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!
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.