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Archive for the ‘Entertainment Production’ Category:

Entertainment Production to Give Backstage Tours of the Nite Show


The Entertainment Production department at NESCom invites high school students, their families and their educators to a backstage experience of the Nite Show, which now tapes in the Gracie Theatre at Husson University.Tickets for this backstage tour at Husson University in Bangor are free, but limited to 25 people per show. The backstage tour includes a pizza dinner, and an introduction to programs of study at The New England School of Communications (NESCom). Areas of focus related to the show include: Video and audio production, stage management and lighting, scenic design and construction, and other skill sets. For more information, contact Assistant Professor Brave Williams at or call 207-941-7195.

Auditions for WHSN’s annual Edgar Allan Poe radio drama set for September 23rd.

The 2013 Edgar Allan Poe radio drama - Photo by Narda Albatrino

The 2013 Edgar Allan Poe radio drama – Photo by Narda Albatrino

Students and staff at Husson University are welcome and encouraged to audition for the sixth radio drama produced by WHSN-FM in conjunction with NESCom’s Entertainment Production and the Live Sound Audio Program at NESCom.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery & Imagination 2014
“The Murders In The Rue Morgue”
Presented by WHSN-FM, NESCom & Husson University

Auditions will be Tuesday, September 23rd from 6:30 to 7:30 PM in the Gracie Black Box Theatre (upstairs at the Gracie Theatre) on the Husson University campus.

It all started with a holiday production of A CHRISTMAS CAROL, which was then followed by Halloween presentations of THE TELL TALE HEART, THE CASK OF AMONTILLADO, THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH and THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM. This year we will present our first 60 MINUTE Poe Show… one of the first detective stories ever written…. THE MURDERS IN THE RUE MORGUE!

The show will be performed on the stage of the Gracie Theatre on Thursday, October 30 before a live audience, and will be broadcast simultaneously by WHSN-FM. In past years, the annual Poe radio Show has received awards from the Broadcast Education Association. Last year’s production is up for an award again from the BEA, and is also a finalist for the Pinnacle Award, presented by the College Media Association.

The Audition procedure will be pretty simple and fun. Auditioners will be asked to read from script selections. So, be ready to use your most effective 1940’s radio voices.
This year’s production is looking for the following voices:
Announcer (1940’s Radio Voice)
Narrator (Dr. Watson-type)
Auguste Dupin (Amateur detective)
Officer Muset (Paris Gendarme)
Sailor (Seaman with a Soul)
Multiple Female Cameo Roles (Need to be able to SCREAM!)
Multiple Male Roles (Character Voices)
Additionally, the show requires live Sound Effects artists, who will create all of the sounds for the show live, during the performance
Please join us on September 23rd to help celebrate Halloween by auditioning for our Sixth broadcast of TALES OF MYSTERY AND IMAGINATION BY EDGAR ALLAN POE!

Early Summer 2014 Updates from NESCom

Inquiring minds need to know – What’s going on at NESCom? As usual, there is a lot of activity because summer is our time to plan, build, and repair. We can unveil a few at this point, and we’ll report on more as the summer progresses.

• One of our labs (room 219) will become the new location for our IT staff, and that lab will be designed, expanded from 13 to 18 stations and moved into 306 with new 2.9 GHz iMacs
• Two other labs (rooms 105 and 109) will be re-equipped with new Apple Mac Pro’s with 27” Thunderbolt displays and dual graphics cards to HD editing and 3D rendering capacity. Apple has packaged this beast in a neat new case. Take a look at
• We will deploy Apple’s latest operating system (we thought it would be OS X Mavericks, but with the announcement at the Apple Developer’s Conference a few days ago, it could be Yosemite) on all of our computers.
• Our Analog AV switcher will be replaced with new AirPlay technology to increase speed of HD file transfer.
• In the Gracie, the Yamaha PM5D audio console is being replaced with Yamaha’s updated console, the CL3 and associate outboard gear.

Yamaha CL3

Yamaha CL3

• The laptops for our Apple Cart will be replaced with Apple MacBook Airs.
• Brave Williams and a crew of Entertainment Production students have designed and are now building the set for the Nite Show with Danny Cashman, from which we’ll broadcast this fall, in our own Gracie Theatre.
• “The Tale of Three Brothers” is being entered in film festivals around the country. We’re looking at several possibilities for our next major film project.

NESCom faculty, as usual, are busy this summer. Walter Clissen is in Europe (primarily the Netherlands and Serbia) working with Dragana and Jose Feliciano on an album project, and working on audio post for a film to be released in Europe. Here is Walter at the Studio Barba in Belgrade. For those audio geeks, that’s an AMEK 9098i (originally designed by Rupert Neve).

Walter Clissen

Walter Clissen

Wells Gordon is busy recording, both as an engineer and as a musician. Here’s a shot of Wells multi-tasking at our API 1608 while laying down the bass track for some nice Blues.

Wells Gordon in Studio B

Wells Gordon in Studio B

Ken Stack has a gig at The Grand in Ellsworth, entertaining the “summer folk” as the artistic director for a new production of Monty Python’s “Spamalot”.


Larry Ayotte is finishing his project on Reflections – the use of reflective surfaces in photography. If you haven’t seen one of these, check this out:

Reflections photography by Larry Ayotte

Reflections photography by Larry Ayotte

With the recent focus on train safety, Frank Welch is working on an industry video project about the extraction of personnel from train engines that have been in an accident. Here is a photo from the set in Chicago:


Looking forward to the next installment on the blog, I think I’ll write about our fiber optic cable installation project around campus. Stay tuned for this layman’s discussion of a technical area.

As always, if you have any questions, please send an email or call.

Thom Johnston
Dean, New England School of Communications at Husson University or

A busy week finds rehearsals, presentations, workshops and upgrades at NESCom

Over the past week NESCom played host to everything from equipment upgrades to a world-renowned audio engineer to award-winning writers and directors. Here is a brief sampling of what a busy week at NESCom looks like.
We welcomed Hitachi technicians into our video production studio.  Emilio Aleman and Chee Liew were here to update our fleet of mobile unit and studio video cams with new components, enhancements and software. This is part of the great service that our partners like Hitachi, provide to us. By staying ahead of the curve, our students gain access to the latest Hitachi ideas and are better prepared for their careers. IMG_2646_sm IMG_2648_sm On another stop, a roving photographer caught the practice of two Husson teams on a great sunny day.  Below you’ll see some of the Eagles preparing for their next competitions. lacrosse1_sm lacrosse2_sm In the category of “you-never- know-what-to-expect-at-NESCom”, we received a call from the producers asking us to do a quick ADR session with one of the actors of USA Network’s Graceland. It so happens that Brendan Powers, who plays the role of Agennt Cranston on Graceland, was in Bangor performing in Penobscot Theater’s production of “Our Town” running from April 24 through May 11. IMG_2657_sm The cast for “Putnam County Spelling Bee” (May 2,3 &4) was in rehearsal in the Gracie’s Black Box Theater, which resulted in a few pics. IMG_2727_sm IMG_2685_sm A late night stop by the Gracie itself found the semi-finals of “Husson’s Got Talent” in full swing.  The new woofers from Meyer Sound really pump up the low end! Husson’s Got Talent is an annual campus competition that has grown to be quite a big event. IMG_2687_sm IMG_2692_smThursday night in the Gracie Theater, the NESCom chapter of the Audio Engineering Society welcomed world-class mastering engineer Bob Ludwig for a presentation. Ludwig owns Gateway Mastering in Portland, Maine and has mastered countless classic albums and modern hits like Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories. BobLudwig Finally, on Friday, NESCom partnered with the Maine Film Office and the Maine Video & Film Association to host a filmmaking workshop with the award winning writing/directing team of alumnus Aron Gaudet (’96) and Gita Pullapilly. Their latest film, Beneath The Harvest Sky, was filmed in Maine and had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival and its US premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. aron_sm

Entertainment Production to produce The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee

This May, The New England School of Communications at Husson University will present the award-winning musical, The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee in the Gracie Black Box Theatre. This is the second musical that has been presented in the school’s experimental theatre. Last year, Studs Terkel’s Working – The Musical launched the space as an intimate alternative performance facility on the Husson campus.

Winner of the Tony and the Drama Desk Awards for Best Book, The 25th Annual Putman County Spelling Bee has charmed audiences across the country. The story focuses on an eclectic group of six high school students who vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime. While candidly disclosing hilarious and touching stories from their home life, they spell their way through a series of [potentially made-up] words, hoping to never hear the soul crushing, pout inducing, life un-affirming “ding” of the bell that signals a spelling mistake. Six spellers enter; one speller leaves! At least the losers get a juice box! The show is a riotous ride, complete with audience participation. With upbeat, clever music and lyrics by William Finn, and satirical book by Rachel Sheinkin, Spelling Bee gives us a comic and insightful look into youthful aspirations, the overwhelming joy of victory and the bitter-sweet tang of defeat. The musical pulls no punches, and is recommended for mature audiences only.

The NESCom production is staged by Christie Robinson, who is well-known to the Bangor Theatre community, assisted by another local favorite, John Haskell, the music director of countless area musicals and revues. The cast of Spelling Bee misfits will be performed by NESCom’s Musical Theatre Performance class.

Robinson sums up the essence of the play in her director’s notes: “We all have our quirks that make us unique and different. We’ve been teased, had times of being cool or uncool, struggled to be seen for who we truly are (not who others want us to be), had embarrassing acne and let our freak flags fly. You don’t need to look very hard to recognize a little bit of each of us in the characters of ‘the Bee’. Whether this brings back feelings of the good, the bad and the ugly of adolescence, I hope it brings back a feeling of nostalgia. That no matter how high your freak flag flies, you mattered and made a positive difference in someone’s life – win or lose.”

The performances are scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 2 – 3 at 7:30 PM and on Sunday, May 4th at 2:00 PM. The Gracie Black Box Theatre is located on the second floor of the Gracie Theatre on the campus of Husson University. General Admission tickets are available at the door before each performance. Ticket prices are $5.00 Regular Admission and $3.00 Student admission. Seating is limited to 50 seats for each performance, so get there early, and be prepared to laugh… and maybe to spell!

Stream WHSN’s 4th Annual Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery & Imagination

The 2013 Edgar Allan Poe radio drama - Photo by Narda Albatrino

The 2013 Edgar Allan Poe radio drama – Photo by Narda Albatrino

For the 4th year in a row, the students of the New England School of Communications performed an old-time Halloween radio drama live from the stage of the Gracie Theatre. The award-winning series Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery & Imagination aired live on WHSN 89.3FM, the radio station owned by Husson University and operated by the NESCom Radio Broadcasting department.

The radio drama involves work from the Radio Broadcasting, Live Sound Technology and Entertainment Production departments at NESCom as well as live accompaniment by pianist Michael Rancourt.

Entertainment Production Program Announces Spring Musical

The Entertainment Production program happily announces its plans to produce The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee for its Spring Musical Production! The production is set for April 25th, 26th & 27th, 2014! Following the success of last year’s WORKING – THE MUSICAL, which launched the Gracie Black Box Theatre space, this production will again be the focus of the MUSICAL THEATRE PERFORMANCE class (formerly ACTING II), and hopes to bring together the talents of many different courses, all dedicated to bringing this entertaining and delightful musical to life.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is a long one-act musical comedy conceived by Rebecca Feldman with music and lyrics by William Finn, a book by Rachel Sheinkin and additional material by Jay Reiss. The show centers on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. Six quirky adolescents compete in the Bee, run by three equally-quirky grown-ups. The 2005 Broadway production was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning two, including Best Book.

The EP production will be staged by Christie Robinson and John Haskell will return as music director.

Mark your calendars for this event in late April. It is a show you don’t want to miss!

Auditions Set For 4th Annual Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales Of Mystery And Imagination

Scene from the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe radio drama

Scene from the 2011 Edgar Allan Poe radio drama

Live Sound Effects at a past Poe drama

Live Sound Effects at a past Poe drama

For the fourth year in a row, students of the New England School of Communications will produce an old fashioned radio drama adaptation of the work of Edgar Allan Poe. The half hour dramas, which began in 2010 are performed live from the stage of the Gracie Theatre at Husson University and aired live on 89.3 FM, WHSN.

Each years show highlights pieces of Poe’s work including The Raven, The Fall of the House of Usher, The Tell Tale Heart and the Cask of Amontialldo. The 2013 installment of “Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination” will feature “The Masque of the Red Death” as well as the Poe classic “The Pit and the Pendulum”.

Auditions are set for Tuesday, October 8th from 6-8PM in the Black Box Theatre (located upstairs at the Gracie Theatre). Auditions will include

casting for performers and for live sound effects crew. There will also be a need to tech positions as well including stage crew, lighting design and costuming.

The 2013 Edgar Allan Poe’s Tales of Mystery and Imagination will take place one night only on Wednesday, October 30th, 7:30PM at the Gracie Theatre. Admission is free to be part of the live audience or listen in on 89.3FM in the Bangor area or worldwide.



Creative Conners Inc. demos stage automation systems for Entertainment Production students

Entertainment Production students and faculty at the New England School of Communications got a close up look and demonstration of some elegant scenic automation gear when Ian Donahue of Creative Connors Inc. visited the campus on September 10th.  Describing their systems as “plug and play,” Ian demonstrated how automation can be programmed to revolve a stage, pull or push scenery, elevate and lower set pieces, operate curtains and more. Equipment from Creative Connors is the most widely used automation gear in U.S. Regional Theaters and they supply many touring productions with automation systems. Knowledge of stage automation gear and protocol is a significant advantage for stage technicians today.

Ian Donahue of Creative Connors Inc.

Ian Donahue of Creative Connors Inc.

Creative Conners Stagehand motor controllers

Creative Conners Stagehand motor controllers

The Creative Conners Revolver system

The Creative Conners Revolver system

Alumni Check In: Stephen Wells – Nashville Event Lighting

NESCom loves to hear from graduates. Here, we catch up with 2013 Entertainment Production graduate Stephen Wells. Since earning his degree from NESCom, he has traveled to Nashville, TN where he is now Director of Productions for Nashville Event Lighting.

I hope your summers are going well.  I had a few minutes this morning,  so I figured I would give you an update.


I came down to Nashville in May with the plan of finding a job when I got down here and having all the details fall into place, like finding an apartment etc., just winging it; risky I know, but I was willing to take the challenge. I am now the director of productions for Nashville Event Lighting and loving every minute of it. That shows you that NESCom students graduate knowing what to do with their degree, they know how to be confident and show to their employers they are the best of the best – Thank you NESCom.


Stephen Wells ('13) having some fun in the NEL warehouse.

Stephen Wells (’13) having some fun in the NEL warehouse.

As Director of Productions, I am in charge of managing the crew hands and crew chiefs, and creating the schedules. I have a crew of thirty people and  I meet with the crew chiefs every week to go over the upcoming jobs.  I am also in charge of training and making sure everyone on the crew knows what to do when they are at the shop and out on a job setting up the equipment.  I also do production work and meet with sales to make sure everything they design is viable and will work for each venue.  Sometimes I go to venue visits to make sure the power is sufficient enough. I also make surprise visits to most of the jobs to make sure the client is happy and the crew is doing what they are doing. And it’s not all office work, there are plenty of jobs during the week that I can go to and set up for, which is fun, I can get down and dirty and meet with all the clients on the job sites, putting a smile on their faces making their special day even more special!


Nashville Event Lighting may be a small company but we put 110% into each event that we do, making it the best of the best and that is what we are known for and that’s what is most important. I am truly happy and so glad I attended NESCom and decided to make the leap to come down to Nashville, which I can now and proudly call my home.


Keep up the hard work and I look forward to visiting you all soon!


Stephen Wells
Director of Productions
Nashville Event Lighting

We are always happy to hear from alum. If you’d like to send us an update, email Alumni Director Mark Nason