A Tale of Two Bags - When historically accurate is NOT what the story needs

by Jay Duckworth
in Props

Rehearsal Report -Props: 
Add – Newspaper with headline “King is Cured” 
Add – Leather doctor’s bag with things a 1750’s doctor would have to work on a gunshot wound.  

If you’re good at history and research, you know that these notes are both historically inaccurate. Now I know what you are thinking, Jay is going to poke fun at stage manager reports. Or, he is going to give us a lesson in historical accuracy. No, my dear friends, I want to share a few secrets with the props folk out there. Some things that I hope will ease your pain and also pull you back from the edge of that pedantic cliff. 

The Ingenuity of Theater Makers

by Michael Eddy

As we go to press, awards season for theater is in full swing. A time when we celebrate the achievements of all the nominees and winners, especially in the design and technical categories. But of course the nomination lists reflect only a snapshot of the breadth of incredibly ingenious work being done across the theater community. Not to mention the amazing, but sadly often unsung, craftspeople who have relatively few nomination lists to see their names included on.

The Resilient Ones

by Ross Jackson
The USITT 2018 Gateway Program Mentors and Mentees
The USITT 2018 Gateway Program Mentors and Mentees

USITT’s Gateway Program Helps Erode Barriers

Across the United States, live entertainment is becoming an increasingly understood and accepted option for many young people embarking on their career journeys. With options like film, television, dance, symphony orchestras, concerts, road houses, conferences, conventions, theater, and more industrial endeavors than ever, live entertainment is now just as widely recognizable for its technicians, managers, directors, and designers. Just as we were able to shake the stigma outside the industry that live production is limited to what is seen on stage, we within the industry must now work to redefine what the industry looks like beyond the proscenium. USITT’s Gateway Program is one of the first and most successful steps that an early career technical theater professional can take in response to this call to action.

The Story Doesn't Stop for the Scene Change

by Michael Eddy

Scenic Transitions: A discussion with scenic designer Dane Laffrey 

Scenic and costume designer Dane Laffrey is based in New York City, but his work has taken him to Japan, Australia and Norway. In fact, after he studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Laffrey moved to Sydney for a number of years to study at Australia’s National Institute of Dramatic Art. His numerous professional credits include many regional theaters and off-Broadway work. His current Broadway work saw him receive his first Tony Award nomination for the set design for the revival of Once on This Island playing at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Stage Directions recently caught up with Laffrey to discuss some of his thoughts on the scenic design considerations around transitions in a piece.

Tony-Winner Stew Goes to College

by Howard Sherman - Text and Photos
Columbus Is Happening cast members at La Guardia Community College (Photo ©Howard Sherman)
Columbus Is Happening cast members at La Guardia Community College (Photo ©Howard Sherman)

Stew Brings Queens to Musical Life at La Guardia Community College

It’s a daunting scenario. A community college commits to producing a brand-new musical, the first the theater program has undertaken. The show is cast a year in advance, with 19 students, before any script exists. When the 10-week rehearsal period begins, there are only a handful of songs written. Material only begins to start coming in earnest two weeks into the process, and keeps coming through tech rehearsals.

That’s what Stefanie Sertich, associate professor and program director for theatre at La Guardia Community College, committed herself to when she programmed Columbus is Happening. But with all the uncertainty, she also had a remarkable asset: the show was being written by Stew, the multifaceted composer, lyricist, and star of the Tony Award-winning Passing Strange, as well as the creator of The Total Bent, at The Public Theater.