Saturday, March 24, 2012

Photos Released of the New 'Phantom' UK Tour

John Owen-Jones (Phantom) and Katie Hall (Christine) in
the Phantom's lair.
(photos credit: Michael Le Poer Trench and Robin Savage)
Producer Cameraon Mackintosh has kept a tight leash on revealing any performance videos or even production photos of the new re-imaginged UK Tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's 'The Phantom of the Opera'. Finally some photos of the new production have been released. The revelation is the costumes by Maria Bjornson are not changed.  It is the new set design by Mick Potter that will likely be the subject of argument for those who have seen the original.

So far these photos reveal that there are steps (pictured above) that lead down to the Phantom's lair amid floating candles. For the "Masquerade" sequence (pictured below) the grand steps of the opera house are gone. Instead the playing space is opened up to be an ornate circular ballroom with a large oval mirror above the revelers.

Visit for tour dates, tickets and more information. Tour dates in the UK are scheduled into 2013. It's unlikely any announcement will be made anytime soon regarding if the tour will play London or international cities.

The company during "Masquerade"
Angela M. Caesar (Carlotta) in the "Hannibal" scenes.
John Owen-Jones (Phantom) and Katie Hall (Christine)
John Owen-Jones (Phantom)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

ProBax Seats Installed In August Wilson Theatre

August Wilson Theatre (photo credit: TheHopefulTraveler)
Anyone can tell you that sitting in a Broadway theatre seat for two-half hours can be literally a pain in the butt. Following the example of the Ambassador Theatre Group in London which installed ProBax seats in their West End venues, Jujamcyn Theatres installed the brand of seating technology at the August Wilson Theatre in New York City.

Design of the ProBax seats installed
in London theaters.
The August Wilson is the first theatre in North America to have the ProBax seats installed. The seating technology requires no changes to the seat frame, design or upholstery and can be upgraded by changing the base of the cushion alone. The seats are ergonomic using dual density foams that encourage anatomically correct posture and are expected to last longer than regular seating. This same technology is applied for use in movie theaters, cars and aircrafts. The ultimate goal is for the comfort of the audience.

But more amazing about the transformation is that each seat cushion and seat back at the August Wilson was changed without the loss of a single performance of the musical 'Jersey Boys' taking place between the end of a Sunday, January 8 matinee and the start of the Tuesday, January 10 evening show. The venue currently has a capacity to accommodate 1,250 theatergoers.

But will the new seats help audiences enjoy a Broadway play? Or will it prevent others from putting their feet up against the back of seat in front of them? No word yet if other New York theaters will gain the new seating. Click HERE to read The New Yorker's unique perspective on the ProBax seats.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Project Runway Meets Broadway: 'Godspell' Challenge

Although it took a while, reality competition series 'Project Runway' finally offered its first challenge linked to Broadway. The episode which aired last month on the Lifetime network featured 'Godspell' composer Stephen Schwartz explaining the challenge.

Each designer had to create a costume for a character in the musical revival of 'Godspell' who is very rich and who wants everyone to know how rich and showy she is. The look had to be something that the character may have pulled from her own closet or thrift stores and was colorful and exaggerated but looks great.

Adding to the difficulty of the challenge is the costume would be placed on the character by the other actors in the musical so it was also a separates challenge. The cost for their raw materials was limited to $200. The episode was part of the special "Project Runway All-Stars" season. The winning look was designed to be runway worthy but adapted for the actual Broadway stage production. Guest judge was two-time Tony winner ('Anything Goes' 2011 revival, 'Thoroughly Modern Millie') Sutton Foster.

Click HERE for more information and videos from the 'Godspell' challenge episode. Visit for more information about the series. 'Godspell' plays the Circle Theatre In the Square Theatre in New York City. Visit for tickets and more information.

The photos below show each look that walked the runway and the name of the designer appears below each photo. The winning design and the costume as it appears on Broadway appears at bottom.

Design by Mondo Guerra
(photos: Lifetime Entertainment Services)
Design by Austin Scarlett
Design by Michael Costello
Design by Jerell Scott
Design by Kenley Collins
Design by Mila Hermanovski
Design by Kara Janx
The winning look by Mondo Guerra and adapted look for the 'Godspell' musical.
The photos above are ranked from highest to lowest as they were featured
in the results portion of the "Project Runway All Stars" episode.
Kara Janx had the losing design and she was out of the competition.
Mondo Guerra and 'Godspell' actress Lindsay Mendez.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sculptures as Illusions Invade Park Avenue

(photos credit: nyclovesnyc/flickr)
Between now and June 30, nine-stainless steel sculptures designed by Venezuelan artist Rafael Barrios will be displayed along New York City's Park Avenue between 51st and 67th Streets. Each sculpture weighs about a ton and appear to be huge, three-dimensional perspective illusions.

The sculptures when seen from one angle appears to be thick and solid three-dimensional pieces. While from another perspective they appear paper thin. The technique which Barrios has been perfecting since the 1970s is called "virtualism" characterized by the sculptures look of floating metal.

The presentation is part of the art program along Park Avenue that has been running since 2000. Visit for more information about the project.

One pedestrian took this video of one of the sculptures on Park Avenue:
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