Ben Nye Makeup Hits Milestone 50 Years

by Michael Eddy

Started in 1967, The Ben Nye Makeup company was founded by the renowned makeup artist Ben Nye, Sr. who had worked in Hollywood for over 30 years on over 500 feature films. Nye was well-known for his iconic style of realism and significant achievements in makeup for film; including creating makeup for Asian, Latino, and African American actors. After starting out as an apprentice in the mid-1930s, he worked on Gone With the Wind in 1938 and mixed colors for actress Butterfly McQueen. Around 1957, 20-years after that film, there was still only basic, generic foundations available, so he started to make his own makeup for people of color, filling a niche that he felt was not being served for these actors.

Today Ben Nye is still family-owned, now being run by his youngest son Dana Nye, who started working with his father in 1970. Ben Nye Makeup is today known the world over for exceptional quality and is a resource for professional makeup artists of stage and screen. Working closely with their clients, Ben Nye has responded to artists’ needs and changing styles of the time by developing an ever-expanding line of makeup products that address them all, including the need for high definition makeup about a decade ago. 

But Will It Wash Off...

by Jay Duckworth
Graffiti in production of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park
Graffiti in production of Julius Caesar at Shakespeare in the Park

Creating stage graffiti, that’s easy to clean up night after night

“That’s not quite it. Can you keep going?” asked Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theater. “Of course,” I replied. This is the stuff I love about doing props and I haven’t been able to prop a show for this man I admire for seven years, so I was not going to let him down. We were discussing a scene in the Public Theater’s Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar, where Cassius throws a big blue paintball onto a Julius Caesar political poster. When I say big paintball, I mean it. The poster was 4’x4’; Oskar wanted it fully covered.

Cherelle Guyton: Artistry of Hair & Wig Design - An Illuminations Blog

by Porsche McGovern
in Design
Cherelle Guyton
Cherelle Guyton

Cherelle Guyton currently works as the Wig and Hair Supervisor at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  I met her after a panel discussion at the Theatre Communications Group conference in Portland, OR this year. Cherelle Guyton is an artist, entrepreneur, educator, designer and speaker.  She is the CEO and Designer of C Stylez U, LLC, a bi-coastal wig and makeup design business.  C Stylez U offers a variety of wig and makeup design services for theatre, tv/film, photography, marketing videos, commercials and also serves individual clients. She has designed over thirty-three productions to date, including Les Miserables, voted one of the 2015 "Best of Ashland" plays.

Curating the Closet of the Character

by Joe Kucharski
in Design
Troian Bellisario & Patrick J. Adams wear costumes designed by Denitsa Bliznakova for The Last Match
Troian Bellisario & Patrick J. Adams wear costumes designed by Denitsa Bliznakova for The Last Match

Designing a contemporary costume plot
Period and fantasy productions transport you to a world far removed from your own, and with that the costume designer is challenged to create an entire world that is completely foreign to an audience, or recreate one that a portion of the audience might recall quite vividly. The challenge for the costume designer of a contemporary dressed production is that the audience is much more familiar with the world of the story. Within our global society, even with a story that takes place half way around the world, there are higher expectations of the clothing and how it serves to express character. Tony Award-winning costume designer (Eclipsed), Clint Ramos describes it this way, “I think the most successful contemporary productions I’ve seen, and been involved in, are where the clothes are so perfect they actually are invisible in the right way. Contemporary dress productions require utmost truth in costuming. The audience can spot a lie in a second because it is their world—so really, the choices need to be ultra-specific and precise.” 

Designing the Undefinable

by Michael S. Eddy
Frank Oz, Derek DelGaudio and Glenn Kaino
Frank Oz, Derek DelGaudio and Glenn Kaino

Glenn Kaino discusses the creative partnership for In & Of Itself

For In & Of Itself, there is one man onstage, Derek DelGaudio performing to audiences at the Daryl Roth Theatre in NYC. But no man is an island and every one-man show has a creative team of people behind it. DelGaudio’s longtime creative partner Glenn Kaino was instrumental in helping to shape his vision into a theatrical event. He is the artistic producer for In & Of Itself. Kaino, a well-respected conceptual artist whose works have been shown and are in museum exhibitions around the world, is also one half of A.Bandit, with DelGaudio the other half. As A.Bandit each inform the other’s work through their collaborative approach to ideas that is redefining art and magic themselves; stretching their audience’s perception of both experiences. Stage Directions caught up with him to discuss the collaboration that resulted in the rather undefinable In & Of Itself.

Dressed for Success

by Lisa Mulcahy
Owner Erik Johnsen in the racks at The Costumer
Owner Erik Johnsen in the racks at The Costumer

The Costumer Is Thriving At 100 Years Young

The Costumer, a full-service costume sales and rental company with locations in both Schenectady and Albany, NY, as well as a thriving online business, is celebrating their 100th year in business. Quite an achievement, but an accomplishment that’s no surprise to their loyal repeat clients. 

Originally founded by Anna White, The Costumer is today owned and stewarded by Erik Johnsen and his family. They maintain the business’s commitment to its theatrical customers, especially the academic theater market, with a personalized approach. The staff are experts at listening to the needs of both scholastic clientele and commercial/community theater directors and designers, so that every production’s needs can be met with precision. Johnsen believes the combination of the people he serves as customers and the people he works with as colleagues are the real reasons for The Costumer’s legendary longevity.

Elusive Illusions

by Howard Sherman
Derek DelGaudio in In & Of Itself
Derek DelGaudio in In & Of Itself

Derek DelGaudio conjures an undefinable show with In & Of Itself

"The only reason we call this a magic show is because you call it a magic show.”

That’s Derek DelGaudio speaking about In & Of Itself, his one-man show that began performances in April at New York’s Daryl Roth Theatre, following an extended run at the Geffen Playhouse in Los Angeles. “I don’t mean you,” he reassures his guest, “I mean everyone. The only reason that I’ll have a conversation about it being a magic show is because there’s not really a word for what I feel it is yet.”

“When I tell a story,” he continues, describing the structure of In & Of Itself, which contains many very personal stories from DelGaudio, “I’m not telling a story to get to a trick. I’m using a moment of illusion as a metaphor to punctuate the idea of a story that I just told, or I’m using sleight of hand as a metaphor for the idea that I’m trying to convey. There’s a massive difference there.”

Friends with a Needle and Thread can Save a Marriage

by Michael Eddy

Welcome to the August issue of Stage Directions magazine. We hope that your summer is going well. This month we take a look at costuming—there is a story on the thoughtful design involved in dressing actors for a contemporary theatre piece to one on working with thermoplastics for costume crafts like masks, hats, and accessories [Props and Scenic Artisans may find some useful ideas here as well.] We also look at one artisan’s freelance career in costume crafts.

Hand-Painting Glass Gobos

by Michael Eddy
For Buglisi Dance Theatre’s Moss, Taylor wanted to create an environment that was varied and natural and had that idea of a forest. He found his hand-painted slides to be perfect solution for his design intention.
For Buglisi Dance Theatre’s Moss, Taylor wanted to create an environment that was varied and natural and had that idea of a forest. He found his hand-painted slides to be perfect solution for his design intention.

Lighting Designer Clifton Taylor has been producing his own hand-painted glass gobos now for over 20 years. In fact, it was the introduction of the ETC Source Four ellipsoidal, with its dichroic glass reflector that pulls a large amount of the heat energy out the back of the unit, when he first put paintbrush to glass gobo. “It certainly wasn’t possible before Source Fours were ubiquitous,” notes the LD. Recently, Taylor created nine glass gobos to use in his backlight system for the dance piece Moss produced by Buglisi Dance Theatre. He recently walked SD through his process. 

How to Say Goodbye to a Show - Stage Manager Blog

by David J. McGraw
For every "hello," stage managers soon find themselves saying "goodbye"
For every "hello," stage managers soon find themselves saying "goodbye"

This is especially true for me this past week as I saw the close of my summer show and I gave my notice to the University of Iowa, where I have taught for the past 14 years.  Sometimes the goodbyes are right on schedule as you knew the show closing date when you took on the contract; other times you are forced to decide when it is time to move on.