Seven was the lucky number for the Broadway Lighting Master Classes (BLMC), the annual seminar programmed by (and featuring) LD Jules Fisher, which is presented by Entertainment Design and Lighting Dimensions magazines in association with Sonny Sonnenfeld. A total of 125 attendees took part in the 1999 classes, held at the Pope Auditorium at Fordham University in Manhattan.
The BLMC has evolved into an event of several days. It all began on Wednesday, December 8, with a special day-long automated lighting training session, conducted by Jim Waits, marketing outreach manager of Vari-Lite, with technical support from Vari-Lite, A.C. Lighting, Avab Transtechnik, Cast Lighting, Compulite, ETC, Strand Lighting, Rosco/Entertainment Technology, High End Systems, and Flying Pig Systems. This session was presented in conjunction with ESTA's technical education committee.
The BLMC got underway the next day, with a three-hour presentation by creative consultant Jules Fisher, titled "One Approach to Theatrical Lighting." After lunch, noted scenic designer and educator Ming Cho Lee spoke about the state of design on Broadway in general. Then LD Beverly Emmons (The Heiress, Jekyll & Hyde) presented a series of case histories titled "Issues of Style in Lighting Design." That evening, BLMC participants attended a performance of the hit revival of Cabaret.
On Friday, December 10, Broadway production electrician Steve Cochrane began the program with a lively audience discussion titled "Getting the Show Up and Running." Next came LDs Peggy Eisenhauer and Mike Baldassari, who spoke in depth on their work on Cabaret. This was followed by Eisenhauer alone, discussing the integration of followspots into the overall lighting design. After lunch, LD Chris Parry (The Who's Tommy, Not About Nightingales) presented "Lighting Paintbrushes," in which he explored the different effects one can achieve with various lighting units. Projection designer Wendall K. Harrington closed out the day with a case history of her work on A View From the Bridge, which debuted at Lyric Opera of Chicago in October.
On Saturday, December 11, Peggy Eisenhauer returned to discuss "Cueing for Musicals," then associate LD Vivien Leone (Fosse, Saturday Night Fever) discussed "The Paper Trail," providing copious examples of her own paperwork. Fisher and Eisenhauer returned after lunch to discuss their work on the new musical Marie Christine, and the day finished with a presentation by Emmons and dance LD Clifton Taylor on "Color in Lighting."
The program ended Sunday, with a special brunch and panel on the topic of collaboration, featuring the entire design team of Cabaret: set designer Robert Brill, costume designer William Ivey Long, sound designer Brian Ronan, and Eisenhauer and Baldassari, with Fisher moderating and special guest panelist director Jack O'Brien.
There was much more to the week's activities, however. A series of Manufacturer's Showcases held on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday allowed attendees to check out some of the newest products in the industry (Friday's session was open to other designers, as well). Participating exhibitors were A.C. Lighting, Altman Stage Lighting, Apollo Design Technology, Avab/Jack Frost, City Theatrical, Compulite, ETC, GAM Products, High End Systems, Lee Filters, Le Maitre, MDG, Rosco/ET, Rose Brand, Strand Lighting, Vari-Lite, White Light, and Wybron. Other support was provided by PRG, ProMix, and Sennheiser.
Friday was also the date for a series of festive events. A special panel, open to the industry and sponsored by PRG, featured this year's Wally Russell Award nominees, Dave Cunningham, Stan Miller, Sonny Sonnenfeld, and Don Stern, with Steve Terry of PRG as moderator. Next came Lighting Dimensions and Entertainment Design's Christmas party, followed by the EDDY Awards, sponsored by Entertainment Design.
The EDDYs celebrate both people and products. The 1999 winners included scenery/lighting designer Kyle Chepulis, puppet designer Michael Curry, the team behind the Amazing Adventures of Spider-Man attraction at Universal Studios Escape, sound designer Abe Jacob, and costume builder/designer Barbara Matera.
Winning lighting products included The GrandMA lighting console from MA Lighting (distributed in the US by A.C. Lighting), The Lighting Services International BP75 image projector, City Theatrical's AutoYoke, the Angstrom FineLite, the Icon M moving light from PRG/LSD, and the GAM Torch, from GAM Products. This was the starriest EDDY Awards ever, with Angela Lansbury and Julie Taymor among the presenters, and Sigourney Weaver among the guests.
The Broadway Lighting Master Classes will be held again in December. For information about attending, contact Greg Havas at 212/229-2965, ext. 829, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.