Backstage Past: 1960s Stagehands Load-in at National Theater in D.C.

Michael Eddy

The National Theater in Washington D.C. recently announced it will be replacing its hemp line and sandbag fly system with a new counterweight system this summer. The National has used a hemp system since the theater opened  with a production of A Man of the World on December 7, 1835, though the system has been updated since 1835. It will be quite a change for crews who work the load-ins and outs. It got us in a nostalgic mood and we dug up this cool bit of theater history: A short film from the AFL-CIO "Americans at Work" series looking at the job of stagehands/electricians/props and flys during a load-in at the National Theater for the 1960 production of My Fair Lady, starring Diane Todd and Michael Evans.

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Geoffry Craig in his office. Photo by: Cory Weaver
Geoffry Craig in his office. Photo by: Cory Weaver

San Francisco Opera Medal Awarded to Geoffry M. Craig

Michael Eddy

At the conclusion of the June 27 performance of Verdi’s Rigoletto, San Francisco Opera General Director Matthew Shilvock presented the Company’s Head of Wardrobe, Geoffry M. Craig, with the San Francisco Opera Medal, the Company’s highest honor. Craig will retire at the end of summer season after 36 years, having joined the Wardrobe Department in 1981 as a dresser, becoming Head of Men’s Wardrobe in 1986 and then Department Head in 1999.

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Change Over at the National Theatre for Angels In America - Two Plays in One Day

Kathy Eddy

The National Theatre's production teams take us behind the scenes on a two-play day of Tony Kushner's Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches and Part Two: Perestroika. It requires an extensive changeover of lighting; scenic; every production discipline to present over seven hours of theater in a single day.

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The Eureka Theatre, Where Angels In America Began, Is Closing After 45 Years

Kathy Eddy

San Francisco’s Eureka Theatre, has announced it will cease operations after 45 years as of July 5th due to insurmountable budget issues. The official statment cites rising costs of production overhead, building maintenance, and the loss of appropriated arts funding from the city’s hotel tax which helped sustain operations as factors in the decision. It is particuarly sad that the Eureka is closing at this moment of sharp debate of theater funding, cultural freedoms, LGBTQ rights and the national healthcare debate as it was Eureka that originally commissioned and produced Angels in America

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Sound Designer and Composer Lindsay Jones
Sound Designer and Composer Lindsay Jones

Lindsay Jones Scores 30th Anniversary Video for Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Michael Eddy

Chicago Shakespeare Theater is celebrating its 30th Anniversary and with an amazingly rich production history, they created a video looking back over the last 30 years. From their early days on the roof of the Red Lion Pub in 1987 to their theater campus today on Chicago's Navy Pier they wanted to highlight the work and the spirit of the company. Music being such an important part of a montage video, Chicago Shakespeare Theater asked Sound Designer Lindsay Jones, principal of Lindsay Jones – Unique Music and Sound Design to score the celebratory video.

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Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat, lit by Jake DeGroot. Photo by Todd Bissonette
Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat, lit by Jake DeGroot. Photo by Todd Bissonette

LD DeGroot Lights Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat at Adirondack Theatre Festival

Michael Eddy

Kicking off Adirondack Theatre Festival’s (ATF) 23rd summer season of professional theater is Nikola Tesla Drops the Beat, an electronic pop musical about one of history’s most influential and controversial innovators. Lighting Designer, Jake DeGroot lit the show that is being described as “Hamilton meets Tesla.” It is also the largest production ever undertaken at ATF. 

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Kwame Kwei-Armah to leave Baltimore Center Stage at the end of the 2017/18 season
Kwame Kwei-Armah to leave Baltimore Center Stage at the end of the 2017/18 season

AD Kwame Kwei-Armah Will Depart From Baltimore Center Stage

Michael Eddy

The Board of Directors of Baltimore Center Stage and Kwame Kwei-Armah jointly announced today that Kwei-Armah will leave his position as artistic director at the end of his contract on June 30, 2018. Kwei-Armah has served as artistic director of Baltimore Center Stage since 2011. 

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Broadway Bares: Strip U raised $1,568,114 in two performances
Broadway Bares: Strip U raised $1,568,114 in two performances

Broadway Bares Raises $1.57 Million for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS

Michael Eddy

A spirited audience of thousands went back to campus with stripped-down collegians at Broadway Bares: Strip U, this year’s edition of the annual highly choreographed, highly produced striptease spectacular. This 27th edition of Broadway Bares, which is produced by and benefits Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Broadway Bares: Strip U raised $1,568,114 in two performances on June 18, 2017, at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.

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Actors’ Equity & League of Resident Theaters (LORT) reach a new five-year agreement
Actors’ Equity & League of Resident Theaters (LORT) reach a new five-year agreement

Equity & LORT Reach a New Five-Year Agreement

Michael Eddy

Actors’ Equity Association announced that it has reached a tentative agreement for a historic new five-year contract with the League of Resident Theaters (LORT) for actors and stage managers. Key provisions of the agreement include substantial salary increases ranging from 16 percent to 81.7 percent over the life of the contract. Upon ratification, members will also receive raises retroactive to Feb. 13, 2017, when the original LORT agreement expired.

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Actors' Equity Association

Statements on Julius Caesar at The Public Theater Sponsorship Controversy

Michael Eddy

"Julius Caesar can be read as a warning parable to those who try to fight for democracy by undemocratic means. To fight the tyrant does not mean imitating him." – Oskar Eustis, Director

On Sunday, June 11, Delta Airlines withdrew their full corporate support from The Public Theater and Bank of America pulled their support from The Public's Shakespeare in the Park production of Julius Caesar. The production has drawn the ire of the political right for its depiction of the emperor with more than a passing resemblance to the current US president. The ensuing conversation in the theater and arts community over the last 72 hours has highlighted the odd-bedfellows relationship of corporate patronage and artistic freedom. 

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