It’s October 1st and work on the productions in our 2010-2011 Season is humming along nicely. We are three weeks away from the opening of LIGHT UP THE SKY in the Paramount Theatre (hooray!), which means we have less than three weeks to finish our work. From all accounts things are going well and there are some exciting things in the works for this weekend that would bring even more of the late-40’s magic of Boston to life onstage.
Sitting in on the series of production meetings this morning, I was struck by the fact that we have four shows in various states of production and another four in pre-production. The conversations taking place in each of the three meetings today demonstrated this fact:
In the LIGHT UP THE SKY meeting, all were in a light, jovial mood as finishing touches and technical load-in schedules were discussed. In fact, I couldn’t help but note the collegial spirit of the group and make a mental comparison to the relationship shared between the characters in the show.
THE ACTOR and THE ACTOR’S NIGHTMARE centered around conversations about specific elements of the production, the width of a balustrade for example. Fabric was also a recurring topic of conversation. Scenic and Props are looking at fabric today for furniture upholstery and Costumes will be sharing fabric swatches with Lighting soon for testing to ensure the color of a costume isn’t affected by lighting and vice versa. All part of the collaboration required to put on a well-designed show!
BUD, NOT BUDDY, our TYA production, is in the early stages of production. Rehearsals just began this past Monday and the cast and director, Robert Colby, are having fun exploring how the set and costumes can help character development. Naturally, those explorations bring about a lot of questions! By bringing those questions to the production meeting, designers and production staff can help define the realm of possibilities.
It’s all very exciting. The fourth production this semester, NINE, was recently cast and will soon join the roster of production meetings… and so the cycle continues.
Tyler York is the Assistant to the General Manager of Emerson Stage and an alum of Emerson’s BFA Stage/Production Management program.
Laurie and Brian hard at work, on The Actor's Nightmare
By Richelle Devereax-Murray
Welcome back. It’s a new school year and everyone knows what that means! You don’t? Well let me tell you, it means four fabulous shows. Currently in the shopwe are working on Light Up the Sky, Actor/The Actor’s Nightmare and Bud Not Buddy. Nine will be added into the mix soon, it’s a happening place here.
The racks are full of pulled costumes, sketches line the walls and the crew is busy with alterations of all kinds.
Today I had fittings with Courtney Irizarry (the designer), for The Actor’s Nightmare. For one scene, Brittany Halls will be wearing a dress that made it’s first appearance in an Emerson Stage show when it was built for The Philadelphia Story, however we will be altering it to look a little different. That’s something we do often. We pull things from our stock and alter them to suit our needs. So when you see The Actor’s Nightmare, the dress will be so different, that you won’t realize it’s the same one from a previous show. Most likely you didn’t see The Philadelphia Story, unless you are a Senior so we can just pretend it’s a brand new dress anyway!
A show will have many costumes from other shows, our stock room is full of past shows. It’s a little walk down memory lane. We have even found costumes with labels from the first Majestic show, George M. If you want to hear great stories some time, ask Mary Ellen Adams about that show.
See you next Tuesday for more tales of the costume shop. What will we make, what will we dye, what cookies will we eat??
Well, this season isn’t even done yet (have you got your ticket to INTO THE WOODS? Don’t delay!) and we are planning next season. Auditions for the first three shows are coming up (casting is done before summer break), and lots of other pre production work is being done.
Here’s next season:
Light Up the Sky by Moss Hart
Directed by Melia Bensussen
October 21-24, 2010 in the Paramount Theatre
The Actor by Horton Foote and The Actor’s Nightmare by Christopher Durang
Directed by Maureen Shea
November 4-7, 2010 in the Greene Theater
Bud, Not Buddy adapted by Reginald André Jackson
From the book by Christopher Paul Curtis
Directed by Bob Colby
November 11-21, 2010 in the Semel Theater
Nine by Arthur Kopit/Maury Yestin
Directed by Bill Fennelly, Guest Director
December 9-12, 2010 in the Greene Theater
Artistic Director Marlena Yannetti
February 10-13, 2011 in the Greene Theater
The Golden Age by Louis Nowra
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush
February 24-27, 2011 in the Black Box Theater
Newfest and Newfest Readings Directed by Joe Antoun
March 24-27, 2011 in the Semel Theater
Submissions due by November 5, 2010
Man of La Mancha by Dale Wasserman/J. Darion/M. Leigh
Directed by Stephen Terrell
Guest Artist: Jeff McCarthy
April 14-17, 2011 in the Paramount Theatre
So here on floor two, we find ourselves having long involved conversations about things that normal people probably don’t even think about in a day. We could chat for hours about which kind of hand sewing needle is better, we all have our favorites. Jen prefers a 9 sharp, whereas I prefer a 7 milliner and Deb prefers the ones with the large eye so she can thread them. I know, you probably didn’t know that there are different categories of hand sewing needles.
Scissors are always a hot topic. You should never cut paper with your fabric scissors and vice versa. It’s just not done!!! It makes kittens cry. There are oodles of different types of scissors, but I won’t bore you with that. I fear it would sound a lot like Charlie Brown’s teacher. Womp, Womp, Womp.
The real reason I started this entry was to tell you about our latest geek out. Tyler, who is designing Into the Woods and his lovely assistants Nicole and Courtney went to the mecca of fabric stores, NYC! Now as we all know from being avid watchers of Project Runway, this is where Mood is located. There are numerous other stores there, not as fancy pants, but with really good fabric and trim. So that is where our intrepid design team went to shop.
Sadly they did not visit the House of Spandex, which is just somewhere I like to go because they have every color spandex ever thought of by the half blind disco lovers who send out those horrible dancing school costume catalogs. I digress. I’m having trouble with the photos so let me describe. What appears as a simple pile of fabulous fabric and fur will turn into amazing creations.
‘Twas the night before load out and all through the shop, all the creatures were sewing, no one could stop…
I should be more witty, but I can’t think of anymore rhymes plus, I gotta go sew!
The Evening of Women Playwrights is upon us and the shop is a beehive of activity, everyone is working hard on finish work. We do all the functional notes to a costume first and then we do the trimming. That way if a costume doesn’t have all it’s sparkly trim, it can still go onstage. A sparkly trimmed jacket is lovely, but if the jacket isn’t wearable for dress rehearsal, then it’s not very useful.
This group of shows has been very interesting because one is Victorian, one is mid century, and one is a throwback to the 80′s. There will be many beautiful silhouettes to admire, so you’d better go see them.
Oh there’s a tour here! The parents and students who come on them are always so nice. They usually say it looks just like Project Runway in here. Yesterday someone even said, “Make it Work!” Except here, we have to make sure it actually looks like the sketch, fits, and can stand up to the rigors of the show. Plus we don’t use glue or tape to finish things..