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!
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!
This week’s guest is Projection Designer Peter Nigrini! Peter is currently represented on Broadway with ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ and he takes us through the process of creating over 4000 pieces of video content and how he blended reality with artistry in creating the social media pages that make up the bulk of the projected content. He and Cory also discuss how a projection designer prepares for tech, how to prepare a director for the process of working with projections, why where the projection tech table is located matters, and how he came to join the creative team of ‘If/Then’ as the show was reconceived for the National Tour. And Peter muses on how the world of Instagram has turned every casual photographer with a phone into a content creator, using imagery to tell a story and shape a narrative Enjoy!
It’s 2017 and we’re going to Hollywood! Or at the very least, bridging the gap between theatre and film as we sit down with the man responsible for the look of the Academy Awards, the NBC Live Musicals, and over 35 Broadway shows, it’s Scenic Designer Derek McLane! Derek keeps busy on both coasts and around the world but he’s with us today to give us insight into his work. He tells us about designing 4 years of Oscars broadcasts from how he begins the design, the unique parameters the show presents, how he embraces both grand and intimate gestures, and how he keeps it fresh from year to year. Derek and Cory also chat about his various designs for the NBC musicals from ‘The Sound of Music’ and how they nearly built the Alps on top of a roof on Long Island, to December’s full scale backlot set for ‘Hairspray’ and the months of work it took figuring out how to lay out the various sets. Also packed into this episode are stories from Derek’s work with The New Group, how he balances work and three kids, and he teaches us all about fly fishing!
Just before we say good riddance to 2016, the podcast is back with one more episode with Lighting Designer and four-time Tony Nominee Japhy Weideman. Japhy is fresh off the hit show ‘Dear Evan Hansen,’ and he tells us about the challenges and nuances of lighting a musical in a black void filled with projected imagery. Cory and Japhy also talk about his style and approach to lighting with examples from his work including ‘Bright Star’, ‘The Nance’, ‘Dead Poet’s Society’, ‘Macbeth’ and ‘The Visit.’ He talks about his love of strong single sources, why focus is an important time of discovery, and how he uses a American/European hybrid magic sheet. As if he weren’t busy enough, Japhy is about to tackle his biggest Broadway design yet with this Spring’s upcoming ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,’ and he let’s us in on how he is preparing for the show he describes as “essentially two giant musicals.” Enjoy!
We’re mixing up the format again this week as we sit down not with a designer, but with the man in charge of handling the contracts for ALL designers, it’s United Scenic Artists Business Rep for Live Performance, Carl Mulert. Carl is the go-to-guy for all contract and union related issues for designers working in theatre and he’s with us today to talk about everything you’ve always wanted to know about USA but were afraid to ask. Cory and Carl cover a multitude of topics including when to join the union, how to join, the different kinds of contracts covered by the union, how collective bargaining and negotiations work, how pension and welfare contributions work, how the union can help you, and how YOU can help strengthen the union. They also briefly discuss the difference between working in the US and working in the UK where designers are not covered by a union. This episode is a must listen for young designers going into the business and probably a good refresher for existing members. There’s a common phrase among designers who need assistance or have questions navigating their contracts…”Call Carl,” over the next two hours, it should become clear why. Enjoy!
We interrupt your August to get you in the room with the guy who created the Room Where it Happens…it’s “Hamilton” Set Designer David Korins! David and Cory chat about the evolution of his Tony nominated set for the cultural phenomenon and the myriad of ideas, inspirations, and evolutions that led up to the set we see today. He also takes us into the design process for “Grease Live” and how he and Tommy Kail created an immersive, interactive world that set a new bar for live television musicals. Other topics include David’s strong social media presence and how he’s using Instragram to reveal a part of the process not usually shared, how he’s grown his studio into a full-service design firm with often over a dozen employees, how he utilizes his array of assistants and associates, and how setting new goals each year helps inform the projects he takes on and the relationships he pursues. David is a giant in the world of scenic and production design with projects ranging from theatre to retail, to film and TV, to restaurants and industrials, but if you want to hear a Non-Stop account of What Comes Next, why he wouldn’t be Satisfied to Take a Break, and how he continues to Blow Us All Away, then Meet Him Inside our exclusive interview. Boom!