New dates, a new venue, and a great mix of old and new faculty members created a winning formula for the 2006 Live Design Master Classes, held May 19-24 in conjunction with The Tisch School of the Arts and New York University.

“Not only are the NYU venues the perfect home for the Master Classes, but we were able to invite the NYU design students and faculty to participate as well,” says David Johnson, editorial director and associate publisher of Live Design. “The entire NYU staff was thoroughly professional, and we look forward to continuing this collaboration with the Master Classes and NYU in the future.”

The BSMC, held at Tisch, once again featured legendary sound designer Abe Jacob at the head of a faculty that included sound designers Tom Clark and Nevin Steinberg of Acme Sound Partners; Steve Kennedy; John Shivers; Simon Matthews; Jon Weston; Steve Bush and Todd Meier of Meyer Sound; David Bullard; and Rick Thomas, professor of sound design, Purdue University. The musical of choice was The Drowsy Chaperone, whose sound design was discussed in depth by Nevin Steinberg and Tom Clark the next day. A record number of attendees filled almost every seat in the 70-seat theatre, with d&b audiotechnik, DiGiCo, Lectrosonics, Level Control Systems, Meyer Sound, RF Pro, Sennheiser, TiMax and Yamaha participating in the Manufacturer's Showcase. A special thanks goes to Meyer Sound for sponsorship of the BSMC cocktail reception.

Held at NYU's Jack H. Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, the BLMC also had a record number of attendees. Jules Fisher, still the LD with the record number of Tony Awards, is at the helm of the faculty, which also included the 2005 Tony winner, Chris Akerlind, who won for his beautiful lighting of The Light In The Piazza at Lincoln Center Theatre, which was the musical the BLMC went to see this year. New faculty members included Howell Binkley and Philip Rosenberg joining the already distinguished line up of professional Broadway designers: Peggy Eisenhauer, Beverly Emmons, Clifton Taylor, Brian MacDevitt, and projection designer Wendall K. Harrington.

For the first time, the BLMC Manufacturer's Showcase and lunches were combined into a large space (The Eisner Lubin auditorium at NYU), which was a successful idea, giving the attendees more time to mingle with the manufacturers, whose roster included: A.C.T Lighting, Altman Rentals, Apollo, Barco, City Theatrical, Doug Fleenor Design, ETC, Lee Filters, Lycian, Pulsar Light, Robert Juliat, Rosco, Selecon, Strand Lighting, Strong Lighting, Thematics, TMB, Vari-Lite, and Wybron. Other companies, such as Barbizon, Big Apple Lights, InterAmerica Stage, Fisher Marantz, Scharff Weisberg, Theatre Projects Consultants, Osram Sylvania, and The Wally Russell Foundation mentored students.

The Monday night event was a departure from the awards presentations of past years, with the launch of Live Design Honors in recognition of outstanding contributions to the field of entertainment design. This year, Live Design Honors paid tribute to the Public Theatre on the occasion of its 50th anniversary, honoring the Design Aesthetic of Shakespeare in The Park with a panel of distinguished designers including Ming Cho Lee, Jules Fisher, Natasha Katz, Dan Moses Schrier, Santo Loquasto, Jennifer Tipton, Nevin Steinberg, and John Lee Beatty. The evening was also a benefit for The ESTA Foundation's Behind The Scenes initiative.

“What could be more appropriate for a Behind the Scenes fundraiser than to be able to hear several famous designers offer their thoughts, opinions, and personal memories related to their work for Shakespeare in the Park to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Public Theatre,” says Bill Groener, a member of The ESTA Foundation's board of directors.

“Conceived by the staff of Live Design, this was a wonderful event, where NY-based industry folks could visit with out-of-town visitors. The ability to socialize and network was only exceeded by the opportunity to raise money for The Behind the Scenes program, which is a relatively new initiative of The ESTA Foundation. The goal is to raise money that will benefit those who work behind the scenes; in roles such as designers, production personnel, project managers and many, many more should they find themselves in time of economic need due to illness, injury, or death,” Groener explains.”

The Live Design Honors raised $3,000 for The ESTA Foundation's Behind the Scenes.