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??)
He’s baaaaack! In what has quickly become an annual tradition, Lindsay Jones is back again this summer to continue chatting about all things travel and life on the road. This week we’re talking about airline classes, how to beat Priceline at their own game, what day of the week and what time you should book your flight, why you’re waiting at Penn Station in the wrong location, how to negotiate a travel budget with the theatre, and the differences and simple joys of TSA Pre-check, Global Entry, and Clear. Lindsay tells us why you should NEVER fly Spirit Airlines, why the pre-check line keeps getting longer and longer, and the fact that Basic Economy is so bad, even LORT theatres don’t want you flying it. And he swears anyone is allowed to use the bathrooms in first class, though in1 is not responsible for your legal fees. And we’re talking Collaborator Party 2018! Lindsay gave up his dinner break to share his secrets so don’t let his starvation be in vain and hit play now!
What’s the buzz with Episode #81? The buzz is all about Art Director and Scenic Designer Melissa Shakun! Melissa was the Art Dir. for NBC’s ‘Jesus Christ Superstar Live’ and she’s giving us all the behind the scenes stories of turning Jason Ardizzone-West’s stunning design into a reality. Hear about all the sand that never made it to broadcast, how the set was built and installed in record time and why the final crucifixion was so difficult to accomplish. Melissa talks about the difference between Prod. Design and Art Direction and how designing for episodic TV differs from theatre with examples from her time on ‘The Americans’, ‘The Jim Gaffigan Show’, ‘Mysteries of Laura’ and ‘Blindspot.’ She’s got great stories about blowing out windows with fire boxes, shooting scenes under the Astoria Pool, how to make Brooklyn look like 1980’s Washington DC and how she helped transport Seaworld visitors to Antartica as part of the Art Direction team for the Empire of the Penguin ride!
Lumos Maxima! It’s opening weekend for ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ on Broadway so we’re sitting down with a true lighting wizard, Neil Austin! He’s tight lipped about the secrets of the show but he does share with us how it has felt to be working on such a cultural phenomenon and when he realized this was to be no ordinary show. He’s also telling us about squeezing light into Christopher Oram’s beautiful yet boxed in set for ‘Hughie’ and how he created both the Sun and the Moon in the Park Avenue Armory for ‘Macbeth.’ Cory and Neil also spend a great deal of time discussing the design industry in the UK and how social programs like the NHS make it easier for younger designers to develop careers as well as the difference between United Scenic Artists, the Association of Lighting Designers, and British Equity. There’s talk about strong British backlight, why good haze is so important, and an important discussion about the #savestagelighting campaign and how the new EU 2020 Lighting Regulations could have a devastating impact on theatrical lighting. Grab a pint of butterbeer and enjoy this brand new episode!
It’s Episode #79 and we are seizing the day and sitting down with Tony Award winning Lighting Designer Jeff Croiter. Jeff has a wide ranging career and we’re talking about all sorts of projects. Cory and Jeff discuss his recent design of the Big Apple Circus and how one goes about lighting jugglers, horses and the Flying Wallendas as well as his new relationship with Penn & Teller and what goes into lighting two of the most famous magicians in the world. He also discusses the prominent role lighting played in “Bandstand” and how he got 75 old fresnels to change color all night long and of course we’re talking about the genesis of his design for “Peter and the Starcatcher” and how it has become a genre of design in itself. Other topics include how smaller gigs led to his Broadway career, how he cues quickly and efficiently in the theatre, and we get a surprise appearance from Willa the dog and the lovely and talented Kate Wetherhead!
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!