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Focus on Theater

It’s a Christmas Miracle – ‘A Christmas Carol’ at the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY

Randi Minetor • Current Issue, Focus on Theater, January 2018 • January 11, 2018
The current production of Charles Dickens' classic story, A Christmas Carol, was the 32nd annual version of the show at the Geva Theatre Center in Rochester, NY. When it got its start in 1985, the technical crew breathed a sigh of relief that the one-season wonder made it through the holidays. Now the show is a firmly established Christmas tradition in upper New York State. Read More...
Lighting levels had to be balanced for the human eye and camera. Photos by Joan Marcus

Capturing ‘Holiday Inn’ for Posterity

Bryan Reesman • Articles, Focus on Theater, December 2017 • December 14, 2017

The Art of Recording a Live Play on Camera

For theater lovers, nothing beats the experience of witnessing a show in person. But when one does not have the opportunity, watching it onscreen is the next best thing. BroadwayHD has begun capturing more and more shows for posterity and streaming them live from their website. One of the latest musicals to receive renewed digital life is Holiday Inn, the bright, peppy, colorful show inspired by Irving Berlin movie musical that wowed Broadway audiences last holiday season. It was first streamed live from Studio 54 last year.

The musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda was staged at Geva Theatre Center. The morning after a power outage in Washington Heights, dawn lighting brings life to the cast of In the Heights. Photo by Goat Factory Media.

‘In the Heights,’ in Rochester, NY

Randi Minetor • Focus on Theater, October 2017 • October 12, 2017

Upper Manhattan is Reborn Upstate

Take a Tony Award-winning musical featuring a large cast of dancers and flamboyant choreography infused with salsa, merengue and hip-hop. Surround this cast with scenery that depicts the working storefronts of a bodega, a hair salon and a car service. Light it up with dozens of colors, patterns in motion and — in a purely 21st-century moment — the glow of smartphone screens.

Jessiee Datino and Jason Kolotouros take the stage as abstract projections change the scene in Other Than Honorable. Photos by Huth Photography

‘Other Than Honorable’

Randi Minetor • Focus on Theater • June 8, 2017

Lighting and Projection are Critical for World Premiere

From the enthusiasm in his voice as he drove through Los Angeles, lighting designer Josh Epstein had an unmistakable dose of world premiere fever.

Dear Evan Hansen photo by Matthew Murphy

“Dear Evan Hansen”

Michael S. Eddy • Focus on Theater • May 12, 2017

A Balance of Lighting and Video Reflects our Modern World

"A letter that was never meant to be seen, a lie that was never meant to be told, a life he never dreamed he could have, Evan Hansen is about to get the one thing he’s always wanted — a chance to finally fit in.” That’s the premise behind this humorous musical, which would certainly appeal to anyone who ever thought they were on the outside looking in. Especially when browsing social media sites.

The Nutcracker (Alberto Velazquez) and Marie (Amanda Assucena) dance under the dramatically expanded tree during the battle with the rats. Photo by Cheryl Mann

Re-imagining ‘The Nutcracker’

Randi Minetor • Focus on Theater • February 9, 2017

Christopher Wheeldon's Nutcracker, at the Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Revitalizes a Holiday Classic

The strains of Tchaikovsky’s lush, spritely overture soar as the Chicago Philharmonic begins The Nutcracker, but when the curtain rises, we find that we are not, as we may expect, in the expansive living room of a traditional Victorian home. Instead, it’s Christmas Eve 1892 in Chicago, and one family on the outskirts of town conducts its fairly frugal preparations for Christmas Day.

Jean Shepherd (Chris Carsten) and Myles Moore (Ralphie) extol the virtues of the Red Ryder air rifle. 4Wall provided the touring package to facilitate the show’s needs. Photo by Jesse Schreve

Ralphie, Get Your Gun!

Randi Minetor • Focus on Theater • January 13, 2017

Taking A Christmas Story on Tour

It began as the reminiscences of an old storyteller, but it grew to become one of our best-loved tales of the yuletide season — and now it’s a singing, dancing celebration of the youthful anticipation of Christmas morning. A Christmas Story, the live stage show adapted from the 1983 movie, takes a tale of 1940s Midwestern America and turns it into an extravagant fantasy that spins from the mind of an eleven-year-old boy.

From left, Allison Skurtveit, Wolfgang Staley, John Gonzalez, Hannah Haldeman and Amari Smith watch Perseus McDaniel tell a story in NTID’s Tales from the Deaf Side. Captions on the set’s back wall let the hearing audience follow the story as well. Photos by Nic Minetor

Tales from the Deaf Side

Randi Minetor • Focus on Theater • November 10, 2016

National Technical Institute for the Deaf  Theatre Uses Captions, Projections

Most hearing people never give the word “Earth” a thought, but to deaf people, it’s a word that starts with “ear”—proof that our planet is a world meant for people who can hear.

The Canadian production was the play's North American premiere. Photos by David Hou.

‘Shakespeare in Love,’ Staged in Stratford, Ontario, Canada

Randi Minetor • Focus on Theater • October 17, 2016

What better place to stage the first North American production of a play about William Shakespeare than at the continent’s longest running Shakespeare festival? This was the thinking behind the Stratford Festival’s summer 2016 production of Shakespeare in Love, the glorious romp that brings the 1998 Oscar-winning film of the same name to the stage. Produced in Stratford, Ontario, by special arrangement with The Walt Disney Company and Sonia Friedman Productions, the show’s script, set and costume designs come directly from the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End, where it debuted in June 2014. Read More...

On Judith Bowden's skeletal set for the 'Sweeney Todd' production at the Shaw Festival in Nagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Kyle Blair as Adolfo Pirelli and Benedict Campbell as Sweeney Todd enter into a fateful competition. Photo by Emily Cooper.

‘Sweeney Todd’ Receives Imaginative Retellings at Two Summer Venues

Randi Minetor • Focus on Theater • October 16, 2016

With the news that Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street will return to the West Village in New York City this winter after an 11-year absence, it’s time to take a fresh look at Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler’s crowning masterpiece. Coincidentally, the timeless classic received two professional re-mountings in the summer of 2016 just a few hours from one another: one at the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, and the other at the Glimmerglass Festival, a summer opera company outside of Cooperstown, NY. The same story was interpreted in two different manners.


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