Design

Broadway’s Biggest Debut: King Kong

BY MICHAEL PAULSON  via www.nytimes.com He’s 20 feet tall and weighs 2,000 pounds. He’s monstrous, but, his creators hope, also moving. And he’s coming to Broadway this fall. King Kong arrives next month as the title character, and the one constant, in a $35 million musical which has been in development for nearly a decade, churning through scripts, songs and creative teams as the producers try to shape a show worthy of their title character. He’s being brought to life by an animatronic ape unlike any puppet Broadway has seen before — a moving sculpture, with sad eyes and a fearsome roar, requiring 14 performers, as well as 16 microprocessors, to operate. The massive marionette is in some ways as naturalistic as his co-stars — he does not burst into song or break into dance, but instead kn...

Webinar Registration: WHAT’S NEW IN VECTORWORKS 2019

WHAT’S NEW IN VECTORWORKS 2019 FOR THE ENTERTAINMENT INDUSTRY Tuesday, September 18 | 2:00 – 3:00 PM ET Vectorworks®  software is the industry-standard for entertainment design, production, and documentation. With the latest release of Spotlight, Vision, and Braceworks™, you can design, document, analyze, and pre-visualize your project in a seamless workflow that enables you to outpace the competition and impress your clients. Whether you work in the A/V industry or in lighting, scenic, film, event, or rigging design, you won’t want to miss our one-hour webinar with Frank Brault, as he explores the newest versions of Vectorworks Spotlight, Vision, and Braceworks. Attendees Will: Explore the many new improvements to Braceworks, including bridle calculations. Learn about major sp...

Candidate registration for the 2019 URTAs is now open!

MFA training in theatre begins with URTA! At the URTAs, you can audition and interview with our 43 member universities all in one place, on a single day. Why navigate dozens of different applications, fees, appointments, and travel when you can get it all done at the URTAs? Choose your city—New York, Chicago, or San Francisco—and register to be seen by our recruiters in either acting, design, directing, stage management, or arts leadership. Our nationally ranked member schools boast professional faculty, a commitment to the highest standards in professional, graduate training, and are peer-reviewed on a continuing basis. Most also offer various forms of financial assistance. Graduates of URTA programs are working on Broadway, in top theatres across the country, in film, television, and bey...

Shall I Clothe Thee for a Summer’s Day? Costuming Outdoor Shakespeare

BY BILLY MCENTEE via www.americantheatre.org Shakespeare’s characters aren’t the only ones weathering floods and tempests. Outdoor summer Shakespeare is an American institution alongside July 4th fireworks and lounging poolside. Across the country, as actors and audiences endure rain, heat, and bugs to present and partake of free professional performances of the Bard’s classics, one group of designers has a special challenge: costume designers, who must conceive innovative ways to protect actors, their clothes, and the integrity of the story. How does the process of working al fresco differ from being in more enclosed venues, and how do costumers think sustainably to preserve their designs night after night? “Designing for outdoor environments is challenging yet fascinating,” said Ying-Jun...

Register for the 4th Annual Vectorworks Design Summit

4th Annual Vectorworks Design Summit November 4-6, 2018 Phoenix, AZ We’re cranking up the heat at the fourth annual Vectorworks Design Summit. Join us in sunny Arizona at the Sheraton Grand at Wild Horse Pass for an exciting three days of indispensable workshops, inspired design, and improved connections. Located in the breathtaking Sonoran Desert, the Sheraton Grand celebrates the Gila River Indian heritage and culture. Extend your stay and enjoy everything the resort has to offer, including an 18-hole golf course, horseback riding, a world-class spa, and more! Registration You can pay one low price for two full days of in-depth training with Vectorworks software. No matter your industry or level of experience, you can’t afford to miss this valuable opportunity. REGULAR CONFERENCE – $599 ...

Vintage Photos of Life before AutoCAD

via www.vinate.es Before the advent of AutoCAD and other drafting softwares, the engineering drawings were made on sheet of papers using drawing boards. Many equipments were required to complete a given drawing such as drawing board, different grade pencils, Erasers T-squares, Set square etc. Almost 20 years ago, engineers and toolmakers used to draw all things on paper with the help of drafting tools and pencils. Drafting was indeed was tedious and time-consuming. Designing and putting everything on paper was a tough job, maybe that’s why the need of creation of AutoCAD software came up. The major disadvantage of paper based design was that, you can not actually change it after it’s been put on paper. So if design is changed, then start making sketches over! AutoCAD and all that softwares...

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...