Rome wasn't built in a day; neither was theatre or Broadway—90 minutes on stage can reflect 90 days off-stage. All three owes their success to a unified team and a solid production crew. While it's true that slow work yields desirable results, sluggish management could cost the troupe potential revenue and sink the group's morale if progression is inconsistent.
To keep up with rapid changes caused by breakthrough technology, a handful of contemporary theatre companies have embraced ProductionPro—an Apple-supported app to help accelerate the sophisticated workflow of theatre production.
How do frontline stage actors and behind-the-scenes technical heroes execute each scene seamlessly with the aid of ProductionPro? Esquire Singapore went backstage at the musical adaptation of Pretty Woman in Broadway, New York City to find out.
It was business as usual as understudy rehearsals were in session. Unlike other conventional run-throughs that references a hardcopy tome of choreographed scripts as its guide, Rusty Mowery, Associate Choreographer for Pretty Woman and Kinky Boots, used ProductionPro's digital platform to easily tweak the script without wasting any paper. "If I’m setting a company and have a question about a set piece or traffic—where an actor moves—I can have the answer in one tap instead of having to flip through page after page."
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The entire cast and crew have immediate access and are able to annotate the script digitally and simultaneously—like on paper—removing the hassle of waiting for a hogged physical script. Changes will be flagged via notifications so everyone will prepare themselves with the updated script before their next rehearsal and public show.
Mowery added: "[ProductionPro] saves time, energy, and also speeds up the rehearsal process.” By doing away with the physical 3-ring binders and replacing it with the digital rehearsal app, every detail from the stage set, costume designs, audio tracks, dance charts, and choreography videos can be organised and sorted via interactive scene breakdowns.
ProductionPro is currently adopted by award-winning Broadway favourites (Hamilton, An American in Paris, Kinky Boots, Pretty Woman) and production establishments such as Disney Theatrical Group and Barbara Ingram School for the Arts.
"To be able to have all these people be on the same page at the same time—it’s invaluable," said Mower. "We need to move quickly, and ProductionPro allows us to move quickly and efficiently as a team.”
Nicole Ruark, Artist in Residence at the creative arts school also shared that, “as a choreographer, [ProductionPro] is very useful while working on 12 different shows at the same time on a train, on a plane, instead of carrying bags of [choreographed] bibles."
ProductionPro is now available in the Apple App Store, and through a new partnership with Theatrical Rights Worldwide (TRW), customers can access TRW licensed content in the U.S. and Canada. In addition, since October 2017, ProductionPro has worked with Music Theatre International (MTI) to offer their catalogue to customers on ProductionPro in the U.S. and Canada.