Inside the Museum of Broadway’s “Making of a Broadway Show” Exhibit – The Hollywood Reporter

“Making of a Broadway Show” is the last stop at the newly opened Museum of Broadway, but its contents and design are key to understanding the intimate and complex human realities — and possibilities — behind all the floors above it.

“You go to the show and see this show, and it’s a lot of people’s blood, sweat and tears. A show takes years to get to Broadway, sometimes. It wasn’t even on my radar growing up. I didn’t know I didn’t have to be an actor,” Tony-winning producer and museum co-founder Julie Boardman says of the show’s inspiration. “But the whole world opens up to you in this. You walk through this stage door and learn about these different people’s jobs. You’ll learn how the show works from a blank page.

According to longtime friends Boardman and co-founder Diane Nicoletti (who has two decades of experience producing brand activations and fan experiences like the Super Bowl, Comic-Con and SXSW), it will hopefully inform and inspire those interested in theater to consider the often less visible avenues.

From left: A rendering of the Museum of Broadway’s “The Making of a Broadway Show” exhibit and the sound and lighting design department in the finished section.

Courtesy of Rockwell Group; Abbey White

“We interviewed 130 people who work on Broadway in the trenches,” says Boardman, describing the downstairs experience of the museum, which is “community-built” and features more than 300 contributors. “You’ll learn what they do and how they got their start — what inspires them — and some words and advice for people who want to get into the field.”

Part of a larger four-story, 26,000-square-foot self-guided museum at 145 W. 45th St. (in the middle of Time Square and next to the oldest continuously operating theater, the Lyceum), the “Making of Broadway Show” exhibit traces the creative machinery behind the Great White Way production. Each and every aspect of the stage is respected.

A rendering of the costume and makeup section of the Museum of Broadway’s “The Making of a Broadway Show” exhibit.

Courtesy of The Rockwell Group

Departments devoted to dramaturgy, direction, choreography, costume and make-up, music, scenic design, props, lighting projection and sound, stagehands and stage management showcase the actual work that has brought plays and musicals to life on Broadway stages for decades. Hadestown to Hair spray.

Exhibited in the visual design category of

Exhibited in the scenic design section of the show “Making of a Broadway Show”.

Abbey White

Stops dedicated to theatrical photographers like Joan Marcus, who have captured productions for decades, and advertising and PR people, like Matt Polk, who market them. Between those casting calls, ladders and lightboards, visitors can interact with elements of the production process. That includes a path that literally moves you from the backstage to the stage, where you can see inside the house of various Broadway theaters.

Museum guests can hear directly from the people who worked on every stage of the production experience, with contributions from such notables as writer Lynn Nottage, actresses Ali Stroker, Chita Rivera and Lachanze, multihyphenate Lin-Manuel Miranda, costume designer Linda Cho, projectionist. Designer Peter Nigrini, director and choreographer Jerry Mitchell and more.

The Lifecycle of a Broadway Show on the Wall at the Museum of Broadway

“The Lifecycle of a Broadway Show” wall at the Broadway Museum.

Abbey White

And not just through audio or video elements. A word written at the show’s final stop, “The Lifecycle of a Broadway Show,” is a wall where members of the Broadway community describe how a show moves from its early stages of writing to life beyond the Great White Way.

From the classic dressing room makeup mirror to the rehearsal room dance bars to the writer’s chair, Boardman & Nicoletti’s design vision turned to Tony-winning scenic designer and award-winning architect and Rockwell Group founder David Rockwell. According to Boardman and Nicoletti, the three have been working together since the museum’s initial conception, which dates back to 2017.

“David has the unique talent of being an architect and a Broadway designer, so he was the person we went to early on to even pitch the museum concept,” Nicoletti says. “He really enjoyed the idea of ​​highlighting all the behind-the-scenes talent because he’s part of that community.”

Call Board in Stage Management Department of

Part of the stage management section of the show “Making of a Broadway Show”.

Assisted by the designer and his Rockwell team (Daniel Marino, Andrew Lazaro, Eda Yetim, Furqan Javed, Alex Huffman and Antonio Harris), along with decorator and props supervisor Faye Arman-Troncoso, video director and editor Nolan Doran, and assistant editor Carl Sonnenberg. Design not only what occupies that space, but how visitors navigate it.

“The Making of a Broadway Show,” like much of Rockwell’s work, was inspired by his childhood, growing up as a choreographer for a mother who started small community theaters in “private, isolated US suburbs” before moving the family to Mexico. , where he says his interest in “how space can create a real-time community” grew.

“My interest in storytelling and my real interest in design is how it connects people, the people who make and receive it, in theaters, restaurants, hotels and airports,” said Rockwell, who first began his career as an architect. Engaged in stage design in the late 80s, shares. “And how I have an incredible outsider’s admiration [theater] It is an insider’s view of how things are done now and in the world.

Experience the stage at the Museum of Broadway "The Making of a Broadway Show" performance

Experience the stage at the Museum of Broadway’s “The Making of a Broadway Show.”

Abbey White

The experience with duality is likely why the exhibition, described by the designer and architect as “a long-form expression of a highly non-linear process”, is dynamic. Visitors enter the space via a set of stairs, where they are “surrounded by a world of posters and artwork” — a space that Rockwell says is reminiscent of the Great Wall on Shubert Alley — before entering through a stage door. It’s an environment the show designers wanted to feel like a real backstage cramped space.

“There’s a behind-the-scenes part of our work — design and performance — that completely overlaps, and that’s compression,” he says. “When you’re behind the scenes, you can’t believe how compressed everything is and in some cases the backstage choreography is more interesting than what’s going on up front because we’re seeing all these changes and movements.”

Designs promotional material from various Broadway shows in the show's marketing, press and advertising department.

Designs promotional material from various Broadway shows in the show’s marketing, press and advertising department.

Abbey White

As a result of the show’s size and its focus, Rockwell constructed realistic movements within artificial backdrops. “When I started as an architect in New York, most of the places I got to work on were upstairs or downstairs because that’s where people could afford to put a restaurant or a club,” he explains. “Working in the past, you understand how important it is to move things, to move people. So we have the same graphics on the floor, which are platform signs that help guide people. We are using many tools that are used behind the scenes to encourage the order in which things should be viewed.

One can wind their way through the behind-the-scenes technical aspects like the call board and the early stages of production – think script and music writing – before getting to the actual stage. But it is at this point that Rockwell’s design takes its most interesting navigational turn. After snapping a photo stage center next to the famous ghost lighting, guests turn to another behind-the-scenes look, where their work is embodied through literal set production equipment, makeup techniques, marketing designs and more. stage

A wall featuring lyrics and compositions from various Broadway shows, including Wicked in the

A wall featuring lyrics and compositions from various Broadway shows including evil In the “Making of a Broadway Show” performance.

Abbey White

“In an area dedicated to playwrights, we have people’s handwritten notes in their process, figuring out what becomes a song or words. We have a chair filled with these incredible lyrics,” says Boardman. “There’s a moment. Beetle juice Where you see how the production works to transform this one moment in the show. And you can see how a model is actually constructed and the crafting and beading that goes into all the different costumes.

For Rockwell, it’s captured in moments that pay homage to Robin Wagner’s model Dream GirlsLight plots A chorus line or handwritten notes and mark-up diagrams A curious incident of the dog during the night And A street car named DesireThat makes for some special moments of the show.

“There’s a place where you can take a photograph of yourself looking into a house – a projection of the inside of a theatre. The borders overhead were painted by Joe Forbes, and if you look up, it shows the steps he uses to create a beautiful drop. “The one that’s close to you is a lot of detail, and if you go too stage, it breaks up the process,” Rockwell explains. “He painted everybody’s beautiful backgrounds, but no one asked him to paint his own.”

A rendering of the 'Your Moment on Stage' experience "Making a Broadway show" performance

A rendering of the ‘Your Moment on Stage’ experience in the “Making of a Broadway Show” performance.

Courtesy of The Rockwell Group

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