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Nook Schoenfeld, Editor, PLSN
Nook Schoenfeld, Editor, PLSN

The Most Colorful Time of the Year

Nook Schoenfeld
Editor's Note

It’s a good thing February is the shortest month, because except for the bright reds you see around Valentine’s Day, it’s one of our least colorful months. By mid-January, I’m already nostalgic for the holiday season. For a few weeks every year, everything becomes colorful in America again. I drive around and see beautiful green foliage in living rooms and on doors, long after the leaves have fallen. Multi colored holiday strings of lights add to the red candy canes that illuminate our city streets.

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Brian rocks out with some classic Stray Cats. Photo by Steve Jennings
Brian rocks out with some classic Stray Cats. Photo by Steve Jennings

Brian Setzer Orchestra

Steve Jennings (Photo and Text)
Wide Focus

Brian Setzer first hit the big time as the frontman for the Stray Cats, the band that burst onto the music scene in the early 1980’s with a rockabilly sound from the 1950s. PLSN caught up with Bud Horowitz, LD for the Brian Setzer Orchestra, a swing band ensemble that recently completed its 13th annual Christmas Rocks! Tour. Today’s BSO shows include some of the classic Stray Cats songs with big-band accompaniment. Horowitz has also lit Setzer’s Nashvillians and Rockabilly Riot tours. He notes that, instead of getting too involved in the lighting specifics, Setzer turns to him for the lighting looks.

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Atomic built the rope structures. Photo by Steve Jennings
Atomic built the rope structures. Photo by Steve Jennings

Temple of the Dog

Steve Jennings (Photo and Text)
Production Profile

Kille Knobel and Nimblist Serve Up a Unique Design with a Darkly Lit Forest of Ropes

Temple of the Dog consists of vocalist Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Pearl Jam members Stone Gossard (guitar), Jeff Ament (bass), Mike McCready (lead guitar), and Matt Cameron (drums). The band released just one album in 1991, but its success really grew much stronger the following year when the band members, along with TOTD guest vocalist Eddie Vedder and Pearl Jam, emerged as music industry icons.

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Creative Conners always gets a great response when showing off their products.
Creative Conners always gets a great response when showing off their products.

Creative Conners

Michael S. Eddy
Company 411

Creative Conners, Inc. has been specializing in scenic automation products since 2004 with a simple goal—to make scenic automation simple, safe, efficient, and affordable. They have always offered a range of products that enable designers and technical directors to easily and efficiently add automation to shows, most recently introducing their well-received Floor Pocket, a traproom elevator.

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Avett Brothers tour photo by CrackerFarm
Avett Brothers tour photo by CrackerFarm

LD Pete Schroth with the Avett Brothers

Debi Moen
On the Road

TOUR DATES: February-November

THE DESIGN: “The Avett Brothers never play the same set or the same song the same way. Every night is different. They feed off the vibe of the crowd; if the crowd wants a more chill show or a rocker, then that’s the direction. Cue stacks don’t fit with their way of playing. Everything is on the fly all the time. I design a rig that morphs into different animals; lighting one guy playing an acoustic guitar or a heavy rocker with all seven band members. Overall, I try to accent the music, push the emotion further, but subtly so that people may not notice that the whole stage just ‘warmed up,’ but they feel it with their hearts.”

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The Nutcracker (Alberto Velazquez) and Marie (Amanda Assucena) dance under the dramatically expanded tree during the battle with the rats. Photo by Cheryl Mann
The Nutcracker (Alberto Velazquez) and Marie (Amanda Assucena) dance under the dramatically expanded tree during the battle with the rats. Photo by Cheryl Mann

Re-imagining 'The Nutcracker'

Randi Minetor
Focus on Theatre

Christopher Wheeldon's Nutcracker, at the Joffrey Ballet Chicago, Revitalizes a Holiday Classic

The strains of Tchaikovsky’s lush, spritely overture soar as the Chicago Philharmonic begins The Nutcracker, but when the curtain rises, we find that we are not, as we may expect, in the expansive living room of a traditional Victorian home. Instead, it’s Christmas Eve 1892 in Chicago, and one family on the outskirts of town conducts its fairly frugal preparations for Christmas Day.

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The cast of In Transit both blend in and stand out among the colorful set designed by Donyale Werle and lit by Don Holder. Photo by Joan Marcus
The cast of In Transit both blend in and stand out among the colorful set designed by Donyale Werle and lit by Don Holder. Photo by Joan Marcus

Thrusting a Transit Space

Bryan Reesman
Inside Theatre

In Transit at Circle in the Square Theatre makes use of a unique scenic design by Donyale Werle

In Transit is Broadway’s first a cappella musical, a cheerful, peppy, and sometimes bittersweet look into the lives of different couples (and couples to be) in NYC. Performing on a bi-level, T-shaped stage at the Circle In The Square Theatre in New York, the 11-person ensemble generates all of the sounds heard with few exceptions. On top of nicely replicating the feeling of the New York subway with a token booth located on the second level, the show features a 71-foot conveyer belt that moves people and scenery around and gives the thrust space a genuine thrust.

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Paul Sonnleitner keeping warm at his console position in Times Square for New Year’s Eve.
Paul Sonnleitner keeping warm at his console position in Times Square for New Year’s Eve.

1000 Words with Lighting Director Paul Sonnleitner

Michael S. Eddy
PLSN Interview

Well-respected programmer and lighting director Paul Sonnleitner recently spoke with PLSN about how he started his ‘is this really a career’ career, and how he approaches his work. Sonnleitner’s credits range from Broadway to live television, from national historic events, including the Presidential Political Conventions to international sports, for which he shared Emmy nominations with LD David Grill for the 2007 Pan Am Games and the 2014 Central American Games. He also has marked New Year’s Eve for the last 13 years working in Times Square.

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Santana photo by Chad Tasky
Santana photo by Chad Tasky

Lighting Santana

Mike Wharton
Designer Insights

The phrase,” A well crafted career,” is often heard regarding the success of someone’s longevity in their particular line of work. This certainly applies to Michael Ledesma. Throughout his career, Mike has possessed a key ingredient underpinning all the elements necessary, that of being present in the moment. For 37 years, he has lit some of the greatest artists of our time, and they, in turn have relied upon him to interpret visually their music and art. Longtime associations with legends Paul Simon, Kenny Loggins and Gloria Estefan are a testimonial to not only his lighting skills but his personality as well.

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PLSN Feb 2017 Buyers Guide - Moving Beam Lights
PLSN Feb 2017 Buyers Guide - Moving Beam Lights

Moving Beam Lights

Nook Schoenfeld
Buyer's Guide

Looking back, 2008 was a magical year for concert lighting. That was the year that Claypaky unveiled their highly successful Alpha Beam fixtures on a moving yoke, dedicated to the art of the tight collimated shafts of light. A year later, Elation kept the evolution of moving light fixtures moving with units that had a smaller footprint and tiny moving beam. As LED technology continues to sweep across the world of entertainment lighting, we’ve seen more single LED Beam models pop up in the last year. This month we present the latest and best beams on a moving yoke.

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