Letters to the editor

letters to the editor

The History Project

I enjoyed reading Marge Romans’ interview with Bob Schiller [ED November 99]; however, Bob was incorrect on some points. Kook and the Levy brothers did not buy Display Stage Lighting. Kook and Joe Levy worked for Display. After Mr. Price (Edison Price’s father) died, they continued to work for Display. A few months later, they formed Century Lighting and left Display Stage Lighting in 1929.

The other point is that Joe Levy (a good engineer and production man) did not invent the Leko (Levy and Kook). The optics for the ellipsoidal reflector spotlight was developed by a GE engineer named Frank Benford in 1923. The major lamp companies (GE and Westinghouse) could not make a lamp with a concentrated enough filament and a glass envelope that could take the heat until some time in the 30s. Then, Century and Kliegl both developed their ellipsoidal reflector spotlights. Kliegl called its the Klieglite; Century called its the Lekolite. The Century ellipsoidals were designed by Stanley McCandless and E.B. Kirk, who was an engineer and lighting designer. The deal that Kook worked out with Rodgers and Hammerstein did not happen until sometime later in the history of Century.

Sonny Sonnenfeld ETC

Editor’s Note: Thanks for your input, Sonny. We’d like to point out that the ongoing History of Theatrical Lighting Project consists of first-person accounts of the industry as seen by those who lived it. While we will always try to verify the stories told by the participants, complete accuracy will not always be possible with such personal accounts, and certain liberties, lapses, and inaccuracies must be forgiven.

Assistance on Assistants

As an avid ED reader, I would like to congratulate and thank Davi Napoleon for the excellent article on design assistants in the November issue. I found it particularly insightful from the point of view of professional designers and thought it quite interesting that there are as many variances in designer-assistant relationships as there are designers.

Yet, I could not help but feel that the surface had but been scratched on the subject. For example, all of the esteemed designers interviewed undoubtedly spent several years assisting, and how did that period of their development shape them as designers? And how did their experiences as assistants shape how they relate to their own assistants? From the flip side, I would love to have heard more from the assistants. I also wonder about the differences in assisting an established designer as opposed to assisting at a regional theatre (as I do). I know that my job at Actors Theatre of Louisville differs greatly from that at other major regional theatres, much less assisting a free-lance designer out of New York.

I don’t mean to sound critical of Ms. Napoleon’s article. On the contrary, I found it extremely informative and intelligently written. Still, I feel that it perhaps may serve as a springboard to some even more interesting topics, and that it is a subject of sufficient weight to warrant further exploration in the pages of ED.

Tom Burch Actors Theatre of Louisville

Stage Door Entry

We here at Temescal Canyon High School, Lake Elsinore, CA, in the Riverside county school system, are very proud of our set for Stage Door.

This production is for the advanced drama class at our school, taught by Renee Hambleton. It was performed December 3, 4, 10, and 11. The director of our stage-craft class is Ernie Arnold. Our set designer is Scott King.

Our manager, Mr. Scott King, was wondering if there was any way to put this picture in your magazine to show what a high school can do.

Andrew Nagy

Editor’s Note: You should be proud of your work, Andrew, and we are happy to print your photo (above). This looks better than some of the stuff we’ve seen on Broadway lately!

Seattle Sound Man

An apology in advance: This is an incredibly belated letter, coming at the tail end of one of A Contemporary Theatre’s most successful–and subsequently most hectic–mainstage seasons. But now that we’re all catching our breath, we’re also catching up on our reading with a backlog of magazines. And oops, I’m afraid I have to point out a mistake in your October 1999 issue.

At the time that ED contacted me for the list of designers in our upcoming production of Side Man (for inclusion in the “What’s Doing Out West” box on page 40 in the issue), we were still in the preliminary stage of confirming designers. We had tentatively penciled in Beth Berkeley as sound designer, and her name is what I–unfortunately inaccurately–provided. Ms. Berkeley ended up working on Grand Hotel around the corner at the Fifth Avenue Theatre, and the brilliant layered jazz sound design for ACT’s production of Side Man was created by the very talented Eric Chappelle. Mr. Chappelle is currently responsible for chiming bells, dragging chains, peals of thunder, and bringing four ghosts to howling, moaning life in our production of A Christmas Carol.

Gary D. Tucker A Contemporary Theatre (ACT)

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