Welcome to a special two-part interview with Moving Light Programmer Tim Rogers. In this week’s episode, Cory and Tim discuss the history of the ML programmer on Broadway, the importance of the community of programmers, and his process, from sitting down at the desk for the first time until opening night. Tim shares stories from working with Howell Binkley, Jules Fisher and Peggy Eisenhauer, what it’s like trying to balance work and a family that includes three kids, and discusses the departmental nuances between the lighting designer, the associate and the programmer. SPEAKING of which…come back next week for part two when Jason Lyons joins the conversation as we give you access inside the world of a designer and his long time programmer in a way like never before.
It’s two for the price of one today! Our first ever joint episode features married couple Driscoll Otto (Lighting/Projections) and Amy Pedigo-Otto (Costumes.) The lovely couple spent a morning in their brand new backyard chatting with Cory about being married to another designer and balancing the freelance lifestyle with family, which will soon include a newborn baby. Driscoll tells us about designing ‘Game of Thrones: The Exibition’ and Amy talks about working in the TV world on shows such as ‘The Americans’ and ‘Louie.’ It’s a round-table in Brooklyn and you’re invited!
This week’s guest is lighting designer Al Crawford! Al is a legend in the world of dance lighting having served as the Lighting Director for Alvin Ailey since 1998. Cory and Al discuss the ins and outs of touring with one of the most famous dance companies in the world and what it takes to maintain the lighting for dozens and dozens of repertory pieces. From international cargo laws, to language barriers, to ever evolving technology…Al has developed a method to navigate it all. Al shares lots of stories including what it was like trying to do a show in Greece right after 9/11, how he approaches designing a state dinner at the White House, and why there is nothing greater than finding a good set of headphones for those long flights.
You’ll need two hands to count the number of Tony noms this week’s guest has garnered, it’s Beverly Emmons! Cory and Beverly cover her vast and varied career and her collaborations with such luminaries as Martha Graham, Jules Fisher, Merce Cunningham and Kenny Leone. She recounts becoming an LD by way of dance school, her longstanding relationship with USA 829 and her involvement in the union exam, how the idea for The Lighting Archive came about, and what is was like following in the footsteps of Jean Rosenthal, Peggy Clark, and Tharon Musser. She also shares her thoughts on lighting research, hand drafting, pre-visualation tools, balancing work and family and a whole host of other topics. And hear her describe an incredibly bizarre and fascinating design process proposed by Robert Rauschenberg for a dance by Merce Cunningham in which she created a randomized cue structure out of mostly existing worklights, hall lights, grid lights and flashlights that could never be the same from performance to performance. Pretty soon you’ll be yelling to turn the worklights ON!
Today’s guest is lighting designer and resident tall human Joel Silver! Joel and Cory chat about the designer/associate relationship and Joel shares stories from working on shows with Kevin Adams and Peter Kaczorowski. They also touch on Joel’s feelings regarding crew relationships, cueing under pressure, being social outside of the theatre and (gasp!) taking purposeful time off. Joel also has a great deal of experience in the industrial world and he tells us about navigating a focus on a convention center floor and getting a corporate logo color just right. Not blue…I said BLUE!
Episode #15 goes to the Obi-Wan of lighting software…it’s John McKernon! John tells us how Lightwright came to be and what it’s like creating an integral design tool used all over the globe. Learn how Lightwright and John’s career started (like so many things) in Ken Billington’s office, and hear tales from the past from ‘One Mo’ Time’, ‘The Red Shoes’, ‘Chicago’, and ‘Late Nite Comic’. Hear what the Union exam used to be like back in the “old days” and what John thinks is the trick to winning a Tony for lighting. John McKernon has forever changed the way lighting design is created and documented and now you can meet the man behind the code!
She’s funny! She’s smart! She’s totally having a “moment.” And we’ve got her on the show today…it’s lighting designer Jen Schriever! Jen tells us about her making her Met debut with ‘Die Fledermaus’ and her Broadway debut with ‘Ghetto Klown.’ Jen and Cory chat about dealing with deadlines, focus nightmares, how to cue when your actors are just wigs on music stands, and it’s another Woody Harrelson story!
Turn the lights down low, chain the door, and pour yourself a drink because we’re sitting down with lighting designer and living legend Ken Billington. Ken and Cory cover a wide range of topics from his biggest hit, “Chicago”, to his newest project, “Act One”, and other shows from his over 40 years in the business including “Footloose”, “Chaplin”, “The Visit”, “Sweeney Todd” and more. Ken tells us about learning the ropes from Tharon Musser, why you better be fast in a room with Hal Prince, how he introduced Bob Fosse to the magic of moving lights and why you should tuck in that shirt for goodness sakes! (Warning…management is not responsible for you walking into traffic while having your mind blown.)
Today’s guest is scenic and lighting designer David Arsenault. David and Cory discuss the pros and cons of living in New York City…from broken down subways, to lugging your own scenery through midtown, to dreaming of the suburbs. They discuss shows on their bucket list and offer a mini class in website and resume do’s and don’ts, including why you should never attach balloons to your resume. Pay attention…there will be a quiz!
Prepare to turn the nerd dial to 11 on this episode. Our guest is LD/big time Broadway associate Craig Stelzenmuller. Cory and Craig compare processes for making light plots, documenting focuses, dealing with crews, and a whole host of other topics. Learn what Craig calls ‘political capital’ and how he uses it when working with big time designers like Paul Gallo, Natasha Katz, Hugh Vanstone and others.