“Give Him His Props”, Jonathan Shimon gets cover story in At Buffalo Magazine
Jonathan Shimon, Assistant Professor of Theatre Technology, was featured in the cover story of the Winter 2018 edition of At Buffalo magazine, “Give Him His Props”, written by Rebecca Rudell. See excerpt from the article below, or read the full article.
“IN THE 10 YEARS SINCE he graduated from UB, Jonathan Shimon (BFA ’07) has, among other things, built the electrical and mechanical components of an animatronic monkey music box for the “Phantom of the Opera” national tour, created a Cadillac out of a golf cart and foam for Sally Struthers’ character in “All Shook Up” at Artpark, and designed the control system on LED-emblazoned Elvis costumes for the Broadway production of “Honeymoon in Vegas.”
Technical theater, also called theater technology, includes everything that goes into staging a production: lighting and sound design, costumes and makeup, scenery and props. As a technical director (or TD), Shimon plays an essential if largely unseen role in making all of that possible: He programs scenic automation (when stages, scenery and props are moved via computer); works rigging (the ropes, pulleys and devices that control curtains, scenery, etc.); designs lighting control boards; sets schedules and budgets; and implements safety procedures. Katherine Metzler, a UB student currently earning a dual degree in technical theater and mechanical engineering, sums up the profession best: “A TD’s job is to make the set designer’s dream come true.”
As an authority on nearly every aspect of technical theater, and as one of about 1,000 certified riggers in North America, Shimon is often called upon to share his expertise. This past summer, he traveled more than 30,000 miles to train theater technicians on cruise ships from the Baltic Sea in northern Europe to the Strait of Malacca off Malaysia. But since 2014, when Shimon came back to UB as an assistant professor in the Department of Theatre & Dance, those benefitting most from his wealth of knowledge have been UB students like Metzler.” (At Buffalo, 2018)