Design

They Speak Lighting

BY STUART MILLER via www.americantheatre.org The cast of The Iceman Cometh stands in a circle onstage at the Bernard B. Jacobs Theatre, hands clasped, lines from the play ricocheting from one actor to another. It’s a starry group—David Morse, Bill Irwin, Colm Meaney, and, of course, Denzel Washington—yet during this rehearsal they are left in semi-darkness. The only person fully illuminated is an 80-year-old man, standing alone, unmoving, at the top of the staircase stage right. That man, Jules Fisher, is not part of the cast, yet he is an essential part of the show; he has been lighting up stages in New York City (and beyond) for more than 50 years. Fisher, along with his working partner Peggy Eisenhauer, 55, are among the preeminent lighting designers in the American theatre, while also ...

SNL Hair and Makeup Heads Reveal How They Create Their Weekly Transformations

BY CASEY MINK via www.backstage.com If you’ve ever marveled at a “Saturday Night Live” cast member’s transformation from parrot to politician in one commercial break, you should know the names Jodi Mancuso and Louie Zakarian, the sketch show’s longtime hair and makeup department heads. Just ahead of the television institution’s 43rd season finale, Mancuso and Zakarian—who have 12 Emmys between them—spoke with Backstage to break down what a show week typically looks like, how their work helps actors find and get into their many characters, and the one look creator Lorne Michaels deemed too shocking. How do you typically prepare for a show week? Louie Zakarian (makeup): It starts on Tuesdays, when the host comes in and we do promos. We do the table read on Wednesday; we go through something ...

The Challenges of Designing Costumes for HDTV

via thecostumerag.com You only need to take a look in your local department store to see the immense size and quality of modern television screens aimed at the common family. Ultra-high-definition has given every broadcast a strangely smooth quality full of contrast and impeccable detail. Unfortunately one of the production departments with the biggest tasks with rising to this new standard of television is the costume department who, if our poll on the state of the costume industry is anything to go by, probably can’t afford to see their work in 4K glory. Besides more intense scrutiny for details, the new technology requires intense lighting that can easily bleach out much of the costume work. Colours have to be bold, which also meansweathering and ageing effects have to be exaggerated. I...

How ‘Mean Girls’ and More are Leaning into Video Design

BY CAITLIN HUSTON via www.broadway.news In “Mean Girls,” a large white wall can instantly transform from an African savanna to the hallway of a suburban American high school and then to a visualization of the world of social media. These scene changes come thanks to Finn Ross and Adam Young, who created the LED videos featured on the musical’s set, which is nominated for a Tony Award. Beyond “Mean Girls,” video and projection design is appearing more frequently on the stage, both to keep up with modern playwrights and with new technology. “I think there is an evolution happening,” Ross said. “Gradually more and more and more it’s accepted and understood.” Working alongside set designer Scott Pask, Ross and Young used 650 LED tiles — with each functioning as its own kind of television that ...

Ding. Hiss. Chirp. Broadway’s Best Sounds (Other Than the Songs).

BY MICHAEL PAULSON via www.nytimes.com What kind of noise does a wand make? How about an angel? In 2014, Tony Awards administrators eliminated sound design as a contest category, arguing that too few voters understood the craft well enough to judge it. But an outcry ensued, and this year, the category is back, with a twist — only about half of the 841 voters, those deemed expert enough, will be allowed to vote. We asked the nominees who worked on plays, creating soundscapes for worlds first dreamed up by George Orwell and J.K. Rowling, among others, to share short audio samples and talk about their work. Have a listen. Adam Cork, ‘Travesties’ The challenge: To capture the spirit of Tom Stoppard’s zany and chaotic play, told in a series of repeating and often conflicting flashbacks that fea...

Sound designers celebrate the return of their Tony Awards categories

BY CAITLIN HUSTON via www.broadway.news The Tony Award categories for sound design are back with a boom. Eleven sound designers of plays and musicals were nominated for Tony Awards this season, five years after the categories had been eliminated from consideration. With the return of the category comes a new voting system and a reinvigorated community supporting the designers and their work. “It’s an honor to be nominated in a category that has come back from the dead,” said Kai Harada, sound designer on “The Band’s Visit.” The Tony Awards for sound design was first awarded in 2008 and then taken away in 2014 without explanation by the Tony Awards Administration Committee. A New York Times article from that time cited two Tony voters who said voters largely did not know how to evaluate sou...

Lighting Design & Dance

BY MARINA HARSS via www.dancemagazine.com He may not be a household name, but you probably know Brandon Stirling Baker’s work. The 30-year-old has designed the lighting for most of Justin Peck’s ballets—including Heatscape for Miami City Ballet, and the edgy The Times Are Racing for New York City Ballet—but also Jamar Roberts’ new Members Don’t Get Weary at Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and a trio of Martha Graham duets for L.A. Dance Project. He’s been fascinated by lighting ever since he attended a public performing arts middle school in Sherman Oaks, California, where he had his first experiences lighting shows. He also has a background in music (he plays guitar and bass) and in drawing. Both, he says, are central to the way he approaches lighting danc...

A Snapshot of Set and Theater Design of the 20th Century

BY MIKE JACKSON via www.architectmagazine.com This post is part of a monthly series that explores the historical applications of building materials and systems through resources from the Building Technology Heritage Library (BTHL), an online collection of AEC catalogs, brochures, trade publications, and more. The BTHL is a project of the Association for Preservation Technology, an international building preservation organization. Read more about the archive here. The grand opera houses of 19th century Europe led to equally extravagant American movie palaces of the early- and mid-1900s. These structures were often ornately decorated and constantly evolving with technological innovations in lighting, movie projection, and seating design. This month we explore some architectural documents tha...

A Word to the Wise on Resumes & Cover Letters

BY JAY DUCKWORTH via www.stage-directions.com We get so many resumes here at the Public Theater it’s sometimes hard to go through all of them. So, there are some things I look for and some things that are just standard practices. With a lot of you graduating out there or applying for internships or maybe just old codgers like me looking to revisit and update your resume so you can remember where you worked and how cool it was, here are some good rules and tips from us, (myself and Sara Swanberg, the prop shop manager for The Public Theater), the people who have to actually read your resumes and make hiring decisions.

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’s Broadway Home Is Revealed in Stunning New Photos

The Lyric Theatre has undergone a complete renovation after temporarily closing in the spring of 2017. BY: JASON ZEDNICK via  www.theatremania.com A view inside the newly renovated Lyric Theatre, home to Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. (© Dorothy Hong) With the recent unveiling of the new marquee for Broadway’s Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, the big question has been what magic is in store inside the newly renovated Lyric Theatre’s interior. The top-to-bottom redesign (helmed by Christine Jones and Brett J. Banakis and overseen by Gary Beestone) has been unveiled in eye-catching new photos released by Ambassador Theatre Group. The Lyric Theatre underwent a complete renovation after temporarily closing in 2017. (© Dorothy Hong) Harry Potter and the Cursed...

FREE Braceworks™ Webinar – Register Today!

FREE WEBINAR – MARCH 20, 2018 via www.vectorworks.net Did you know that Vectorworks’ new add-on module, Braceworks™, provides design, production, and rigging professionals with an easy way to gauge the performance of temporary structures under load? Proper truss design is crucial to ensuring the safety and success of entertainment design projects. In this webinar Moritz Staffel, managing director at DeerSoft GmbH, will provide you with an in-depth look at how to conduct structural analysis in the entertainment field directly within Vectorworks®  software using the Braceworks™ add-on. Attendees will also learn about the improvements to truss tools, the difference between distributed and point leads, and how to properly support trusses. Learning Objectives: Examine the uses of th...

Take a Sneak Peak at this Custom Backdrop for Mamma Mia!

BY MICHAEL EDDY via www.stage-directions.com The recent production of Mamma Mia at Seattle’s 5th Avenue Theatre had a panoramic, curved sky design from the creative mind of scenic designer, Jason Sherwood. The drop measures 30-feet tall and 80 linear feet long and consists of 2,400 sq. ft. of layered voile and gauze fabrics. Atomic Designs built the custom piece, take a look at this time-lapse video of it being painted. Sherwood walks us through his design for the production in this behind the scenes video from 5th Avenue Theatre: The creative team also included: director, Bill Berry; lighting designer, Mike Baldassari; costume design by Rose Pederson; sound designer, Joanna Lynne Staub; and hair and wig designer, Mary Pyankowski Jones. The production stage manager was Jeffrey K. Han...

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