orchestral design


Congratulations to the cast and crew of Natasha, Pierre & the Great Comet of 1812 on their 12 Tony nominations! The nominations include:

  • Best Musical
  • Best Leading Actress in a Musical - Denée Benton
  • Best Leading Actor in a Musical - Josh Groban
  • Best Featured Actor in a Musical - Lucas Steele
  • Best Choreography - Sam Pinkleton
  • Best Scenic Design of a Musical - Mimi Lien
  • Best Costume Design of a Musical - Paloma Young
  • Best Book - Dave Malloy
  • Best Score - Dave Malloy
  • Best Direction of a Musical - Rachel Chavkin
  • Best Orchestrations - Dave Malloy
  • Best Lighting Design of a Musical - Bradley King

Thinks about all the little make-the-wolf-statues’-eyes-glow puzzles Solas set up for the Inquisitor to solve in Trespasser - (that one where you light the Veilfire torches in front of the god statues in the order a riddle says, the one where you light the torch that Fen'Harel is looking at to reveal a secret passage, the one where the Fen'Harel statue turns when you aren’t looking, the one where you light the torches under a time limit, etc etc)

Some of them even give you special, excellent weapons for solving them - Solas created these little puzzles, and put those weapons in the boxes as rewards in case you put in the effort to engage with them and solve them. (I got emotional when my Lavellan equipped the Arrowwood Bow he gave her)

It’s like the Inquisitor is always rewarded for the most negligible efforts of engaging with or humoring Solas. Talking and listening to him like an equal, doing his little puzzles… just do these minimum things, and he’ll give you information and good weapons to fight him with. He’s genuinely arming you, while rewarding you the more you humor him.

So in conclusion 1) Solas gives moderately engaged Inquisitors weapons 2) Solas likes to communicate through little puzzles 3) Solas would probably make a great Dungeon Master

brain: don’t get your hopes up about nominations tuesday
me: if bandstand doesn’t at least get choreo, best actress, lighting design, and orchestration nominations i’ll burn the american theatre wing down


Bronies React: Season 4 Finale



Also called high or ritual magick, ceremonial magick evolved out of the teachings of early mystery schools in various parts of the world. Its practitioners are more likely to describe themselves as magicians than as witches. The Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, an organization that formed in the latter part of the nineteenth century as a secret society, has greatly influenced this type of magick and its practice today. The group’s philosophy is founded on the Hebrew Qabalah and the doctrines of Hermes Trismegistus, and draws upon the belief systems of the Freemasons, Rosicrucians, Gnostics, and others.

More formalized and intellectualized than Wicca and other Pagan spiritual paths, ceremonial magick involves study of the Qabalah, astrology, alchemy, tarot, and many other subjects. It emphasizes the use of ritual and ceremony, along with mental training, to facilitate spiritual enlightenment, healing, extrasensory powers, and understanding of the cosmic order. Carl Weschcke, president of the publishing company Llewellyn Worldwide, has called this field of magick “spiritual technology.” Indeed, if you have a fondness for highly developed systems, this path might be for you.

Why engage in complicated and sometimes lengthy rituals? Rituals focus the mind and transport you from the everyday world into a magickal one— that’s a key reason for enacting them. Rituals rely on symbolic associations that the magician’s senses and subconscious mind intuitively understand. Gestures, diagrams, postures, words, images, sounds, scents, and colors all play symbolic roles in magick rituals and ceremonies.

Ritual magick often involves elaborate and carefully orchestrated practices that are designed for various purposes. Purification rituals, for instance, cleanse the mind, body, and energy field. Protection rituals define sacred space and prevent unwanted influences from interfering. The rituals themselves are magickal acts.


—Skye Alexander, The Modern Guide to Witchcraft: Your Complete Guide to Witches, Covens, and Spells


This Guy’s 30 Best Musicals of All Time

With the Tony Awards tomorrow night and Hamilton Fever coming out everyone’s ass, including myself, I wanted to do the Internet’s favorite things and rank my picks for the 30 best musicals of all time. Of course, this is subjective, it’s tainted by my taste at every juncture, and there’s significantly more Sondheim on here than Andrew Lloyd Webber. And of course, this is based on the shows as they exist on the stage, not their hit-or-miss film counterparts. Have at it.

30. RENT (1996)

Writers: Jonathan Larson (Book, music, lyrics)
Director: Michael Greif
Most Famous Song: “Seasons of Love”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Yes.
The Plot: A group of twenty-something’s avoid responsibility until AIDS happens.
Why it’s great: Fuck the flaws, amazing songs, makes you cry.
Tony Awards: 10 nominations, 4 wins (Best Musical, Book, Original Score, Featured Actor: Wilson Jermaine-Heredia as Angel)


Writers: Burt Shevelove & Larry Gelbart (Book), Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics)
Director: George Abbott
Most Famous Song: “Comedy Tonight”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Yes and no.
The Plot: A slave tries to win his freedom by hooking his master up with a prostitute.
Why it’s great: Funniest book of a musical ever.
Tony Awards: 8 nominations, 6 wins (Best Musical, Book, Actor: Zero Mostel as Pseudolus, Featured Actor: Jack Gilford as Hysterium, Direction, Producer)

28. LES MISERABLES (1987 Broadway)

Writers: Claude-Michel Schonberg (Music, Book in French), Alain Boublil (Lyrics, Book in French), Herbert Kretzmer (English lyrics)
Director: John Caird & Trevor Nunn
Most Famous Song: “I Dreamed a Dream”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Yes.
The Plot: A man learns the hard way to never steal a loaf of bread.
Why it’s great: You’ve now got “I Dreamed a Dream” stuck in your head and that’s reason enough.
Tony Awards: 12 nominations, 8 wins (Best Musical, Book, Original Score, Featured Actor: Michael Maguire as Enjolras, Featured Actress: Frances Ruffelle as Eponine, Direction, Scenic Design, Lighting Design)

27. DREAMGIRLS (1981)

Writers: Henry Krieger (Music), Tom Eyen (Book & Lyrics)
Director: Michael Bennett
Most Famous Song: “And I Am Telling You I’m Not Going”
Is there a movie: Yes
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: Not-so-veiled backstage musical about The Supremes that makes the Barry Gordy character look hella bad.
Why it’s great: Jennifer Holiday. Michael Bennett. Nuff said.
Tony Awards: 13 nominations, 6 wins (Book, Lead Actor: Ben Harney as Curtis Taylor Jr., Lead Actress: Jennifer Holliday as Effie White, Featured Actor: Cleavant Derricks as James “Thunder” Early, Choreography, Lighting Design)

26. ASSASSINS (1990)

Writers: Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics), John Weidman (Book)
Director: Jerry Zaks
Most Famous Song: “Everybody’s Got the Right”
Is there a movie: No.
The Plot: The men and women who attempted to assassinate the President of the United States (successfully or not) sing and dance about why they did it.
Why it’s great: It succeeds way, way, way, way more than it should.
Tony Awards: Off-Broadway, but the 2004 revival got 7 nominations and 5 wins (Best Musical Revival, Featured Actor: Michael Cerveris as John Wilkes Booth, Direction, Orchestrations, Lighting Design)

25. FOLLIES (1971)

Writers: Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics), James Goldman (Book)
Director: Harold Prince & Michael Bennett
Most Famous Song: “Losing My Mind”
Is there a movie: No.
The Plot: A bunch of former Follies girls and their husbands get together for the most depressing reunion ever.
Why it’s great: Reminder that musicals can crush your soul just like Edward Albee, but unlike Edward Albee they can be fabulous while doing it.
Tony Awards: 11 nominations, 7 wins (Score, Leading Actress: Alexis Smith as Phyllis, Direction, Choreography, Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design)


Writers: Stew (Book, Music & Lyrics), Heidi Rodewald (Music)
Director: Annie Dorsen
Most Famous Song: “Keys/ It’s All Right”
Is there a movie: Spike Lee filmed the show.
Does it blow: Hell no.
The Plot: A young kid from South-Central LA tries to find himself while a fat sweaty guy sings amazing rock songs.
Why it’s great: Super powerful, amazing score. Least lame musical ever. Stew needs to write another one ASAP.
Tony Awards: 7 nominations, 1 win (Book)

23. HAIRSPRAY (2002)

Writers: Marc Shaiman (Music & Lyrics), Scott Wittman (Lyrics), Mark O'Donnell & Thomas Meehan (Book)
Director: Jack O'Brien
Most Famous Song: “You Can’t Stop the Beat”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: A fat girl becomes the world’s first fierce dancer-slash-civil rights activist.
Why it’s great: Best possible version of the bubble-gum musical, with a surprising amount of emotional depth.
Tony Awards: 12 nominations, 8 wins (Best Musical, Original Score, Direction, Book, Leading Actor: Harvey Fierstein as Edna Turnblad, Leading Actress: Marissa Jaret Winokur as Tracy Turnblad, Featured Actor: Dick Latessa as Wilbur Turnblad, Costume Design)


Writers: Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics), James Lapine (Book)
Director: James Lapine
Most Famous Song: “Sunday”
Is there a movie: The show was filmed.
Does it blow: Nope.
The Plot: Dude totally ruins pretty much everything in his life, but paints a pretty baller picture.
Why it’s great: Sondheim’s most personal. Completely beautiful.
Tony Awards: 10 nominations, 2 wins (Scenic Design, Lighting Design)

21. HAIR (1968)

Writers: Galt MacDermot (Music), James Rado & Gerome Ragni (Book & Lyrics)
Director: Tom O'Horgan
Most Famous Song: “Aquarius/ Let the Sunshine In”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: I kinda love it.
The Plot: Don’t ask.
Why it’s great: Groundbreaking on so many levels, revitalized the musical, and you can still jam out to it.
Tony Awards: 2 nominations, 0 wins

20. MY FAIR LADY (1956)

Writers: Alan Jay Lerner (Book & Lyrics), Frederick Loewe (Music)
Director: Moss Hart
Most Famous Song: “I Could Have Danced All Night”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: Flower girl gets turned into a lady by a prissy British guy who regularly misplaces his slippers.
Why it’s great: Great conflict, great roles, great Cinderella story, great score.
Tony Awards: 10 nominations, 6 wins (Best Musical, Actor: Rex Harrison as Henry Higgins, Direction, Scenic Design, Costume Design, Conductor & Musical Director)

19. MAN OF LA MANCHA (1965)

Writers: Mitch Leigh (Music), Joe Darion (Lyrics), Dale Wasserman (Book)
Director: Albert Marre
Most Famous Song: “The Impossible Dream (The Quest)”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Does it ever.
The Plot: Crazy dude in jail puts on a play about another crazy dude to prove his innocence. Still gets executed.
Why it’s great: Possibly best “triumph of the human spirit” musical. Makes you laugh, makes you cry.
Tony Awards: 7 nominations, 5 wins (Best Musical, Actor: Richard Kiley as Cervantes/ Don Quixote, Direction, Original Score, Scenic Design)

18. THE PRODUCERS (2001)

Writers: Mel Brooks (Book, Music & Lyrics), Thomas Meehan (Book)
Director: Susan Stroman
Most Famous Song: “Springtime For Hitler”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Yes.
The Plot: Two guys swindle old ladies, objectify their secretary, and put on a musical about Hitler, and yet they are still lovable.
Why it’s great: I love Mel Brooks. Mel Brooks loves Mel Brooks. Enough that he cannibalized a Mel Brooks movie into a Mel Brooks musical, and it’s perfect (albeit largely thanks to that original cast, yes).
Tony Awards: 15 nominations, 12 wins (Best Musical, Book, Original Score, Actor: Nathan Lane as Max Bialystock, Featured Actor: Gary Beach as Roger DeBris, Featured Actress: Cady Huffman as Ulla, Direction, Choreography, Orchestrations, Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design)

17. A CHORUS LINE (1975)

Writers: Marvin Hamlisch (Music), Edward Kleban (Lyrics), James Kirkwood, Jr. & Nicholas Dante (Book)
Director: Michael Bennett
Most Famous Song: “What I Did For Love”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Yes.
The Plot: Dancers make pretty stage pictures and monologue about really depressing aspects of their lives.
Why it’s great: Michael Bennett.
Tony Awards: 12 nominations, 9 wins (Best Musical, Book, Actress: Donna McKechnie, Featured Actor: Sammy Williams, Featured Actress: Kelly Bishop, Original Score, Direction, Choreography, Lighting Design)

16. INTO THE WOODS (1987)

Writers: Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics), James Lapine (Book)
Director: James Lapine
Most Famous Song: “No One is Alone”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Nah.
The Plot: A bunch of fairy tale characters get together and fuck up each others’ lives.
Why it’s great: Super fun, until it’s not. Then it has some really powerful things to say about responsibility and perspective.
Tony Awards: 10 nominations, 3 wins (Original Score, Book, Actress: Joanna Gleason as Baker’s Wife)

15. AVENUE Q (2003)

Writers: Robert Lopez & Jeff Marx (Music & Lyrics), Jeff Whitty (Book)
Director: Jason Moore
Most Famous Song: “It Sucks to Be Me”
Is there a movie: No.
The Plot: Muppets graduate college, their lives suck, then they die.
Why it’s great: So funny, so real, and remarkably original.
Tony Awards: 6 nominations, 3 wins (Best Musical, Book, Original Score)

14. CABARET (1966)

Writers: John Kander (Music), Fred Ebb (Music), Joe Masteroff (Book)
Director: Hal Prince
Most Famous Song: “Cabaret”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: The Nazis come to power while Joel Grey looks the other way and sings fun songs.
Why it’s great: Brilliant concept (Hal Prince wouldn’t go full concept musical till Company, but still) and still powerful and relevant today
Tony Awards: 11 nominations, 8 wins (Best Musical, Original Score, Featured Actor: Joel Grey as Emcee, Featured Actress: Peg Murray as Fraulein Kost, Direction, Choreography, Scenic Design, Costume Design)


Writers: Greg Kotis (Book & Lyrics), Mark Hollmann (Music & Lyrics)
Director: John Rando
Most Famous Song: “Run, Freedom, Run!”
Is there a movie: No.
The Plot: Rebels attempt to overthrow a totalitarian state where they have to pay to pee.
Why it’s great: It shouldn’t work, but it does. One of the most original musicals ever - funny, insightful, with a great score.
Tony Awards: 10 nominations, 3 wins (Original Score, Book, Direction)


Writers: John Cameron Mitchell (Book), Stephen Trask (Music & Lyrics)
Director: Peter Askin
Most Famous Song: “The Origin of Love”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: The glam rock star and victim of a botched sex-change operation Hedwig tells jokes, sings songs, and experiences general catharsis.
Why it’s great: Perhaps the only TRUE rock score for a musical (Passing Strange as well, probably), every song is great, every joke is hilarious, and the end is super cathartic.
Tony Awards: Off-Broadway, but the 2014 revival was nominated for 8 and won 4 (Best Revival of a Musical, Actor: Neil Patrick Harris as Hedwig, Featured Actress: Lena Hall as Yitzhak, Lighting Design)

11. CAROUSEL (1945)

Writers: Richard Rodgers (Music), Oscar Hammerstein III (Book & Lyrics)
Director: Rouben Mamoulian
Most Famous Song: “You’ll Never Walk Alone”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Nah.
The Plot: The relationship between a carnival barker and a millworker proves that domestic abuse is a-okay, provided the carnival barker’s ghost comes up to you after he’s committed suicide and tells you he loves you.
Why it’s great: As Sondheim puts it, “Oklahoma! is about a picnic, Carousel is about life and death.” Groundbreaking, and probably most responsible for proving musical theater can deal with as serious topics as drama.
Tony Awards: They didn’t exist.


Writers: Trey Parker, Robert Lopez & Matt Stone (Book, Music & Lyrics)
Director: Casey Nicholaw
Most Famous Song: “I Believe”
Is there a movie: No.
The Plot: Optimistic white saviors don’t know what the fuck they’re doing.
Why it’s great: Funniest musical in years, with a shocking amount of a heart and a beautiful message about faith
Tony Awards: 14 nominations, 9 wins (Best Musical, Book, Original Score, Featured Actress: Nikki M. James as Nabulungi, Direction, Scenic Design, Lighting Design, Sound Design)


Writers: Howard Ashman (Book & Lyrics), Alan Menken (Music)
Director: Howard Ashman
Most Famous Song: “Suddenly, Seymour”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: An experimental botanist bleeds himself out to get with a drag queen.
Why it’s great: Master-class in economy, legendary score, wacky concept realized brilliantly and with utmost sincerity
Tony Awards: Off-Broadway

8. COMPANY (1970)

Writers: Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics), George Furth (Book)
Director: Hal Prince
Most Famous Song: “Being Alive”
Is there a movie: No.
The Plot: Dude plays third wheel for two and a half hours until Elaine Stritch hits on him.
Why it’s great: Prince-Sondheim pinnacle. RIP Elaine Stritch.
Tony Awards: 14 nominations, 6 wins (Best Musical, Book, Music, Lyrics, Direction, Scenic Design)

7. HAMILTON (2015)

Writers: Lin-Manuel Miranda (Book, Music & Lyrics)
Director: Thomas Kail
Most Famous Song: “My Shot”
Is there a movie: No.
The Plot: Dude goes on for three hours about not throwing away his shot and then literally does.
Why it’s great: Too soon and too high on the list? The amount of people I know who are hardly interested in theater but know FAR TOO MUCH about Hamilton is staggering.
Tony Awards: 16 nominations, 11 wins (Best Musical, Original Score, Book, Direction, Actor: Leslie Odom, Jr. as Aaron Burr, Featured Actor: Daveed Diggs as Lafayette/ Thomas Jefferson, Featured Actress: Renee Elise Goldsberry as Angelica, Choreography, Lighting Design, Costume Design, Orchestrations)


Writers: Richard Rodgers (Music), Oscar Hammerstein II (Book & Lyrics), Joshua Logan (Book)
Director: Joshua Logan
Most Famous Song: “Some Enchanted Evening”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: White people realize how racist they are amid gorgeous scenery.
Why it’s great: Rodgers & Hammerstein’s best, along with their richest score.
Tony Awards: 10 wins (Best Musical, Actor: Ezio Pinza as Emile, Actress: Mary Martin as Nellie, Myron McCormick as Billis, Juanita Hall as Bloody Mary, Direction, Book, Original Score)


Writers: Stephen Sondheim (Music & Lyrics), Hugh Wheeler (Book)
Director: Hal Prince
Most Famous Song: I guess it’s probably “Johanna,” although I’d go “A Little Priest”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: I like it.
The Plot: Pretty much an episode of Jerry Springer with songs.
Why it’s great: Expertly-plotted, with Sondheim’s best score, and creates tension in a way that’s never been matched in a musical.
Tony Awards: 9 nominations, 8 wins (Best Musical, Book, Original Score, Actor: Len Cariou as Todd, Actress: Angela Lansbury as Mrs. Lovett, Direction, Scenic Design)


Writers: Jerry Bock (Music), Sheldon Harnick (Lyrics), Joseph Stein (Book)
Director: Jerome Robbins
Most Famous Song: “If I Were a Rich Man”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: Milkman is totally chill until daughters fuck with his vibe.
Why it’s great: Erase from your mind all the high school productions with 14-year-old boys wearing fake beard as Tevye and search your feelings. You know it to be true.
Tony Awards: 10 nominations, 9 wins (Best Musical, Original Score, Book, Direction, Choreography, Actor: Zero Mostel as Tevye, Actress: Maria Karnilova as Golde, Producer, Costume Design)

3. GUYS & DOLLS (1950)

Writers: Frank Loesser (Music & Lyrics), Jo Swerling & Abe Burrows (Book)
Director: George S. Kaufman
Most Famous Song: “Luck Be a Lady”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: Basically Pretty in Pink with gangsters.
Why it’s great: It’s literally so perfect, even high schools can’t fuck it up.
Tony Awards: 5 nominations, 5 wins (Best Musical, Actor: Robert Alda as Sky Masterson, Featured Actress: Isabel Bigley as Sarah Brown, Choreography, Direction)

2. GYPSY (1959)

Writers: Jule Styne (Music), Stephen Sondheim (Lyrics), Arthur Laurents (Book)
Director: Jerome Robbins
Most Famous Song: “Everything’s Coming Up Roses”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: Let’s just say they have yet to really nail this one.
The Plot: It takes a woman all her adult life to realize she’s probably a sociopath.
Why it’s great: Best book of a musical ever, alternately funny and devastating, and psychologically-compelling, featuring the incomparable role of Mama Rose and the greatest climax in musical theater history.
Tony Awards: 8 nominations, 0 wins


Writers: Leonard Bernstein (Music), Stephen Sondheim (Lyrics), Arthur Laurents (Book)
Director: Jerome Robbins
Most Famous Song: “Tonight”
Is there a movie: Yes.
Does it blow: No.
The Plot: Two lovers’ tragic romance stops rival gangs from dancing at each other.
Why it’s great: If musical theater really is the alchemy of drama, music, and dance, then you can’t really get much better than this. The combined talents of some of the greatest in the medium make it impossible to pinpoint its greatest asset, whether it’s the pitch-perfect score, legendary choreography, or stirring emotions it conjures from beginning to end.
Tony Awards: 6 nominations, 2 wins (Choreography, Scenic Design)

Agree? Disagree? Call me, beep me, if you wanna fight me.





paris is the strangest city i’ve ever been in i’ve never lived somewhere for a month and not known it even a little. paris felt like a perfectly constructed lie or a theatre piece that had its belly up at me but i still couldn’t understand it. you can think you’ve started to get at the “real” city but then you realize: so does everyone else and that’s why they came here, you can stand somewhere high up and see how it has been built planned orchestrated and designed so you can hand over something and have an “experience.” authenticity will elude you and the guilt of how “authentic” your experience was will chase you long after. the strangest thing of all is how happy you’ll feel anyways and how powerful it is to sink comfortably back in to what is comprehensible, what signifies as a “good” experience: it was the experience you expected to have in the first place, and so you had it. 

Jonathan Groff scores Tony Award nomination for his role in 'Hamilton'

Lancaster native Jonathan Groff won a Tony Award nomination for his role as King George in “Hamilton,” it was announced Tuesday morning.

“Hamilton” broke all Tony records, getting nominated for 16 awards, one more than both “The Producers” and “Billy Elliot.”

“He’s excited and he’s so happy for his fellow cast members who were nominated,” Julie Groff, Jonathan’s mother, said Tuesday afternoon. “He was going to stop by the theater and congratulate everyone.”

Groff, 30, is one of three cast members nominated for best featured actor in a musical, joining Daveed Diggs, who plays Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson, and Christopher Jackson, who is George Washington.

His role is smaller than both, but critics found it effective, funny and powerful.

This is Groff’s second Tony nomination. In 2007, he was nominated for best actor in a musical for “Spring Awakening,” but lost to David Hyde Pierce, who starred in “Curtains.”

He took his mother as his date to that Tony ceremony and he’s promised her she’s going again this year.

Groff left the role of King George on April 9, to begin filming the Netflix series “Mindhunter.”

“Shooting starts Thursday in Pittsburgh,” said Julie Groff, who lives in Ronks. “I am going to pick him up and then he’s driving to Pittsburgh. So we mostly talked logistics.”

In March, Julie Groff drove her son’s car from California to Lancaster. “He’ll need a car while filming in Pittsburgh,” she said. “(My driving it across country) was his birthday present.”

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