Celebration commissions.

I recently wrote on Facebook: “It’s fun to get reports of my doodles getting revealed. Midtown, West Village, Manila.” Well here they are…

Superhero .

Superhero.

This is adventure-filled new musical Superhero currently running at 2econd Stage’s Tony Kiser Theatre. It was commissioned by (amazing composer/lyricist) Tom and Rita Kitt for opening night. The sketch features Kyle McArthur, Kate Baldwin, Bryce Pinkham, Tom Sesma, Salena Qureshi, Julia Abueva, Jake Levy, and Nathaniel Stampley.

To celebrate the closing of the Greenwich House Theatre run of the astounding improv rap troupe Freestyle Love Supreme, their production company enlisted me to draw this. The sketch features Andrew “Jelly Donut” Bancroft, Arthur “Arthur the Geniuses” Lewis, Bill “King Sherman” Sherman, Chris “Shockwave” Sullivan, Utkarsh “UTK” Ambudkar, and Anthony “Two-Touch” Veneziale, along with guest stars (and previous core members) Lin-Manuel Miranda, Daveed Diggs, James Monroe Iglehart, and Chris Jackson. When I was able to attend, Lin was the guest emcee and Stephen Sondheim was sitting less than ten feet from me. The show was amazing. The bonus was watching Mr. S have such a great time as well.

Freestyle Love Supreme.

Freestyle Love Supreme.

Jonothan Roxmouth (and Meghan Picerno) in  The Phantom of the Opera .

Jonothan Roxmouth (and Meghan Picerno) in The Phantom of the Opera.

The current international tour of The Phantom of the Opera just opened in Manila, The Philippines. Meghan Picerno (Christine Daae) wanted to give an opening night gift to her Phantom, South African star Jonathan Roxmouth. Here it is. Meghan wanted the focus to be on Jonathan, so I was thrilled to be able to draw Christine as the fantasy just almost in reach.

The Lunts and Ten Chimneys.

The Theatre Guild logo on 47th Street, NYC.

The Theatre Guild logo on 47th Street, NYC.

Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne, golden couple of the Broadway stage, were individually among the most popular and highest paid actors of their day. At one milestone point in their careers they signed a contract with Theatre Guild. Since they would be taking a significant cut in pay to create great art, they made two key stipulations. First, they would only star in plays together. Second, they would have summers off to spend at Alfred's childhood home in Genesee Depot, Wisconsin: Ten Chimneys. This legendary move meant that they could create a legacy of great work in New York City (and on tour) most of the year and then, in their down time, build a legacy of hospitality and fine living.

In 2010, I began a collaboration with the Ten Chimneys Foundation on an exhibit of illustrations featuring Alfred and Lynn. The exhibit would cover two facets of this couple's extraordinary life: some of their key credits on Broadway and their lives at Ten Chimneys. The exhibit was displayed at the Lunt-Fontanne Program Center for their 2011 touring season. For more information about Ten Chimneys and their wonderful tours and programs, visit their website.


ON STAGE
The Ten Chimneys Foundation chose the plays I drew, mostly focusing on just the Lunts in plays they starred in together, but including a couple of key co-stars along the way. I’ve also included photos of the theaters (or former locations) I took when the exhibit was on display:

Dulcy ,  Clarence

Dulcy, Clarence

Dulcy at The Frazee Theatre, 1921; Clarence at The Hudson Theatre, 1919

This piece features Lynn and Alfred in their individual breakout performances.

The Frazee Theatre once stood on West 42nd Street. In the photo at left below, it was in the space to the right of the Empire AMC movie theatre (which was previously called the Eltinge Theatre, named for the top female impersonator of his day and during Times Square development was actually picked up and moved hundreds of feet down the street). The Frazee was gutted in the 1988 for retail space and finally demolished in 1997 during the city's new 42nd Street movement.

The Hudson Theatre on West 44th Street began as a legitimate theater, then spent many years as a television studio (the first location of The Tonight Show) and then hotel conference space. It was recently restored and designated the 41st Broadway theater, ironically also the oldest Broadway theater since it originally opened just weeks before the Lyceum and the New Amsterdam. The Hudson is currently home to Burn/This.

The site formerly occupied by the Frazee Theatre
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The Guardsman

The Guardsman

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The Guardsman at The Garrick Theatre, 1924.

This play was adapted into one of the Lunts’ only film appearances. (They preferred the stage.) The Garrick once stood on West 35th Street around the block from historic Keen’s Steakhouse. It was demolished in 1932.

Pygmalion

Pygmalion

Pygmalion at The Guild Theatre, 1926.

The Guild Theatre is now called the August Wilson Theatre and stands on 52nd Street, now the home of Mean Girls.

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Design for Living

Design for Living

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Design for Living at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre, 1933

Lynn and Alfred starred in this play with friend and frequent Ten Chimneys guest, Noël Coward who also wrote the play. The Barrymore is currently home to The Band’s Visit.

Taming of the Shrew

Taming of the Shrew

Taming of the Shrew at The Guild Theatre, 1935

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Idiot’s Delight at The Shubert Theatre, 1936

The Shubert Theatre, prime showcase of the Shubert organization and anchor to Shubert Alley at 44th Street, is currently home to To Kill A Mockingbird.

Idiot’s Delight

Idiot’s Delight

Amphytrion 38

Amphytrion 38

The Seagull

The Seagull

Amphytrion 38 at The Shubert Theatre, 1937

The Seagull at The Shubert Theatre, 1938

There Shall Be No Night

There Shall Be No Night

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There Shall Be No Night at The Alvin Theatre, 1940

A young Montgomery Clift joined the Lunts in this play. The Alvin is now The Neil Simon Theatre and is home to The Cher Show.

O Mistress Mine

O Mistress Mine

O Mistress Mine at The Empire Theatre, 1946

The Empire Theatre once stood on Broadway between 40th and 41st Streets. It was demolished in 1953.

A print of this image was purchased by a fellow who was a stage manager for the Lunts’ national tour of this play. He gifted it to Sardi’s and it currently hangs in the Little Bar on the first floor.

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The Great Sebastians at The ANTA Theatre, 1956

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The Great Sebastians

The Great Sebastians

The Visit

The Visit

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The Visit at The Lunt-Fontanne Theatre, 1959

Their last Broadway play and the only one they performed on the stage of the theatre that now bears their name, The Lunt-Fontanne on 45th Street.


AT HOME
The foundation polled the docents for their favorite stories and locations around the estate. I did my best to commemorate the stories while featuring a variety of locations and the Lunts at various ages. The folks at Ten Chimneys would name the pieces.

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Gracious entertaining. The Lunts loved entertaining. During their summers in Genesee Depot, they hosted their friends from New York. We took a leap in combining a few of their regular guests around the dining table at one time: Noël Coward, Helen Hayes, Montgomery Clift, Katharine Hepburn, Vivien Leigh, and Laurence Olivier. The Lunts' hospitality is legendary.

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Dedication to craft. The studio is a little barn-like structure beyond the main house and past the garden. Many a dramatic passage was rehearsed and explored in this cozy retreat.

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Lifelong friendships. There is a snapshot that is featured on the Ten Chimney tours which shows Lynn dying Helen Hayes' hair in the terrace room.

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Balance. Alfred and Lynn in the garden with Walter, a very protective Toulouse goose.

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Mentoring. The Lunts were known for their generosity in fostering talent in others. This legacy is carried on in the Ten Chimneys fellowship which takes place each summer. They also provided work and educational experiences for many Genesee Depot locals. Setting this sketch in the kitchen shows a bit of this, as well as showing Cordon Bleu-certified Alfred pulling some of his cardamom bread out of the oven as assistant Jules works in the background.

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Whimsy. We show a Christmas gathering in the flirtation room. In the background are Alfred's sisters singing, and in the foreground we see the nieces and nephew (Johnny on the concertina). A story is told of one of the kids, having been offered milk after being allowed one glass of champagne each, said, "It tastes lousy after champagne, doesn't it?"

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Creativity. Claggett Wilson was a painter and theatrical designer (who had designed the Lunts' production of Taming of the Shrew). In 1938, a visit of a few weeks turned into a two-year project of decorating Ten Chimneys. This included expansive murals in the drawing room (based on Biblical stories) and, as seen here, the entry way (which featured folks in various period costumes presenting symbols of hospitality).

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Retreat. The hope with this piece was to show some of the grounds. There's the pool and the pool house (topped by a mermaid weather vane gifted by Cecil Beaton) as well as the original house on the property. This cottage was sometimes called The Hen House when it housed Alfred's mother and sister.

This piece also references two infamous stories at the estate. Noël Coward was known to walk totally naked from his upstairs bedroom all the way to his dips in the pool. The Lunts failed to inform a new (and rather conservative) maid about this. On first sight of this, she quit on the spot. Alexander Woollcott (amongst a long and varied life in the arts, memorialized as the inspiration for The Man Who Came to Dinner) often wore orange pajamas in the mornings. This resulted in other guests referring to him as an enormous pumpkin.

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Lasting relationships. Alfred and Lynn were known to be very competitive in their table games. Many a battle was waged in the mural-lined drawing room, and in this instance they are being accompanied by Noël Coward on the “Noëlie piano” (which is also adorned with stunning Claggett Wilson paintings).

When this exhibit was on display at Ten Chimneys, the foundation invited me back to the estate to be a guest at one of their fantastic drawing room concerts featuring Christine Ebersole and Edward Hibbert reading Noël Coward’s letters and singing his songs, accompanied on that piano.

A life well-lived. Inspired by a photo of Alfred and Lynn walking down their driveway, away from the photographer, we flipped the angle. The fellow reading Dürrenmatt's The Visit in the foreground is Joe Garton, Ten Chimneys Foundation's founder and first president who passed in 2003.

Again, if you’d like to learn more about Ten Chimneys and/or want to visit, check out their website.

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Genesee Depot, Wisconsin is a small unincorporated community located between Milwaukee and Madison. Once a whistle stop on the railroad that passed through town, the residents were very protective of their famous residents, often giving visitors incorrect directions when they asked where the Lunts lived.

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Ten Chimneys became a National Historic Landmark in 2003.

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The entrance and winding road to the The Lunt-Fontanne Program Center.

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As I wandered NYC’s Theatre District in 2011 taking the theater location photos above, I dressed for the occasion.

Ten Chimneys (photographer unknown)

Ten Chimneys (photographer unknown)

Queens from Queens.

I was so happy to get an email from choreographer Camille A. Brown. I’m such a fan of her work in the recent revival of Once On This Island, Jesus Christ Superstar Live, the currently running Choir Boy, and a solo performance a few years ago. Such an amazing creator and storyteller!

Camille’s longtime friend and company manager of her dance company, Indira Goodwine, is departing her position to join another venture, and Camille wanted to commission a piece to celebrate their time together. She wanted the piece to burst with references to their roots in Jamaica, Queens, sending me photos of iconic locations and street art and jewelry. Movement, color, joy! I think our collaboration resulted in something pretty great. And from what I hear, Indira loved it.

Camille A. Brown and Indira Goodwine.

Camille A. Brown and Indira Goodwine.

A few happy assignments...

I take on commissions now and then, and I’m so honored and grateful to be helping people celebrate milestones, passions, hard work, etc. Here are a few of the commissions I’ve done late this year:

Donna Murphy as honored by Abingdon Theatre Company.

Donna Murphy as honored by Abingdon Theatre Company.

Ryan Duncan in  Gettin’ the Band Back Together  as commissioned by Mark Sanders.

Ryan Duncan in Gettin’ the Band Back Together as commissioned by Mark Sanders.

Jeremy Stolle. Self-commission.

Jeremy Stolle. Self-commission.

Lee MacDougall in  Come from Away  as commissioned by his fellow cast members.

Lee MacDougall in Come from Away as commissioned by his fellow cast members.

The national tour of  Love Never Dies , organized by Karen Mason and commissioned by the company management team.

The national tour of Love Never Dies, organized by Karen Mason and commissioned by the company management team.

The Prospect Theatre Company’s  The Hello Girls  as commissioned by Cara Reichel.

The Prospect Theatre Company’s The Hello Girls as commissioned by Cara Reichel.

Why so SiriusXM?

I had the great good fortune to sit in with Christine Pedi today, filling in for Seth Rudetsky on Dueling Divas show. Diva du jour? We had a great time chatting about the Broadway, and she gave me many an opportunity to chat about The Lights of Broadway Show Cards™ and other projects I’ve got spinning. Y’all, SiriusXM is pretty amazing. As we departed the studio, there was Katie Couric interviewing Steve Perry. Christine and I were so distracted we forgot to take a selfie.

SO! The long-ago depleted SiriusXM Broadway card we created for a launch event will have to suffice. There’s Christine, Seth, Julie James, and John Tartaglia. We’re out of stock of these cards. Maybe a reprint is in order?

(You can see what’s most current in the land of Lights of Broadway at our official website and shop.)

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Some cards we talked about were our recent BC/EFA Flea Market release of “Preview” cards featuring the shows on their way to Broadway (that I was able to see in person in some form or other):

The Lights of Broadway’s BC/EFA Flea Market release: Preview cards featuring   Be More Chill, Dave, Lempicka, Moulin Rouge!, and The Prom.

The Lights of Broadway’s BC/EFA Flea Market release: Preview cards featuring Be More Chill, Dave, Lempicka, Moulin Rouge!, and The Prom.

And among our various editions, we’ve featured kids who are key elements of Broadway shows. We had a run there where there were multiple shows with large kid casts. It isn’t easy to feature them all individually, but we wanted to feature some of these shows so the kids, many of whom are enthusiastic #Lightcatchers (LOB collectors), so they have a small corner of our card roster to call their own.

Various Lights of Broadway “Kids of…” cards.

Various Lights of Broadway “Kids of…” cards.

We chatted a little about how I land on ideas when drawing a show, and we used Once On This Island as an example. Here’s the piece I created featuring the current revival of the show:

Once On This Island  , Circle in the Square, 2017.

Once On This Island, Circle in the Square, 2017.

Thanks so much, Christine, for having me on the show! I had a blast!

And just as a little extra something-something here, here’s a little video I created last year to show some of the details of my process. It needs some judicious editing, but here it is:

Squigs, Squips, and Be More Chill!

The Squip premium poster design by Squigs.

The Squip premium poster design by Squigs.

BE MORE CHILL is a phenomenon. A word from their site:

"It’s already “one of the most popular new musicals in America,” raves The New York Times. And Forbes declares, “It’s a viral obsession!” Now, this hilariously honest show is making its New York premiere at last —featuring an electric, ear-worm filled score by “one of Broadway’s next great songwriters” (Billboard). Discover BE MORE CHILL for yourself, and give your life an upgrade."

"What if popularity came in a pill? Would you take it, no questions asked? In BE MORE CHILL, achieving that elusive “perfect life” is now possible thanks to some mysterious new technology—but it comes at a cost that’s not as easy to swallow. What could possibly go wrong? Blending the contemporary with retro sci-fi, this thrillingly exciting, comically subversive, and deeply felt new musical takes on the competing voices in all of our heads. And ultimately proves, there’s never been a better time in history to be yourself—especially if you’re a loser…geek…or whatever."

I was honored to be asked to design a poster made available to premium ticket buyers this week. I chose the character of The Squip, the aforementioned pill-sized supercomputer. The show's current run is officially sold out, but I'm pretty sure there's a big future for this skit! See their website for more, and peek at another little thing I drew:

Be More Chill  .

Be More Chill.

Rockin' with The Dan Band!

I first experienced The Dan Band years ago in Los Angeles, and I've been a fan ever since. Dan Finnerty and gang shred it across the country and on the big screen. I've been playing with some visuals lately and thought I'd sling some ink their way because they are awesome.

And at this writing, I'm stoked because they're playing Joe's Pub here in NYC and I'll be there. Catch deets about the thang and all the stuff at their website.

The Dan Band.

The Dan Band.

Squigs speaks.

I've often mentioned that I've spent some time onstage. Acting is something that is truly a part of me and something that is a huge asset as I draw actors. Since moving to NYC in 2010 I've had a few chances to tread the boards, but often my beloved illustration ventures have crowded out the acting possibilities. In a concerted effort to balance my artistic life, I've sought representation to keep an eye out for opportunities I could tackle when the schedule allows. I'm so happy to have joined the family at Nicolosi & Co. Huzzah! And I'm happy that it looks very likely that I'll get to stretch the acting and vocal chops this summer. Yippee!

 I've also flung myself headlong into possibilities in the world of voiceover. The vocal cords can supplement the drawing hand now and then. Hear my brand spankin' new commercial voiceover demo here:

And you can read about some stuff I've done here and there at my Act/Voice page.

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Little Boxes: Designing for The Lights of Broadway

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As The Lights of Broadway Show Cards™ have been making their way into the hearts and collections of Broadway lovers all over the country, we have been exploring ways to expand even more. One thing we've landed on is packaging for distribution, allowing shops near and far to easily stock the cards on their shelves. So as I've applied my design abilities to the website, publicity and promotion, logo merchandise, posters, and the cards themselves, I also had to learn how to design Counter Display Units or CDUs. These boxes contain 36 well-sorted packs each, and somewhere in each box is hidden one of our super rare cards. We've manufactured CDUs for our Autumn 2017 edition and new Megamix sampler edition. And I've got to say that the final results are pretty nifty! (And the bonus of being the illustrator AND designer is that I can feature my signature on the box! Self-obsessed much?) Lots more fun stuff is on the way in the Lights of Broadway world. Stay tuned!

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A walk down memory lane with the Hirschfeld Century Podcast.

Me? A fan? You bet your sweet bippy!

Me? A fan? You bet your sweet bippy!

I'm fanatical about the work of Al Hirschfeld. You can likely see his influence in my work, and I'm sure you know that it's one of my primary goals to carry on the traditions that Mr. Hirschfeld exemplified. So I was incredibly honored to be asked by David Leopold, Hirschfeld archivist and Creative Director of the Hirschfeld Foundation, and his Archives Manager, Katherine Marshall-Eastman, to be their first guest on the wonderful Hirschfeld Century Podcast. At the New York Public Library at Lincoln Center we chatted about my work and background and influences and more, all through the filter of our love for Hirschfeld's astounding and vast oeuvre.

The works that we discuss that were created by Hirschfeld are posted on the podcast page, but the varied pieces by me (early and more recent) are posted here. Ladies and gentlemen, as we chat about Hirschfeld's work from over eight decades, I offer you a little scrapbook of almost 25 years of fledgling Squigs history:

Phantom   (1993), Whittier/La Mirada Musical Theatre Association, starring Stephen Zinnato, Stacy Sullivan, Jack Ritschel, Sandy Rosenberg, Paul Ainsley, Jamie Anderson.

Phantom (1993), Whittier/La Mirada Musical Theatre Association, starring Stephen Zinnato, Stacy Sullivan, Jack Ritschel, Sandy Rosenberg, Paul Ainsley, Jamie Anderson.

Ah, humble beginnings! This is my first show sketch. What I might have lacked in ability, I hopefully made up for in heart and gratitude. (Note: A much younger Lindsay Mendez is represented therein.)

As we discussed on the podast, there is only one of Hirschfeld's compositions that I directly quoted (plagiarized?). Here's Guys and Dolls at the Covina Valley Playhouse – of the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Covina – styled after Hirschfeld's 1950 original Broadway drawing:

Guys and Dolls   (1995), Covina Valley Playhouse

Guys and Dolls (1995), Covina Valley Playhouse

In 1996, I took part in a production of Damn Yankees at a wonderful dinner theater in Claremont, CA. My commemorative sketch for this was a series of rudimentary baseball cards, a predecessor to my current venture: The Lights of Broadway Show Cards™:

Damn Yankees   (1996) Ben Bollinger's Candlelight Pavilion, starring Danny Michaels, Ingrid Werner, John Lalonde

Damn Yankees (1996) Ben Bollinger's Candlelight Pavilion, starring Danny Michaels, Ingrid Werner, John Lalonde

Carousel   (1999) The Moonlight Amphitheatre. starring Eric Anderson, Melissa Lyons, Bets Malone, Steve Glaudini, Squigs

Carousel (1999) The Moonlight Amphitheatre. starring Eric Anderson, Melissa Lyons, Bets Malone, Steve Glaudini, Squigs

Sweeney Todd   (2002) Performance Riverside, starring Norman Large, Debbie Prutsman, Doug Carfrae, Roger Befeler, Kristi Holden

Sweeney Todd (2002) Performance Riverside, starring Norman Large, Debbie Prutsman, Doug Carfrae, Roger Befeler, Kristi Holden

Carousel   (2003) Cabrillo Music Theatre, starring Kevin Earley, Kristi Holden, Mindy Metzger-Reid, Gordon Goodman, Squigs

Carousel (2003) Cabrillo Music Theatre, starring Kevin Earley, Kristi Holden, Mindy Metzger-Reid, Gordon Goodman, Squigs

When Al Hirschfeld passed in 2003, I was in the ensemble of a fantastic production of On the 20th Century in Los Angeles. After we heard the news, I brought all of my Hirschfeld books to the theater and joined my show family in perusing Al's work.

On the 20th Century   (2003) Reprise!, starring Bob Gunton, Carolee Carmello, Mimi Hines, Damon Kirsche, Dan Butler, Robert Picardo

On the 20th Century (2003) Reprise!, starring Bob Gunton, Carolee Carmello, Mimi Hines, Damon Kirsche, Dan Butler, Robert Picardo

My little tribute to Mr. Hirschfeld from the sketch at left.

My little tribute to Mr. Hirschfeld from the sketch at left.

Here are a couple early experiments in adding color to my illustrations:

Li'l Abner   (2008) Reprise!, starring Eric Martsolf, Brandi Burkhardt, Cathy Rigby, Robert Towers, Michael Kostroff, Fred Willard

Li'l Abner (2008) Reprise!, starring Eric Martsolf, Brandi Burkhardt, Cathy Rigby, Robert Towers, Michael Kostroff, Fred Willard

Two by Two   (2009) Reprise!, starring Jason Alexander, Faith Prince, Megan Hilty, David Burnham, Steven Weber, Vicki Lewis, Shannon Warne, and Squigs

Two by Two (2009) Reprise!, starring Jason Alexander, Faith Prince, Megan Hilty, David Burnham, Steven Weber, Vicki Lewis, Shannon Warne, and Squigs

Man of La Mancha   (2012) Musical Theatre West, starring Davis Gaines, Lesli Margherita, Squigs

Man of La Mancha (2012) Musical Theatre West, starring Davis Gaines, Lesli Margherita, Squigs

Betty Blue Eyes   (2013) Music Theatre of Wichita, starring Larry Raben, Tracy Lore, Mary Stout, Monte Riegel Wheeler, Squigs

Betty Blue Eyes (2013) Music Theatre of Wichita, starring Larry Raben, Tracy Lore, Mary Stout, Monte Riegel Wheeler, Squigs

In 2007, while I was living in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of taking part in a revival/revisal of Cole Porter's Can-Can at the Pasadena Playhouse, helmed by the wonderful David Lee (TV's Frasier, Wings, etc.):

Can-Can   (2007) The Pasadena Playhouse, starring Michelle Duffy, Kevin Earley, David Engel, Amir Talai, Yvette Tucker, Jeffrey Landman, Squigs

Can-Can (2007) The Pasadena Playhouse, starring Michelle Duffy, Kevin Earley, David Engel, Amir Talai, Yvette Tucker, Jeffrey Landman, Squigs

Flash forward to after I had moved to NYC. A 2013 reading led by Megan Hilty and Aaron Lazar led to a 2014 "Broadway-bound" production at the Paper Mill Playhouse starring Kate Baldwin and Jason Danieley:

Can-Can   (2014) The Paper Mill Playhouse, starring Kate Baldwin, Jason Danieley, Michael Berresse, Greg Hildreth, Megan Sikora, Mark Price, Squigs

Can-Can (2014) The Paper Mill Playhouse, starring Kate Baldwin, Jason Danieley, Michael Berresse, Greg Hildreth, Megan Sikora, Mark Price, Squigs

As we chat about on the podcast, I've had the chance to visit a few of the regional theaters that Hirschfeld periodically drew in the summers, actually performing at The Cape Playhouse in Dennis MA that Al drew in 1938. Here is a testament to my detective work seeking what the man saw in order to draw:

Walking in the footsteps of the master.

Walking in the footsteps of the master.

The Music Man   (2016) The Cape Playhouse, starring James Clow, Kaitlyn Davidson, Brad Bellamy, Barbara Tirrell, Ann Arvia, Squigs

The Music Man (2016) The Cape Playhouse, starring James Clow, Kaitlyn Davidson, Brad Bellamy, Barbara Tirrell, Ann Arvia, Squigs

And as we talk about on the podcast, there are still times I quote Hirschfeld in my work. In a nod to Al's wonderfully frenetic sketches featuring multiple limbs and poses (Danny Kaye, Leonard Bernstein, etc.) here is Jesse Tyler Ferguson in the one-man show Fully Committed:

Fully Committed (2016) Broadway's Lyceum Theatre, starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Fully Committed (2016) Broadway's Lyceum Theatre, starring Jesse Tyler Ferguson

Hirschfeld often drew crowds: first nighters, deli customers, teeming throngs in Times Square. Once, he got letters over showing a lone nun in one of these sketches (as they typically travel in pairs). I tipped my hat to this in this piece that appeared in the Wall Street Journal:

"What Makes Broadway Run" (2015)   The Wall Street Journal

"What Makes Broadway Run" (2015) The Wall Street Journal

My litho of Hirschfeld's 1977 Sondheim and me (circa 2009)

My litho of Hirschfeld's 1977 Sondheim and me (circa 2009)

So there's a rather random meandering through my artistic life. I'm so grateful to have had the chance to chat about Al and his influence on me and multitudes of others. Thank you David and Katherine for welcoming me on the podcast. I'd love to gab with you any time. (And thank you Al Hirschfeld!)

If you haven't already, please visit the Hirschfeld Foundation page to learn more about Mr. Hirschfeld.

In & Of Itself

I had the distinct privilege of witnessing an astounding presentation of mind-blowing illusion and empowering story. In & Of Itself stars the amazing Derek DelGaudio. It was directed by the illustrious Frank Oz and produced in part by Neil Patrick Harris. I don't want to give anything away, but just know that I left the theater with an immense sense of wonder and deeper feelings of goodwill toward my fellow humans. The show has extended until September 3, 2017. Go!

Derek DelGaudio in In & Of Itself.

Derek DelGaudio in In & Of Itself.

A BIG Broadway season!

We were treated to quite the cavalcade of art and entertainment on Broadway over the 2016-2017 season. There were 38 shows that opened. Twenty of those were musicals, and of the musicals, 12 were new musicals. Such a bounty! I had the opportunity to recap the season of musicals in a couple of ways. Perhaps the most exciting project looks to become an annual adventure. I worked with Broadway Records (head honcho Van Dean and graphic designer Robbie Rozelle) to illustrate the very first Tony season CD, a compilation of songs from the season's musicals!

2017 Tony Season CD illustration

2017 Tony Season CD illustration

All the musicals of the season were invited to take part and all shows represented on the CD are included in the cover illustration. Then each show's part of the illustration is included inside the booklet on their respective pages. All of this came together in very short period of time, and it was like putting together a big puzzle as we heard which shows would take part. Such a fun project! You can purchase the CD at Broadway Records or digitally on iTunes.

And in a bit of synchronicity, Van and my partner in The Lights of Broadway Show Cards™ Dori and I came up with a cross promotion with the cards. The first 1000 to order a hard copy of the CD got a limited edition card that I created from the art. Worlds coming together!

The CD, booklet, and limited edition trading card.

The CD, booklet, and limited edition trading card.


Squigs' 2016-2017 Broadway Musicals poster.

Squigs' 2016-2017 Broadway Musicals poster.

I've also been playing with the idea of creating more stuff. Stuff to sell and celebrate! The brainstorming has first resulted in a 2016-2017 Musicals poster, featuring bits of my Broadway Ink sketches from throughout the year. The poster is available at my Etsy shop and at the Theatre Circle store on 44th Street in the Broadway Theater District.

Poster Art: Pride & Prejudice

My friend Katie Wilson teaches theatre at Cathedral Catholic High School near San Diego and she occasionally enlists me to draw posters for her kids' productions. Here's one of which I'm particularly happy with the results. A richly-patterned wallpaper on a manor wall highlighting five ladies (the Bennet daughters) and two gents (Mssrs. Bingley and Darcy). Simple palette (moss, salmon, grey). Hand lettering. It was a very enjoyable assignment.

A Furry Holiday!

I'm happy to say that my next partnership with Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS is the design of a holiday card that's on sale this upcoming season to raise money for the charity. Employees at BC/EFA sent me photos of their four-legged family members and I drew them into a festive, scarf-laden holiday party scene.

You can purchase these as your holiday correspondence in boxes of 12 for $25. Click here to hit the shop! And happy holiday season! (If you count Halloween as a holiday.) Merry and happy!

Squigs Update: Celebration!

Changing. As we sit here.
Quick! Draw it all, Georgie!
– Stephen Sondheim, Sunday in the Park with George

If you know my work, it's very possible you discovered it on Broadway.com.  Paul Wontorek and Beth Stevens and the Broadway.com team have given and continue to give me some great real estate on their wonderful and acclaimed website.  In addition to being given a consistent platform over the past six-and-a-half years, I've also been afforded the possibility of seeing almost every Broadway show that has opened in that time.  In return, I've been given the chance to document and celebrate said shows which I've done in various degrees of success.  I think that this perennial student of life is getting better every day.  The situation rocks.  I'm so grateful.  I don't foresee this changing.

Now, while I occasionally get assigned to draw Off-Broadway shows or limited runs or concerts, many of the events in this saturated artsy metropolis don't get earmarked for the official Squigs treatment.  But sometimes I go see these shows and I get inspired.  Sometimes I create some art to celebrate that which inspires me.  I am going to start posting these pieces (fully-realized, pen & ink sketches, sketchbook doodles, etc.) here on the Squigs Knows His Lines blog. No set schedule.  And often limited by what the schedule will allow.  But this will be fun.  I can give you a glimpse at performances that – while they aren't part of my usual assignments – catch my eye and my heart.  I experienced most of these over the summer and early autumn:

Small Mouth Sounds   at Playwrights Horizons. Written by Bess Wohl and directed by Rachel Chavkin, told mostly in silence.

Small Mouth Sounds an Ars Nova production at Signature Theatre Company. Written by Bess Wohl and directed by Rachel Chavkin, told mostly in silence.


Stew and Heidi's creation "at the crossroads of the sacred and profane, survival and liberation, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll."   The Total Bent   at the Public Theater.

Stew and Heidi's creation "at the crossroads of the sacred and profane, survival and liberation, gospel and rock ‘n’ roll." The Total Bent at the Public Theater.


An innovative staging of The Secret Garden wherein a revolving panorama was filmed in synchronicity with the performance to provide scenery and tone. Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia.

An innovative staging of   The Secret Garden   wherein a revolving panorama was filmed in synchronicity with the performance to provide scenery. Arden Theatre Company, Philadelphia.

Phyllida Lloyd's 2016 all-female retelling of Taming of the Shrew starring Janet McTeer and Cush Jumbo. The Public Theatre's Delacorte Theatre in Central Park.

Greg Hildreth as Costard in Love's Labours Lost. Old Globe Theatre, San Diego, CA.


This illustration differs from the others in this blog post because it was actually commissioned. I saw this show and was incredibly inspired by it. Folks involved asked if I was going to draw it, but since I hadn't been assigned to do it and my work load was incredibly full at the time, I had to say no. A friend of the two stars commissioned this piece and I tackled it when I was able. Such a good show! Fortress of Solitude at The Public Theater.


With boot-stompin' Americana and Big Easy jazz by Anais Mitchell and creative direction by Rachel Chavkin, Hadestown went all Greek tragedy on the New York Theatre Workshop.


So, keep an eye out for occasional blog posts from me. Then follow the link to Squigs Knows His Lines for the glorious lint that clogs my brain and heart. And please also be sure to follow my lines at Broadway.com. I hope to continue serving it up there for a long time to come.  There's SO MUCH TO DRAW!  Yay theatre!

Squigs Update: Illumination!

As the co-creator of The Lights of Broadway Show Cards™ which are collected by many young (and young-at-heart) Broadway fans AND young Broadway actors, I was often getting requests for folks to have their own card. Now, while so many deserve to be celebrated, we want to keep a firm rein on the content of our card rosters. But that doesn't mean we can't celebrate folks in another way. Thus, The Lights of Broadway Show Prints were born. They're portraits in the style of the cards with the same design elements, but printed suitable for framing at 11"x14". I'm so grateful to those who have entrusted me with illuminating and celebrating special folks. Here are a few of them so far:

Cole Alex Edelstein in   Matilda  .

Cole Alex Edelstein in Matilda.

Talia & MiMi Ryder in   Matilda  .

Talia & MiMi Ryder in Matilda.


Ian Saraceni in   The King & I  .

Ian Saraceni in The King & I.

Ian Saraceni in   Matilda  .

Ian Saraceni in Matilda.


Bradley Barnes & Aaron Pomeroy.

Bradley Barnes & Aaron Pomeroy.

Paul Aguirre.

Paul Aguirre.

So as you can see, the Show Prints are for Broadway fans of all ages. (The base rate for a Show Print that features a head & shoulders portrait of an individual is $350 and for a duo, $450. Additional background details may bring additional charge.) If you'd like to shine a light on that certain star (or stars), contact me here. I'll only be able to take on so many as we head into the holiday season, so you might contact me early to join the list.

Squigs Extra: Faux Graphic Design.

I'm an illustrator. A caricaturist. A cartoonist. A chronic doodler. One thing I don't think of myself as is a graphic designer. For one thing, I'm not nearly as adept as I should be at the tools of the trade, and the rules of the game are a bit more structured than that of drawing pictures. But I dabble and I have a good eye, and when folks don't really know any other graphic designers and they know I'm artistic, I'm the next best choice. And I do my best. And quite honestly, I've been pretty pleased with some of the results lately.

First, here's the logo I created for Folio Group, a coalition of Broadway and Broadway-adjacent small media outlets (including my Lights of Broadway Show Cards™ and the gang I work with, The Happy Hour Guys) that meets monthly to chat and collaborate. [Note: The center graphic there is also used as a widget on social media and group graphics.]


And sometimes a pal asks for a wee logo for his labor of love podcast and you make something akin to graphics you see around NPR and Gimlet and other audio media outlets. Broadway Stories was created by Todd Buonopane who brings together Broadway actor pals to tell stories in live sessions at Theatre District hot spot 54 Below. It's similar to The Moth podcast, but firmly rooted in the Broad-way. The last tweak was a request to include a simple caricature of Todd within the logo. I think it all hit the mark.


And sometimes the work seems to work but ultimately doesn't. I was approached by the Actors' Equity Fund which offers grants and assistance to arts organizations. I provided a number of options, most based on my illustrative style:

I thought the choices were rather dynamic, and I was feeling pretty good about the selection, particularly the bolder options. But as is often the case in situations when the decision lies in the hands of a committee of varying opinions, they chose what I felt was the safest of the bunch.  The last one.  I formatted it in all necessary file formats, and they paid me promptly.  A satisfied client. A satisfied artist.

But alas, once they announced their website and promotional re-launch, someone else's design was there. Ah, well. I'm proud of the work I did. Sometimes you've got to be satisfied with that.


Now, one of the biggest hurdles in bringing The Lights of Broadway Show Cards™ to life was the graphic design. While I'm not adept at Adobe Illustrator or InDesign or whatever the graphic folks are using, I knew what I wanted to see; and since the only people to disappoint were myself and incredibly supportive partner Dori, I took a crack at it.  I did a lot of research, and once I had a vision and threw it all together with metaphorical duct tape, I really rather enjoyed the results and the process getting there.  And I continue to do so.

The logo here is consistent throughout all of our products, and the wrapper design below is for our Autumn 2015 edition. For the next edition, coming out in mid-November, I redesigned the card layouts and elements of the wrapper (just like the baseball card companies do each year).


So I guess the lesson here is that sometimes a little hop outside of your comfort zone can result in something pretty nifty. Adventure, Barnaby! (That's a Hello, Dolly! reference. Anyhoo...)

Squigs Update: Unification!

I wish I stood up a bit more for what I believe in: Thinking more in the "we" as opposed to the "us vs. them." Equality. Inclusion. Love and kindness. But as a lifelong "people pleaser" I don't want to rock the boat. And then sometimes lives hang in the balance and we have to talk about it. And we have to do something.

In the wake of another and another and yet another in the wave of disproportionate black deaths at the hands of police, I felt helpless. My family has direct ties to law enforcement. Heck, Grandma was a county deputy sheriff. I've heard first-hand how tough and dangerous the job is. But when we look at the statistics, we can't deny that across the country, the system is out of whack, the problem is deep-seated, and it needs to get fixed.

About the time I was feeling the most helpless, some of my friends in the Broadway community were feeling the same way, many of which are black and have more at stake in this than I can truly comprehend. And they did something. They began to talk and they began to act. A small group (including my pal Amber Iman) put together an evening to raise awareness and open a dialog called Broadway for Black Lives Matter. I offered to help with design, which wasn't needed since they had a fantastic person lined up, but they enthusiastically made me feel like a part of the event as an observer and student.  In the weeks after the event, I created this illustration, commemorating the event and those who spoke and sang and danced and taught.  It's the bare minimum I could offer, but I look forward to keeping my eyes, ears, and heart open to this effort and learning how to stand with my black brethren and sistren for open dialog and change. In a world that feels more "us vs. them" every day, I stand and move forward with "we."

So, back to these wonderful folks who created this wonderful evening of enlightenment. They have steered this momentum into the creation of the Broadway Advocacy Coalition, combining art and activism and opening the dialog even further. Learn more about them here.

Broadway for Black Lives Matter, August 1, 2016.

Broadway for Black Lives Matter, August 1, 2016.

Oh, and while I'm at my own little podium, I'm voting for Hillary Clinton and I hope you do too. The alternative is unconscionable. Period.

Respectfully yours,
Squigs.

Squigs Update: Commemoration!

Bit by bit,
Putting it together...
Piece by piece,
Only way to make a work of art.
Every moment makes a contribution,
Every little detail plays a part.

The late summer and early autumn found me toiling away at the next edition of Lights of Broadway cards, but I also kept myself busy by taking on a number of commissions, commemorating productions of various types. I've not posted much about these jobs, though, and I'd like to show you a bit of what I've pieced together:

Broadway on the High Seas 6: Christine Ebersole, Liz Callaway, John McDaniel, Tony Yazbeck, Laura Osnes, Karen Mason, Christine Pedi, Bryan Batt, Mark Linn Baker, and Lewis Black.

Broadway on the High Seas 6: Christine Ebersole, Liz Callaway, John McDaniel, Tony Yazbeck, Laura Osnes, Karen Mason, Christine Pedi, Bryan Batt, Mark Linn Baker, and Lewis Black.

Broadway on the High Seas 7: Chita Rivera, Faith Prince, Seth Rudetsky, Charles Busch, Jennifer Simard, Laura Osnes, Lilla Crawford, Kate Baldwin, Brenda Braxton, Adam Pascal, Lindsay Mendez, Andréa Burns, and Douglas Carter Beane.

Broadway on the High Seas 7: Chita Rivera, Faith Prince, Seth Rudetsky, Charles Busch, Jennifer Simard, Laura Osnes, Lilla Crawford, Kate Baldwin, Brenda Braxton, Adam Pascal, Lindsay Mendez, Andréa Burns, and Douglas Carter Beane.

The fine folks from Playbill asked me to commemorate their guest lineups for two outings of their Broadway cruise, Broadway on the High Seas.  These images were printed for passengers to get signed by the fabulous talent.


Ragtime   on Ellis Island.

Ragtime on Ellis Island.

Director Sammi Cannold asked me to put together this illustration to thank the folks who made this electrically-charged evening happen. The Great Hall on immigrant gateway Ellis Island provided the stage for this powerful concert version of the legendary American musical. Pictured here are Brian Stokes Mitchell, Aisha Jackson, Brandon Victor Dixon, Andy Mientus, Robert Petkoff, Shaina Taub, Laura Michelle Kelly, and Michael Park. Attire was imagined by yours truly. Not necessarily accurate to the concert, but festive.


Little Shop of Horrors, Australian tour.

Little Shop of Horrors, Australian tour.

The Sycamore Pictures film of Stephen Karam's   Speech & Debate  .

The Sycamore Pictures film of Stephen Karam's Speech & Debate.

A couple more fantastic commissions: First, David and Lisa Campbell approached me to commemorate the wonderful touring production of Little Shop of Horrors they produced. I had admired David's vocal artistry since the 1990s which made it super nifty when his wife Lisa contacted me to create a family illustration for David's 40th birthday. This happy "mean, green" commission followed. Next, Tom Rice of Sycamore Pictures reached out to me to create this illustration of Speech & Debate. The film is currently navigating the labyrinth of finding its way to distribution, and this piece is meant to help the effort. It's a lovely film and should be on its way to audiences next year.


So, as you can see, I do my best to maintain a robust studio schedule. I'm excited to show you more of the fruits of my labor over the next few days. Keep an eye peeled! And if you're interested in chatting about a commission for yourself, please do drop me a line! (And I can draw you a line. See what I did there?)

Squigs in the Provinces: The Music Man

I'm happy and grateful to say that I've had the opportunity to get back onstage! I Shipoopied back into Marcellus' shoes in The Music Man at the historic Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts. More on the Cape Playhouse later.  In the mean time, here is my traditional sketch I presented the cast and crew on closing night.

The Music Man at The Cape Playhouse, starring Jim Clow, Kaitlyn Davidson, Brad Bellamy, Barbara Tirrell, and Squigs.

The Music Man at The Cape Playhouse, starring Jim Clow, Kaitlyn Davidson, Brad Bellamy, Barbara Tirrell, and Squigs.

This was a wonderful group of folks with whom to push through the challenges of a large show in a small (albeit charming and historic) playhouse. The audiences were fantastic! We enjoyed our showcation on Cape Cod.

And looking to the future, I look forward to concentrating my efforts on showing off some more work here on the blog. So much of what I'd love to cover falls between the cracks of what I'm assigned to do for Broadway.com.  I'd love to show you even more.  Here we go!