Dawn Chiang Named to Tony Nominating Committee

by Michael Eddy
Lighting designer and Theatre Projects’ senior consultant, Dawn Chiang
Lighting designer and Theatre Projects’ senior consultant, Dawn Chiang

This summer the Tony Awards Administration Committee announced the nominating committee for the 2017-2018 Broadway season. The nominating committee attends all productions during the Broadway season and meets on a designated date to determine, by vote, the Tony Award nominees for that season. The committee of Tony nominators announced include 50 members for the 2017-2018 season. Members of the committee serve a three-year term. This year there are 12 new members, including lighting designer and Theatre Projects’ senior consultant, Dawn Chiang. Stage Directions asked Chiang about being invited on to the nominating committee.

In His Own Words

by Howard Sherman
Harold Prince
Harold Prince

Howard Sherman speaks with The Prince of Broadway Himself, Hal Prince

It is impossible to overstate how important Harold S. Prince was to musical theatre in the latter half of the 20th century. As a producer, his credits include The Pajama Game, Damn Yankees, West Side Story and Fiddler on the Roof. As a director, he is known for a series of collaborations with Stephen Sondheim – including Follies, Company, A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, and Sweeney Todd – as well as musicals ranging from She Loves Me to The Phantom of the Opera to Kiss of the Spider Woman. August saw his newest show, Prince of Broadway, a retrospective that samples material from shows he either produced or directed (or both), debut at Manhattan Theatre Club. September began with the publication of Sense of Occasion (Applause Books), a theatrical autobiography that incorporates and annotates his 1974 book Contradictions, in addition to adding new chapters that cover his career to date. He spoke with Stage Directions about these career spanning projects just one week after the opening of Prince of Broadway.

LCTs Associate PM Kevin Orzechowski Talks Immersive Theater

by Michael Eddy
Roxanne Kidd appears at the bottom of a stairwell in Ghost Light Credit: Julietta Cervantes
Roxanne Kidd appears at the bottom of a stairwell in Ghost Light Credit: Julietta Cervantes

LCT’s Associate PM Kevin Orzechowski talks about integrating Ghost Light into the Claire Tow Theater

If I were speaking with another PM about working with an immersive theater company, I’d say that your space is already established and there are numerous considerations to keep in mind. Unlike other spaces that Third Rail has worked in in the past, which are blank slates like a warehouse, our theater is a traditional proscenium stage. You have to let the idea of what your space is go. The biggest challenge is to embrace their format and what they were going to need in the space. You should embrace that and throw away your expectations of how you usually use the space.

Managing the Ephemeral

by Michael Eddy
Rebekah Morin on the Claire Tow Theater’s stage in Ghost Light Credit: Julietta Cervantes
Rebekah Morin on the Claire Tow Theater’s stage in Ghost Light Credit: Julietta Cervantes

The Immersive Challenges of Third Rail Projects’ Ghost Light

"I talk about it as being a performance about performance. It’s an opportunity to see what’s on the other side; what’s beyond the footlights and what’s on the other side the facade of this crazy thing that is theater, which is both full of truth and full of lies. And it’s also a love song; a love song to theater and theater makers.” That’s how Zach Morris, Co-Artistic Director of Third Rail Projects, describes the company’s latest production, Ghost Light. A site-specific, immersive piece that merges dance and theater with the ephemeral nature of creating a production and which brings the audience behind the curtain.

Onboarding Past Prep Week

by David J. McGraw

As the seasons change and we put away our summer show-blacks for our warmer show-blacks (please tell me I am not the only stage manager who divides his all-black wardrobe by season) it is also time to train our new staff. Whether working for regional theaters, tours, universities, or the constantly changing Broadway, Fall is the season of new staffing.

Stage managers are very good at training understudies and new crew, but how good are we at training our own teams?

Present To Past

by Lisa Mulcahy
Joe Wilson Jr. as Lancelot in Trinity Repertory Company’s Camelot Credit: Mark Turek/Trinity Rep
Joe Wilson Jr. as Lancelot in Trinity Repertory Company’s Camelot Credit: Mark Turek/Trinity Rep

Natalie Kearns has made a name for herself as one historically savvy propmaster. She has honed her craft while working as an assistant and artisian at Trinity Rep in Providence, RI, as well as working with the Huntington Theatre Company in Boston and Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA. She’s currently head of props for the Grand Theatre in London, Ontario, Canada. 

Stage Presence

by Jeromy Hopgood and Jeremy Gibson Bond
View inside Stage Presence
View inside Stage Presence

A Collaboration That Resulted in a New Approach to Design Communication

You don’t have to look around very far these days to see news about virtual reality (VR) and how it’s revolutionizing our world. For almost as long as the technology has been available, people have asked about ways that VR can change how we experience live performances like theater or concert events. For the authors of this article, the question became not how it can change the performance, itself, but rather how it might change the ways in which we create those performances. Finding an answer led to the collaboration between Eastern Michigan University’s Jeromy Hopgood, and Michigan State University’s Jeremy Gibson Bond. They wanted to envision a new approach for using VR as a tool for facilitating design communication between designers and directors, as well as being a time and cost-saving pre-visualization tool.

The Good Fight

by Kevin Mitchell
(L-R) Manoel Felciano as Sir Guy of Gisbourne & Daniel Reece as Robin Hood in the Globe-commissioned world premiere of Ken Ludwig's Robin Hood! Credit: Photo by Jim Cox/©The Old Globe
(L-R) Manoel Felciano as Sir Guy of Gisbourne & Daniel Reece as Robin Hood in the Globe-commissioned world premiere of Ken Ludwig's Robin Hood! Credit: Photo by Jim Cox/©The Old Globe

Fight Director Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum Talks About the Art of Fighting
Full-time fight director/choreographer Jacob Grigolia-Rosenbaum was born itching for a fight despite growing up the son of “pacifist, Bay-area hippies.” “At four, I told them I wanted to sword fight, and they said, ‘You may certainly not do that!’” he laughs. A few years later they enrolled him in a theater combat class, but the youth was unimpressed because… well, it was fake. He would eventually take a fencing class and one day, while walking across the University of California’s Berkley campus, he spotted an “anyone is welcome” flyer for the fencing team. He got himself on that team… even though he was only a 14-year-old high school student. He fenced with great success on the college team and after graduating from high school, he continued with Yale’s fencing team, he was a D1 varsity fencer, while pursuing a theater degree there.

Theater Needs Tomorrow’s Technicians Today

by Warren Djerf (Wenger Blog)

A fair amount has changed in terms of theater production and technology since Jack Miller, Director of Stage Automation for the School of Design and Production at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), started in theatre education at the school almost 30 years ago. Yet the need for well-trained, passionate and hard-working technicians has remained the same. Bringing UNCSA renowned training and acknowledging the need to address the demand for automation techncians, Miller launched the school’s three-year Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree program in stage automation in 2001. “During the 1990s, more and more automation advancements were happening on Broadway and in rock ‘n’ roll tours,” recalls Miller, “and while automation was taught as part of UNCSA’s technical direction program, we felt the subject justified its own MFA.”

To See; To Hear

by Marshall Bissett
in Design
Grantham Coleman as Hamlet, Michael Genet as The Ghost, and Opal Alladin as Queen Gertrude Credit:  Jim Cox/©The Old Globe
Grantham Coleman as Hamlet, Michael Genet as The Ghost, and Opal Alladin as Queen Gertrude Credit: Jim Cox/©The Old Globe

The Lighting and Sound Designs of Hamlet at San Diego’s Old Globe

Every new production of Hamlet must lay to rest the ghosts of its predecessors. With its familiar story, often quoted (and mostly misquoted) lines and contemporary spin offs, it’s amongst the most accessible of Shakespeare’s tragedies. The director’s skill lies in extracting the story of revenge from the Iambic pentameter and metaphysical musings so unfamiliar to the modern ear. Barry Edelstein’s production on the Festival Stage at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego succeeds by not allowing anything to upstage a well-told story. In this he is greatly helped by a design and production team that clearly shares his vision that “the play is the thing.” The outdoor setting of the 600-seat thrust-configured setting posed challenges for the production crew greater than the passing of an occasional aircraft. With at least four prior Old Globe shows under their belt, sound designer Sten Severson and lighting designer Stephen Strawbridge took a break from technical rehearsals to share their craft with Stage Directions.