Bake some spongecake, pull out your six string and spend a balmy summer weekend with ‘Escape to Margaritaville’ Scenic Designer Walt Spangler! On this week’s new episode, Walt is telling us about the genesis of his tropical design that included a research trip to Key West, an actual Jimmy Buffet concert, and how the design changed over time from it’s La Jolla premier and it’s multi-city tour leading up to Broadway. Cory and Walt also talk about his design for the whimsical ‘Tuck Everlasting’ and how his iconic set for ‘Desire Under the Elms’ came to be with giant boulders and a house floating over the stage. Walt takes us through his design process through script sketches, model and sculptural work, and recounts presenting his first ideas to directors like Casey Nicholaw and Robert Falls. And hear the true life story of how a new piece of scenery was conceived, built, painted, and installed over the weekend of Margaritaville’s final previews. Grab something cold and fruity and let the sound of this week’s chat fill your private cabana. (you did reserve a cabana right??)
This week’s episode is brought to you by the number 78 as we sit down with Emmy Award winning Costume Designer for Sesame Street, Brian Hemesath! Direct from Kaufman Astoria Studios, Brian is sharing with us stories and fun facts about costuming the humans on the show while trying not to get too star struck surrounded by Elmo, Big Bird and the entire gang. He breaks down how the costume department approaches each new season of shows, deals with clothing celebrity guest stars, makes sure the human clothes play nice with the puppet clothes and other tales and tidbits. Brian and Cory also chat about his 10+ years spent at Saturday Night Live and a typical week in costume world at SNL from table reads, fittings, research, rehearsals, and pre-tapes to the organized chaos of the live show and how he became the go to costume designer for Andy Sandberg and the Lonely Island sketches. And if THAT isn’t enough, the guys chat about Brian’s Broadway debut designing ‘Honeymoon in Vegas’ as well as the challenges and problems facing costume designers often forced to front their own money on clothing and issues surrounding receipts, reimbursements, credit cards and cc debt, and ideas to mitigate the pressure placed on designers. From Bert to Ernie, to Mother Lovers, to flying Elvis’s…this episode has it all including a trip down memory lane to a dairy farm in Iowa. Sweep those clouds away!
It’s episode #77 and we are sitting down with Projection Designer Aaron Rhyne! Aaron’s work can currently be scene eight times a week on Broadway with his vibrant, lush and transformative imagery on display in ‘Anastasia.’ Cory and Aaron chat about the genesis of that design including finding the right tone and style for the content, how he researched and documented real life locations on a trip to Europe, how the projections flow and transition so seamlessly with the other scenery onstage and the moment the cast and creative team first saw his stunning Act 1 finale reveal of Paris. They also chat about his work on ‘Gentleman’s Guide..’.and how video came to play a role in such a traditional period piece, and his recent run of work on ‘Frozen,’ ‘Tangled,’ and ‘Beauty and Beast’ for Disney Theme parks and cruise ships. Aside from specific shows, he also shares his thoughts on the projection design process, integration with other departments and how he is teaching the next generation of projection designers at his alma matter, Fordham University.
We are rounding out 2017 with episode #76 and a fantastic chat with two-time Tony Nominee, Jane Cox! Jane has exploded a lot in the past couple years with her lighting designs for such diverse shows as ‘The Color Purple’, ‘Jitney’, ‘Amélie’, and ‘Machinal’ and she’s chatting about all of them. She tells us about her long-standing relationship with John Doyle and their collaboration on shows like ‘Color Purple’, ‘Road Show’, and ‘Allegro’ as well as her projects with Sam Gold like ‘The Flick’ and the recent ‘Othello’, which saw her trying to light an enclosed army bunker with zero conventional theatre lights. Cory and Jane also chat about her new role as the head of the Princeton theatre department, how she’s using that position to help create more diverse creative teams, and her path from Dublin to New York. And stick around till the end to hear how she ended up touring with Bob Dylan!
For our 75th Episode we present a very special group of designers. In 1989, a panel was held at the Museum of the City of New York as part of their “Direct from Broadway” series featuring some of the most influential lighting designers of the 20th century: Tharon Musser, Peggy Clark, Abe Feder and Jeff Davis, moderated by the man who followed the leads set by these pioneers and continued their legacies…Ken Billington. For the first time in nearly 30 years, hear these luminaries (pun intended) discuss their work, their process and what is was like paving the way in a design field that was just in it’s infancy. Thanks for listening for 75 episodes and enjoy this special holiday treat!
It’s episode #74 and we’re sitting down with Set Designer Luke Cantarella. Luke’s designs run the gamut from musicals to plays, opera to exhibitions, and an emerging field called Design Anthropology, where design is used to shed light on social and societally issues through exhibits or interactive experiences. One such project, entitled ‘214 Sq Ft,’ involved designing a replica motel room meant to reflect the living conditions of low income families in Orange County and the transient spaces that often become their permanent residencies. Cory and Luke also chat about designing larger than life musicals like ‘Follies’ for Repertory of St Louis and ‘All Shook Up’ at The Muny. Other topics include Luke’s eye-opening experience of designing projections only for Goodspeed’s current production of ‘Rags,’ how he totally changed his design process only a couple years ago, and what he tries to impart on his students at Pace University. And finally, they discuss something every designer can relate to, ‘sad designer face.’ But don’t be ;-( be 😉 because it’s a brand new episode!
The podcast is back and we’re not pulling any punches. Today we sit down with recent Tony Award winner Bradley King to discuss his lighting design for ‘Natasha Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812.’ He traces the journey of the design from Ars Nova, where the plot was hardly more than chandeliers and lightbulbs, all the way to his massive, immersive design at the Imperial Theatre. Hear how he and director Rachel Chavkin developed the look of the show over 4 different iterations, how he ushered in the role of “Automated Light Bulb Winch Programmer” and what it’s like winning a Tony for your Broadway debut. Bradley is also very active in the 829 union negotiations and he and Cory discuss the recently updated LORT contract and review the various expenses for which designers on the road can be reimbursed. And he discusses being a young designer with a growing family and how that impacts his life and work decisions. Heat up the dumplings, pour yourself some Borsht, and join us for a great chat!
This week Sound Designer and Travel Aficionado Lindsay Jones is back for another installment of his guide to traveling and working on the road. This go round, Cory and Lindsay tackle the moral and practical realities of boycotting travel companies who’s politics you disagree with by discussing recent incidences with Delta and Uber. Other hot topics includes the best way to rent a car, why you should sign up for every car rental and hotel loyalty program, the best way to pack a suitcase, what to do if your suitcase doesn’t arrive when you do, how to get a hotel room upgrade like a total baller and Lindsay tries to convince Cory to never ever check a bag. As a founder of The Collaborator Party, Lindsay also discusses the American Theatre Wing’s decision to re-instate the Sound Design Tony and what that means for the party going forward. AND Lindsay claims once and for all that he is in fact not John Malkovich, though in1 can neither confirm nor deny that claim.
We close out April this week with Set Designer and current Lortel nominee Rachel Hauck! Aside from being a busy designer, Rachel is also a member of the Off-Broadway committee of designers that recently helped spearhead the first collectively bargained agreement ever for Off-Broadway. Now that the contract has been voted on, she joins us to discuss the nuts and bolts of how it came together, some of the most exciting terms of the agreement, and how the USA membership banded together to take such an historic step. Cory and Rachel also discuss reading a script for the first time, how she talks to directors who don’t yet know what they want, why “just” can be a dirty word in early design conversations and whether theatre design can be molded to fit a standard work week schedule. And hear how Rachel went from being an LA based designer working in television, including an ill-fated TV show called ‘Woops!’ about a group of kids who accidentally set off a nuclear bomb, to becoming a full time designer for theatre. Lastly, Rachel gives us the most fascinating answer ever to, “What job would you do if your profession went away.”
Episode 70 is direct from Cory’s kitchen and it’s with Lighting Designer Paul Toben. Paul is currently in town serving as the Associate LD for the new Broadway musical ‘War Paint,’ but he’s with us today to do some deep excavating into the true nature of being a working designer. Cory and Paul trace their 10 year friendship and explore topics such as varied career paths, how he measures personal and professional success, how he finds happiness and fulfillment through his work, and how theatre can play a role in our extremely divisive political climate. Paul also shares insight from working with great designers like Ken Billington, Paul Gallo and Kevin Adams, recalls what it felt like designing a Broadway show in his twenties, and tries to tackle the question all designers ask themselves from time to time: “Do I still love what I do?” And lastly, no conversation with Paul is complete without touching on his other great passion in life, Baseball.
Cory has a day off out of town with little to do but sit and chat with another awesome designer, so this week we bring you a brand new episode with Sound Designer and very distinguished gentleman, Alex Hawthorn! Aside from following in the footsteps of past guests with fantastically groomed facial hair (Mr Zinn and Mr Nigrini), Alex is one of the leading Associate Sound Designers on Broadway, on the cutting edge of new advents in sound design technology. Fresh off his collaboration with Ken Travis on “In Transit,” Alex discusses the myriad of difficulties in finding the right sound for Broadway’s first a capella musical. With in-ear monitors for every cast member, a backstage mixer, hundreds of cues that only the performers hear, and no band to hide behind, the sound design plays a starring role. Alex and Cory also discuss the optics of where the Sound Designer sits during tech and how that can help shape the ongoing discussion about sound as a craft vs art. And they bounce around to other topics including the revolutionary approach to how you hear the performers at ‘Aladdin’, the transition from associate to designer, how sound designs are adjusted for touring productions, and naturally, the best BBQ in Kansas City!