Top Broadway lighting designers present a series of thought-provoking sessions at the 2009 Broadway Lighting Master Classes, May 18-20.
Kevin Adams: The Fine Arts Influence A Lighting Designer
Kevin Adams discusses his journey from trained set designer to self-taught lighting designer and how that transition was influenced by fine artists that use light in their work. He also discusses the influence of those artists in his recent design of a trio of contemporary pop/rock musicals: Passing Strange, Spring Awakening, and Next To Normal. The discussion of these three designs will include his use of compact fluorescent light bulbs, fluorescent tubes, incandescent light bulbs, neon, and LED technology as illuminative devices as well as sculptural objects.
Howell Binkley: Finding Your Path As A Lighting Designer
LD Howell Binkley notes: “I never had any guidance at all from anyone in the business until I was already deep into my Broadway career, and even then I was lost. I so wished I was able to sit down with someone and ask pointed questions about what to do next, where to turn.” His goal with this session is to create the feeling of an open colloquium, where participants can come with a list of questions which pertain to finding a path for one’s self in this very confusion and wonderful business. He will also discuss his lighting for the current Broadway revivals of Guys and Dollsand West Side Story.
Peggy Eisenhauer: Cueing The Musical—Sculpting Time And Rhythm
In “Cueing The Musical–Sculpting Time and Rhythm” Peggy Eisenhauer will discuss both a practical and philosophical approach to creating dramatic and musical timing styles specific to every production. What is time in a dramatic sense in the theatre? What makes time dynamic in a dramatic environment? How does music affect one’s timing style? What is rhythmic within musical cueing? In addition, she will discuss practice and precision in the digital manipulation of time.
Peggy Eisenhauer: Emoting And Motion: Communicating With Movement
Peggy’s second Master Classes session: “Emoting and Motion: Communicating With Movement” deals with her sense of movement in lighting, about which she says: “This talk is a discussion that was born of a series of questions that Jules asked me to answer philosophically, about using movement artistically and emotionally in theatre lighting. There are some practical aspects to it, but it's mainly about the emotion of integrating motion into one’s work. It seemed like a natural level of discussion for designers, which is outside all of the technical aspects of automated lighting, which occupies so much space in everybody’s psyche, about what does what and how it’s done. This is really about why and how one chooses motion, and what can you hope to create with it from the point of view of design.”
Beverly Emmons: On Color
In thinking about color, LD Beverly Emmons asks: What are the underlying principles of color? How do we choose color? How do we think about our color choices? How do we explain to ourselves what we see happening on stage with our color mixes? How do we communicate with words to someone else about color? We have all heard about the primaries of light being Red, Blue, and Green but what does that mean and how is that information useful? What is “No Color?” What is “White?” Are there identifiable “styles” in color choice? Does an audience have any idea about any of this? Does that matter? She will discuss and demonstrate some of the answers.
Jules Fisher: An Approach To Stage Lighting
Winner of more Tony Awards than any other LD, Jules Fisher will present his personal approach to stage lighting: “In analyzing what I have been doing for the last 50 years, I have discovered what drives and compels my designs. There are numerous definitions of stage lighting to discuss that all contribute to holding on to this evanescent craft. I will try to communicate why the theatre and light is still magical for me.”
Wendall K. Harrington: Who Asked For These Projections Anyway?
Projected images are everywhere, and it does seem that they are more than just a fad, so the “godmother of projection design” takes a look at how to think about projections, when they’re right, less right, or “just plain stupid.” Lighting and projection must work together to create a unified stage image, so Harrington shows us how to smooth out those edges.
Don Holder: Lighting The Cyclorama
The quality of the light that reveals the surround, or “frame” of a play (often a sky or illuminated background of some kind) is crucial in informing all of a designer’s lighting choices. In this session, Holder will discuss the varying philosophies and techniques for lighting cycloramas, scrims, and other surfaces in a manner that both informs and elevates the overall quality of the design. In addition to hands-on demonstration, he will share his work on the Broadway productions of The Lion King, The Boy From Oz, and South Pacific as case studies.
Brian MacDevitt: Visual Aids: Paintings And Photography For Inspiration And Communication In The Theatre
“The idea of the lecture is to describe the influences from outside of theater art that I can bring to the table with directors and other designers, so we can nourish and generate new ways of seeing and approaching our work. I feel that too many times I have fallen back on the conventions of the theatre and my work regurgitating what we ‘know’ and what ‘works,’ especially in the commercial world where there is a premium on the safety of not challenging our audiences.”
Nine To Five: A Case Study
Lighting designers Ken Posner, Jules Fisher, and Peggy Eisenhauer, along with projection designer Peter Nigrini, present a case study on the lighting and images for the new Broadway musical, 9 to 5, as it evolved from its premiere in Los Angeles to its debut at the Marquis Theatre in New York City.
Scott Parker: Paper-Aided Beam Spreads
Scott Parker presents a streamlined set of steps for lighting designers to create the preliminary lighting magic sheets needed during the design process. Using plain sheets of 8 ½-inches by 11-inch paper, as an alternative to using protractors, calculators, and other complicated tools, this short hands-on session will aid the designer in choosing stage lighting equipment that is appropriate for given distances and situations.