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The New York Times today has a fantastic behind-the-scenes look at the planning and staging for the Republican convention. Highlights:

--The theme of the convention, "A Better Future," was personally approved by Mitt Romney.

--Romney's Mormon faith won't be brushed under the rug. A member of the church will deliver the invocation. The Times also reports "Mr. Romney’s work as a bishop in the Mormon Church will be on display," though no other details are given.

--Despite Mormonism's no-alcohol-allowed rule, attendees of the convention can breathe easy: Concession stands will be serving alcohol.

--$2.5 million: The cost of the stage, inspired by American architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright (1867 – 1959).

--The stage will feature 13 different video screens, "the largest about 29 feet by 12 feet, the smallest about 8 feet by 8 feet." The screens will be movable and aide speakers in delivering their message ("be it images of woeful-looking Americans to convey that President Obama has mismanaged the economy or pictures of the Romney children that speak to the candidate’s deep bonds with his family").

--Staircases will slope from the podium into the audience. "The intended symbolism: Mr. Romney is open and approachable, not distant and far above."

--Raised above the audience will be a digital clock ticking away to represent the national debt.

--The convention hall will have two separate stages for musical guests. The Times reports one guest is G.E. Smith, guitarist for Hall & Oats. The other, a "surprise act."

Photo via the Times. Full gallery here.

[New York Times]

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