Lighting & Projection

Some of the LED tape we experimented with All the info about all the LED tape we could get our hands on 

here is an entire segment of the LED realm that, while small in form factor, can be quite mighty in its impact on designs across the lighting world: LED tape. 

Many of you may be asking, “What’s the big deal? I can order LED tape from any generic eBay or Amazon store for super cheap when I want to light up my house for the holidays!” Granted, anyone can go buy some cheap LED tape direct off the Internet, but as professionals, we should turn to tried and true solutions with product support behind them. As this technology has progressed and matured, there are now many professional-grade options in the LED tape arena that are capable of being implemented in large-scale scenarios, and industry-standard manufacturers are diving into the game to make products that can be trusted to perform on a level expected of any moving light. 

Read more: The Great LED Tape Round-Up

Lighting & Projection

Strip and Cyc lights take center stage in this Buyers GuideAll the details you need on the new lighting workhorses

Strip lights and cyc lights are some of the oldest theatrical light fixtures. From the days of lining the downstage edge of a theater with 100 candles placed behind glass lenses cut out from the bottom of bottles, these fixtures have been illuminating actors as well as scenery for centuries. Companies came up with alternative methods of lighting cycloramas through various reflectors and light sources. Nowadays most of them are made with LED light sources. To top it off, designers have turned to strip lights as a major source of eye candy. As you will see here, we have all kinds of ways to use these fixtures, from foot lights to illuminating cycs to thrilling audiences on live shows. There’s surely something here that you will find useful.  

Read more: Strip Lights and Cyc Lights

Special Effects

Chauvet Professional’s Vesuvio fogger uses lights and quick dissipating fluid for a cryo-like effect. How do you keep supplying special effects to an audience that’s seen everything? 

I wouldn’t go so far as to call today’s audiences jaded—but they have seen a lot. Advances in stagecraft combined with a media-saturated digital world where literally everything is possible means it takes a lot to wow an audience today. To keep things special, effects companies have to keep innovating, experimenting and developing new techniques, tricks and technology. Here’s how special effects companies are staying ahead of the curve and making sure you can still wow your audience. 

Read more: Daily Specials!

Costuming/Makeup

Shakespeare (center, played by Christian Borle) and his backupsThe historical period was the same, but how the costumes exhibited it couldn’t have been more different for Wolf Hall and Something Rotten

Two Tudor-era shows hit the Great White Way this season and that proved to be a beautiful lesson in contrast. One tells the story of Henry VIII, his many wives, and the cunning Thomas Cromwell. It is poised, serious and historic. The other tells the story of a struggling playwright constantly overshadowed by Shakespeare and the fictional creation of “the musical.” It is irreverent, comedic and theatrical. Both productions clothed their respective performers in beautifully tailored costumes, evoking the Renaissance in stylistically powerful ways, but the results could not be more different.

Read more: Dueling Tudors

Costuming/Makeup

MSMT Costumes just debuted a new set of costumes for The Music Man.Period costumes can be a challenge to get right, but there are ways to make sure people aren’t saying the wrong things about your design.

Costume and makeup designers conduct a bevy of research and collect mountains of inspiration when designing for a specific period, be it the 1950s or 1590s. And while it’s always important to get the historical look right—how far do you have to go to get there? How far can you cut corners for a costume or a look? And how far is too far? 

Read more: People Will Talk

Costuming/Makeup

Suttirat Anne Larlarb’s design for Sylvia, the single  mother J.M. Barrie befriends and whose children inspire Peter Pan, included separates, which subtly indicate her economic and social status. The details made the dream come alive in Suttirat Anne Larlarb’s costume design for Finding Neverland

Working with Tony Award-winning director Diane Paulus requires a keen mind, imagination, solid know-how and flexibility—and costume designer Suttirat Anne Larlarb is up to the challenge. She recently designed costumes for Finding Neverland, Paulus’ musical adaptation of the 2004 film about playwright and author J.M. Barrie, the two women in his life, and the young boy who ultimately inspired Peter Pan.

Read more: Dressing Up Neverland

Feature

Jennifer Finch and Matthew Hancock in I and You at L.A.’s Fountain TheatreThe worst onstage mishap can be the luckiest break. Here’s how to learn from the experience.

When Hugh Jackman nearly cut off his finger preparing to cook a fish onstage in The River last Broadway season, his fellow actors were glad to hear he was OK—and then gave a sigh of relief for themselves. Why? Because it proved if an onstage accident could happen to a pro like Hugh, it could happen to anybody (from a performer to a technician). It also proved that you could recover with grace, both physically and pride-wise, from one as well—and maybe even learn a positive technical or creative lesson from the experience. Here’s how some of the best in the business coped with their misfortune, and four vital lessons their experience taught them (and can teach you). The next time you’re dealing with dropped lines, or your wig flies off, or you accidentally fall through a flat (well, let’s hope that last one doesn’t happen) you’ll be inspired to be resourceful—and emerge stronger than ever.

Read more: Happy Accidents

Feature

The cast of Fun Home at Circle in the Square, with scenic design by David Zinn.Tony-nominated scenic designer David Zinn talks about taking Fun Home from the proscenium to the round for its Broadway debut

Tony-nominated scenic designer David Zinn has worked on some sizable Broadway shows including The Last Ship and Violet (by the way, he’s also a Tony-nominated costume designer), but the recent musical Fun Home, which has racked up 12 Tony nominations, including one for his set design, is a more intimate story told in the round at the Circle in the Square Theatre. Inspired by Alison Bechdel’s graphic novel of the same name, it traces the journey of the gay cartoonist as she comes to terms with her sexuality and also learns about her stern father’s own closeted life. The story unfolds during different periods of her life with three different actresses playing the central character, from her childhood experiences in her father’s funeral home (hence the title) through her college years of self discovery and into her adult life.

Read more: Scaling Down for Broadway

Feature

The stage in the Han Show TheatreTheatre Projects, Mark Fisher and Franco Dragone Helped Shape a Unique Attraction in Wuhan, China 

It seems the designers of the new water-based Han Show, in Wuhan, China, have things a bit backwards. Instead of brainstorming on the conceptual basics of a theatrical show and securing the proper venue for it, the leading designers of the production have gotten support from Dalian Wanda Group, a large Chinese commercial property developer and cinema operator that constructed an entire theatre for the specific purpose of housing The Han Show.

Read more: The Han Show Theatre

Feature

Mary Poppins at the Chanhassen Dinner Theatre, mixed on a new DiGiCo SD9TToday’s theatres have many options. What’s right for yours?

The pressure to provide a quality theatre-going experience to patrons who have a lot of entertainment options continues. Increasingly, theatre management is making sure not only the talent is on the stage, but also the tools are in the toolbox. This includes upgrading audio, and the demand on components that can work well in beautiful, old but sometimes acoustically challenged spaces is higher than ever. The good news is there is a near embarrassment of riches in terms of options as SD learned in doing a survey of recent audio upgrades. 

Read more: The Many Facades of Audio Installs

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