A Classic TEDx Talk with Lighting Designer Don Holder

Stage Directions

Designer Donald Holder gives a great TEDx talk, The Role of Lighting in Theatre. Holder work as a lighting designer covers theatre, opera, and dance. He has been nominated for thirteen Tony Awards, winning the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design in 1998 for The Lion King and the Tony Award for Best Lighting Design of a Musical in 2008 for South Pacific. He also has eight Drama Desk Award nominations for Best Lighting Design, winning in 1998 for The Lion King. His work can be seen on the currently running Broadway shows My Fair Lady, Tootsie, and Kiss Me, Kate.


A Conversation with Makeup Designer Joe DuLude ll

Michael Eddy

Joe Dulude II made a name for himself with his first Broadway Makeup Designer credit, you may have heard of it, the show was Wicked, The Musical. Fifteen years later the show is still running and so is Dulude’s lengthy credits list. He has continued to work on multiple Broadway shows, often concurrently at a time, and his numerous Broadway, Off-Broadway, and West End credits include SpongeBob The Musical, Torch Song Trilogy, Summer, Sunday in the Park with George, Holiday Inn, Anastasia, Allegiance, Dr. Zhivago, On the Town, If/Then, Beautiful, The Wedding Singer, Grease!, Follies, Jekyll & Hyde, along with several touring productions. He has won both an Etsy Design Award and Local 706 Makeup and Hair Guild Award. Dulude’s work can be seen on the big and small screen as well. His film and television credits include Jesus Christ Superstar Live on NBC, Detroit, The Discovery, Ghostbusters, Manchester by the Sea, and Central Intelligence. He enjoys sharing what he has learned applying his craft and teaches theatrical makeup at Muhlenberg College and the Hartt School. He also presents worldwide for The Powder Group, Kryolan, The Makeup Show. 

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A Creative Coiffure

Lisa Mulcahy

Heather Fleming has proven herself in the field of wig and makeup design—and her experience and expertise informs not only her work, but the careers of the professionals she teaches. Fleming has designed wigs for over 90 productions, and Fleming has also served as wig and makeup designer or master at theater companies including the Actors Theater of Louisville, Barter Theatre, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Stage Directions recently spoke with Fleming about her high-quality work, how mentorship influenced her creative course, and how the wisdom from her experience inform the diverse projects she takes on. Read on to get inspired and enlightened.

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A Year of Connections

Michael Eddy

Welcome to the December issue of Stage Directions magazine; the last issue in our 30th Anniversary year. I would like to thank all of you, our readers, as well as all the theater artisans who shared their time, their experiences, and their knowledge about working in the theater. It’s been another wonderful year of covering all things theater from the technical and design perspective. It is a true pleasure to be able to highlight all the wonderful work going on across this country and around the world. We all may have come to theater in our own way and for our own reasons but creating worlds in which to tell stories is a powerful draw and unites us all. 

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(L-R) Ray Wong, Henry Palkes and Brad Gardner with the Kurzweil PC3K8 Keyboard
(L-R) Ray Wong, Henry Palkes and Brad Gardner with the Kurzweil PC3K8 Keyboard

An American in Paris Orchestrates with Kurzweil

Jacob Coakley

NEWBURY, CA—After a successful Broadway run, An American in Paris has started its first national tour. The classic move musical, now reborn as a modern stage production, is conducted by music director David Andrews Rogers. The musical's 13-piece orchestra plays its all-Gershwin score augmented by three Kurzweil PC3K8 keyboards using programming provided by Stuart Andrews (Keyboard Programmer) and Dave Weiser (Associate Keyboard Programmer).

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Audio Networking Basics

Steve LaCerra

You may have noticed that networking has taken over the audio world. Networked audio technology that in the past had been reserved primarily for large-scale installs such as commercial production facilities, stadiums or schools is now being used on tours, in theaters, clubs and even by bands gigging with their own P.A. systems. A basic understanding of audio networking is a necessity — so let’s get into it. 

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Audio Upgrades for The Finnish National Theatre

Michael Eddy

Established in 1872 in Helsinki, the Finnish National Theatre is the oldest Finnish-speaking professional theater in the country. Its current venue was built in 1902 and the combination of Alcons Audio Q series and L series pro-ribbon loudspeakers means the 900-seat main stage enjoys superb sound and coverage, without impacting on its historic decor.

The horseshoe-shaped auditorium has three balconies, providing a challenge to projecting seamless, high quality sound to every seat. This was solved when sound and lighting specialists Electro Waves installed an Alcons QR series pro-ribbon system several years ago. This comprised L-C-R arrays of QR36 modular line-source array columns with QM36 modular line-source LMF array extensions. QB363 modular low-frequency array columns were added to the center cluster, all powered and controlled by Alcons Sentinel3 and Sentinel10 amplified loudspeaker controllers.

The system proved extremely successful, but recently the theater wanted to further extend the vocal coverage of its productions. To achieve this, two new center clusters of seven LR7/120 wide dispersion, micro line array modules each were installed to complement the QB363s. The existing centre array QR36 loudspeakers were re-deployed to enhance the coverage of the front left and right of the second balconies. Both of the two LR7 arrays were powered by additional Sentinel3’s.

The main arrays are 6 meter/18-ft tall, comprising 36 6.5” mid-bass and 12 pcs of 18” pro-ribbon drivers each.

“The system was performing very well, but more extended coverage was needed for vocals,” says Electro Waves’ Kari Lehtonen. “We chose the LR7 because we knew that additional Alcons pro-ribbon speakers would maintain the uniformity and high quality of sound throughout the system, as well as providing the extra coverage that was needed.”

A twin A/B array of LR7s was chosen to allow signals to be summed acoustically, rather than electrically. “Acoustic summing allows the listener to distinguish between sound sources differently, electrically summed signals are more difficult to make sound distinct. This principle has been used successfully in theater systems for many years, so it was a great opportunity to bring it in the Finnish National Theatre,” says Kari.

“The Alcons speakers have a very natural, uncoloured audio quality and they worked exactly as predicted by EASE modelling. Very little EQ or other adjustment was needed when we were tuning and commissioning it. The new center speaker system covers the floor as well as the balconies extremely well, with the entire audience able to clearly hear every word of the productions.”

Further information from Alcons Audio: www.alconsaudio.com

Alcons background information;

Alcons Audio is a Dutch manufacturer of professional sound systems for quality-conscious clients in the cinema, installation and rental/touring industry.

The Alcons Audio team continuously strives for obtaining the most natural possible sound reproduction at any SPL with utmost day-to-day consistency and reliability. This is achieved through a tameless curiosity combined with a fearless drive to develop and implement unconventional technologies and techniques. Alcons’ multiple-patented high-power pro-ribbon technology is just one example.

Recent Alcons ambassadors include: Levels Audio studios Hollywood, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg Germany, Hamilton the Musical, Broadway New York NY, Google/YouTube, Super Bowl 2018, NBC Universal Pictures, Walt Disney, St. Patrick’s Cathedral New York USA, , Red Bull’s Hangar-7 Austria, and an increasing number of premium home-cinemas around the world.

A front view of the Finnish National Theatre

The Alcons QR36/QB363 arrays in the Finnish National Theatre

The ceiling and balcony of the Finnish National Theatre

Scenic Designer Campbell Baird paints a drop for Gypsy at the Muhlenberg Summer Theatre
Scenic Designer Campbell Baird paints a drop for Gypsy at the Muhlenberg Summer Theatre

Backstage Video: Scenic Designer Campbell Baird on Painting a Drop for Gypsy

Stage Directions

Scenic Designer and Scenic Artist, Campbell Baird designed and painted this drop for a production of Gypsy at the Muhlenberg Summer Theatre. In this video, he briefly discusses traditional continental scenic painting techniques. There are also images of the drop in process and onstage.