News on Ellen, Alison, Ozzy, Barry, Meghan, ‘Idol’ Auditions, Neck Deep and More

by Debi Moen • in
  • Designer Watch
  • September 2018
• Created: September 14, 2018

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Neck Deep, lit by Nathaniel Beckett. Photo by Nathaniel Beckett.

Lighting designer Allen Branton is shooting a stand-up comedy special featuring Ellen DeGeneres, accompanied on his team by Kevin Lawson, John Ellar and Tim Donovan. “This will be Ellen’s first stand-up special in many years,” Branton says. “Director/producer Joel Gallen, production designer John Calkins and I shot her Emmy-winning HBO special 17 years ago. Lawson and Ellar were also with me then at the Beacon show, so this is a bit of a reunion.” The recent shoot at Benaroya Hall in Seattle will air later on Netflix.

LD Michael Shucher designed and programmed the lighting for Alison Krauss’s current 50-date summer tour — with some co-headlining dates with Willie Nelson — running until Sept. 21 in North America. “It is a very straightforward, simple show. The backdrop was based off a painting that Alison’s mom painted,” Shucher says. They’ve added more dimension with “a few nice, real antiques” he adds, and props such as a street lamp and park benches.

Lighting director and PLSN contributor Chris Lose programmed the upcoming Ozzy Osbourne tour with LDs Patrick Woodroffe, Terry Cook and Michael Keller. This North American leg of Ozzy’s “Farewell Tour” runs Aug. 30 to Oct. 13, while the full tour is set to run until 2020. Lose then heads to Los Angeles to be lighting director for Fleetwood Mac’s 2018/19 world tour. The Mac kicks off in October and hits 50-plus cities until spring 2019.

Rachel Mullen has been out this summer as lighting director, programmer and board operator with Meghan Trainor’s promotional dates supporting the new album, Treat Myself. She also acted as lighting director for the artist’s performance on Jimmy Kimmel Live. She predicts a big tour next year.

‡‡         American Idol Auditions

LD Kieran Healy says he hasn’t been on tour since the 1980’s, so he’s about to get new on-the-road experiences as he travels on the American Idol second season auditions for ABC. Stops include Denver, Coeur D’Alene, Charleston, New York and Los Angeles. He doesn’t expect it to be a shock to the system, though. “No buses — we are flying and have four to five days in each town, so it’s not really hard touring,” he says. “I think my last tour was with Duran Duran in 1984, although I did weekend touring with Marlboro Country Music later.”

Seth Jackson has been off the radar lately. “I’ve been having a wonderfully quiet summer for the first time in forever. I’m not teaching this season, but I am working on finishing up my Masters in Education so I will return to it someday in the future,” he confirms. “In the meantime, I’ve re-organized my businesses into one company: Seth Jackson Creative. I’ve been in a simplify, streamline kind of mode these last few months! I’m headed out next week as creative director for Mr. Manilow’s tour of the U.K., alongside the brilliant Nate Alves (who has been with Barry since the start of the year). I’ve got a few irons in the fire for the fall, and I’ll be a part of Chris Lisle’s Touring Career Workshop in Nashville this November and hopefully doing a Master Class at Carnegie Mellon on Concert Lighting sometime in the fall.”

LD Nathaniel Beckett finishes the world tour for Welsh pop punk band Neck Deep in October. This is the second trip through North America for The Peace and The Panic album cycle.

Programmer Troy Eckerman has little time to catch his breath. He reports on his recent work: “I helped out my friend Mac Mossier on Chris Stapleton for his current tour. Then to Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s Soul2Soul tour to help LD Pat Brannon. In between these music-related show I was in the corporate show world: I did Hortonworks in Berlin and San Jose. Then to LinkedIn in Macau, Barcelona and Miami. From Miami I went to the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville for Isagenix’s Global Celebration. (With a few days offshore in San Diego for tuna fishing.) Then straight into Hubspot in Boston and State Farm in Las Vegas, then it’s to Hashgraph in Dallas. It’s a marathon! It slows up Nov. 13…, just a little.”

LD Steve Fallon has joined with The Cult on the tri-headlining “Revolution 3” tour with Stone Temple Pilots and Bush. The North American tour wraps Sept. 2. Following that, he heads out with The Music of Cream 50th Anniversary World Tour. The show features Ginger Baker’s son, Kofi; Jack Bruce’s son, Malcolm; and Eric Clapton’s nephew, Will Johns (whose aunt is Pattie Boyd, previously married to George Harrison and then to Eric Clapton…. well, you get the idea…) Cream covers Canada, the U.S. and U.K. from Sept. 28 to Nov. 26.

‡‡         Quick Cues

LD Mike Zielinski designed this summer’s grand opening ceremony for the NYC hotel citizenM Bowery.

Production designer/LD Robert Sondergaard finished up his Canadian summer season with the 7th Annual Veld Music Festival in Toronto with three stages of acts Aug. 4-5.

LD Martin Thomas is covering for LD Jared Trinnaman on Chris Isaak’s tour until September, then Thomas returns to the Alan Parsons Project through Texas and the Midwest.

LD Alex Skowron makes a change from classic rock to classic rap by spending his September with 50 Cent in Europe. The short arena tour pays tribute to the 15-year anniversary of the artist’s debut album, Get Rich or Die Tryin.’

Share the wealth of your experiences with Debi Moen, risk-free, by emailing her at



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