Projecting Elvis

Randi Minetor

Heartbreak Hotel’s set and projection design at Ogunquit Playhouse 

With first workshop performances in California, writer/director Floyd Mutrux brought his new musical Heartbreak Hotel as a work in progress to Ogunquit Playhouse in Maine for its first fully mounted production. Now in its 85th season, Ogunquit Playhouse has become known as a place to develop new musical works, including Million Dollar Quartet

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Surf: The Musical  Photo Credit: © Erik Kabik
Surf: The Musical Photo Credit: © Erik Kabik

Projected Perspective - Darrel Maloney On His Approach to Video & Projection Design

Michael Eddy

Projection and video designer, Darrel Maloney has taken an interesting, if not circuitous route to where he is at the moment. Which is currently working on designing his seventh Broadway show. Maloney graduated in 1992 from NYU with an MFA in scenic and lighting design back when there wasn’t a whole lot of projection work going on in the theater. After working in—and looking for work in—theater for a while, Maloney quit to teach himself video production. He moved west to California, started a company doing post production and animations for television, film, and commercials. After about a decade of this work, he got a call from an NYU classmate who was beginning work on a new show and that it would be right up his alley and drew him back to the theater.

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Moving the Story

A Conversation with Scenic Designer Jason Sherwood, Part 1

Recently I had the opportunity to speak with designer Jason Sherwood about his approach to scenic design. There was much I wanted to discuss with him about his evocative use of movement, both through automation but also his static scenic elements that create a sense of movement, as well as his affinity for ceilings on sets. He also does some incredibly detailed theatrical environments that transport audiences. A lot to discuss with an interesting designer, so we will present that conversation in parts and this month we have Sherwood’s thoughts on movement through automation.

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The Lost Colony
The Lost Colony

The Great Outdoors - Josh Allen Lights The Lost Colony

Michael Eddy

Lighting designer, theater consultant, and newly-minted owner of lighting representative firm WHOCO, Joshua Allen has been working with The Lost Colony in the Outer Banks of North Carolina since 1991. After having started out as an actor/technician, Allen has worked his way up through the ranks as master electrician to having taken over the lighting design position two-years ago. The Lost Colony, which just celebrated its 80th season this summer, is an outdoor drama by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Paul Green that looks at the history of the first English colonies on Roanoke Island, NC.

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DCPA's reimagined Macbeth
DCPA's reimagined Macbeth

Full of Sound & Fury - A Look at the Sound Design & Original Music by Lindsay Jones for Macbeth

Michael Eddy

'Did I tell you that I need you to create a score that kind of sounds like Game of Thrones in addition to the music for Macbeth?’ “Uh, no. I don’t think you did.” This was a call between director Robert O’Hara and original music composer/sound designer Lindsay Jones. This was three days before rehearsals were to begin for Macbeth at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) “So, in addition to mixing in trap music, lots of sound effects, and other really exciting stuff, I quickly started writing a score that sounded like Game of Thrones,” laughs Jones. Fortunately, Jones and O’Hara have worked together on a number of productions and the process for Macbeth would result in a composition and sound design that one critic described as, “mind-blowing.”

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Just Desserts

Bryan Johnson

Every stage production has a story to tell, and for the props artisan, a new world of opportunity. The chance to design, create, and breathe life into otherwise “normal” and commonly overlooked items that lend themselves to the world you are helping to create. While a prop request can be challenging, it can also be fun, rewarding and educational. You’ll get to learn new techniques and develop processes that can be added to your tool box. Experiences you will definitely use again. Among those tools often called upon are those needed to create non-edible food that makes the mouth water, including delectable desserts. Here are my recipes for two desserts so realistic you will need to put a disclaimer on the prop table.

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Speaking Her Truth Q&A with Costume Designer Elsa Hiltner

Lisa Mulcahy

Elsa Hiltner’s skill, intelligence, and curiosity have contributed to her accomplishments as a costume designer for theater, film, dance, and events during her 10-year-career. Based in Chicago and working nationwide, Hiltner holds a BA in costume design from Western Washington University, and a wigs and hair production certificate from DePaul University. A company member of Collaboration Theatre Company and an artistic associate with First Folio Theatre, Hiltner’s costume design work includes an impressive list of theater companies, including work for Steppenwolf, Next Act, Lifeline Theatre, Teatro Vista, American Blues Theater, Walkabout Theatre, American Theater Company, Oak Park Festival Theatre, Stone Soup Theatre Project, Balagan Theatre, and Signal Ensemble. Hiltner’s interest in Middle Eastern dress is a great influence for her, and she’s studied fashion history in Syria, Jordan, Turkey, and Morocco.

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An Ephemeral Village in London

Howard Sherman

A Visit into Punchdrunk’s Fallow Cross

Exiting the London tube at the Tottenham Hale station, it is not at all apparent that there’s a tiny throwback village in the vicinity. Indeed, without being given the specific address, one would have to be very focused to discover, like the protagonist of a fantasy novel, the tiny label over a door buzzer on a side street that says “Punchdrunk,” the name of the famed immersive theatre company best known in the U.S. for its long-running New York hit, Sleep No More. But with proper direction, a visitor can find the teeny company logo in a short list of firms on an entirely unremarkable looking, low slung commercial building, with attached warehouses.

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The Art of Organization

Lisa Mulcahy

Ryan Cole, who currently serves as project manager at J.R. Clancy in Syracuse, NY, is not only good at planning complex projects for his company’s clients—he’s a trained expert at working out a show from top to bottom. Cole has been a technical director on regional productions including Spamalot, Romeo & Juliet, An Enemy of the People, and Ragtime. Cole recently spoke with Stage Directions about the path he took from school to working professionally. 

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A Touch of Magic (& Monofilament)

Jay Duckworth

How To Rig Falling and Then Quickly Restoring Books

"And that my friend is why I’m never allowed in Cook County without my state issued ID and an International Order of Odd Fellows ring.” 

"I hate to interrupt such an interesting story," Alex said, "But we just got an email from the stage manager. Looks like they want the stage right shelf over the computer to fall and then restore in a six-second blackout." That’s the shelf with all the teaching books on it, yeah?, I ask. "I’m afraid so, and if it falls all the way down the weight will break the computer monitor on the desk below it." Let’s noodle on this tonight and see what we can come up with, I conclude.

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