Intern-al Monologue - Week 11

Hey there, Lyric Arts fans! Let's have a little chit-chat about what's been going on this week. First and foremost, I GOT TO GO GET COFFEE TODAY! It was only one cup, but if I were to look back on this internship, and I hadn't gotten my boss a Cuppa' Joe, it would have felt... hollow, somehow. Like I didn't really earn it.

It was a quiet week at Lyric Arts, and most of the stuff that we’ve done has kind of been on the down-low. I’ve been doing my normal assortment of facebook, writing, and production-related tasks, which I’ve talked about to death on this blog, so I’m pretty okay with omitting it this week. We gave our aisle handrails a fresh coat of paint this Wednesday to get the theater space ready for our upcoming season. I also scraped some wallpaper off of something in the lobby. I had never even noticed it before they told me to get rid of it, so you should buy a ticket and scrounge every inch of the lobby to see if you can notice what I did! It was some stubborn wallpaper, though; I had to commandeer a steamer from the costume shop to get the last of it off.

In other news, the office smells DELICIOUS right now. Brian found some time between meetings out of town to pop by a local bakery and bring us all some artisanal breads. Since I can eat a loaf of fresh sourdough like a normal person eats a candy bar, I was more than eager to pounce on that awesome deal.

Sharon is diligently working on sorting out our phone situation, talking to telecom companies about some potential ways we could streamline communication here in the office, what with all the new hands coming in to the company soon. From what I've gathered from sitting next to her, it sounds like some of the details are beginning to come into focus, so we should have a definite plan in the near future.

The box office is doing pretty well, from what I’ve seen of it. Last time I checked in with Matt, Hormel Girls was already almost a quarter of the way sold out, which is nuts for a play that far out! Laramie is doing well at the box office too, but nothing gets us Minnesotans excited like SPAM (Except for Prince, maybe…).

Other than that, this week was almost entirely dedicated to wrapping up my myriad projects, and making sure that there were no loose ends that the staff would have to deal with once I’m gone. I completed next year’s press releases (save for one that simply needs a quote from the director), We’re on almost every online calendar in the metro area, and I’ve gotten every little marketing task I’ve been allotted all sorted out and put into its proper place. My folder is organized almost as well as the Riverfest bin, albeit with far more useful data. I’ve removed all of the post it notes from my computer monitor, and all my cameras and sound recorders are put away, ready for future use. All that’s left is to say goodbye.

 

 How do I say goodbye?

I really didn’t think about this part in advance.

 

For starters, let me just say that this Summer has been awesome. I am not an outgoing person by nature. Anyone who tells you otherwise is a dirty liar, and you should never trust them about anything. I’m like an emotional crustacean; you have to shatter my metaphorical exoskeleton with a metaphorical hammer before I’ll open up to you, and even then, there’s not too much meat inside. In other words, it really takes something special to make me feel at home.

Lyric Arts is special. Everyone here is special. Our whole community is special. You - yes, I mean YOU - reading this post, YOU are special. Even if I've never met you in person, I know that you're part of  what makes Lyric Arts as amazing as it is.

All of you have made my time here some of the most fun months I’ve ever had, and I’ve grown more as a person this Summer than I could have at any number of college classes, both professionally as well as personally. And I only had to run and get coffee once! I’m so thankful that I got to be a part of this enterprise, even for this short of a time, and I’d like to think that I’ve made quite a few friends along the way.

I’m not gone for good; I’m still going to be coming to shows when I can make it back to the area, and I’ll be checking in with the staff here whenever I do. And whatever I end up doing next summer is going to have to be pretty stellar to even come close to Lyric Arts.

Well, I think that's about it. I'm going to go say my goodbyes to the staff and ride off into the sunset.

Cheers, everyone. See you around.

-Eric ‘The (Former) Intern’ Lindholm

Intern-al affairs - Keys upon Keys

We have a lot of keys at Lyric Arts. All of them are extremely important, and every single one has its place. Unfortunately, organizing them has never been high on our to-do list. However, with the large-scale reorganization of our office space, and our growing volunteer community, we decided that it was time to make it easier for our staff to direct our volunteers around the theater. It was time to help our volunteers in as many ways as possible. It was time to take a stand against the forces of chaos, and create a shining bastion of order and law in this uncertain world! It was time to sort the keys.

Those of you who have been into the administrative rooms of Lyric Arts may have seen our old key box once or twice. It was roughly the size of a hardcover book, completely packed with keys on every small hook within. Many keys just rested on the bottom of the box, without tags, key rings, or any indication of function. Our first step was to replace our old box with something a little more spacious.

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We had this old metal mailbox sitting in prop storage, unused. It’s roughly twice the size of the old key box, and we purchased metal pegs to hot glue into the interior. We didn’t have enough pegs to completely fill the box, but we did have enough to hold our keys, and we’ll buy a few more on our next trip to Menards.

Step two of our reorganization was figuring out which keys fit which locks.

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Over the past few days, our staff has been scouring the theater, looking to figure out where every key we own goes, and sorting them all onto key rings. That process took surprisingly little time, many of us knew our own key rings well, and knew what each key did by heart. By the end of the day on Tuesday, we had about ninety percent of our keys sorted and ready for step 3 – Painting.

In order to make office navigation a little less daunting to new volunteers, we decided to color-code our seven most-used keys. Our Master key is Red, the Box Office key is Blue, the key to the Costume Shop is Orange, the Sound Booth key is Dark Green, our ‘Cabaret Closet’ key is Yellow, the Administrator’s Office key is Lime Green, and our Dance Studio’s key is Pink.

The painting process filled our offices with nail polish fumes for most of the day on Wednesday, but we think that the results are worth the stink.

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We attached small, colored dots to the doors the keys unlock, so opening a door is as simple as matching colors! Blue Keys open Blue Doors, Red Keys open Red Doors. It’s that easy.

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And Voila! One beautiful box of keys! We think that having all of our keys organized and sorted is going to be a big help not only to the people who come to Lyric Arts every day, but also to new volunteers. We want to make the barrier to entry as low as possible for volunteers, and make it easier for them to share their talents to the fullest. And if our key rings get a little makeover in the process, that’s just a bonus!

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Intern-al Monologue - Week 8

Repetitive work is something that I have come to appreciate over the course of my life. Back at my old job, I was never doing the same thing for more than five minutes. It sounds nice and all, but when you’re going from ‘cleaning gallons of milk off the ice cream machine’ to ‘opening cans with a dull can opener’ to ‘Mystery Goo Investigation,’ variety loses its savor. It feels nice to have a job that is clearly defined, one that I can sit down and focus on for a long period of time.

excel

It’s easy to feel intimidated when you look at an excel spreadsheet. I’m not an excel rookie, by any means. I can add function cells with the best of them. But no spreadsheet I’ve ever touched has a tangible bearing on actual money before. You really get the feeling that if you mess up a single character that the fabric of the world will somehow unravel, and you will be to blame. It’s frightening and exhilarating in equal measure.

Here at the office, we are more or less done with the major overhaul, at least until we get some proper desks. This right here is my desk until we get something more permanent. desk

Just admire it for a little while. It’s SUPER awesome. I bet CERTAIN INTERNS never had a desk this big. Just goes to show how important my work is to Lyric. In addition to our main office, our rehearsal space is undergoing a renovation to reduce clutter and give our actors and directors more control over the space when they come to the theater to rehearse. You can hop, skip and jump on down to our facebook page to get a look at some of what we’ve been up to.

We’ve also had a very successful run of workshops based around the story of Mary Poppins, and there wasn’t a day that went by this week that we didn’t hear their laughter from upstairs. Our Facebook page also has a nice group shot that our excited students let me take.

Let’s see… what else…

Oh yeah! That Hairspray thing we’re doing is going pretty well! Tickets are almost COMPLETELY SOLD OUT, so you’d better pounce on these deals. It’s one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, period, but trusting a corporate advertising puppet like me for objective reviews of my product would be below stupid. Here are testimonials from just a few of our satisfied customers.

“I was blown away! It was awesome!”

“Arguably the best show I've seen at Lyric Arts, and certainly one of the most talented casts. (Music was incredible too!)”

“Nothing compares to Lyric Arts Company of Anoka's production of Hairspray. What a fantastic performance by an amazingly talented cast.”

I did not cherry-pick those. They were the three most recent posts to our page on facebook.

And last but certainly not least, our concert series! You guys have probably figured out that I’m pretty heavily involved in music. I worked (And will continue to work) at the campus radio station in Fargo, and I like to sprinkle a little music in to whatever I do, so long as it isn’t invasive. I am super excited about our concert series this season, because I think that we’re bringing a lot of really unique music to Anoka. I’ve compiled a sampler of musical morsels here for your perusal, and I know you’ll be as impressed as I was when I first heard them.

Well, that’s all I have for this week. I’m gonna head out to subway with Brian and Marcy. I smell that foot-long ham and cheese sub from here, and I am SALIVATING.

Cheers!

-Eric ‘The Intern’ Lindholm

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Eric is a rising Sophomore studying Communications at North Dakota State University

Intern-al monologue - Week 7

Man. You know what I was doing Friday? Totally writing and posting this blog, that's for sure. I mean, if you didn't see it on Friday, that was probably your fault. It was there. In any case, boy howdy, we are cleaning out the office like nobody's business. If a research team were to drill into some of the dustier filing cabinets in the office, the resulting core sample would probably have material in it dating back to the reign of Knud Harthacnut, last danish king of England. We found multiple copies of the AOL dial-up free trial disc, about twenty blank floppy discs, and five TV manuals dating back to the early '90s. Stuff looked REALLY BAD back then. Nothing makes you appreciate modern design more than looking at those brownish-greyish-beige, vaguely oblong button-pucks we called remotes.

The office cleaning is partially a result of the between-season down time we see as we gear up for The Laramie Project this September (I mean, it's six chairs on a stage. Not too much we can do in terms of razzle dazzle.) and partially due to the fact that we are restructuring our office space. With quite a few new positions to be filled, we are optimizing our desk space to make room for all the new recruits that will be streaming in to help us make Lyric Arts even more awesome.

Now, on a more personal level, this means I get a big desk. As of Thursday, my work station consists of a lone PC atop three banquet tables. Since I measure my value to the company by how large a desk I have, I'd say I'm worth approximately two Fortune 500 CEOs to Lyric at this point. And in my humble opinion, they're not wrong.

In other news, I did actual intern stuff this week! No more of this 'critical to the theater's success' garbage, they put down a literal pile of contact information, and told me to turn it into a metaphorical, digital pile. I was listening to my Game of Thrones audiobook and entering email addresses into an excel spreadsheet for roughly five hours. I moved furniture, I carried heavy objects from one inconvenient place to another, slightly more convenient place. I was half expecting to be sent out for coffee at some point, but it looks like I'll have to wait a little longer for that honor. If you think that any of this is sarcasm, it honestly isn't. I expected to be doing this from the beginning, and at this point, it's actually kind of novel.

Anyway, look forward to a little more video from yours truly. Cast interviews, features, maybe a tour through our temporary office and my sweet new desk. Also, some of our fans on facebook may notice that we're posting some of the stuff we find during the cleaning process. Karen Lee came to us with that idea, and it was met with a resounding 'YEAH!' from the assembled staff. We'll find more ways to get you all involved with us online, and I'll keep this content flowing.

Cheers!

-Eric 'The Intern' Lindholm

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Eric is a rising Sophomore studying Communications at North Dakota State University

Intern-al Monologue - Week 6

Woof. That was a week. It was an awesome week, but when I got home on Saturday night, there was nothing I would have rather done than take off my sweaty shoes, flop onto the couch, and watch seven consecutive episodes of Chopped online. Sadly, only five episodes were available for free, but Gordon Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares proved to be a suitable substitute. The night after Riverfest and tech week was just that kind of night.

I know I haven't done behind the scenes content for a while, but that's because we were in full production mode for Hairspray, and full preparation mode for Riverfest, both of which I was thoroughly entrenched in. I thought that I'd share a little bit of the process with you guys while I contemplate the last seven days.

Let's start with Riverfest.

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This is where the magic happens.

By magic, of course, I mean list-making and worrying. This is the 'Cabaret Closet,' and deep within its folds lie the tools with which I erected our Riverfest Pavilion.

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This is my bin. There are many like it, but this one is mine. My bin is my best friend. It is my life. I must master it as I must master my life.

But seriously, folks. This is where a lot of my time has gone for the past few weeks. Just making sure that everything within is ship-shape so we could do our jobs, and make the longest day in my service to the theater easier. Every item therein has been placed just so in order to achieve the optimal state of organization. I have three three ring binders. THAT'S NINE RINGS, PEOPLE. I DO NOT MESS AROUND.

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Everything we needed, and then some. Zip ties, first-aid-kits, the whole kit and kaboodle. That white binder held all my printed materials, like drawing tickets and volunteer sign-up forms. I had printed 750 tickets, just to be sure that we would  have enough for this year - Last year, we only had 250 tickets printed, and 611 entrants - I didn't count the tickets we used, but even with 150 more than I thought I'd need, I still had to run back to the theater with Cole and Tyler, two bright-eyed young lads who helped at the booth, to go and print more. (Thanks, guys! You were awesome!) Needless to say, business was booming at our pavilion. Two black binders (not pictured) housed volunteer forms and various plans I had lain out to consult should the need arise. Luckily, everything went off without a hitch.

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This is our tent, still boxed and ready to go. I had to pull it, along with a sheet of plexiglass and about 32 square feet of black lattuce out of...

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...here. If you want cleanliness, come after we've had time to re-organize everything post-Hairspray.

As I was checking it to make sure everything was in order, one leg of the tent got stuck in the extended position. I must have pounded that thing for half an hour before giving up on it.

I wanted to take loads of pictures during Riverfest, as is my habit but I kind of sort of left my camera in the car for the entire day. You know, a typical intern-level flub. Just trust me, though, the tent looked absolutely glorious; a veritable Palazzo Vecchio among the Riverfest tents.

Now let's talk about Hairspray, shall we?

I was at nearly every dress rehearsal. I have 322 pictures on my camera ALONE. I shudder to think of the number that have found their way onto my hard drive. It's better to have too much than too little, and every picture I've released to the public was hand-picked for aesthetic appeal, relevance, and placement in the story of Hairspray. Here are some that I haven't put up just yet, but I like all the same.

When I wasn't recording content at rehearsal, I was splicing it together to create a trailer.

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This, little ones, is what baby trailers look like, before the stork brings them to Youtube.

It took roughly thirty minutes to compress the video from the sixty or so clips I pulled from, and whenever I wanted to change the saturation value on a scene, I had to compress it all over again. If you stare at something long enough (and believe me, I have stared at this trailer) you'll find little flaws nobody else will care about, so I'm sure it's fine. If you have a complaint about it, please never tell me or my perfectionism will force me to change it.

I think that's about it. I've had my head so far buried in production and planning, I never really got a good sense of what else was happening in the theater. Friday was Jessica Setness' last day with us, and I'm really sad to see her go. She was awesome to work with, whenever our jobs brought us together, and I still owe her a coffee from my second day at Lyric. She's moving away to start a new chapter in her life, and we all wish her the best.

Other than that, however, I'm more or less oblivious to what else has been going on in the theater this past week. I'll be back into the ebb and flow of office life soon enough, though, and I'll be able to give you guys and gals a little more to look at next time I post something.

Even thinking about this week is making me tired. I'm going to go swimming.

Cheers!

-Eric

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Eric is a rising Sophomore studying Communications at North Dakota State University.

Intern-al Monologue - Week 5

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Man. The office looks super rustic. Love the redesign. Kudos, Laura!

Hey… Wait a minute… Since when do we have a lake?

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Jeepers! I’m at the cabin! Well, this is embarrassing. Here I was, working the whole time, and nobody thought to tell me that I was on vacation for the week. Scoundrels, the lot of them. Especially Grandma. I thought she was on MY side.

Well, it’s for the best I guess. At least I got some work done. Like this blog post, for instance! I'm writing this while sitting on our deck, a plate of watermelon beside me, and a sopping wet black lab spraying me with water every time he brings his ball back to me. It's a pretty good deal, if you ask me.

First off, I pushed out my first video, detailing the trials and triumphs of out 2013 Teen Actor’s toolbox. I had roughly five hours of raw footage to work with, and extracted only the most succulent tidbits to give to you.  I thought it was pretty ok. Go check it out!

The rest of the week was fairly uneventful, work-wise. I got some editing done on an interview, which should go up this weekend or early next week. I wrapped up editing for the Musical Theater Workshop video which should be ready for public consumption this weekend, and I’ve been sifting through my backlog of rehearsal footage in anticipation of the interviews I’ll be able to do this week, looking for bits and pieces to sprinkle in to the production.

In other news, Riverfest is right around the corner, and… yeah. It’s a big deal to me. I’ve got a meeting lined up for Monday to determine exactly what else we need to make the show a success. If all goes well, it should be awesome.

HAIRSPRAY OPENS IN LESS THAN A WEEK OH GOD. That means I have to crank out:

4 cast interviews.

A full trailer from dress rehearsals.

Installment 1 of ‘Becoming Edna’ with Chris Tiepner.

Promotional tweets and posts.

Some final behind-the-scenes tidbits.

All by Thursday.

Uff Da.

Needless to say, I will be pulling some long hours next week. Most likely, I’ll be working Monday through Friday, staying for the duration of rehearsals, in hopes of catching cast members unawares for some interviewing. It’s go time.

If you want to lighten our work loads, contact Volunteering@lyricarts.org and talk to Matt about the skills you bring to the table. We’ll need ushers and lobby workers for the duration of Hairspray’s run, and whether you can paint or move furniture or use a hammer, I’m sure that the Karen Lee could use an extra pair of hands in the shop. If you want to help ME, get in touch with us about Riverfest, and we might have a place for you in the booth with the Lyric Arts Staff and I. Come say hi!

After this week, I’ll shift fully into promotion mode for Hairspray, and crank out interviews and trailers faster than ever before. I might even get to work on some promo stuff for our 2013-2014 season, so my influence will live on, far after my inevitable departure. You’ll continue to see bits and pieces of my writing for the entire year, and that really makes me want to start leaving secret communiques in our promotional materials. I watched National Treasure. I know how it all works.

I'll be back with more inside news next week! Cheers!

-Eric

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Eric is a rising sophomore studying Communications at North Dakota State University.

Intern-al Affairs - Hairspray Rehearsals

Hello, Lyric Arts insiders! Intern Eric here with another sneak peek of our upcoming production of Hairspray! I've sat in on rehearsals before, but I brought my camera last night to give you guys a little taste of the finished product, all while our actors get used to the main elements of the stage, freshly painted and fitted together. Even though we still have over two weeks of rehearsal to go, the cast already looks and sounds fantastic, and we can’t wait to show everyone the finished product.

Check out our Facebook page to look at our full Backstage Photo Album!

Intern-al affairs - strike

If you are an avid reader of the site, you may be familiar with a feature that we like to call ‘The Evolution of a Set,’ in which we show you pictures of sets currently under construction by our masterful technical directors and volunteers. In the segment, we normally take a picture a day, or at every significant milestone, until the stage is ready for our actors to perform, and make it all worthwhile. But, some of you may wonder, what happens to the set when it is no longer needed? Does it remain as it is, as a reminder of achievements past? Does it erode away, like a mighty battlement after time has taken its luster? Or, perhaps, does it mysteriously vanish one day, with mom assuring us that the set has gone to a nice farm upstate, where it’s got lots of wide open spaces to run free with all the other sets of productions past?

Sadly for the set, we are neither sentimental nor subtle in our methods.

This is Strike.

At the end of a set’s life, in this case, on June the 15th, 2013, immediately after the last patrons depart from the amazingly successful Lyric Arts production of ‘Barefoot in the Park,’ a highly-skilled team of volunteers, whom I shall henceforth refer to as ‘The Strike Force,’ descends upon the stage, with hammers in hand, and fire in their hearts, to relentlessly assail the stage until not a single timber remains standing.

Our strike for Barefoot went off beautifully, and we're now in full production mode for Hairspray. We'd like to extend a special thank you to every volunteer that came and helped us out, either during the show or for strike. Without you, our theater wouldn't be half as vibrant and fun as it is today. Your support keeps us alive, and we love having you in the Lyric Arts family.

If you want to get involved in future strikes, or as a volunteer in general, contact our Front of House Manager, Matt McNabb, at volunteer@lyricarts.org.

Intern-al Monologue - Week 3

Hello, Lyric Arts fans. Frustration is the word of the day today. Deep-seeded frustration. Gobs and gobs of the stuff. If it were possible, and if there were actually a market for it, we would depose this frustration into a solid, package it, and sell it overseas for top-dollar, such is the level to which we seethe.

But that is a story for later in this post. Let me tell you what this thing is. This blog thing. My 'Intern-al' monologue.

Get it?

Every year, the intern for Lyric Arts has been asked to post once a week about the experience of working here, and to give you all faint glimpses of the personalities that make our theater go, as it were. I want to give you guys the full experience of working here, and that's what these posts are going to be about.

Which brings us to the bits about being frustrated.

I have been fighting the software that we use to post to the site for almost fourteen hours now, trying to get a blog post up about Strike, which happened last weekend, on the 15th and 16th. For some reason, our site refuses to accept my uploaded pictures, and maybe one in twenty images I submit to the server make it through our website's hair-trigger gag reflex.

I took over a hundred pictures. You can see my dilemma.

In addition, I have been tasked with gathering the audio for tonight's Season Subscriber meeting, and the instruction manual for our recording device is straight-up THICK. I've been talking to Matt, our front-of-house manager, about it, and we're pretty sure we have it all solved, but only time will tell if I've irreparably damaged any of our expensive audio equipment. I'm operating the sound board for tonight's event, so you can blame that loud screech twenty minutes in on yours truly.

In the shop, the maneuvering of the giant hairspray can for our production of 'Hairspray' went off swimmingly, until we tried to find a place to stand the behemoth. We ended up moving the nine-foot-tall can to four separate spots before finally deciding to move it behind the seats in the theater. The cast of Hairspray, we decided, would get the honor of moving the beast down the stairs to our backstage prop storage.

(This is where a picture of the can would go, looming against the blackness that is the inside of the theater, looking as smug as a can of hairspray is able. Just use your imagination.)

Finally, as we mustered all our might to lift a primary prop for production, the walls to the Corny Collins Show stage, a screw broke in the wood that formed a crucial crossbar on the upper edge, and immediately, our staff went into panic mode as we frantically tried (and thankfully, succeeded) to get it somewhere that it wouldn't break any further. It may have been folly to tackle the wall, weighing over a thousand pounds, with only a handful of people. We realize that. But the show will go on, regardless of how much we need an extra day.

(Here, imagine a picture of a wooden wall, bedeck'd in 60's style curves and bevels, with a large gap near the top of it. Trust me, it looks pretty cool, all things considered.)

All of this came in the midst of our preparations for tonight's Season Subscriber event, an event that nearly every member of our staff is personally involved in, so there were spinning plates in the air to begin with, and the extra worries that are assailing every member of the production staff have everyone on edge. The event is slated to take place in a few hours, so I have scant time to prepare for what will be my first public-facing event as a staff member of Lyric Arts. The anticipation is killing me. Wish me luck.

As of next week, this feature ought to go up on Sundays, which I anticipate will be a more sustainable workload. Doing my blog at the office really gets in the way of my other duties, so the weekend ought to be easier for all involved.

Cheers!

-Eric

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Eric is a rising Sophomore studying Communications at North Dakota State University.

Intern-al affairs - Hairspray Design

Hello, everyone! Intern Eric here, with some extra-juicy behind-the-scenes coverage for Lyric Arts' forthcoming production of Hairspray, premiering on the 12th of July! Work on the set is going pretty smoothly, and if all goes according to plan, our actors should have a full stage (without some minor decorative touches) to practice on by the end of the month. I managed to persuade Karen Lee Tait, Lyric Arts' new tech director, to part with one of her design documents for a primary piece of decoration, the walls of the 'Corny Collins Show' stage!

I've seen the work that has been done on the walls so far, and they're already looking very impressive.

I also weaseled my way into the costume department, and talked our costume designer, Stacey Palmer, into showing the Lyric Arts Audience some of the fabrics she will be using to bring out the personalities of each member of the cast. Now, these are only swatches, each one roughly three inches square, but they are what Stacey uses to show the rest of the Lyric Arts staff her vision during design meetings.

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These are just the first of many behind-the-scenes articles that I'll be posting over the course of our production. Over the next few weeks, I'll be bringing you footage from our rehearsals, major milestones on the set, and many more exciting design tidbits and anecdotes as they come in.