Little Theater has a tiny orchestra pit, with room for only a handful of players, and a modest budget. So when it mounts a big musical like "Beauty and the Beast," it brings in an electronic ringer. A laptop computer, loaded with a program called OrchEXTRA, serves as a "virtual orchestra," from strings to woodwinds, drums to horns, giving the music such a rich sound that audience members may wonder how a full Broadway orchestra fits into the tiny pit. "As far as sound quality, these things are great," says Dorian Boyd, the sound designer/technician for Little Theater, referring to OrchEXTRA. Virtual orchestras are much better than the early systems of just a few years ago, he says, which could sound like "video game music."
There's just something to be said about the movie theater experience. The lights go dim, the music booms -- there's just nothing like it. But with the right setup, you can have that same movie theater experience in your home. And thanks to Amazon, you can save $400 in the process. Amazon has the ViewSonic PRO7827HD Home Theater Projector available on sale for only $399.99.
The community theater has been based for many years at Northeast Community College, but the board's vision was that the Grand Theatre would become the group's permanent home. The hope was that the building could be used to stage the community theater's productions and host recitals, business meetings and even church services that needed a facility that could seat around 300 people.
It's not much fun to plug away at a presentation, but Microsoft might have found a way to make the experience more bearable for Office 365 subscribers. It's updating the Windows version of PowerPoint with real-time collaboration that helps you share the workload. You can see who's editing specific slides, and see typing as it happens. You'll need to be part of the Office Insider program to use this right away, but don't be surprised if it's available more broadly in the near future. Microsoft's updates will also let you know what's going on when you're away from your desk.