Tag Archives: theatre

This Is How We Jerry Herman

Theatre and arts education in high schools is an integral part of young adults coming into their own. Each year, the Hollywood Pantages hosts the Jerry Herman High School Musical Theatre Awards with one goal: to constructively support local high schools with their drama programs. With the awards happening this Sunday, May 22nd, we are officially in full “Jerry Herman Mode” as we call it. There are three main sections to go through when prepping for a ceremony of this size.

Adjudication process

At the beginning of each school year we begin the sign-up process for the Jerry Herman Awards for the following spring. Schools must fill-out an intent to participate form and provide the name of the show being performed and performance dates. Meanwhile, we at the Marketing department meet with the volunteer adjudicators to sign-up and prepare them for the shows ahead.

Each participating school also fills out an informational sheet. This lets us know which categories they can qualify for in terms of nominations. The Categories include: Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Orchestra, Ensemble/Chorus, Musical Staging/Choreography, Musical Direction, Technical Crew, Supporting Actor, Supporting Actress, “No Small Parts”, and Best Production.

Once we have all of the information from a school, our adjudicators visit each theatre to watch the productions. Each adjudicator then fills out an evaluation form – scoring each category individually from 1-10 and the production as a whole. They also have the opportunity to fill out a “notes” section where they may say anything that the survey may not have given them the chance to.

Nomination Process

After a school’s performance has completed, they are required to send a either a DVD or digital copy of their show along with a program. This is when we here at the theatre bump our involvement up to the next level. Our small but mighty team closely watches each production, taking copious notes of our own, along with having the adjudicators’ documents right by our sides.

As we watch, each school is given one over-all production score and also individual scores for each award category. The way we calculate these scores is easy: we add up all the numbers in each category and divide it by the number of adjudicators that saw the performance. Simple, median math. The schools with the highest scores are nominated for their respective categories and, naturally, the highest score is the winner.

Audition Process

This is the part of the process that many people scrunch their eyebrows at. An audition process for an awards show? But haven’t you seen and scored all the productions based on all categories? Yes, we have, but that category does not include leading actor and actress. The process for that particular category is a little bit different.

At the beginning of each season, each school is given a list of qualifying lead roles provided by the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, and then each school must choose one leading lady and one leading man to audition for the best actor/actress category. They attend one of two nights of auditions, bringing their headshot and two pieces of sheet music (one from the part they played in their production, and one of their choosing) and perform in front of our panel of judges. This year includes John Bowab, Kenny Ortega, Nancy Dussault, Kathy Rigby, and Lewis Weintraub.

Once the two nights of auditions are complete, the judges narrow the participants down to six finalists. On the night of the Jerry Herman Awards Ceremony the six finalists are announced. Each finalist will sing the song from the part they played in their production during the Jerry Herman Awards as a final audition. During intermission the judges come together to decide which leading lady and which leading male will win and move onto New York City for the Jimmy Awards.

What are the Jimmy Awards you ask? Well that’s a blog post for another time.

For ticket information about the Jerry Herman Awards Sunday, May 22 CLICK HERE

We are a Superstitious Bunch

Theatre people have been known to be among the most superstitious people on the planet. For centuries we have been shouting “Break a Leg” and shushing those that try to mention the “Scottish Play”. But why?

“Break A Leg”

A very common superstition among performers is to say ‘Break a leg,’ as a means to wish each other luck before a performance. Some say that to wish someone “good luck” before they go on stage is to jinx them and cause the opposite outcome. Many believe this phrase dates back to the days of Vaudeville Theater. At the time, the theater would book more performers than they they needed in an evening for their variety shows, and then only pay the ones that they chose to perform. When one of the chosen performers entered the stage they did so by passing through curtains referred to as “legs”. To say “Break a leg” meant wishing him or her a paycheck for that night! To this day, “Break a leg” is still a customary way of wishing a performer good luck.

Don’t Whistle While You Work…

Have you ever heard that it is bad luck to whistle while in a theater? Before headset communication became a common practice among stage hands, whistling was the primary signal for moving scenery on/off stage or flying in a drape from overhead. If you accidentally whistled at the wrong time, you could cue scenery to move, which in turn could get you run over or bonked on the head!

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The Play That Must Not Be Named

To say the true name of the “Scottish Play” while in a theatre is considered very bad luck. So much so that we hesitate to type out the real name of the play while sitting in the offices above the theatre. According to folklore, the play’s history of bad luck began with its first performance (circa 1606) when the actor scheduled to portray Lady Macbeth died suddenly and Shakespeare was forced to replace him. In another 17th-century production, held in Amsterdam, the actor playing King Duncan was allegedly killed in front of a live audience when a real dagger was used in place of the stage prop during the stabbing scene. Productions of the play have also been the center of raucous audience riots, including one in 1849, a long-standing rivalry between fans of British actor William Charles Macready and American Edwin Forrest turned violent during a production at New York’s Astor Place Opera House, leaving 22 dead and more than 100 injured.

Some believe Shakespeare brought the curse upon his own play by using authentic spells in the three witches’ dialogue, while others believe that a production that has been staged for more than 400 years is bound to have its fair share of accidents. Either way, most thespians don’t want to take any chances. So what’s the antidote for accidentally uttering the forbidden word? Simple. Exit the theatre, spin around three times, spit over your left shoulder and either recite a line from Shakespeare or unleash a profanity.

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The Ghost Light

Every theater has a Ghost Light, a light that is left onstage which is never turned off. It’s there to guide the first and last person into and out of the theater. For centuries, a myth has held that the light is protection from spirits, because if the theater ever went completely dark, lonely and resentful ghosts would realize everyone had gone and proceed to cause all sorts of mischief.

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Bad Dress, Good Show

No we don’t mean that you have to wear a a bad dress to have a good show. Wishful thinking or not, many stage actors swear that a bad dress rehearsal portends a great opening night. This superstition’s origins are unclear, maybe a producer or director trying to boost a cast’s morale, but it’s a comforting concept when the final dress goes south.

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Flowers After a Performance

It’s considered good luck traditionally to give the director and/or the leading lady, after closing night, a bouquet of flowers stolen from a graveyard (never give flowers before a performance – They are yet to earn them so it’s bad luck!)

Graveyard flowers are given on closing night to symbolize the death of the show, and that it can now be put to rest. The rational origin is that theater was, as most people who have worked in the industry will tell you, never a greatly profitable profession and despite being macabre, graves were a great source of free flowers.

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Peacock Feathers

Many veteran thespians tell stories of sets collapsing, curtains catching alight and other disastrous events during performances with peacock feathers. The feather is said to represent a malevolent ‘evil eye’, that bestows a curse on the show. The association between peacock feathers and the evil eye is best illustrated by the Greek myth of Argus, the monster whose body was covered with a hundred eyes, these eyes were transferred to the tail of the Peacock.

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The Last Line

It has been considered bad luck to say the final line of a show before it opens. In addition, taking bows to an empty house is considered a bad omen. It is a tribute that the show is not complete without the audience.

Hollywood Pantages IMDB

You haven’t officially made it in Hollywood until you have your own IMDB page. Even The Hollywood Pantages has one! In this post we will highlight some of the best and most memorable scenes filmed in and around the theatre.

The Good Fairy (1935)

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Margaret Sullavan has a neon arrow to direct patrons right or left as they enter the promenade at the rear of the main floor in “The Good Fairy”

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Margaret Sullavan gets a job as an usherette in a large movie palace in Budapest in “The Good Fairy” The lobby of the Pantages in Hollywood is what we see as the theatre’s lobby.

Go West Young Man (1936)

Go West Young Man

We get a look at the boxoffice in Henry Hathaway’s “Go West Young Man” with Mae West and Randolph Scott. This island boxoffice was later removed and replaced with the box office windows you see today.

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Entering the lobby of the HollywoodPantages in Henry Hathaway’s “Go West Young Man” with Mae West and Randolph Scott.

Footlight Serenade (1942)

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A look up the stairs to the mezzanine in Gregory Ratoff’s “Footlight Serenade” with John Payne, Betty Grable and Victor Mature

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Descending to the mezzanine lobby in “Footlight Serenade.” That’s the main lobby in view off to the left.

The Jazz Singer (1980)

In this clip from The Jazz Singer, Neil Diamond portrays the character Jess Robin performing a concert in LA. Interiors of the theatre were used for this scene.

The Bodyguard (1992)

In this famous scene Kevin Costner and Whitney Houston’s characters Frank and Rachel attend an Oscar Awards Ceremony shot at The Hollywood Pantages.

Ed Wood (1994)

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Johnny Depp stars as Ed Wood in this outdoor shot of the theatre as he attends the premier of Plan 9 From Outer Space.

Batman Forever (1995)

In an almost unrecognizable Hollywood Pantages Theatre lobby, The cast of Batman Forever celebrate at the Ritz Gotham Hotel.

Black Sheep (1996)

In this clip Chris Farley as a security guard backstage at Rock The Vote. The backstage area you see is our stage right. (WARNING: SOME ADULT LANGUAGE)

L.A. Confidential (1997)

In this really quick scene Keven Spacey is shown walking out of the Frolic Room located next door to the Hollywood Pantages. You only need to watch the first 12 seconds of this one.

The Aviator (2004)

The photos below depict a scene shot in our lobby where Howard Hughes played by Leonardo DiCaprio is caught between two women on an outing to the theatre.

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Ugly Betty Something Wicked This Way Comes (2006)

Ugly Betty goes to “Broadway” While the exterior shots are NYC the inside of the theatre is all Hollywood Pantages.

Michael Jackson You are Not Alone music video

Michael Jackson sings his heart out on the stage inside the theatre. The beautiful ceiling serves as his background.

 

The Blue Ceiling and Beyond

There are a few things The Hollywood Pantages is known for. The beautiful Art Deco architecture, the glowing chandeliers, our dazzling marquee, and of course our wonderful shows. There is one other thing about us that is simply unique. Beyond the chandelier and the scrolling ceiling facade is the beautiful sprawling blue ceiling. Check out the photos below as we venture into “Howard’s Hideaway” to see the blue ceiling up close.

Howard's Hideaway

Howard Nugent Master Electrician at the Hollywood Pantages takes us into his “Hideaway” above the scrolling ceiling facade.

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Blue light glows above the theatre as we peer through the ceiling facade to the mezzanine seats below.

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The chandelier is visible hanging over the seats of the mezzanine from above the ceiling facade.

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Blue gels are used to create the blue ceiling effect.

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Howard Nugent explains how the blue gels work to create blue ceiling effect.

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The Nederlander “N” is visible from our location above the scrolling ceiling facade

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Above the stage looking at the proscenium.

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