Live Design Master Classes to See Hair, 9 to 5, and Rock of Ages


Networking, Broadway theatre, professional education, and technology will converge at the 2009 Live Design Master Classes, to be held the week of May 15 to 21 at New York University in Manhattan. From a lineup of leading designers working on Broadway today to a range of cutting-edge technology from sponsoring manufacturers, the Live Design Master Classes in sound, lighting, and projection are the most in-depth training of their kind.

The Broadway Lighting Master Classes (BLMC) celebrates its 15th anniversary this year, with Tony Award-winning lighting designer Jules Fisher as creative consultant, a role he has played since the inception of the classes. He kicks off the classes with his inspirational two-part speech, An Approach To Lighting Design.

Fisher also heads a faculty of leading LDs designing on Broadway. “This year's faculty will provide in great depth, and from extremely varied viewpoints, what constitutes the high standard of Broadway lighting,” he says. “With the addition this year of lighting designer Ken Posner and projection designer Peter Nigrini, these are the artists that set that standard.”

Posner and Nigrini will join Fisher and his design partner, Peggy Eisenhauer, for an in-depth discussion of the lighting of the new Broadway musical, 9 to 5, which BLMC attendees will see on May 19. Fisher and Eisenhauer designed the lighting for the show when it premiered in Los Angeles, and Posner was brought on to provide additional lighting for the New York production, with Nigrini providing projected images.

Another highlight of the BLMC is the annual color lecture by Beverly Emmons, who 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?”

On the sound side, Abe Jacob is not only the creative consultant for the 7th annual Broadway Sound Master Classes (BSMC) but also the host, playing emcee and introducing the faculty. This year, the BSMC will attend the Broadway revival of Hair, on which Jacob worked both in the 1960s and 1970s. This time around, the sound design is by Acme Sound Partners (Tom Clark, Mark Menard, Nevin Steinberg), who will join Jacob in a panel discussion, Growing Hair, Then and Now.

The Broadway Projection Master Classes (BPMC) marks its fifth year, and for the first time, the schedule has been expanded to include a Broadway show, the musical Rock of Ages, with projection design by Zachary Borovay. “It is really a fun show,” he says. “It is a totally different marriage of video and lighting than my previous work but makes for an interesting conversation about how to converge rock ‘n’ roll lighting and video with traditional theatrical storytelling.” Lighting designer Jason Lyons will join the discussion of how the lighting and video go hand-in-glove. Also on the schedule is Elaine McCarthy, projection designer for the Broadway play Impressionism.

In addition to the design session, the Broadway shows, and the professional networking opportunities, technology also plays an important role. Each of the Classes has a Manufacturers Showcase, during which attendees get a closer look at gear and a chance to see demos and meet key players from major manufacturers. “I am so glad that I had the opportunity to attend all three sets of classes…,” said one attendee following last year's sessions. “I have met some great people, but even more importantly, been able to get the stimulation and rejuvenation that I so desperately needed. It has been wonderful to have so many talented and knowledgeable professionals enthusiastically share their skills, experience, and art with us. I am truly ready to go home to work and teach. Thanks, Live Design, for an incredibly valuable experience.”

For complete faculty lists, course descriptions, information about low-cost housing at NYU, and online registration, visit: