Sunday, April 27, 2008

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Event Chairs Holly and Mark Whaley hamming it up during the auction. Beloved former Tennessee Titan quarterback Steve McNair was seated next to Holly - my wife was ecstatic that she got his autograph!

Several close ups of the set we created for the event...

Last night we worked with "l'Ete du Vin" to produce the Premier Auction, a fabulous evening of great food and fine wines designed to raise funds to support cancer research and cancer support organizations here in the Middle Tennessee area. "L'Ete du Vin" is the oldest charity wine auction in America. In addition to the Premier Auction, the organization also sponsors The Grand Auction later in the summer. We've worked with the organization for the past 10 years, and over that time millions of dollars have been raised through the generosity of those who support the charity. The theme of last night's event was "Route 29" - inspired by the name of the main highway running through California's Napa Valley wine country. We designed Gaylord Opryland Resort's Presidential Ballroom to emulate the look and feel of some of Napa's landmark attractions. The stage set featured a street scene inspired by the architecture and icon businesses in Napa's St. Helena community. The set was designed by GMC team members Keith and Eric, and built by Phil and Blair, and masterfully painted by Dean. Jonathan, Jerry, and Sean handled all video production, while Jim kept things flowing smoothly with his backstage management. A big thanks to the entire scenic and productions crew for their hard work that made for a fabulous event!

Some 500 attendees sampled specialty dishes donated by 20 of Nashville's top restaurants. Wines, artwork, trips, and specialty items were auctioned throughout the evening. The event raised nearly $500,000 to support l'Ete du Vin's efforts to cure cancer. Congratulations to Holly and Mark Whaley (event chairpersons) and Mike Haney, Torrey Barnhill, Collin Husbands and the entire l' Ete du Vin staff and volunteer team on the success of the auction!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

This is a another crazy week for everyone at GMC. Dave, Mindy, Steve, and Jennifer have been in New York the past 3 days conducting auditions for the Norwegian Jade. I talked with Jennifer today and she said we had a good turnout with a lot of talented singers participating. Brandon is leaving tomorrow to go work with the cast on the INFINITY for several days. I am preparing for a major charity wine auction this weekend, and Curt and Bert are working on several prospective new projects. Our scenic and design teams have been cranking out sets for the wine auction this weekend. Congrats to Keith, Dean, Eric, Phil, Blair and team for a great looking Napa street scene set. Our next scenic build is for a Nickelodeon television pilot - its a pirate theme and it will be shot here in Nashville. Jonathan is in Phoenix at a training seminar for Spyder projection systems. And, we have the casts of the NCL Majesty and the Celebrity Millennium in town for rehearsals. I am so very thankful to be this busy in the midst of so much gloom and doom on the economic front. A couple of us actually carpooled this week. $4.00 gasoline? YIKES!!

I hope everyone is enjoying this spring weather!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Thursday, April 17, 2008


The above photo is the Norwegian SPIRIT in port in Nassau.

This is the GEM boarding late Wednesday afternoon. It was a beautiful day in the Bahamas!

This is the GEM in Nassau. 

The buildings in the background are the world famous ATLANTIS RESORT. It is an incredibly unique property known for its fabulous aquariums and water slide features. Very cool!

I've been on the Norwegian GEM for the past few days. I didn't have access to internet that would allow me to upload photos, so I will try to make up for that over the next few days. 

The new cast of the GEM had two spectacular opening shows this week! They looked like seasoned pros on their very first night! I was really proud of them. David Patton, Mindy McLemore, Bruce Stegmann, Steve Kummer, Barbara Naden, Floyd and I were there to help them get settled in and cheer them on. This was the first time we had seen the shows with a predominantly American audience, so it was fun to see their response to all the music in "Get Down Tonight", a show totally dedicated to pop music and culture in the 1970's. "COLORZ" opens tomorrow night...I know they will do a great job with that show, too. I will try to post a few photos of their opening night within the next couple of days. 

We were fortunate to be in port yesterday in Nassau with the cast of the NCL SPIRIT. Rusty, Kevin and several other cast members came to visit the GEM cast. It was a treat to get to see them! The SPIRIT will be based out of New York for the rest of the summer. I'm looking forward to seeing them in action in a couple of months when we go out for a maintenance visit.
The above pictures were taken with my cell phone while we were in port in Nassau. The weather was beautiful there, and the water simmers in the most amazing shades of blue and green that you can imagine. We had lunch at the Atlantis Resort one day. The aquarium there is awesome, making the Atlantis the top tourist attraction in the Bahamas. 

Just another reminder about auditions in New York and London coming up in the next two weeks. Please tell your friends if they have any interest in auditioning for "Smokey Joe's Cafe" and "Shout", just two of the featured shows on the new Norwegian JADE. Check out our website for all the information!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sunday, April 13, 2008


One more thing... here are a couple of shots of the new Celebrity Cruises Infinity cast (with Claire and Brandon and Garris in the top photo) that left this morning for their contract. They are an incredibly talented group with a huge amount of heart and drive. We love them!

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Marc Bouniconti addressing the Permobil conference at Gaylord Opryland Resort.

GMC choreogapher Bruce Stegmann talking to the cast of one of our ships.

The set of the US Business Hall of Fame Induction ceremony.

The flag flying proudly in front of the US Space and Rocket Center in 
Huntsville, AL.

The capsule of a Saturn V rocket flying above our stage in the new Davidson Center at the US Space and Rocket Center.

Nashville Star winners Angela and Zach Hacker performing at the 
US Space and Rocket Center.

Fireworks after the Turner Universal celebration.

This has been an exciting week at GMC - in every way! We began the week with an event produced for TJ Martell, a leading charitable organization focused on leukemia, cancer, and aids research. We're still waiting on some pictures from that event, but word has it that it was spectacular. We then produced a first-ever conference for Permobil. Permobil is one of the world's leading producers of mobil wheelchairs and personal movement devices for mobility impaired individuals. The keynote speaker was Marc Buoniconti, a former college football player who was paralyzed by a neck injury during a game. Marc is now a spokesperson for the Miami Project, an institution dedicated to finding a cure for paralysis. He was a fantastic speaker. His dedication to the cause of research is inspiring, to say the least. 

Permobil was followed by two huge events for the Junior Achievement US Business Hall of Fame awards. On Wednesday, business and government leaders from all over the country gathered at Gaylord Oryland Resort to celebrate the achievements of some of the top business leaders in the world. Those inducted into the US Business Hall of Fame included...
* Tommy Frist, Jr.,  - Founder of Hospital Corporation of America
* Robert L. Johnson - Founder of BET Network and owner of the Charlotte Bobcats
* Meg Whitman - CEO of Ebay
* Allen Neuharth - Founder of USA TODAY
* Bill France - Founder of NASCAR
* John E. Pepper, Jr - former CEO of Proctor and Gamble

It was a fantastic evening filled with performances by some of Nashville's top singers, dancers, and musicians. Entertainment highlights included a performance by 6th grader Allen Robertson who performed "Foggy Mountain Breakdown" on the banjo, and Fiddle Frenzy, a fiddle ensemble group from Blair School of Music. Production numbers were choreographed by our own Claire Williams. More than 50 student performers participated in the show. At times it felt a little like herding cats, but the end result was spectacular. Thanks to our friends at Junior Achievement for allowing GMC to orchestrate the entertainment, audiovisual elements, and scenic for this world class event! 

Thursday evening brought the farewell dinner for the cast of the Celebrity INFINITY. They headed out this week for a 6-month contract onboard one of Celebrity's most popular ships. We wish them all the best! Meanwhile, GMC team members Curt Wallen and Steve Kummer were half way around the world doing research for our casting of the new shows on the Norwegian Jade. The JADE represents a huge departure in traditional cruise ship entertainment. We are about to take over the casting and production of the shows. Please check out our website for information on upcoming auditions in London and New York ( This is going to be a fun project!

Finally, last night, we produced an annual celebration for our friends at Turner Construction. They recently completed construction on one of the most interested facilities I've seen. The event was staged in Turner's newest construction project - the Davidson Center at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, AL. The building houses one of the 3 remaining Saturn V rockets in the world, so you can imagine how large this structure is. The Saturn V was the rocket used to send American astronauts to the moon in the late 60's. The dinner was held beneath the capsule of the spaceship. Entertainment featured Angela and Zach Hacker, winners of last season's "Nashville Star" television show competition. A spectacular fireworks show ended the evening with guests gathered beneath a beautiful  Alabama night sky. It was a perfect way to end the evening, AND our week. 

Tomorrow, I head to the Norwegian GEM to join HMC staffers Mindy McLemore and David Patton to check out the new cast in their first week of performances. Coreographer Bruce Stagmann has  been there tis past week fine tuning the cast in preparation for their first week of shows. I'm looking forward to seeing them in action! 

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The last couple of days have been busy with projects we're producing for next week. In addition to all the normal pre-production planning, I did a quick trip to Huntsville, Alabama, on Wednesday to see the new U.S. Space and Rocket Center Museum. The building was constructed by one of our clients - Turner Universal Construction. Turner is having their annual celebration dinner there next Saturday beneath an actual Saturn V rocket that is displayed in the building (so you know how huge this building is!). We also had the final rehearsals and farewell dinner for the Norwegian GEM cast. They did a fantastic job with their run-throughs! And they seem to be very tight on a personal level, which is a good sign that they will have a successful contract. They left this morning to go to the ship. Mindy McLemore is heading up the install of the GEM cast. These photos were made at the "Get Down Tonight" rehearsal on Thursday.  We send our very best wishes to the everyone in the new GEM cast!