Del Hughes Lifetime Achievement Awards

Stage Directions

On Monday, September 17, 2018, the Stage Managers’ Association (SMA) will present its annual Del Hughes Lifetime Achievement in the Art of Stage Management Awards to three stage managers from the worlds of Broadway, regional theatre, and dance: Roy Harris, Lyle Raper, and Maxine Glorsky. In addition to the three Lifetime Achievement Awards, the SMA will recognize Peter Sargent of Webster University with a special award for Achievement in Stage Management Education for his work as an educator. 

Considered the crowning achievement in a stage manager’s career, the Del Hughes Award is awarded to those who represent the finest qualities of stage management: patience, diplomacy, organization, and a sense of humor. The awards were named for Del Hughes, who had an illustrious career as a Broadway and television stage manager as well as a TV director from 1933 to the 1970’s. 

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A Conversation with Costume Designer Jess Goldstein

Howard Sherman

Jess Goldstein’s work in costume design is perhaps most familiar from Jersey Boys, which has been playing around the world for the past 14 years. His Broadway credits include Tintypes (1980), The Most Happy Fella (1992), Love! Valour! Compassion! (1995), Take Me Out (2003), The Rivals (2004), The Merchant of Venice (2010), Newsies (2010), and On the Town (2014). His roughly 90 Off-Broadway credits include the original New York production of Buried Child, as well as multiple plays by Jon Robin Baitz, Terrence McNally, and Donald Margulies. He has also designed extensively in regional theatre and opera, and has been on the design faculty of the Yale School of Drama since 1990. He retires from Yale at the end of the current academic year.

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Designer and Educator Michael Yeargan
Designer and Educator Michael Yeargan

A Conversation with Designer & Educator Michael Yeargan

Howard Sherman

From his days as an elementary school student in Texas enraptured by opera to his Tony Award-wining scenic designs for The Light in the Piazza and South Pacific, Michael Yeargan has been creating worlds for audiences on stages across the U.S. and in Europe. Throughout that time, he has also been teaching generations of set designers as a member of the faculty, and now co-chair of the design department, at the Yale School of Drama. In a wide-ranging interview with Stage Directions' contributing editor Howard Sherman, Yeargan spoke of his start building shadow box sets while still a child to the intricacies of his celebrated designs; Stage Directions will be sharing several portions of that conversation in coming months, both in print and online. In this excerpt, [which has been edited and condensed for space] Yeargan traces the line from his opera work to his series of collaborations with Bartlett Sher in New York’s Vivian Beaumont Theater, which in addition to his Tony winning shows, includes The King and I and My Fair Lady.

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Maxine Glorsky: A Life in Stage Management

Lisa Mulcahy

When it comes to creative and technical accomplishments, Maxine Glorsky has an impressive list to reflect back upon. Glorsky has been a highly regarded dance stage manager for many companies for decades. Her seminal work includes SM duties for Lar Lubovitch since 1970, as well as the Juilliard Dance Repertory since 1998. Her list of credits include the Martha Graham Dance Company, Les Grands Ballets Canadiens, the Maria Benitez Spanish Dance Company, and numerous other dance companies extending to modern, ballet, and ethnic disciplines. She has also worked in opera with the Dallas Civic Opera, among other companies. Early in her career, Glorsky also worked in lighting design, and assisted masters such as Jean Rosenthal as well as Jules Fisher. Her Broadway stage production credits include the 1973 production of Seesaw, as assistant to Fisher, as well as assisting Rosenthal on both 1967’s Illya Darling and 1966’s The Apple Tree

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OISTAT Celebrates 50 Years

Richard Bryant

OISTAT (International Organization of Scenographers, Theatre Architects and Technicians) recently returned to Cardiff, Wales in 2018 to celebrate its 50th anniversary. The host venue, The Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD), became the meeting place for this multinational event. Designer and professor Sean Crowley of the RWCMD, who was assisted by the students and staff of the school, and OISTAT executive director Wan-Jung Wei, along with her staff, helped to bring together a smooth running and well-organized series of symposiums, meetings, and workshops. 

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Truth in Numbers
Truth in Numbers

Truth in Numbers

Jay Duckworth

Diogenes was an ancient Greek philosopher who would wander around Athens with a lamp, day and night, looking for an honest man. I have empathy for his plight, and I know a lot of people are out there looking for something that is real, something that is true, and in this world that is a very hard thing to find. Truth means taking our own opinion out of the equation. It goes from being subjective to objective; subjective being the individual’s feelings of observation versus objective dealing with the attributes of the object alone and in the objective, we can leave the emotional side behind and deal with facts. The truest thing that we have is maths. That’s right I said maths, and the reason I say maths is not because I’m British or highly educated, both of which I am not; it’s because I’m a snooty pretentious twonk. Well that and if I put one coin down and say it’s two coins you can know for a fact I’m lying or that I’m nuts. You guessed it... I’m both.  

Don’t Fear the Budget
When given a budget for a show, a good majority of us look at the challenges put in front of us with the design and the actual money that we are expected to use. I at least go into an emotional place of ‘how am I going to do this? I am definitely going to fail!’ I don’t have any of these things in stock and I know I can’t borrow any of this stuff. I’m sometimes met with ‘well there is hardly any set so there shouldn’t be any props.’ So when you hear that statement, you know scenic is in the same boat with you having to make something out of nothing. As I have gotten older, I have moved away from the knee jerk reaction and jumped into breaking the budget down as small as possible. It takes a lot longer but I can see where I can turn back to my production manager and say here is what I can do. Because numbers do not lie. Numbers take out the emotion and can back you up in any discussion. 

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Inside the Vault with Bag&Baggage TD/LD Jim Ricks White

Michael Eddy

With over 30 years working in theater, Jim Ricks-White, had been teaching stagecraft at Portland Community College, Sylvania and the resident lighting designer for Hillsboro, OR-based Bag&Baggage Productions, when the company asked him to come on full time as technical director and facilities manager. The request followed the company opening its new space—The Vault—a repurposed former bank building. In theater, Ricks-White has worked as a stage manager, TD, LD, set designer, properties artisan, and pyrotechnician and toured for many years as a technician for Showco and Vari-Lite. He’s worked in venues as small as a 99-seat black box and as large as the Olympic Stadium for the 2012 London Olympics.

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Adaptive Design

Michael Eddy

Scenic Designer Edward Pierce talks design supervision, and 70 scene changes
Edward Pierce has worked for over 20 years on theater and entertainment projects around the globe including the Broadway scenic designs for Holler If Ya Hear Me, Amazing Grace, and The Other Place (the last two with co-designer Eugene Lee); lighting design for the Broadway revival of A Streetcar Named Desire; and he was associate scenic designer on both Bright Star and the Tony Award-winning scenic design for the hit musical Wicked. 

Edward PierceThis year, Pierce shared a Tony nomination with scenic designer Ian MacNeil, for the recent Broadway revival of Angels in America that came over from London’s National Theatre. For this production, Pierce was credited with design adaptation for making the changes necessary for the move from London to Broadway. Pierce heads up edwardpierce studio, who with designers Jen Price-Fick and Stephen Davan, have carved out a niche as design supervisors for Broadway productions that are going to tour or sit-down for a long run, both nationally and around the world.

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The cast of Lawrence University’s Pippin
The cast of Lawrence University’s Pippin

Designing in Duplicate

Lisa Mulcahy

Designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke creates two vastly different looks for Pippin

Costume designer Kärin Simonson Kopischke was presented with the rare challenge of designing two different productions of Pippin back-to-back—and triumphed. Over her decades-long career, Simonson Kopischke has earned a stellar reputation for professional and technical excellence. She has designed for numerous regional theatre Tony Award winners including the American Conservatory Theater, Chicago Shakespeare, the Goodman Theatre, Steppenwolf Theatre, the Long Wharf, Victory Gardens, the Children’s Theatre Company, Crossroads, and the Cincinnati Playhouse. Simonson Kopischke also works with many historical societies, notably creating a series of historical renderings depicting women in the garments they might have worn in a series called Garments of Our Foundations. She has also designed costumes for the feature film Feed the Fish, and for new works from Harry Connick Jr. and Stephen Schwartz. Her work has garnered many accolades, including the Joseph Jefferson Award, AriZoni Award, and a Prague Quadrennial nomination. As as a respected professor, she has taught costume design at The Theatre School of DePaul, Northwestern University, Carroll University, and currently at Lawrence University. And if that were not enough? She runs a successful upcycled clothing business online with her daughter, Anya. 

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Shadow Work

Randi Minetor

Thom Weaver's Lighting Plays a Key Role in Macbeth

Is there a “normal” way to interpret Shakespeare in twenty-first century theater? The days of recreating Elizabethan England seem to be behind us as today’s directors place their productions anywhere they like, and use the Bard’s intricate language and story lines to create a new take on centuries-old material. In recent memory, we’ve seen an all-female production of Twelfth Night set in the roaring 1920s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream on post-apocalyptic Earth, and The Taming of the Shrew as part of a traveling circus… and that’s just in theaters around upstate New York.     

So, when Chicago Shakespeare Theater (CST) approached its own Macbeth earlier this year, no one was surprised to learn that this production would not take a traditional approach. Instead, the Scottish play would become a supernatural horror thriller, complete with magical illusions created by one of the top people in the illusion business. Management turned to a directing team that had mounted a mystical interpretation of The Tempest in 2015, Helen Hayes Award-winning director Aaron Posner, and Teller—the silent half of Penn and Teller, the world-famous illusionist team. 

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