016 US presidential election, I was in North Carolina, where I tried to ignore the Trump signs that littered lawns. I returned to New York City. And then it happened.

On November 9, the day after, everything appeared bleak: the faces on the subway, the rainy sky. The chatter you hear in New York was suddenly muted. But I could also get on the A train in Washington Heights and know that my fellow passengers had probably voted for Hillary Clinton and were totally miserable with the results.

[Premiere] Algorithmic Filmmaking Experiment Creates a New Music Video Every Time You Play It

Creators: In the world of the internet, 60 seconds is a long time. On YouTube alone there are hundreds of hours of video uploaded every minute. A new "experiment in algorithmic filmmaking" taps into these vast swaths of video content, and turns them into an ever-changing music video for Manchester band Shaking Chains' debut single "Midnight Oil."

La-aadies and gentlemen, this 'Circus 1903' is the real thing

Chicago Tribune: I've never seen a show quite like "Circus 1903." Note that the title is not "Cirque 1903." This is not some dreamy, ethereal proscenium entertainment, designed to capitalize on the perennial appeal of the "Cirque du Soleil." This is dat-dat-dada-dada-dada circus. Roll up, boys and girls of all ages. Touch the elephants. Watch the contortionist wriggle.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Cheerleading company can get copyrights, pursue competitors, Supreme Court says

Ars Technica: The Supreme Court issued a 5-2 opinion (PDF) today allowing cheerleading uniforms to be copyrighted. The case, Star Athletica v. Varsity Brands, is expected to have broad effect in the fashion world and beyond. A group of 3D printing companies had also asked the high court to take up the case, asking for clarity on how to separate creative designs, which are copyrightable, from utilitarian objects that are not.

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