With almost all details now in place, the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s (USITT) 47th Annual Conference and Stage Expo is on track to be a record-breaker. The event will be held March 14 to 17, 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Participants can choose to arrive early to enjoy regional specialties such as a trip to Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West, in Scottsdale, Arizona or Professional Development Workshops such as an Advanced SFX Master Class, USITT’s Electrical Workshop with Mitch Hefter, or Safe Speaker Rigging with Rocky Paulson and Bill Sapsis.

USITT produces the event in a major North American city each year, showcasing the best in design, production, and technology in the performing arts and entertainment industry. Registration is available online, or by calling 800-938-7488.

David Ira Goldstein, artistic director of the Arizona Theatre Company (ATC), Arizona’s largest professional not-for-profit theatre company, will present the Keynote. That event will be held at the Orpheum Theatre, a gem of a Spanish Baroque Revival playhouse built in 1929 and reopened in 1997 after a $14 million renovation.

Also to be presented (but not yet announced) is the 2006 “Rising Star” Award. In the spring of 2004, Live Design and LDI announced the creation of the “Rising Star” Award to be presented annually during the USITT Stage Expo and Conference. This award recognizes outstanding talent in entertainment design and production by someone who has completed their studies but is still under the age of 30, and is selected through recommendations by professional designers and educators. The first “Rising Star” Award was presented at USITT in Toronto in March 2005 to scenic designer. Kelly Hanson Last year’s Rising Star Award honored scenic, lighting, and sound designer, Justin Townsend .

Several of Tharon Musser’s assistants will also be on-hand to present a special session remembering her work. They will also help launch the third in USITT’s Monograph series on Musser’s lighting work. These include (schedules permitting) Betsy Adams, Ken Billington, Rick Belzer, Kirk Bookman, Douglas Cox, Jeff Davis, Fred Hancock, Jo Mayer, Marilyn Rennagel, David Segal, Kendall Smith, and Anne Sullivan.

Stage Expo, which opens at 9:30am Thursday, March 15, is almost sold out. Exhibit Halls D, E, and the Ballroom will be chock-full of exhibiting companies, organizations, and institutions, plus Tech Expo, Cover the Walls, and a variety of special exhibits. Stage Expo and most Conference sessions will be held at the Phoenix Convention Center. Additional Conference sessions are scheduled in the Hyatt Regency Phoenix where the Opening Night party, New Products Showcase, and All-Conference Reception and Fellows Address take place.