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.
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!
This week we welcome back the very first guest to ever sit down for an interview, it’s the return of Sound Designer Lindsay Jones! But this is no ordinary episode. Lindsay is the undisputed king of travel tips, tricks, hacks, secrets, and every other solution to making life on the road as stress free as possible and he joins us today to share with us his wealth of knowledge and experience. Cory and Lindsay chat about airline preferences, loyalty miles, perks and upgrades, best and worst airports, booking websites, what to do if your flight gets canceled, car rental insurance and a whole host of other related topics. They talk about the thankless job of Company Manager and the role they play in making travel arrangements for designers. And as an added bonus, Lindsay shares with us a fascinating tale from his current show ‘Privacy’ at the Public Theatre, which may or may not involve a certain US Citizen living in an undisclosed location in Russia. If you’re a designer who travels a lot, this episode is required listening and will hopefully be the first in a series with Lindsay as he helps everyone learn how to save the tears for opening night, not the Delta terminal.
Welcome to Episode #62 with Lighting Designer David Weiner! David recently returned from 10 weeks in Disneyland lighting the all new theme park show ‘Frozen: Live at the Hyperion’ and he’s here to tell us all about it. He discusses the differences between a theme park show vs a traditional Broadway musical in terms of reproducibility, maintenance, gear choices, and design inspiration. Cory and David also deep dive into his many other projects including the challenges presented by revolving sets in ‘Misery’ and ‘Grace’, lighting ‘Godspell’ in the round, and his foray into architectural lighting design, including the Nature Research Center in Raleigh, NC. They also muse on many moments of the tech process including dry tech, working with programmers at different levels and reading the room. And hear about how the makers of Viagra benefited from David’s lighting brilliance!
It’s another first on this week’s episode as we welcome our first director. But not just any director, it two-time Tony nom (and theatre heartthrob) Alex Timbers! Alex is here to give us an insight into the production process from a director’s point of view. He chats with Cory about first design meetings, what is going through his head during tech, how he approaches designers with notes, and his thoughts on paper techs and dry techs. Learn why he has started creating ‘mission statements’ for every show and hear stories from some of his most exciting adventures including ‘Rocky’, ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’, ‘Here Lies Love’ and his many downtown shows with Les Frerses Corbusier. And if you’ve never heard about Alex’s avant-garde production of “How to Succeed…” then gird your loins, because no show is safe from the Timbers treatment!
This week’s guest is Scenic and Costume designer David Zinn! David works on incredibly diverse projects and takes us into the design processes of many of his most well known designs including ‘The Flick’, ‘The Last Ship’, ‘The Human’s’, and his Tony nominated scenic design for ‘Fun Home.’ And for a guy who loves sets that are “grungy, thick, and muscular,” David shows off his versatility by discussing his design for the upcoming musical ‘SpongeBob Squarepants,’ and his endeavor to recreate Bikini Bottom live onstage!
The podcast is back for some new Spring episodes starting with today’s guest, Sound Designer Stowe Nelson. Cory and Stowe chat about the true meaning of ‘silence’ in theatre, how to create the perfect aural landscape for a play, and how designers work together to create that perfect ‘walk-in’ look that an audience will soak in for 30 minutes prior to the start of a play. They chat about how Stowe is preparing his upcoming designs for ‘Indian Summer’ and ‘The 39 Steps’, how his designs evolve out of the rehearsal room and his least favorite kinds of sound cues to make. And prepare yourself for a riveting conversation about theatre HVAC systems!
Welcome to Episode #58 and our wonderful chat with Scenic & Costume Designer Clint Ramos! Clint is just weeks away from opening his third Broadway show, ‘Eclipsed,’ and he shares with us the journey of that piece from The Public Theatre to Uptown. He tells us how doing political street theatre in the Philippines planted the seeds of his future profession, how feeling like an “outsider” has drawn him to specific kinds of projects, why he works hard to not let his work fall into any kind of specific style, and how designing the clothing for ‘Here Lies Love’ became a full circle moment. There’s also great biz talk in this episode from budgets to assistants, to the awkwardness of having to back out of projects, to the push for higher wages and the things he still feels like he needs to fight for on so many projects . And, hear how he tackles making Hollywood stars like Lupita Nyong’o and Bradley Cooper disappear into the less than glamorous worlds of their onstage personas.
Welcome to Episode #57, New York blizzard edition! This week we welcome Props Queen Kathy Fabian! Kathy tells us how she went from being just a freelance props designer to creating Propstar, a full service design firm juggling multiple Broadway shows a season. She gives us an inside peak into her design process which includes budgeting a show, staffing it with the right kind of assistants, putting together a rehearsal props package, and how she handles that crazy time in tech between midnight and noon the next day! We’ve got fun prop stories that include traveling to Russia to find the perfect pieces for ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, creating raw eggs, animal carcasses, and fake cuts and bruises for ‘Rocky’, and camel wings for the circus! And learn about an amazing product called Model Magic. If you’re stuck inside today, cozy up with this new episode and stay warm!
Welcome to the second half of our interview with lighting designer Kevin Adams! In this part, Kevin talks about how light bulbs and electric objects found their way into so many of his designs, the kinds of discussions he has with directors both in the rehearsal room and in the theatre, why he likes a quiet tech table, and how working with Vegas based programmer Benny Kirkham has finally allowed him to “give up the headset.” He shares stories from ‘Next to Normal’ and ‘The 39 Steps’, tells us about sharing his life with acclaimed Scenic Designer James Noone, and finally gets around to answering those pesky 10 questions..which includes a fashion detour about Cory and Kevin’s shared loved of Chuck Taylors and Kevin’s excitement about his upcoming pairing of Star Wars T-shirts and Japanese overalls!