Tag Archives: Ryan Scott Oliver

Summer 2011: Pasadena Musical Theatre

Ryan Scott Oliver, PMTP‘s creative director, wrote a brand new musical for the students who participated in the Summer 2011 session of the Pasadena Musical Theatre Program. I am a member of the board of directors of this fantastic program. We now have a partnership with the Pasadena Playhouse, and are looking to expand even further into the community.

But back to the musical, Jasper in Deadland. I filmed a bunch of the shows and rehearsals, and mixed the live sound off-the-board for this recording. It gives a good glimpse of what the students got to experience over the summer: originating roles in a fantastic new musical, and getting to work with musical theatre professionals — directors, choreographers, lighting and sound and costume and set designers, etc.

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Summer Musical Theatre Fun

So I’m on the board of the Pasadena Musical Theatre program, and we get to do all sorts of fun and cool stuff. In addition to year-round programs, we put on two big musicals every summer — one for 4th-6th graders, and one for 7th-12 graders. So here’s what I get to do:

ADVERTISING DESIGN

All postcards and posters and such are developed by me, in concert with the directors. Here is the keyart for the two shows this summer:

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The Jasper in Deadland keyart was developed with strong direction from the composer/conductor, Ryan Scott Oliver, because this is his baby. I’m very excited to be helping him bring this original musical to life.

PRODUCT & BRAND DESIGN

As part of the story for Jasper in Deadland, the protagonist crosses the river Lethe (get out your mythology books!) and keeps getting offered Lethe™ Brand water, so we decided that we needed to offer Lethe™ Brand products as well.

It’s a clever, simple brand, but people are loving it, and I expect that we’ll see tote bags and water bottles with this logo all around campus in a week or two…

VIDEO

I have found a way to use the Canon 7D for quick, news-gathering-style video: 1) simply accept the limitations of the on-board microphone, and 2) stop the iris down a little so things don’t go out of focus so quickly. And so, every day of the program, we have posted a 2-minute recap, showing warmups, rehearsals, discussions, and antics of the kids in the program. It’s a win-win for the families in the program: parents get to see what’s going on, students get to show their day off to their friends, and PMTP gets added exposure through the hundreds of views we have gotten on Youtube. Here are two of the most popular recaps so far:

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Filming these giving me a chance to understand how to choose shots quickly and follow the action. Everything is handheld except for performance video.

IN OTHER NEWS

Tomorrow (I hope) I’m going to roll out a press release announcing one of the newest projects that I have been working on. We’re very proud of the design work that Hearken Creative is doing these days, and I can’t wait to update my portfolio. It’s just a busy time of year for us!

What Hearken Creative did this summer, Part 2

Did I mention we were busy this summer? (By the way, my son is the one in the yellow cap above…playing the nerd. Perfect casting.)(Oh, and the fantastic photos of this summer’s shows were taken by New York-based pro photographer Matthew Murphy. He got some incredible shots.)

The Pasadena Musical Theatre Program is a decades-old training program for kids in Pasadena, CA. But I would call this a kid’s program on steroids, or, better, a pro theatre program that just happens to have kids as its focus. But this summer we held a master class with Megan Hilty of Wicked fame, held a class entitled Pursuing a Career in Musical Theatre, and did a American Idol-style solo competition, in addition to the two main shows that are produced every summer. Ryan Scott Oliver (award-winning musical composer), Cindy Abbott (wonderfully dedicated Pasadena music teacher), and Emily Clark (fabulous musical theatre performer and teacher) have transformed this program into a powerhouse that trains over 125 students every summer.

So what did Hearken Creative do? Well, for starters, I joined the board of the program last summer, because funding for arts has dried up with local school districts and I feel strongly about arts education. So, on our own, we have raised somewhere in the range of $50,000 every summer to make the program happen. In addition, Hearken Creative

  • provided all design services for print media, programs, and press releases,
  • photographed the Megan Hilty master class,
  • filmed the Promise Competition,
  • ran sound for all events, including the master class, meetings and competitions, and
  • sound designed both major shows — the Juniors (4th-6th graders) and the Seniors (7th-12th grade) shows.

Essentially, this was two weeks of wrangling a high school auditorium (that a friend aptly called an “airplane hangar”) into submission, using Hearken Creative-provided equipment, rented equipment, and the high school’s 40-year-old 24-channel mixer, as well as my own 16-channel digital mixer. Twenty wireless body mics, plus choir mics and band sound reinforcement.

And boy, did it sound good! We don’t have the professionally-produced video from KLRN yet, but several people have posted their home videos already. Here’s one:

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and my son singing a solo at the Promise Competition:

The purpose of the program is twofold: first, arts education is vital to a well-rounded education, and music/dance hits so many of the other disciplines — math, reasoning, spatial relationships — that it seems stupid the schools are cutting performing arts. Secondly, there is an erroneous meme out there that there are no viable career options in performing arts. We aim to change that perception.

By using Hearken Creative’s graphic design skills, our production and sound design skills, as well as our music background and fundraising acumen, we were able to help make this summer’s Pasadena Musical Theatre Program a complete success.