Master Classes, Beautiful Master Classes

I like New York in June, how about you? If so, get thee to the Entertainment Design Master Classes!

Sorry for that unfortunate mix of William Shakespeare and Burton Lane, but this is my yearly pitch for this unique boutique event bringing together the top lighting, sound, and projection designers with up-and-coming like-minded artisans, and both lines seemed appropriate. We've been doing these classes for a number of years now, and every time there's at least one component I especially look forward to. This year's event, which will be held June 20-24 at the Tribeca Performing Arts Center, boasts several cool aspects.

First, the Broadway Lighting Master Classes. Once again headed up by legendary lighting designer Jules Fisher, this year boasts much of the same lineup that's made this the must-attend event for both aspiring and working lighting professionals for the past decade: Peggy Eisenhauer, with her riveting sessions on cueing and movement; Bev Emmons and Clifton Taylor on color; Don Holder and Brian MacDevitt on their personal approaches to lighting (Don's work on Movin' Out will be featured this year as the Broadway show of choice); Vivien Leone on the too-often ignored subject of paperwork; Wendall Harrington on projection and the lighting designer; and of course Mr. Fisher himself. Most important, the BLMC will feature a special panel discussion of some of the top scenic designers on and off Broadway discussing what they look for in lighting design. Featured speakers for this session at press time include John Lee Beatty (Doubt, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf), Heidi Ettinger (Dracula, The Secret Garden), David Gallo (Gem of the Ocean, Thoroughly Modern Millie), and David Korins (Orange Flower Water, Stone Cold Dead Serious). These are all gifted and articulate set designers with clear points of view and it should make an interesting and valuable discussion for all BLMC attendees. The BLMC will be held June 20-22.

The Broadway Sound Master Classes will offer its share of surprises as well, most notably in the show chosen for the event, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Featuring the work of sound legend Andrew Bruce and associate designer Simon Baker, the show is a tour de force of sound effects. Baker will speak at the event about the production, and Bruce, while not on stage for the BSMC, will be on hand to talk one-on-one with students and sponsors. And as a special treat, Baker will offer a sneak peek at his work on the upcoming new musical production of The Lord of the Rings. That, plus sessions by Brian Ronan, Peter Fitzgerald, Sam Berkow, John Kilgore, and more make this third annual BSMC the best yet. The BSMC runs June 22-24.

Perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Projection Master Classes is the fact they're happening at all. It became clear after last year's BLMC that people wanted more training in projection design for all live events, and this new component of the Master Classes will provide it for them. Wendall Harrington, faculty chair for the event, has put together a curriculum that will take attendees through the projection design process, from selecting the images (with researcher Mary Recine), through manipulating those images electronically (Sage Carter), and then using the proper tools to project those images (Paul Vershbow). Wendall will also speak about projection for the theatre, while a designer TBA from the concert world will speak about projection from that realm. The Projection Master Classes run June 23-24.

And don't forget that smack dab in the middle of all this, on Wednesday, June 22, are the annual EDDY Awards, celebrating the best in people and products in the world of entertainment design. You can read all about this year's group of impressive and worthwhile winners beginning on page 9, and learn more about these events at I hope to see all of thee in June!