Greek statue with headphones

How Enriched is Life Without Music?

This is four part series of posts.  Check out the others:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/07/31/how-fulfilling-is-life-without-theatre/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/03/13/how-exciting-is-life-without-art/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/03/15/meaningful-life-without-dance/

 

Life without Music

Is our life more enriched with music?  I think so. I need it with me all the time.  I have tinnitus and music helps to drown out the ringing in my ears as well as distract me from noticing the ringing.

For me, music is like frosting on a cake.  The cake (life) is good without it, but the frosting (music) makes it all the better.

Studies discovered our brains flourish when we listen to, play or sing music.

From an early age, children respond to music.

I know this is true.  The Phantom of the Opera was all the rage when our oldest daughter was a small child.  Of course, we listened to the songs day and night.  That’s just what we do.  She heard Christine’s aria so often, in time she could imitate the style and sing the range (even the very high notes) with precision and fluidity.  She was four years old. With no prodding from us, our daughter sung on her own.

Glorious…. Yes, her father is naturally musical.  My husband is an instrumental music teacher.  I am naturally gifted in music as well.   I have performed in musicals, playing the lead female roles (South Pacific, Sound of Music, The Music Man, etc.) and sung in choir.  Whenever we have a family dinner, it is not uncommon for us to sing grace in four part harmony.

Her sister is a natural, too. She  picked up a habit of mine, but I’d never realized.  She whistle when she is unable to sing because she’s in a setting where it would be inappropriate to sing.  Gotta get those notes out somehow….

Humans aren’t the only ones to enjoy music.  Have you seen the video of the cows who come to the barn when the farmer plays his trombone?

Or the geese following a bell singer…

What about the elderly?  Our Alzheimer’s patients?  Look at this wonderful gentleman as he comes alive by listening to music:

Putting this post together, I did a little research about the psychological effects of music to a human.

From the United States Library of Medicine website (USLM) I found an interesting paper concerning the psychological assets of listening to music.

 “The Psychological Functions of Music Listening” states, “Another line of theorizing refers to music as a means of social and emotional communication. “

‘….in social creatures like ourselves, whose ancestors lived in arboreal environments where sound was one of the most effective ways to coordinate cohesive group activities, reinforce social bonds, resolve animosities, and to establish stable hierarchies of submission and dominance, there could have been a premium on being able to communicate shades of emotional meaning by the melodic character (prosody) of emitted sounds.’ Panksepp and Bernztsky

Gosh, I never thought of that!  Of course. Most cultures have their own form of music, passed down through generations. I think of the Indigenous people, the Mexicans and European countries whose celebrations are full of music.

Listening to music does much for us–give us energy, calms us down, expresses emotions, and moods and a host of other benefits. Ever seen a movie with no music soundtrack?  Although meaningful, it sets my nerves on edge fairly quickly.

Of course, there is something to said for a quiet atmosphere,  but I can’t handle it much more than an hour.

Life without Music

Could you live your life without music?  Try it for a day and you’ll see what I mean.  I”d love to hear how your Music Free day goes. No cheating!

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com, or check our my website at DeborahBaldwin.net

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You might enjoy this post as well.

ttps://dramamommaspeaks.com/2017/03/13/life-without-art-is-not-life-to-me/

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is What the Arts do for You

This is what the Arts can do for you

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is What the Arts do for You

You know this is my favorite subject!

I gave my theatre appreciation class their final assignment.  They nearly had a nervous breakdown.

Student: I’m not creative.  I can’t possibly do this. I’m a softball player.

Me:  How do you know?  You haven’t even tried.

Student:  I know me.

Me:  Do you listen to music?

Student:  Yeah.

Me:  Have you ever designed sound before?

Student:  I don’t even know what that is.

Me:  Right.  How about you research what a sound designer does before you decide if you can do this.  I purposely gave you choices in this assignment so that you could find one which you were most comfortable accomplishing.

Student:  (forlornly)  Ok…

Although she gave me a forlorn look, I know this young woman well enough to know she’ll try.


This is what the Arts can do for you

My goal is for these young people to see theatre as more than a bunch of actors in films.  Luckily this semester,, they enjoyed most of the videos I showed them. And they enjoyed seeing a live production as well.  Several students even attended productions on their own (okay, it’s a class requirement, but still…)

One of the outcomes of course is to explore “the collaborative nature of theatre”.

I thought an assignment (set, costume, props, or sound) for a particular play (in this case, “The Importance of Being Earnest”) would be an excellent way to learn about the process of creative collaboration.

The students must research the responsibilities of their chosen designer position, create powerpoint, design, find fabric swatches or paint chips, choosen pre and post show music or make two props.  Lastly, they must present their project to the class.

They will evaluate their learning near the end of the semester.  That’s when the project will do its magic, I’m hoping. Let’s see if the kids notice any differences in themselves after the project.  I’m hoping they’ll come away from it

What they don’t know yet is I plan to throw a kink in the works next week.  As the director of the imaginary show, I gave them my concept and color palette.  I haven’t decided what I want to throw at them, but they need to learn to be flexible and open minded.

Besides, I hold the gradebook (mwahhaha….)

These students are mostly high school kids, graduating very soon, who are taking the class for college credit. They want absolutes and to regurgitate the information through a series of tests.  They have seniorities like crazy. Right now they are hanging on by their fingernails.

I could feel the stress level rise when I assigned this project.

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They don’t like changes.  They grow impatient with I change due dates or chapter assignments even though I’m very understanding when they were confused and didn’t turn in their work on time.  (My fault, really.)

This will be an interesting couple of weeks.

I’ll be back to share the students’ evaluations of the experience.  Wish us luck.

Twelve Important Questions to Ask About Your City’s Community Theatre

I have been involved in theatre for nearly forty years. I have twelve important questions to ask about your city’s community theatre.

Forty years—wow, that’s a long time.

I’ve seen fabulous theatre and some really stinky stuff, too.  Even on Broadway!

I’ve melted enduring out door theatre in the dead of summer until intermission when I could get some relief in an air conditioned rest room.

I witnessed a famous, well respected professional actor break character and fall into fits of laughter and not able to compose himself right through curtain call.

Another time I caught a dancer kicking a cape off the stage that had fallen off another dancer as he exited.

I’ve watched:

  • in horror as a friend’s period wig (1700’s) falls right off her noggin’.

  • a skirt slowly make its way down a high school girl’s behind because it didn’t get zipped,

  • a friend swallows a fly while singing

I have:

  • been bitten by mosquitoes while I sang a romantic song trying to dodge the gnats swirling in to my face

  • heard the crackling sound of beetles squished with my heel while dancing a jig

  • gained five pounds in one week (!!) from eating fruit pies (meat pies) for Sweeney Todd performing a sight gag

You name it, I’ve seen it or experienced it myself.

Image result for award winning community theatre

Despite all of these experiences (and more), I wouldn’t trade them for anything.

Theatre is a marvelous activity in which to participate, attend or support.

But how does one know the theatre is worth supporting?

Here are the twelve questions to ask of your community theatre:

1. Does the theatre company have a season?

Is the season varied, sprinkled with a comedy, drama and musical? Or do they merely produce the same sort of shows every year?  (You know, a Disney musical for the kids, a classic comedy or frightening thriller? Does the company ever produce a brand new play?)

2. Do they sponsor a special event, such as a new play contest?

3.  Does anyone else ever rent the theatre for some other activity? Do other theater companies use the venue?

4.  Do they welcome to new directors and actually hire them?

5.  Do you ever see new performers or designers working at the theatre from time to time?

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6. Do the sets and costumes look recycled?  Can you name the show a particular costume was worn in another show when you see it paraded in front of you in the present show you are seeing?

8.  Does every show poster look like others?

9.  Does the company ever try anything new or experimental?

10.  Does the company have a youth theatre program?

11.  How about any programs for seniors?

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12.  Did you leave a performance feeling exhilarated by the show?

If the answer to any of these questions is a resounding “no!”, then I’d suggest you support some other company.

Theatre people are creative people.  If the theatre never changes, it means it’s on auto pilot and frankly, I wouldn’t support it if I were you.  When you do, you are condoning their lack of creativity, their laziness.

So, there you have it–twelve questions to ask about your city’s community theatre.

Trust me, support the new community theatre company who has just opened their doors to the public.  They have more chance of doing something new and exciting than the broken record one.  They need your support.

Image result for award winning community theatre

What have you seen or experienced in a performance or viewing it?  I’d love to hear from you! Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Evan Hansen

Like “Dear Evan Hansen”? Then You’ll Love This News

A behind the scenes book of the making of the Tony award winning musical, Dear Evan Hansen is coming out in the fall.  This is wonderful!  This came through my email from Playbill.com. The title character, Evan Hansen, is a high school senior with a social anxiety disorder who finds himself amid the turmoil that follows a classmate’s death. The plot is timely and spot on.

awkward boy

Read on:

“Grand Central Publishing told The Associated Press that it will release a new book titled Dear Evan Hansen: Through the Window November 21.

The new book is billed as a “behind-the-scenes” account of the making of the Tony-winning musical, written by the creative team of Steven Levenson, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul, and will include personal memories, photographs, unreleased lyrics, and the Dear Evan Hansen libretto.

Dear Evan Hansen: Through the Window is available for pre-order here DearEvanHansenBook.com

The announcement follows the musical’s success at the 71st Annual Tony Awards in June, where it was the most-awarded production of the evening. The show, about a high school student longing for acceptance, was nominated for nine Tonys and won in six categories, including Best Musical.

Ben Platt took home the Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical for his emotional performance in the show’s title role, while Rachel Bay Jones won for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical for her performance as his mother Heidi. Oscar winners Pasek and Paul also took home their first Tony Award for Best Original Score, along with playwright Levenson, who won for Best Book of a Musical. Alex Lacamoire won his third Tony for Best Orchestrations, having previously won for Hamilton and In the Heights.”

awkward boy

Such a terrific source for all of us, whether we are drama teachers are simply lovers of Broadway musicals.  I look forward to seeing this book, don’t you?

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or my website DeborahBaldwin.net

http://www.playbill.com/article/steven-levenson-benj-pasek-and-justin-paul-writing-dear-evan-hansen-book

 

 

 

Movies Adapted From Broadway Musicals– All right!

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Movies adapted into musicals–I’m teaching a theatre appreciation class this semester.  Guess what?  We’ve made it to musicals.  Oh my gosh, these students haven’t seen many classic musicals! I knew they’d enjoy Legally Blonde on stage and showed it in class.  They’d loved it. (I thought they would.)

During my preparation for the class, I ran on to this great list from Playbill.com of some musicals being adapted as movies.  After the success of The Greatest Showman, I’d say it was about time, wouldn’t you?

HELLO AGAIN

• Production Company: SPEAKproductions

• Screenplay: Cory Krueckeberg

• Director: Tom Gustafson

• Cast: Audra McDonald, Cheyenne Jackson, T.R. Knight, Martha Plimpton, Rumer Willis, Jenna Ushkowitz

• An adaptation of Michael John LaChiusa’s musical based on Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde.

• Latest Update: Audra McDonald Goes ‘Beyond the Moon’ in this Intergalactic Hello Again Music Video (6/8/2017)

PRE-PRODUCTION

ALADDIN

• Production Company: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Lin Pictures

• Screenplay: John August

• Director: Guy Ritchie

• Cast: TBA

• An adaptation of the Disney musical with songs by Alan Menken, Howard Ashman, and Tim Rice.

• Latest Update: Live-Action Aladdin Will Begin Filming This Summer (6/13/2017)

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UPCOMING

HELLO AGAIN

• Director: Tom Gustafson

• Cast: Audra McDonald, Cheyenne Jackson, T.R. Knight, Martha Plimpton, Rumer Willis, Jenna Ushkowitz

• An adaptation of Michael John LaChiusa’s musical based on Arthur Schnitzler’s La Ronde.

PRE-PRODUCTION

THE LION KING
• Release Date: July 19, 2019
• Production Company: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
• Screenplay: Jeff Nathanson
• Director: Jon Favreau
• Cast: Donald Glover, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, Chiwetel Ejiofor, James Earl Jones
• A live-action adaptation of the Disney musical with songs by Elton John and Tim Rice.
• Latest Update: Elton John at Work on New Lion King Song for Beyoncé (2/15/2018)

IN DEVELOPMENT

13
• Production Company: CBS Films
• Screenplay: Bert V. Royal
• Director: TBA
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Jason Robert Brown, Dan Elish, and Robert Horn’s musical about a teenager who moves from New York City to small-town Indiana.
• Latest Update: Teenage Dream! CBS Films Will Bring Jason Robert Brown’s 13 to the Big Screen (8/12/2014)

AMERICAN IDIOT
• Production Company: HBO
• Screenplay: Rolin Jones
• Director: Michael Mayer
• Cast: Billie Joe Armstrong
• An adaptation of Billie Joe Armstrong and Michael Mayer’s Tony nominated musical based on Green Day’s 2004 concept album of the same name.
• Latest Update: HBO Greelights Green Day’s American Idiot Film (10/6/2016)

BARE: A POP OPERA
• Producers: Hillary Butorac Weaver, Janet Billig Rich
• Screenplay: Kristin Hanggi
• Director: Kristin Hanggi
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Jon Hartmere, Jr. and Damon Intrabartolo’s musical about the struggles of two gay high school students at a Catholic boarding school.
• Latest Update: Bare: A Pop Opera Film Adaptation in the Works (1/2/2018)

BEAUTIFUL: THE CAROLE KING MUSICAL
• Production Company: Sony Pictures, Playtone
• Screenplay: Douglas McGrath
• Director: TBA
• Cast: TBA
Tom Hanks, Gary Goetzman, and Paul Blake will produce a film adaptation of the musical about the early life and career of singer/songwriter Carole King.
• Latest Update: Beautiful, About Life of Carole King, Is Heading to the Silver Screen (3/22/2015)

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CATS
• Production Company: Universal Pictures, Working Title
• Screenplay: TBA
• Director: Tom Hooper
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.
• Latest Update: Andrew Lloyd Webber Pens New Song for Possible Cats Film (1/5/2018)

COME FROM AWAY
• Production Company: The Mark Gordon Company
• Screenplay: Irene Sankoff and David Hein
• Director: Christopher Ashley
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s musical about the nearly 7,000 airplane passengers stranded in Gander, Newfoundland in the days following 9/11.
• Latest Update: Director Christopher Ashley Reveals Plans for the Come From Away Movie (12/27/2017)

FINDING NEVERLAND
• Production Company: The Weinstein Company
• Screenplay: TBA
• Director: TBA
• Cast: TBA
• Producer Harvey Weinstein has announced that a film adaptation of James Graham, Gary Barlow, and Eliot Kennedy’s musical is in the works.
• Latest Update: Broadway’s Finding Neverland to Close — Film Adaptation Planned (5/5/2016)

GUYS AND DOLLS
• Production Company: 20th Century Fox
• Screenplay: Danny Strong
• Director: Michael Grandage
• Cast: TBA
• A new film adaptation of Frank Loesser, Abe Burrows, and Jo Swerling’s Tony Award-winning musical.
• Latest Update: Michael Grandage to Direct Guys and Dolls Film Remake (5/31/2016)

GYPSY
• Production Company: TBA
• Screenplay: Richard LaGravenese
• Director: Barry Levinson
• Cast: Barbra Streisand
• A new film adaptation of Jule Styne, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents‘ classic musical starring Barbra Streisand as Rose.
• Latest Update: Barbra Streisand Gypsy Film Script Loses Backer/Distributor (8/3/2016)

IN THE HEIGHTS
• Production Company: TBA
• Screenplay: Quiara Alegría Hudes
• Director: Jon M. Chu
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Lin-Manuel Miranda and Quiara Alegria Hudes’ Tony Award-winning musical about the residents of the Washington Heights neighborhood of Manhattan.
• Latest Update: In the Heights’ Quiara Alegría Hudes and Lin-Manuel Miranda Call for Weinstein Co. to Release Movie Rights (10/12/2017)

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JEKYLL & HYDE
• Production Company: TBA
• Screenplay: TBA
• Director: TBA
• Cast: TBA
• Production company RP Media has reportedly purchased the film rights to Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s popular musical.
• Latest Update: Film Rights Purchased for Jekyll and Hyde Musical (1/21/2013)

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT
• Production Company: STX, The Really Useful Group, Rocket Pictures
• Screenplay: TBA
• Director: TBA
• Cast: TBA
• An animated feature based on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical.
• Latest Update: Andrew Lloyd Webber and Elton John Are Working on a Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat Movie (3/28/2017)

LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
• Production Company: Marc Platt Productions, Warner Bros.
• Screenplay: Matthew Robinson
• Director: Greg Berlanti
• Cast: TBA
• A new film adaptation of Howard Ashman and Alan Menken’s musical about a man-eating plant.
• Latest Update: New Version of Little Shop of Horrors Film in the Works (12/7/2016)

LYSISTRATA JONES
• Production Company: Branded Pictures Entertainment, Peck Entertainment
• Screenplay: Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn
• Director: Andy Fickman
• Cast: TBA
• Andy Fickman is developing a film adaptation of Douglas Carter Beane and Lewis Flinn’s musical about a group of high school cheerleaders who refuse to “give it up” until their basketball-player boyfriends score on the court.
• Latest Update: Lysistrata Jones Will “Give It Up” on the Big Screen; Andy Fickman Will Direct Film Adaptation (6/14/2013)

MATILDA
• Production Company: TBA
• Screenplay: Dennis Kelly
• Director: Matthew Warchus
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Tim Minchin and Dennis Kelly’s musical based on the Roald Dahl novel.
• Latest Update: Matilda Movie Adaptation Likely to Begin Shooting in Late 2016 (8/19/2015)

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MEMPHIS
• Production Company: Alcon Entertainment,

The Mark Gordon Company, Warner Bros.
• Screenplay: Joe DiPietro
• Director: TBA
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Joe DiPietro and David Bryan’s Tony Award-winning musical about a white radio DJ and his love for a black singer at the dawn of the Civil Rights movement.
• Latest Update: Film Adaptation of Tony-Winning Musical Memphis In the Works (10/15/2012)

MISS SAIGON
• Production Company: Cameron Mackintosh, Working Title Films
• Screenplay: TBA
• Director: Danny Boyle
• Cast: TBA
• Producer Cameron Mackintosh has said he would like to make a a film version of Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg’s 1989 musical as a follow-up to Les Misérables.
• Latest Update: Has Miss Saigon Film Found Its Director? (3/11/16)

OLIVER!
• Production Company: Walt Disney Studios, Cube Vision, Marc Platt Productions
• Screenplay: Danny Strong
• Director: Thomas Kail
• Cast: Ice Cube
• A new film adaptation of Lionel Bart’s Tony Award-winning musical.
• Latest Update: Danny Strong to Pen Script for Disney’s Oliver! Remake, Directed by Hamilton’s Thomas Kail (1/18/2018)

PIPPIN
• Production Company: The Weinstein Company, Storyline Entertainment
• Screenplay: James Ponsoldt
• Director: TBA
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Stephen Schwartz and Roger O. Hirson’s musical.
• Latest Update: Craig Zadan and Neil Meron Will Partner with Weinstein Company for Film Version of Pippin (12/9/2013)

SOUTH PACIFIC
• Production Company: Chicagofilms
• Screenplay: Lynn Grossman
• Director: Michael Mayer
• Cast: Hugh Jackman, Justin Timberlake, Michelle Williams
• A new film adaptation of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II’s Tony Award a and Pulitzer Prize-winning musical, with a screenplay incorporating additional details from James Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific.
• Latest Update: South Pacific, Directed by Michael Mayer, May Return to Screen With Michelle Williams (5/10/2013)

SPRING AWAKENING
• Production Company: Playtone
• Screenplay: Steven Sater
• Director: TBA
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Duncan Sheik and Steven Sater’s Tony Award-winning musical.
• Latest Update: Duncan Sheik Reveals Plans for Filming of American Psycho and Spring Awakening (4/28/2016)

SUNSET BOULEVARD
• Production Company: Paramount Pictures
• Screenplay: Christopher Hampton
• Director: TBA
• Cast: Glenn Close
• An adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Don Black, and Christopher Hampton’s musical based on the classic Billy Wilder film.
• Latest Update: Sunset Boulevard, Starring Glenn Close, Inches Closer to the Big Screen (8/17/2017)

WEST SIDE STORY
• Production Company: Amblin Entertainment
• Screenplay: Tony Kushner
• Director: Steven Spielberg
• Cast: TBA
• A new film adaptation of Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and Arthur Laurents‘ classic musical.
• Latest Update: Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner West Side Story Remake Issues Casting Call (1/25/2018)

See the source image

WICKED
• Production Company: Marc Platt Productions, Universal Pictures
• Screenplay: Winnie Holzman
• Director: Stephen Daldry
• Cast: TBA
• An adaptation of Stephen Schwartz and Winnie Holzman’s popular musical about the life of the Wicked Witch of the West.
• Latest Update: Think You Know Everything About Wicked? Think Again. (7/10/2017)

That’s quite a hefty list.  I’m so excited to see some of these.  How about you?

P.S. As of this writing, Legally Blonde is not slated to be adapted, but you never know….

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

 

Conversation Hacks: 25 Questions to Ask Your “Artsy” Relative

Here are conversation hacks:  25 questions to ask your “artsy” relative. A few holidays are coming up soon–Easter and Passover.  If you are lucky (or maybe you think not) you’ll spend time with your family and friends. Families are still families even if social moires have changed (I think for the better.)

Conversation Hacks: 25 questions to ask your artsy relative

My husband recently retired from his instrumental music teaching position and I from teaching drama.  Our daughters were both theatre majors and heavily involved in music as well.  One daughter is still involved in the arts.  Her sister became a nurse (which she should have done all along, but everyone has a journey.)

We always have plenty to talk about when we get together and surprisingly it isn’t Broadway.  We can dish like the best of them, however.  Whenever this occurs, I’m sure our sons-in-law don’t know quite what to do with us.  We try to keep it to a minimum around them.

Conversation Hacks: 25 questions to ask your artsy relative

I thought about this challenge for other members of my family. They need conversation hacks–easy ways to converse with others.

My personal hack is F.O.R.M. ( questions about family, occupation, recreation, money) to create conversation and usually I have little problem talking with others if I initiate the conversation.

It doesn’t go very well the other way around.

I bet other arts people have the same problem I do.  In fact, I know they do.  It’s one of the reasons arts people are such good friends with one another–we understand each other, because we are creative people. We try out best to talk sports or politics and sometimes we are successful. Remember, we are chameleons.  If there is someone who can change themselves in order to blend with others, it’s an actor.

Conversation Hacks: 25 questions to ask your artsy relative

However, if someone would take the time to sincerely converse with us, I think they’d find what we do to be fascinating.

Conversation Hacks: 25 questions to ask your artsy relative

As you read the questions, just stick in art, music, dance or theatre as the project.

 

Conversation Hacks: 25 questions to Ask your Artsy Relative

  1.  What are you working on now?

  2. How is it progressing?

  3. Is it ever frustrating? How so?

  4. What’s the best part of the project?

  5. Do other people help or work with you on it?  Who?

  6. What is their involvement in it?

  7. Do you work with a budget on the project?  If you don’t mind my asking, how much money is it?

  8. Is that the usual budget for a project like this?

  9. Is this the first project of this kind you’ve done?

  10. How is it different from others?

  11. Do you have a deadline for completion?

  12. Are you confident you’ll make the deadline?

  13. Are you ever worried about it?  What are the worries?

  14. Does thinking about the project keep you awake at night?

  15. Is the worry well founded or unrealistic?

  16. When you visualize the outcome of the project, what does it look like?

  17. Is there a message you want to convey through it?  What is it?

  18. Have you patterned your project after someone else’s?  Whose and why?

  19. Who do you admire who has done this same project or a similar one?

  20. Why do you admire them?

  21. Will there be a public exhibition of your project?  When is it?

  22. Will admission be charged to see it?  How much does it cost for admission?

  23. Do you set the price of the admission or someone else does? Who and why?

  24. What is your most proud moment concerning the project thus far?

  25. Do you think you’ll attempt the project again? Why or why not?

So there you have it–Conversation Hacks: 25 quetions to ask your artsy relative while sitting around the dinner table. 

Trust me, they are dying to share their work with you.

Just ask them.

Conversation Hacks: 25 questions to ask your artsy relative

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or my website DeborahBaldwin.net

I’d love to chat with you!

author and fan of Bumbling Bea

The Top 20 “Must Haves” for Your Drama Classroom

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I’m feeling in the mood for giving.

Beginning Teaching

So, the top 20 things “must haves”  for your drama classroom–There are so many things to think about when you are a beginning teacher.  I remember my first year as an English teacher (which was a minor of mine in college.) Since I never student taught in English, I knew very little of what I needed for my classroom.  Teachers weren’t as team oriented as they are now and I was on my own to figure out everything.

Now new teachers have a mentor at their school who shows them the ropes of teaching in their school.  The first three years of a teacher’s career are the most pivotal.  If you “stick” in the job, you’ll probably continue teaching for many years.

But you see, I’m stubborn.

Even though I was completely on my own I wouldn’t give up.  Truthfully, it really did take until the third year for me to find my groove.  It was a tough experience for me, but I gained so much knowledge from those years.  I learned about teaching, but I also learned about myself.  (Oh, and my first husband walked out on me two days before my first day of school that first year.  Did I mention that?)

So, what does this all have to do with the “must haves “of a drama classroom?

Lots! I’m here to help you.  I’m going to make your life easier right.now.

Just Download my list of
“The Top 20 Must Haves for a Drama Classroom” and you’ll be set to go.

top-20-must-have-for-drama-class

I’m always here for you.  You aren’t alone on your journey.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or Deborah@DeborahBaldwin.net

I’m happy to help and advise you.

 

Dear Music Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

This is a four part series of posts (this is the fourth). Click here for the other posts:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/11/15/dear-drama-student-i-recognize-you-a-mile-away/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/11/17/dear-dance-student-i-recognize-you-from-a-mile-away/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/11/12/dear-art-student-i-recognize-you-a-mile-away/

I love arts students. They are fun to be around and never fail to entertain you, that’s for sure.  Honestly, they are pretty easy to spot.

These are generalizations and just for fun, to be honest. I asked for a little help from the people who know–teachers, artists, dancers, musicians and directors. This post describes a music student in a tongue in cheek manner. Let’s see if you agree with us.

choir.png

Music students: (thanks to Tim Baldwin, instrumental music teacher)

  • sing all the time, maybe in harmony with others, maybe not but they sing all.the.time

  • play their instrument or if nothing else, they air play their instrument

  • wear ear buds and listen to music all.the.time (are we seeing a pattern here?)

  • if they are in marching band, they walk  heel/toe, heel/toe  in a rolling step

  • they practice constantly (I think some of that is just to hear themselves.)

  • they own band shirts or the trendiest show shirt (right now it would be Hamilton) or don their most favorite musical show shirt (a lot of the girls love Wicked)

  • love Math (which is said to have a strong correlation to music)

  • certain personalities play certain instruments for instance, trumpet players are self assured and cocky, while drummers are raucous, flutes are the sorority girls of the group

  • orchestra students tend to be quiet and very intelligent, but they also love Anime

  • sopranos  can be a little snobbish, altos are more down to earth, tenors are flirtatious and basses are masculine.

    music-kids

Generally, if you are an arts student you are involved in one of the other arts as well.  These kids are very busy and like it that way.

What is most interesting about arts students is their popularity hierarchy within themselves.  If a guy is a tenor and he can sing as high as a female, that makes points for him.

The same goes for a girl who can climb a tall ladder and focus a light on a set.  If you are first chair violinist, you are popular, too or at the very least, respected. If a guy is a bass singer and he can dance, that’s another biggie.  If a girl can tap the heck out of a combination, you are considered “cool”.

However, if you are too serious about your art, the opposite is true.  Although revered, your friends may not even think to invite you to social events because they assume you are more interested in dancing or rehearsing than a pizza.

And anyone who is comical or can make everyone laugh automatically accrues popularity points no matter which art form they love.

Like most interests, there is a fine line to balance.  What is too much and what is not enough?

I appreciate this hierarchy somewhat, because it makes room for everyone in the arts. This popularity has nothing to do with beauty or brawn.  It’s all about talent and hard work. Everyone is an artist if they allow themselves to be.  Look for them. You’ll see.

Which art do you enjoy the most?  I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or Bumblingbea.com

 

Dear Dance Student, I Recognize You from a Mile Away

This is a four part series of posts (this is the second). Check out one, three and four here:

Dear Drama Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

Dear Music Student, I Recognize You a Mile Away

 

I love arts students. They are fun to be around and never fail to entertain you, that’s for sure.  Honestly, they are pretty easy to spot. These are generalizations and just for fun, to be honest. I asked for a little help from the people who know–teachers, artists, dancers, musicians and directors. Let’s see if you agree with us.

hip-hop-dancer

Dance students: (Thanks to Keturah Grunblatt, professional  director of operas and choreographer)

  • have a natural turn out when they walk
  • are poised
  • have erect posture
  • are always moving, dancing, stretching
  • girls can put their hair in a bun in record time, in fact their hair is always swept up
  • hear a beat to anything and dance to it–the washing machine, hammering on a set, slamming of lockers
  • sit like large dogs, with their legs all folded up underneath them
  • a knowledge of classical music
  • unnatural stretching,
  • health conscious appetite at a young age
  • wear form fitting clothes
  • look at their image and check themselves in any window reflection or mirror

 

dancer

 

Generally, if you are an arts student you are involved in one of the other arts as well.  These kids are very busy and like it that way.

What is most interesting about arts students is their popularity hierarchy within themselves.  If a guy is a tenor and he can sing as high as a female, that makes points for him.  The same goes for a girl who can climb a tall ladder and focus a light on a set.  If you are first chair violinist, you are popular, too or at the very least, respected. If a guy is a bass singer and he can dance, that’s another biggie.  If a girl can tap the heck out of a combination, you are considered “cool”.

However, if you are too serious about your art, the opposite is true.  Although revered, your friends may not even think to invite you to social events because they assume you are more interested in dancing or rehearsing than a pizza.

And anyone who is comical or can make everyone laugh automatically accrues popularity points no matter which art form they love.

Like most interests, there is a fine line to balance.  What is too much and what is not enough?

I appreciate this hierarchy somewhat, because it makes room for everyone in the arts. This popularity has nothing to do with beauty or brawn.  It’s all about talent and hard work. Everyone is an artist if they allow themselves to be.  Look for them. You’ll see.

Which art do you enjoy the most?  I’d love to hear from you.

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com or DeborahBaldwin.net

Purchase my book, Bumbling Bea on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Bumbling-Bea-Deborah-Baldwin/dp/1500390356/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=&sr=
Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the following email: jadeandoak@gmail.com.

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Critical Steps in Producing a Play or Musical: Set Design and Set Construction

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The Giver  Fine Arts Guild, 2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think a powerful, creative, unique set design is vital to a production.  Depending upon the production budget (there’s that word again-it’s going to come up a lot in these blog posts), the set can be as elaborate as possible or simple.

If a director has the freedom to choose what she wants, always keep in mind that old adage, “Less is more”.  Personally, I think a set can distract the audience from the production if one isn’t careful.  On the other hand, a simple set can be distracting as well especially if one’s actors aren’t skilled in creating the atmosphere themselves.  A skilled actor should be able to imagine the setting and demonstrate that through character and movement.

Set Designer

But back to designing the play or musical’s set.  First, you need to know whether a designer has been hired or volunteered to design your set.  If so, then you are generally stuck (and I do mean stuck) with that person.  I’ve worked with good ones, lazy ones, entitled ones and very creative-but-can-not-get-it done ones.  If you are lucky, the designer will have ideas of his own and share them with you and vice versa. As I mentioned in the previous post, have your concept board handy to share with him.

If you are expected to design your own set, start by researching on the internet.  As you find ideas (probably from other companies’ productions of the show), you might want to make a copy of them.  Note:  I am going to say this one time.  If you are capable enough to direct the show then you are capable enough to come up with your own ideas for the set.  It is just tacky to lift (steal, copy or what have you) someone else’s design.  It isn’t polite, it certainly isn’t unique and it isn’t right.

I expect the designer to create a model of the set for me.  In fact, I require it.  Most humans are visual thinkers and consequently it helps the actors (and everyone involved for that matter) in their visualization of the show. As well, it aids me when I am blocking.  I remember directing Something’s Afoot and its first musical number is crazy busy.  Character are entering and exiting one right after another.  The model helped me to keep straight everyone as I placed little spice bottles with each character’s name in the right places.

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The Diary of Anne Frank   Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies  2012

Ah, the set budget!

Set, costumes and prop budgets are the most challenging to estimate. If you are in charge of the budget, you will first need an inventory of the company’s set pieces (flats, platforms, stair units, etc.) .  Are you thinking of using a scrim?  Does the company own a scrim?  If not, will they purchase one for you?  Would you rather have a stylistic set?  That’s a good idea, especially is there is little  money for the set. Is the production a period piece?  You need to consider that question, too. There’s many more questions to ask yourself, but you get the idea….

If  I have a designer, I make it my designer’s job to create a line item budget.  Generally, designers (costumes too) ask for a color pallet from me.  It’s fairly easy to share my choices using my concept board that  I made at the beginning  of the project.

I have had many opportunities to direct on a great looking set.  However, some of my most favorite are simpler ones like The Giver (photographed above).  It was understated, perfectly suited the play’s message and met the budget requirements.  Recently, I directed The Wizard of Oz (my first time ever, I know–better late than never).  I didn’t want to regurgitate the movie in any manner.  For countless hours, my designer and I discussed how to create the set on a very limited budget, build it with inexperienced students while giving the audience something to imagine and enjoy.  The tornado and its metaphoric moments within the story was our thrust.  We used bicycle wheels, barbed wire and fence posts to create the Witch’s Lair.

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The Wizard of Oz  Presser Performing Arts Center  July 2016

If you take the time to pre-plan every aspect of a production, it will save you time later.  Trust me, I have gone into rehearsals thinking I could be spontaneous and think out details as I rehearsed.  Admitting this, that’s a ridiculous thought to me!  I can guarantee you I still have spontaneous moments.  That’s part of my nature.  But everyone working with you will appreciate your forethought and I bet you find that people are more confident if they can rely on your somewhat established concept right from the first day of rehearsal.

See my next blog post on stage properties.  I’ll have plenty of tips for you there!

For more advice, check out these posts:

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/08/05/selecting-a-play-or-musical-budget-royalties/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/11/19/critical-steps-in-producing-a-play-or-musical-costumes/

https://dramamommaspeaks.com/2016/08/17/selecting-a-play-or-musical-casting/

 

Contact me at dhcbaldwin@gmail.com  or Bumblingbea.com