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.”
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!
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.
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!
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.
Merry Christmas! Who needs another pair of socks?! Your favorite gift this year is going to be our brand new episode with Scenic Designer Anna Louizos! Anna has designed some of the most exciting sets on Broadway in recent years and she’s here to talk about all of them. Cory and Anna cover her wild ride from landing the “School of Rock” gig (and how she ended up designing the costumes too!), to her iconic set for “In The Heights”, to the beautifully hand painted drops of “Edwin Drood”, to her head-first dive into Projection Design in “Honeymoon in Vegas”, to her gone-too-soo design for “High Fidelity.” She talks about what she learned as an Associate, how she runs her studio, why we need better ways to share and capture our work, and how running a restaurant prepared her for her current profession. And if that’s not enough, Anna tells us about the Broadway Design Exchange and how YOU too can own a little piece of the Broadway design experience. Pour some eggnog, gather the family and enjoy this episode by the fire!
This week we visit with another designer from across the pond, it’s Tony nominated Scenic and Costume Designer, David Farley! David was in town finally bringing ‘Daddy Long Legs’ to New York after playing around the globe for 6 years. He tells us about the evolution of the design and the process of modifying the set to fit different theatres. David and Cory dig into the artistic, practical and economical differences of being a designer in the US vs the UK and they chat about David’s award winning work on ‘Sunday in the Park…’, why designing Josh Groban’s tour was more difficult than you would think, designing in the Festival Theatre at Stratford and the qualities he loves in his frequent collaborators John Caird, Trevor Nunn, and John Doyle. But David isn’t all work…he also shares insight into being a designer on the road with an infant back home and why he’s passionate about his garden. It’s a great show, but mainly because of how adorably he pronounces ‘aluminum.’ Grab a seat in the stalls, raise the gauze and enjoy this week’s panto!
This week’s new episode is brought to you by babbling brooks, buzzing bees, and chirping birds as we come to you live from Vermont with Scenic Designer Kristen Robinson. Kristen feels right at home in the country and she tells us how growing up in rural Ohio in an artistic family shaped her life as designer. She and Cory chat about taking time off from work, saying yes or no to jobs, her favorite part of the process and why the answer might be to simply “float it and tilt it.” She tells us about her process of designing two shows for Weston Playhouse’s unconventional second space and why a set isn’t complete until there are bodies in it. Pour some maple syrup, pull up a rocking chair and join us on the back porch for some down home fun!