The Thaumaturgy Department

(It's dramaturgy, not thaumaturgy.)

Gavin
CENTERSTAGE
Baltimore
Maryland
USA

thaumaturg
Main Entry: thau·ma·turg
Pronunciation: \ˈthȯ-mə-ˌtərj\
Function: noun
Etymology: French, from New Latin thaumaturgus, from Greek thaumatourgos working miracles, from thaumat-, thauma miracle + ergon work — more at Theater, Work

2013-2014 Season:
Animal Crackers
Dance of the Holy Ghosts
A Civil War Christmas
Stones in His Pockets
Twelfth Night
Vanya Sonya Masha and Spike
Wild with Happy
Play Labs

The official blog of the Dramaturgy Department at Baltimore's CENTERSTAGE. For posts related to our current and upcoming shows, click the links to the right. Alternatively, you could begin at the beginning, and explore our posts in chronological order.

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The “Milky” has landed! Milky White arrives at Westport Country Playhouse for 2nd round of her (“his”) engagement in the CENTERSTAGE/WCP co-pro ofInto the Woods. (Love that the arrival includes a tour of the admin offices.)



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Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Lanzarone Introduce Into the Woods Veteran “Twan Baker”
By Matthew Blank 10 Apr 2012
Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Lanzarone, currently starring in the Westport Country Playhouse-Baltimore CENTERSTAGE production of Into the Woods, introduce an unsung hero and veteran of the show: Twan Baker, the doll who is playing the Baker’s baby in his third production of the musical.
Most of the time, when theatregoers think of the stars of Into the Woods they think of characters like The Witch, The Baker’s Wife, Jack, Little Red, but they may have been passing over the true star of Sondheim and Lapine’s classic masterpiece. Don’t fret, Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Graff Lanzarone are here to set the record straight.
Meet Twan Baker, stalwart of the regional theatre stage, fighting to make his big break on Broadway! Twan first hit the scene in the Pittsburgh CLO production of Woods starring Hunter Foster, Brynn O’Malley and Jen Cody. He then went on to warm the hearts of many in the Moisés Kaufman adaptation of Into the Woods at Kansas City Rep. We are here in Baltimore now, showing how rising star Twan Baker prepares and performs. Here is a glimpse of a grueling two-show-day at CENTERSTAGE! (In the image, Nikka and Twan stretch together and talk about what they ate for dinner. She had Thai food, he had a burger. Photo by Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Lanzarone.)
A co-production between CENTERSTAGE and the Westport Country Playhouse, Into the Woods will run through April 15 in Baltimore. Westport artistic director Mark Lamos helms the production that will arrive in Connecticut May 1-26. Into the Woods features a Tony-winning score by Sondheim and Tony-winning book by Lapine. (via PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Lanzarone Introduce Into the Woods Veteran “Twan Baker” - Playbill.com)

Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Lanzarone Introduce Into the Woods Veteran “Twan Baker”

By Matthew Blank 10 Apr 2012

Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Lanzarone, currently starring in the Westport Country Playhouse-Baltimore CENTERSTAGE production of Into the Woods, introduce an unsung hero and veteran of the show: Twan Baker, the doll who is playing the Baker’s baby in his third production of the musical.

Most of the time, when theatregoers think of the stars of Into the Woods they think of characters like The Witch, The Baker’s Wife, Jack, Little Red, but they may have been passing over the true star of Sondheim and Lapine’s classic masterpiece. Don’t fret, Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Graff Lanzarone are here to set the record straight.

Meet Twan Baker, stalwart of the regional theatre stage, fighting to make his big break on Broadway! Twan first hit the scene in the Pittsburgh CLO production of Woods starring Hunter Foster, Brynn O’Malley and Jen Cody. He then went on to warm the hearts of many in the Moisés Kaufman adaptation of Into the Woods at Kansas City Rep. We are here in Baltimore now, showing how rising star Twan Baker prepares and performs. Here is a glimpse of a grueling two-show-day at CENTERSTAGE! (In the image, Nikka and Twan stretch together and talk about what they ate for dinner. She had Thai food, he had a burger. Photo by Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Lanzarone.)

A co-production between CENTERSTAGE and the Westport Country Playhouse, Into the Woods will run through April 15 in Baltimore. Westport artistic director Mark Lamos helms the production that will arrive in Connecticut May 1-26. Into the Woods features a Tony-winning score by Sondheim and Tony-winning book by Lapine. (via PHOTO EXCLUSIVE: Lauren Kennedy and Nikka Lanzarone Introduce Into the Woods Veteran “Twan Baker” - Playbill.com)



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Milky White stands alone (outside rehearsal for Into the Woods). That is some mighty lean beef there. (Looks like a candidate for leaning beef, too.)

Milky White stands alone (outside rehearsal for Into the Woods). That is some mighty lean beef there. (Looks like a candidate for leaning beef, too.)



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CENTERSTAGE - BEHIND THE SCENES (by drury bynum)



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More truly wonderful work from the production departments—in this case a gorgeous collaboration among Jen Stearns, our Props Mistress, who designed this set for Second City, the scene shop who built it, and Scenic Artist Ruth Barber and her team who made it look like the spitting image of a row of Baltimore row homes. Squint, and you could be on any of hundreds of typical Charm City streets….

More truly wonderful work from the production departments—in this case a gorgeous collaboration among Jen Stearns, our Props Mistress, who designed this set for Second City, the scene shop who built it, and Scenic Artist Ruth Barber and her team who made it look like the spitting image of a row of Baltimore row homes. Squint, and you could be on any of hundreds of typical Charm City streets….



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Now that THE WIZ has had its first crowd….

…and since you can see some snaps of what things are looking like on stage, here are a few assorted snippets of where things have been and come since that first day of rehearsal almost exactly a month ago. First up, a few excerpts from an early stage manager’s report, showing the evolution of thinking about some set dressing (including that laundry line pictured elsewhere, not to mention some scantily clad ensemble members dressing Glinda’s palanquin). You also get a sense of some of the thoughts behind some supporting characters who make passing appearances. How close did this come to what eventually ended up on stage? Well, you have to see the show to know that, duh! And if you’ve seen it and find yourself reading this, weigh in with a note. Or if you’ve seen it and wonder about another element, pose the query and we’ll try to get you some background.   

  1. We are thinking that the clothespins in scene 1 should be the type that actually clip.  May we have some to work with in rehearsal?  Thank you.
  2. Please ADD feather fans for the four ensemble women to use to fan Glinda.
  3. Irene is thinking that the items that come from the Wiz’ suitcase may be from Vietnam. Possibly the courage medal is something he earned in the war. 

[…]

  1. The winged monkey that appears first (MaShawn) should be recognizable as the leader of the monkeys.
  2. Irene and Willie would like to use the ensemble women as attendants to Glinda. This is in addition to the four men who carry the litter.


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No, it’s not the scenic artists catching up on laundry during Tech. And it’s not the props artisans airing out some musty-dusties. This is Scenic Designer Christopher Barreca and his team dressing the set before the first preview of The Wiz—a mere few hours ago now. Here, they are getting the look juuuuuuust right for the show’s opening: laundry drying on the line outside the Kansas home of Aunt Em and Uncle Henry, and their niece Dorothy. (From the look of that house, you might think it’d be a bit cramped for three; maybe Dorothy shouldn’t be in any hurry to get back home.)


Tags | wiz | tech | preview | design | props

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Faedra on 1920s soda bottles.

Question:

Were there was any sodas/soda bottles (other than Coke) in existence in 1927 Chicago?  Can you suggest what these liquid props might be? We need other liquid to be delivered with the sandwiches, & to be available to be drunk onstage.

Response:

So, by the 1920s, Soda was big business—and prohibition actually propelled the demand even further.  By 1927, there were a few big names circulating nationally (in addition to Coke) such as Vernor’s Ginger Ale (the first US soft drink, invented in 1866), Dr. Pepper (which was actually invented in 1885, a year before Coca Cola), Pepsi (invented in 1898), Hires (the rootbeer, invented in 1876), and Ward’s Orange Crush (which was originally invented in Chicago in 1906, now known simply as Orange Crush).

There’s this publisher/collector, Digger Odell, devoted to educating the public on antique bottles and publishing price guides for bottles.  He has some great info on soda—and soda bottles—from the 1920s.  I’ve pasted some of the most text below (with a few sample pictures), but if the props department doesn’t already have this site/book—or one like it—it may be something they want to check out—there are A LOT of images!:

soda bottle

Many of the sodas of the 1920s were embossed like counterparts of earlier decades.  But unlike their counterparts they display lavish design elements.  The variety seems endless in the competition to be noticed.

 The 1920s were the heyday of the designer soda.  Anyone could put up soda.  Generic bottles were cheaper than the designed bottles and labels could be applied for brand identificationThe labels, of course did not last and so became a bother and an added expense.  The designer bottles could have the proprietors name blown into the glass along with the design.  The design helped with brand identification and customer loyalty.  In a field as crowded as the soda beverage field getting noticed was getting more difficult…”

another soda bottle



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PROPS:
Thanks for the new stuff.
The wind up grandma toy broke. Can we get a different wind up toy?
We would also like to add a cow can (that toy that you turn upside down and it makes a “moo” sound).

Just some of the wonderful notes out of today’s rehearsal of Working It Out (the last run in the rehearsal room before the cast and everyone else move into the space to start tech). Who says theater ain’t a serious and weighty endeavor, huh?

These notes in particular, by the way, are for Lynn Rosen’s Washed Up on the Potomac, set (as one might gather from some of Kristi’s other posts on the subject) in a proof-reading office. If there’s anyone who can wring unexpected laughs, and more, from cracks about missing commas or bold face print, it’s Rosen.



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NOT a Jumping Cardinal…

No, this is not on par with Kristi’s marvelous tale of Richelieu’s leaping competition with the Comte de Guiche, related in an earlier post (re. the upcoming Cyrano)—but for amusement if not some slight edification, here are some VERY candid shots from tech of Sedaris’ wickedly hystericaly Santaland Diaries—now playing—of Irene directing (there she sits, musing on lighting cues and blocking and a myriad of other concerns), and then wandering over to offer her two cents as TD Tom Rupp and Production Manager Mike Schleifer (not shown in these shots) gravely set about…playing with toy trains. Yes, there is a real live toy (probably the wrong word) train in this production. Kindly donated by a local enthusiast. Which makes for a nifty little overlap with our heavily rail-oriented production down in the Pearlstone: Around the World in 80 Days. See how neatly I tied all that together? Must be a prize for a Trifecta there….



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The critical tea-cart in Algy’s bachelor pad. Much research and discussion on our part and other’s, and much careful negotiation of space on the part of the props department, to decide what went on here—what should be there, what did they really need, and what would actually fit. It actually becomes the scene of more than one little tea lazzo.



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Twitter, `Tis Pity style…
Meet “Spelvin,” the most recent member of our company of players. He joined the cast just before previews began, appearing in a brief but salient cameo moment in the first act. Keep your eyes peeled. (Some insist that he’s merely a living prop; we hold that he’s so much more.)

Twitter, `Tis Pity style…

Meet “Spelvin,” the most recent member of our company of players. He joined the cast just before previews began, appearing in a brief but salient cameo moment in the first act. Keep your eyes peeled. (Some insist that he’s merely a living prop; we hold that he’s so much more.)



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Goblet (1550-1600)Clear, grey-brown and opaque turquoise glass, gilding, height 25,2 cmRijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Something akin to the drinking vessel Parma’s leading playboy, Soranzo, might use to ply his guests with liquor at his party’s in 'Tis Pity. Though in the original he asks for a “weighty bowl” to drink from, there’s a sense that we probably don’t want to see him sipping from a cafe-au-lait bowl or anything, so we’ve begun to explore alternative. This image was one provided. There are more at this handy link. Maybe for our next cocktail reception…
-ghw

Goblet (1550-1600)
Clear, grey-brown and opaque turquoise glass, gilding, height 25,2 cm
Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam

Something akin to the drinking vessel Parma’s leading playboy, Soranzo, might use to ply his guests with liquor at his party’s in 'Tis Pity. Though in the original he asks for a “weighty bowl” to drink from, there’s a sense that we probably don’t want to see him sipping from a cafe-au-lait bowl or anything, so we’ve begun to explore alternative. This image was one provided. There are more at this handy link. Maybe for our next cocktail reception…

-ghw



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