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Life in the Theater

Updated: Dec 21, 2023


Onstage, backstage, offstage, “Life in the Theater” will explore the lives led by those who dedicate themselves to theater. From behind-the-scenes tech experts to set and costume designers, to playwrights and composers, to directors to superstar soloists, we’ll cover the myriad talents involved in bringing a work to life. Unique stories from people working in every aspect theater will capture the hardships and rewards, the politics and drama of what it means to live life in the theater.


HERE ARE SOME EXAMPLES:


SETTING THE SCENE

Tony Award-winner Derek McLane takes us on a journey into the creative process of set design for a new Broadway musical. Collaboration is all–close conversations with the composer, book writer and lyricist, sometimes before the musical is fully formed, and with the director, whose vision of the staging sparks the designer’s ideas for settings in which the work can most successfully unfold. We follow Derek as he translates insights into models for built environments and then expands, modifies, shapes anew as the musical’s creative team–and the producers–react. And the audience on opening night? We capture the buzz, and the critics’ judgment.


THE FINE LINE

Colman Domingo (Tony Award-nominee for his performance in Scottsboro Boys) reflects on the angry reactions of African Americans to reports of a minstrel show approach in dramatizing the racial bigotry that reigned supreme over the mid-century American south and produced the tragedy of the Scottsboro Boys.





LIGHT THE LIGHTS

Jane Cox tells us about the role of light design in theater and the challenges of working as a woman in a field dominated by men. Her lighting design for musicals, such as The Color Purple, and plays including Hamlet, the recent Broadway revival of Picnic, and Machinal for which she received a Tony nomination, has established her as a major talent in a craft that is crucial to everything we see onstage.



Have you ever wondered how a touring actor spends their day when not onstage? What exactly drives a performer to spend months, even years on a bus, traveling from town to town? Journey with Gabrielle Mirabella, traveling actor and constant observer, as she takes us on the road, for a week in the life of an actor on tour.


A theater’s “grand drape” is often the first thing to greet audience members when they enter. Over the years, brilliant designers such as Desmond Heeley and Tony Walton have cast aside the standard red, velvet curtains in favor of visual spectacle. Join Ellen F Brown as she explores whether the grand drape is a barrier separating audiences from the theatrical world behind the proscenium arch or an invitation to join in.


  • HE STARTED IT

Our favorite bad boy Chazz Palminteri (see him as the gangster turned playwright in Woody Allen’s film BULLETS OVER BROADWAY) first created his big break with his autobiographical one-man show, A Bronx Tale. So taken by the show, Robert DeNiro convinced Palminteri to collaborate with him in creating a now famed film adaptation. Revived on stage a few years ago, A Bronx Tale inspired Mike Tyson to create the one man show that has landed the heavyweight boxer on Broadway. Former NFL player, Bo Eason also took to the stage in a solo performance to tell his hard hitting story. A sought-after teacher of the genre, Palminteri weighs the appeal and drawbacks of the autobiographical one man show and the ways in which it particularly serves as a platform for tough guy characters.

Metropolitan Opera Production Assistant Caroline Kagan describes the exciting and vital work she does in gaining crucial visas for the opera singers, directors and guest conductors who play leading roles in the Met’s compelling productions.



Emerging playwright Monica Trausch confronts her playwrighting fears in a masterclass led by Annie Baker, Pulitzer prize winning author of The Flick.



CHIEF OF STAFF

Major Broadway General Manager Manny Kladitis talks about the triumphs, disasters, and long time alliances forged through his 30 years (and counting) of overseeing Broadway shows, including a few of his own, like Billy Crystal‘s sold out Boffo. We asked him to tell us why and when the General Manager should get a Tony.

Actress Dee Nelson recounts her time as a Lunt-Fontanne fellow at the Lunts’ storied estate, “Ten Chimneys,” in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin. Every year, ten seasoned regional theater actors spend a week at soaking in the inspiring atmosphere and taking classes with Master Teachers: names like Olympia Dukakis, Alfred Molina, and Lynn Redgrave.

Few theatres on Broadway can boast a history as colorful as the Belasco Theatre. Barrie Kreinik delves into its rich history in this Theaterhound exclusive.



Wes Braver discusses the exciting work of The 52nd Street Project, a community-based arts organization which brings kids together from the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood in Manhattan. The Project brings theater professionals in to work with the kids and create original plays, songs, and performances that are free to the general public.

1 Comment


Wes Braver
Wes Braver
Aug 15, 2023

Can't wait to check these profiles and pieces out. Huge Colman Domingo fan ever since I saw him in Passing Strange. Riveting performer and thinker

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