Theatre Thursday

Unlocking Potential Through Theater Education - Studying theatre can be a great starting point for careers such as teaching, law, and politics, not to mention broadcasting and performing. If this is the case why are classes in the performing arts the first classes on the chopping block when budgets get tight. This week I had the opportunity to speak to the… Continue reading Unlocking Potential Through Theater Education
Lessons from Addams Family… Round Two - Before I begin I must give credit to my friend, and talented photographer, John Bruning, for the excellent photos of our process and production.  His talents and contributions for our theatre program can not be measured.  He is truly a valuable member of our team! We recently (well, a month ago) closed our production of… Continue reading Lessons from Addams Family… Round Two
Painting Grandma - Our stage makeup class just finished the old age unit.  Just in time to apply those lessons to work on the cast of Addams Family the Musical.  Grandma needed some work. Here are the steps we taught the students to create a great old age makeup for the stage. The first step is RESEARCH.  We… Continue reading Painting Grandma
If You Build It They Will Come – Addams Family Set - A week ago we closed Addams Family the Musical at Central High School.  What a fun show! We started rehearsals a week before school started.  We also started building the set on the weekends.  My building team consisted of the kids in the cast, the kids in my tech theater class and a couple dads… Continue reading If You Build It They Will Come – Addams Family Set
A Chorus of Power - I am so sad!  I was adding my last picture to a blog post I was proud of and it all froze.  I lost everything.  I sure hope I can do justice to my first attempt or maybe even “one-up” myself. My co-worker and friend Jeff is fond of saying that you go to a… Continue reading A Chorus of Power
Theatre Rules of Engagement - An other opening!  An other show!  Tonight we open Addams Family the Musical at Central High School. Last night we had our final dress rehearsal with a few invited guests (young students).  It occurred to me, as I watched people pop up and down, walk in and out, cell phones on and cell phones, feet… Continue reading Theatre Rules of Engagement
A How-to – Painting a Large Scale Design on a Stage Floor - I’ve had several people ask just how I create what I create… all with kids.  First key ingredient… I have GREAT KIDS to work with.  They learn quickly; they are willing to learn; they work hard. Last weekend 16 kids (2 of my own kids), and my co-worker, came together to paint the floor for… Continue reading A How-to – Painting a Large Scale Design on a Stage Floor
Building Flexible Ship Stairs for Escape Stairs - As I looked at my stock stairs and the narrow “backstage” area I needed them to sit in, I realized it was time to invest in a “new” stock item.  I needed something that could be flexible as escape stairs… anywhere from 3 feet high to 10 feet high… time to build ship stairs.  I… Continue reading Building Flexible Ship Stairs for Escape Stairs
Stage Fright is Really… But Can Be Controlled - This blog post is for Elle… and all my other students whom I love and adore.  Why? Because I just need to do what I can to help them feel confident and valued!  I can’t tell you how many students in a drama class or in voice lessons I hear say, “I can’t do this… Continue reading Stage Fright is Really… But Can Be Controlled
Correcting Corrective - Theatre artists all find it necessary to begin their work from a neutral foundation.  Actors find a neutral, unaffected voice and posture as the build a character.  Costume designers start each rendering with a neutral figure so that they can illustrate clothes for a character.  Lighting designers use neutral colors (amber and blue) to create… Continue reading Correcting Corrective
Healing the “Walking Dead”- Tips for Sick Actors - School has started.  Rehearsals are in full swing.  You are feeling good about how things are going.  You know what I mean… you’ve been sounding good, holding up in rehearsals, keeping up with the demands of school and rehearsal.  Then, one morning, you wake up and your nose is running like it’s joined the cross… Continue reading Healing the “Walking Dead”- Tips for Sick Actors
Audition Helps! - As a budding actor, auditions can be very nerve wracking and even downright scary or terrifying. It’s okay to be nervous. Being stressed and fearful is natural and it’s bound to happen to you. A little (or a lot) of apprehension is perfectly acceptable. But what is absolutely unacceptable is for you to be ill… Continue reading Audition Helps!
Performing Arts Education Matters! - I am passionate about education.  I believe that the main mission of education should be to spark in students a desire to be a life-long-learner.  Education is more than English, science and math.  Education needs to inspire students to educated themselves – ongoing, voluntary and self-motivated.  Students who understand how to learn and how to… Continue reading Performing Arts Education Matters!
An Actor’s Rules to Enlighten and Inspire - School starts next week.  I am not convinced the kids at school are ready for the start of a new year.  We are now in week 2 for our fall production of Addams Family the Musical at school and I am noticing that some of the students are not as enthusiastic as I would hope… Continue reading An Actor’s Rules to Enlighten and Inspire
CET 2017 - Before I get started I need to thank the fabulous Aaron Satyanarayana for taking pictures and sharing them.  I never have enough time for pictures of my finished products and he has saved my bacon!  Also, I borrowed a few pictures from the CET website that were taken by a parent committee.  I only seem to… Continue reading CET 2017
Little Actor’s Acting Camp - Last week the amazing kids I associate with at the high school organized and ran an acting camp for kids in our community.  A Senior, 17 teen year old, Matisyn Robischon took it upon herself to organize, manage, fund, and put into action Little Actor’s Acting Camp.  The camp ran for 5 day, 3 hours… Continue reading Little Actor’s Acting Camp
Aladdin Jr!  - This spring I helped my friend Jeff with a production class at school that produced Aladdin Jr.  We are getting better and better at this whole production class thing.  Each student was assigned to a production team… set, lights, props, costumes, publicity.  This show was successful in getting students involved in the production process from… Continue reading Aladdin Jr! 
Practically Perfect in Every Way  - (Thanks Disney for letting me “borrow” these pictures from the Internet since we couldn’t take any in the theater). Mary Poppins is in town… well in Portland.  John and I had planned to go because we have season tickets to the Broadway series.  But we were looking for birthday present ideas for McKay and Hannah and… Continue reading Practically Perfect in Every Way 
Theatre Thursday – A Family Activity  - This year marks the 6th year my youngest daughter has participated in Children’s Educational Theatre (CET).  CET has been good for her.  Although she has danced since she was 3 years old (learning ballet, tap, jazz, and lyrical) CET has taught her performance skills like projection and stage presence… stage makeup skills… more dancing skills…… Continue reading Theatre Thursday – A Family Activity 
Theatre Thursday – Mask Making  - I taught a mask making class for the first time ever at CET (Children’s Educational Theatre) this year.  I have to admit, I was a little worried about how I would do.  The first theater experiences used mask.  Masks ave been such a huge part of theater history from the Greeks to Comedia dell’Arte to… Continue reading Theatre Thursday – Mask Making 
Bocòn – A Life Changing Experience  - March brought an unexpected experience that has changed my perspective and given me great cause to think about the blessings we take for granted in a free country full of education and employment opportunities.  My friend Jeff decided to tackle a play that invited more of the Latino population of our school to participate.  Our… Continue reading Bocòn – A Life Changing Experience 
Bank Geeks  - I helped with a production of Band Geeks at the local high school. I actually have been working on a book to teach high school students about the production process.  The book covers pre-show jobs and responcibilities, rehearsal responsibilities, performance responsibilities, and post show responsibilities of a production team.  It isn’t a very good book.… Continue reading Bank Geeks 
Bang Bang You’re Dead  - I was never popular. I was never athletic. I was never confident. When I reach into the shadows of my memories I find a faint memory of first grade.  I was the only student who was left handed.  My teacher tried hard to get me to hold my crayons with my right hand.  She never… Continue reading Bang Bang You’re Dead 
White Christmas  - Before I begin this blog I must thank the talented and generous John Bruning for taking beautiful pictures I could steal and use in the post.  Where would I be without you?  I would have a few blurry pictures that would not do this beautiful show justice.  That is where I would be! I must… Continue reading White Christmas 
CET 2016  - I just finished another summer of CET.  It’s a whirl wind of activity in which I design, track, manage, and build the sets and tech elements for 9 productions.  Some are bigger than others.  All of them are a ton of work.  I usually start by building a model for each main show of the… Continue reading CET 2016 
Yet another Backdrop for Howard Street Middle School  - This spring I painted another backdrop for Howard Street Middle School.  Sadly, I didn’t catch the name of the show.  I just know that I painted 40 feet of flats based on a picture drawn by one of the students of the school. Usually, I get a little help from a few students… This time… Continue reading Yet another Backdrop for Howard Street Middle School 
Almost, Maine – a labor of love  - This past spring I had the pleasure for helping the students of Central High School and their director, my friend, Jeff Witt, create the production of Almost, Maine.  The format was a production class.  It is uncommon to have a class complete a full production.  However, we have been successful at Central High School in… Continue reading Almost, Maine – a labor of love 
Once On This Island Report  - I had the great honor of directing Once on This Island at Central High School which performed the first couple weeks of March.  The show was added to the season after many students requested one more chance to do a show before the end of their senior year.  I didn’t start off directing the show.… Continue reading Once On This Island Report 
Mary Poppins for Pentacle Theatre  - Before I get started, I need to thank Lonnie Thurston for the majority of the pictures in this blog.  When I am working I really don’t have time, nor a good camera, to get decent pictures of my work. Beginning December 28 I had 10 days to get a set built, painted and functioning for… Continue reading Mary Poppins for Pentacle Theatre 
Seussical the Musical  - The fall play at Central High School 2015 was Seussical the Musical. I started with my model.  I am beginning to truly enjoy making models and solving the design issues on a small scale first.  The director, my friend Jeff Witt, wanted the show to be set in the 1920’s and wanted the set to… Continue reading Seussical the Musical 
Addams Family at Pentacle Theatre  - In the middle of the chaos of CET, I held auditions for Addams Family the Musical.  The show was part of the Pentacle Theatre 2015 season. I ended up casting the 10 main characters, 12 ancestors, and eventually, 2 gargoyles (silent characters I added to help set the mood and change scenes).  We began rehearsals… Continue reading Addams Family at Pentacle Theatre 
CET 2015  - This year I was given the assignment to create a new “Arch” for CET.  The old one had become quite dangerous.  It was heavy.  It was hard to store.  It was broken beyond decent repair.  I needed to create something that was cheap, easy to store, easy to repair and fit the personality of CET.… Continue reading CET 2015 
The Foreigner  - Theater is an exercise of the Absurd. It is labor intensive, shows very little return on investment, if any, and is disposable. After closing night we will strike the set and leave the theater looking as if we were never there. “Disposable Art” Art created just for you, just for tonight. It’s not a Book,… Continue reading The Foreigner 
Fractured  - Once again I was hired to paint a backdrop for my friend who teaches at Howard Street Middle School in Salem. I always starts like this…. stuff in a hallway and inspiration on the walls. I had kids help me paint all the flats white.  I always start with a clean slate. We started by… Continue reading Fractured 
Young Frankenstein  - I worked as the Associate Director on the Pentacle Theatre production of Young Frankenstein the Musical, directed by my friend Robert Salberg. I was assigned to block group scenes, track tech needs, and eventually, call the show and run sound effects cues. This show was a bit hard for me.  I am not usually around… Continue reading Young Frankenstein 
Oklahoma!  - This year the winter play was Oklahoma!  This show has never been on my favorites list…. however, I may have to change my opinion of the show real soon.  This show was BEAUTIFUL… beautiful to look at… beautiful to listen to… beautiful to watch.  That is a pretty amazing feat considering the production was a… Continue reading Oklahoma! 
Beauty and the Beast  - There is always something special about starting fresh on a new show.  This year, the fall show at Central High was Beauty and the Beast.  I didn’t start completely from scratch because I had designed the show for CET over the summer.  However, I have more space and more materials to work with at Central… Continue reading Beauty and the Beast 
You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown… Really!  - I directed my second show at Pentacle Theater this year… well… I guess it’s my 5th show, but second show with me at the top of the list.  😉  I directed You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown.  This was my second time directing this show (I directed many years ago during my college years).  I had… Continue reading You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown… Really! 
CET 2014  - It’s been a couple months… I guess it’s time to catch up reports of shows I’ve worked on. This year was my third year working for CET (Children’s Educational Theater).  It is the most intense job I have ever done.  I am the Tech director for the program.  As Tech Director I am responsible for… Continue reading CET 2014 
The Seussification of A Midsummer Night’s Dream  - Once again I am painting a Seuss-type set.  I must say I am getting quiet good at painting Seuss… all thanks to my friend Robert Salberg who has a thing for all things Seuss.  This time his school was working on The Seussification of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.  I believe his 8th graders were the… Continue reading The Seussification of A Midsummer Night’s Dream 
Into the Woods  - My friend Jeff Witt came to me in February and wanted me to come up with a set idea that was “outside the box” for his spring production of Into the Woods at Central High School.  I thought about it and approached him with the idea of setting the show in New York City.  My… Continue reading Into the Woods 
Les Miserables  -  From the beginning of January through the end of March of 2014 I had the pleasure of working on the production of Les Miserable performed at Pentacle Theater.  I was very involved in the blocking of the production.  The director, Robert Salberg, assigned me all of the large group numbers and most of the scenes… Continue reading Les Miserables 
Willie Wonka  - I am finally getting around to blogging about the latest set I designed.  I worked on Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory at Central High School. This was a hard set… first, because I am not all that excited about the script… and second, because there are so many different scene changes.  I wasn’t sure… Continue reading Willie Wonka 
Crimes of the Heart  - I just wrapped up a production of Crimes of the Heart at Central High School.  Once again, I served as the Tech Director and Set Designer.  For this play I mentored my daughter, Hannah, as a Lighting Designer as well (I even had her draw her first light plot and learn some lighting theory for… Continue reading Crimes of the Heart 
Finding Myself in The Secret Garden  - I had the extraordinary opportunity to direct The Secret Garden for the Pentacle Theatre, a local community theater in Salem. At first I wasn’t sure about it.  It’s a big show.  It has very difficult music.  It’s not a well known musical.  However, I decided to attempt the show anyway with the encouragement of my friend Jeff… Continue reading Finding Myself in The Secret Garden 
CET 2013  -  Ok… it’s time to do some catch up.  This year I worked at Children’s Educational Theater.  This is my second year with this organization.  I am responsible for the tech stuff for 6 children’s productions, tech supplies and teaching 3 tech classes.  This year I designed Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr to be performed in the… Continue reading CET 2013 
Family Matters – a Play  -  Once again I have been ask to design and paint a set for my friend Robert and his students at Howard Street Middle School.  This show is called Family Matters.  All he needed was a back drop that he wanted to look like the front of a huge family album or scrapbook and a giant book…… Continue reading Family Matters – a Play 
Legally Blonde  - For the past few months I’ve been working as the Apprentice Director at Pentacle Theater.  An Apprentice Director at Pentacle Theater is a little more than an Assistant Director…. I gather.  Actually, I did what I was trained to do as an Assistant Director… whatever the director didn’t want to do, assigned me to do, or I could do… Continue reading Legally Blonde 
Ways Being a Theater Major Set Me Up For a Successful Life  - The Arts in our public schools are disappearing at an alarming rate.  The town next to us has cut the vocal program from their class schedules.  The schools in my town have moved to offering ½ of the music program they had a few years ago.  They don’t offer a theater program.  The only theater… Continue reading Ways Being a Theater Major Set Me Up For a Successful Life 
Once Upon A Mattress – CHS 2013  - Once Upon a Mattress was an adventure!  I drew out a basic plan, got director approval and went to work! The first step was to make more flats.  I need something light enough to fly.  I wanted to fly a giant 20×20 foot wall.  This was going to by an adventure for sure!  We brought… Continue reading Once Upon A Mattress – CHS 2013 
Seusical the Musical – Howard Street Middle School 2013  - Back in October my friend, Robert, ask me to design Suesical the Musical Jr. for his middle-school class.  The set needed to be easily moved… they practice in a gym and then perform on a stage.  They do not have time to “build” a set because the stage belongs to the high school.  Kids need to be… Continue reading Seusical the Musical – Howard Street Middle School 2013 
Attend the Tale…  - I came home from Seminary a few months ago and quickly became a little confused.  John was still home.  He left a message on Facebook that I had the day off.  My response was, “I don’t think so.  I’ve got responsibilities.”  But I went with it. John had arranged for Kimber to hang out with the little… Continue reading Attend the Tale… 
A Masterpiece of Law vs. Grace  - Oh, so long ago I fell in love with the incredible story penned by Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables .  Such a literary powerhouse long before Alain Boubeil and Claude-Michel Schonberg wrote their musical based on the story in 1980. I fell in love all over again.  This time with haunting melodies and an exquisite score.    I loved it… Continue reading A Masterpiece of Law vs. Grace 
Little Mermaid  -  This is the first scene… Eric’s boat.  Most of this set is on the “fly”.  This is the first time I’ve designed for the fly system. For under sea scenes the Sail flies up and the sea moves up too.  We also made “coral” that moves into place with the help of sea creatures.  We… Continue reading Little Mermaid 
Set Designs for the Summer CET 2012 - The Park play rehearsing in the gym at Howard Street Middle School. Performing in the Bush Park.  A new acquaintance designed and made the costumes.  She is amazing! Kids and volunteer parents made the crazy flowers we hung on the back. The park stage was a little smaller than we thought, but the set adapted… Continue reading Set Designs for the Summer CET 2012
Theater is Live and Well at Pentacle Theater  - Last night I enjoyed the latest production at Pentacle Theater. If almost non-stop mirth of the belly laugh variety mixed with a few tears in a heartwarming loony family setting rings your entertainment bell, then I urge you to spend two hours eavesdropping on the happenings at the Gianelli home on stage in the next… Continue reading Theater is Live and Well at Pentacle Theater 
The Family that “Plays” together  - I was ask to built 6 soft flats and paint them for a friend who teaches at a school in Salem.  Theater programs all over are suffering.  I feel pretty honored to be ask to help.  I look at this as an opportunity to teach.  I invited some of the kids I know that are… Continue reading The Family that “Plays” together 
Honk the Musical – Family adventure…  - This spring we all tried something a little new… well new for Chad.  Chad decided to try-out for the school musical – Honk.  He was cast as the role of the bull frog.  He also played a bird in the beginning scenes of the show.  Hannah was cast as Henrietta the hen.  She had a couple… Continue reading Honk the Musical – Family adventure… 
I Believe in Magic!  - Have you ever watched someone have a magical theater experience? Last night was Wicked good! Magic was in the air. Last night I took Hannah, Sai, McKay, and Lillian to see Wicked at Keller Auditorium in Portland, OR. WOW! I can say we all believe in magic now! I loved watching Lilli watch the show… Continue reading I Believe in Magic! 
Anticipatory Anxiety in Putnam County  - I have never claimed to be a great speller. In fact, I would say I am the World’s Worst Speller. I guess, to be politically correct, I should say that I am a “creative speller.” I depend heavily on “auto-spell.” Let me tell you… computers have saved my writing bacon! For this reason, I would… Continue reading Anticipatory Anxiety in Putnam County 
My Own Brand of Magic  - I am inspired by many of the beauties of this world.  How can I not be.  God is good. It is my goal to be that good.  (in more ways than one).  I make an attempt and fall short.  However,  I practice.  Here is my last attempt at creating magic with Cinderella at Central High… Continue reading My Own Brand of Magic 
My Trip Through the Hills of Brigadoon  - On September 17 I ended the long journey through Brigadoon.  I had entered the creative process clear back in June with the audition.  My good friend Jeff asked me to join him as his assistant director.  I think it turned into a little more when he assigned me to direct the longest scene in the… Continue reading My Trip Through the Hills of Brigadoon 
Little Shop of Horrors – Spring 2011  - I was privileged to work on Little Shop of Horrors in May of 2011.  It was the last high school production of my sweet daughter McKay.  I loved how it all turned out.  I got a kid from the high school who was tag artist to tag the set. We borrowed the plant, but it… Continue reading Little Shop of Horrors – Spring 2011 
Raising the Roof – Much Ado About Nothing  - I find that I’m the kind of person who is a bit nostalgic for certain aspects of the olden days. I like the fact that people cooked more meals at home (so much more healthy), baked things from scratch (I miss homemade baked bread), made quilts out of their clothing remnants, grew their own vegetables… Continue reading Raising the Roof – Much Ado About Nothing 
Ebeneezer  - The new addition at the high school opened in September 2010.  The first production on the stage was a show written by the uncle of my friend, Jeff Witt entitled Ebeneezer. It was a BIG show.  I built my first turn table, my first trap door, and got to light with nearly 200 instruments for… Continue reading Ebeneezer 
Starmites – 2010  -  I designed set and lights for Central High School’s production of Starmites in February of 2010.  This was a fun show.  It was the last show to be done in the cafeteria. My eldest daughter spray painted the back drop.  I also did all the sound for the show.  I started teaching more kids how to do tech and… Continue reading Starmites – 2010 
Sound of Music Set Design  -   Although I had been designing light for productions at Central High School, Sound of Music in February of 2009 was the first time I got brave and ask if I could design the set. This stage was a cafetorium.  There was no fly loft.  There was no wing space.  There was no room for the… Continue reading Sound of Music Set Design 
The Pied Piper – Dance Show 2008  - In 2008 I wrote and directed The Pied Pier.  My teen age daughter was to the choreographer for the main portion of the play.  I wove all the other dance classes into the story.  I also designed the set and lights.  Most amazingly, I even wrote lyrics to a classical piece that applied to the show.  4… Continue reading The Pied Piper – Dance Show 2008 
Aladdin – Dance/ Play 2006  - In 2009 I wrote a script for The Dance and Music Studio in Monmouth, OR… Aladdin.  I taught a musical theater class.  The kids in my class were the characters as well as “Flying” carpets. I directed the kids, ages 6-16.  I wove the rest of the dance classes into the story and their teachers… Continue reading Aladdin – Dance/ Play 2006 
A Midsummer Night’s Dream – 2003  -  In 2003 I adapted A Midsummer Night’s Dream for a children’s show.  I wove the dance classes into the story.  3 of my kids were part of the production.  My friend Denise created these awesome giant flowers and a tree trunk out of painted black plastic. This was actually one of my most favorite productions. Originally posted… Continue reading A Midsummer Night’s Dream – 2003